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ERIC Number: EJ826001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
An Immodest Proposal: Pedagogic Information Supports for Teachers
Rothkopf, Ernst Z.
Teachers College Record, v111 n1 p164-179 2009
Background/Context: Concerns about instructional quality have unleashed a frenzy of reform efforts, including changes in school governance, teacher recruitment, and curriculum, modification of teaching philosophies and procedures, stricter accountability management, and increased quests for scientific research information and guidance. These efforts have resulted in much hope but modest returns. We have middling success in educating our talented students and fail catastrophically with many others. Science and mathematics instruction are among our most critical weak spots. Urgent demand for technically competent people in the workplace and society calls for early relief from our educational discomforts. Purpose/Focus: The essay examines how we can take advantage of the colossal scale of the American educational system to improve instruction. Although policy makers have persistently turned away from the fact, the same subject matter is taught in thousands of schools, year after year, and thousands of teachers face very similar instructional tasks. The huge scale of their efforts, coupled with progress in the instructive uses of digital devices, makes it sensible and economically feasible to provide teachers with powerful tools to serve their common needs. We examine requirements and possible configurations for such digital instructional tools and their uses, and we make some cost estimates. Research Design: This is an analytic essay. Conclusions/Recommendations: Substantial investment of technical and financial resources is proposed for the development of a pedagogic information support system (APIS) for critical courses or subject matter in which competent teachers are in short supply. These systems should be sufficiently comprehensive to cover all core components that a reasonable teacher might include, as well as instrumentally pedagogic elements. APISs are seen as loosely organized, highly redundant collections, in polymorphic digital forms, of explanations, demonstrations, simulations, interactive exercises, problems, examples, elaborations, integrative expositions, and motivational supports, as well as a deep, searchable information base. An APIS for a particular course would be sufficient to support inexperienced teachers and skillful veterans and could be used both with monitored class groups and supervised individual students. APIS can be expected to provide new opportunities for practical teacher education and to stimulate and coordinate instructional research.
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A