In our MOOC moment, public opinion about teacher quality irrelevant

The New York Times published an editorial last month, “Why Other Countries Teach Better,” that compared three countries to the U.S. and raised concerns that poorly trained teachers would lead to an unprepared workforce for the global labor market, Diverse reports.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, defended teachers in response, noting that, reforms have not worked and there should be more investment in teacher training.

They are both correct, but opinions may not matter much as the specter of disruptive technologies, such as the Massive Online Open Course (MOOCs), slowly marches into the public education system.

Critics have cited the dismal results of the MOOC experiment at San Jose State in California, launched by the company Udacity. However, MOOCs will most likely remain apart of the education landscape as President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology have urged him to let market forces develop better systems to employ the technology.

What effect will MOOCs have on teachers?

… Predicting the effects of disruptive technologies’ impact on jobs is not a perfect science, but applying basic market logic, one can make a case that once parents and students begin to see a much more efficient and cheaper way to get an education, the adoption of MOOCs could take hold quickly. It’s important to note that the jukebox had been around for a number of years, but it only took a few years for this technology to aid in the fall of the musicians’ union and catapult a broad swath of musicians into the gallows of the unemployed.

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