Is “re-inventing education” more than a cliché?

Anthony Salcito, Chief Institution Business Officer at Nerdy, lays out how the pandemic, teachers, and AI are shaping the future of learning

It’s always a pleasure to talk with Anthony Salcito, formerly Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft and currently Chief Institution Business Officer at Nerdy. In his current role, Anthony leads Varsity Tutors for Schools and is responsible for Nerdy’s efforts to support institutions as they work to transform learning opportunities for students and educators across a range of offerings. Recently, the platform was selected by the New Jersey Department of Education as an approved pre-qualified tutoring provider for the state’s 2023/2024 High-Impact Tutoring Program. This initiative, tailored to assist students disproportionately affected by the pandemic, focuses specifically on third and fourth graders. The Ohio Department of Education also picked Varsity Tutors this fall to provide tutoring services for Future Forward Ohio. The collaboration aims to accelerate learning in literacy and numeracy while boosting workforce readiness and student wellness.

Our most recent conversation touches upon the impact of the pandemic on education, the role of teachers, and the evolution of tutoring in the education landscape. We talk about the evolution of the perception of tutoring, the challenges schools face in integrating consistent tutoring practices, and the potential of AI in education. Have a listen:

Key Takeaways:

  • Pandemic’s Impact on Education: The pandemic necessitated emergency measures in education, pushing schools to adopt remote learning and technology. The value of teachers became more evident as they played a crucial role in connecting with students on a personal level, addressing their social-emotional needs, and maintaining a human element in education.
  • Pre-existing Education Issues: The challenges of learning loss and student engagement existed before the pandemic. These issues are still relevant, emphasizing the need for long-term solutions to ensure every student’s success, support teachers, reduce burnout, and effectively use technology in education.
  • Modalities of Tutoring: Various modalities of tutoring exist, such as on-demand tutoring and one-to-one relationships. On-demand tutoring is prevalent but may lack consistency and engagement. One-to-one tutoring, with a consistent schedule and tutor, can provide a strong relationship that benefits students.
  • AI in Education: AI has the potential to revolutionize education by creating individualized instruction plans (IEPs) for students. AI can track and correlate various learning resources, activities, and interests outside the traditional curriculum, leading to a more personalized learning experience. While AI raises concerns about job displacement and cheating, its core potential lies in enhancing personalized education.
  • AI’s Role in Data Analytics: AI can help schools leverage a broader set of data for tracking and managing student performance, which can lead to more effective personalized learning plans. This is an exciting opportunity to fundamentally improve learning outcomes for all students.
  • Challenges in Education: The conversation touches upon challenges in education, such as certification requirements for tutors and the need to empower teachers in the tutoring process. The goal is to create a more organic and integrated system of support for students.
  • Looking to the Future: The future of education involves harnessing the power of AI to enhance the individualized learning experience, focusing on curation and correlation of diverse learning resources, and moving beyond the initial concerns to fully leverage AI’s potential in education.

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Kevin Hogan

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