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...

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