Most of Silicon Valley basks in the delights of Moore’s Law: that prophetic 1965 declaration explaining why computing power keep getting cheaper and faster at a breakneck pace. Education, however, has largely missed out. For decades, most of what gets regarded as ideal teaching — small class sizes and hands-on instruction — has entailed rising costs and frozen productivity levels.
Back in 2001, while writing for Fast Company magazine, I raised education’s predicament with Gordon Moore, the coiner of Moore’s Law and a co-founder of Intel Corp.. “It is very frustrating,” he told me. “It’s hard to come up with ways to increase productivity in education. … It’s especially hard for K – 12. I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, and freshman chemistry was taken by about 3,000 students. So you achieve great efficiencies in that kind of a class. But you can’t teach first graders that way.”