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Could Online Ed. Alter School Staffing?

Covering a recent panel discussion at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on technology and education reform, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Maureen Downey notes that, for some experts, one of the key promises of digital-learning technology is that it could give more students access to the best teachers. She reports:

[School sytems] can enlarge the classroom of the teachers achieving the best results with students and pay them more for doing so by multiplying their reach through technology, Hassel [co-director of the consulting firm Public Impact] said. ... [They can] relieve those great teachers of noninstructional tasks, use video to reach more students, and incorporate smart software to personalize instruction.

Hassel, according to Downey, believes that teachers themselves—given greater incentives and flexiblity—could become crucial supporters for this kind of change:

Under rigid rules on teacher pay and class size, Hassel said there aren't strong incentives now for teachers to embrace technology or become involved in shaping it. "There is no way they can use it to leverage their time. But if they can use technology in time-saving ways and take on more students and earn more, they will become active shoppers and become a driver of quality."
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