The people who build and fund edtech tools occupy different professional worlds than the educators who use those tools. And those worlds can sometimes collide.

That was clear when we invited a venture capitalist who invests in edtech companies to have a dialogue with a professor who has been critical of the edtech industry. The topic: what role should artificial intelligence play in education?

From the educator perspective we have Neil Selwyn, a research professor of education at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He’s the author of the book, “Should Robots Replace Teachers?” And to be clear, he does not think robots should replace teachers—he’s pretty skeptical of AI in teaching.

And on the edtech company side we invited Ryan Craig, the founding managing director of University Ventures. His venture capital firm funds edtech companies, and he’s written books about his vision, including “A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College,” and “College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of HIgher Education.”

The two clearly saw the same scenario—of AI in education—differently. One looked for solutions that could quickly scale. The other stressed the benefit of creating highly tailored experiences for students and the value of going slow.

They had agreements, too, and both stressed the need for more discussions where educators and tool builders are at the table together.

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