In the Winter 2009 issue of Education Next, John E. Chubb and Terry Moe debate Larry Cuban in a forum over whether educational technology will change the role of the teacher and the nature of learning.

It will perhaps come as no surprise to readers of Disrupting Class that Cuban is skeptical that it will. As Cuban has written in the past, technologies have repeatedly promised much but delivered little besides the hype. We cite his work extensively in our book and agree with his analysis of why this has been the case.

But as readers also know, we see a new opportunity for an educational technology like online learning to now make a transformational impact—provided people take a disruptive approach. Although certainly some concerted efforts can—and have—changed the fundamental classroom, we think that most of the change from technology won’t come in our traditional classroom at all (so there’s no real disagreement here with Cuban in many ways), but instead will come by being wrapped in a new organizational model and targeting non-consumption.

Chubb and Moe share our view about the potential for change, and in their upcoming book, Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education, lay out their case for why and how this will happen. They approach the question from a different angle, and as it appears from the article, have some interesting insights. Can’t wait to read the book!

Also, take a look at the graphs of online learning growth in the article—particularly Florida Virtual School’s growth. Quite stunning. I think it shows the power of removing many of the barriers to this disruptive innovation and letting it grow at its natural pace.

– Michael B. Horn


  • Michael B. Horn
    Michael B. Horn

    Michael B. Horn is Co-Founder, Distinguished Fellow, and Chairman at the Christensen Institute.