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Teaching Tech Together (2019) (teachtogether.tech)
73 points by bryanrasmussen 2 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments





Here is a dream setup that would be great for the kids, poor but raring to learn:

It would be great if there is an open community of teachers who express interest and also show expertise in teaching one or more topics, in some formats.

these topics have pre-requisites on other topics, that the student can study on their own or learn under other teachers.

The students start with expressing interest in a subject, and they are quizzed to figure out how much they know of its prerequisites, how deep they want to go into a subject, and also their time constraints.

Students would also be encouraged to pay it forward, by teaching or other housekeeping tasks.


Have a look at Sal Khan's latest project, https://schoolhouse.world/ It's focused specifically on math at the moment, and takes a model similar to what you're proposing. Volunteer tutors give lessons, and students are encouraged to pay-it-forward and become tutors themselves once they master the material. They've had thousands of students already and are working on scaling up a few orders of magnitude right now.

I've used this material often to help myself and others make good use of knowledge-transfer time. It's helpful to have a resource that provides many "teaching hacks" that have some evidence of efficacy behind them.

> When I started volunteering at the University of Toronto, some of my students asked me why I would teach for free. ...

> So this is why I teach today: I’m angry. I’m angry because your sex and your color and your parents’ wealth and connections shouldn’t count for more than how smart or honest or hard-working you are. I’m angry because we turned the internet into a cesspool. I’m angry because Nazis are on the march once again and billionaires are playing with rocket ships while the planet is melting. I’m angry, so I teach, because the world only gets better when we teach people how to make it better.

Great that he can work for free. Many can't, and I do wonder if things like volunteer teachers don't depress other teachers' wages. Therefore indirectly the quality of teaching.


Interesting question.

I’ve taken free coursera programming courses, and now I’m taking university CS courses. On one hand, the material we are expected to learn is definitely more rigorous. But the actual teaching quality is not better. The difference in costs reflects the value of the degree and the institution verifying your performance through tests, etc. But it’s hard to measure because better universities also get to select the better students who are likely to put a lot of work in to learn the material regardless of the quality of the teaching. So you still end up with better educated students I think, than the students who are accessing free teaching (I mean this on averages—so if a thousand students access a free class, a lower % of them will stick with it and learn the material).

There are definitely some motivated students who can take free teaching and run with it, but I think there are a lot of factors at play that keep paid education competitive anyway.


Do volunteer programmers (open source) depress other programmers wages? Arguably, high quality open source projects actually raises the bar for everyone.

Good quality teaching isn't a scarce resource to be managed like a commodity. Paying teachers more does make teaching a viable option for more people (yes, most can't afford to do it for free) but it's not a simple supply and demand equation that follows a simplistic market model.


isn't that the same problem of open source software, open-anything?

Somebody could do this work and get paid, but you're putting it on github for free, for companies to benefit from.


Greg works a full time job and then works on projects like this as basically another full-time job.

> I’m angry because your sex and your color and your parents’ wealth and connections shouldn’t count for more than how smart or honest or hard-working you are.

Ironically, he's teaching in Toronto. It's known that it's really easy to qualify for Canadian immigration once one has sufficient means. Good chances the people in his class benefited from corruption in their countries.

> I’m angry because Nazis are on the march once again

My advice is: don't tell that to a WW2 vet...

> I do wonder if things like volunteer teachers don't depress other teachers' wages. Therefore indirectly the quality of teaching.

It's much worse. The class he's happily teaching for free would have been handled by a grad student (doing real research and publishing) and would have helped him cover tuition.




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