Put a bunch of Ph.D.s in a large room and ask them what the essence of education is and they eventually come up with it, if you get some foundation to fund their thinking and maybe give them a couple of hundred years, and they will call it interactivity.
"The real key, Ms. Oblinger, a person who runs a non-profit foundation that promotes technology in higher education, says, is interactivity, which has become a dominant concept in higher education today, and one that encompasses interaction with the teacher, with other students, and with the material itself, often through the use of information technology." What she means, of course, is conversation and that conversation is now made easier (with a large number of students) with technology. So MIT is now rethinking its large introductory physics lecture course by infusing it with something called Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL). It may be a good thing, perhaps a lot better than a large lecture hall with hundred of students in it, but what amuses me is the implied realization in the article that education is really quite simple: a teacher, a few students, focusing on an interesting mind in front of them (lets call it a text), talking. Oh yes, Socrates is mentioned at the end of the article.