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Given education's centrality to raising productivity, shouldn't efforts to reinvigorate today's sclerotic Western economies focus on how to reinvent higher education?For example, what sense does it make for each college in the United States to offer its own highly idiosyncratic lectures on core topics like freshman calculus, economics and U.S. history, often with classes of 500 students or more?Videos could be used in modules, so a school could choose to use, say, one package to teach the first part of a course, and a completely different package to teach the second part.The potential for developing specialized software and apps to advance higher education is endless.Perhaps change in tertiary education is so glacial because the learning is deeply interpersonal, making human teachers essential. But wouldn't it make more sense for the bulk of faculty teaching time to be devoted to helping students engage in active learning through discussion and exercises, rather than to sometimes hundredth-best lecture performances?Education innovation will disrupt academic employment, but the benefits to jobs everywhere else could be enormous.
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