Two very interesting recent posts from blog Seattle Education about edtech — where it came from, and where it’s going.
You cannot fully understand what is happening with Future Ready school redesign, 1:1 device programs, embedded assessments, gamification, classroom management apps, and the push for students in neighborhood schools to supplement instruction with online courses until you grasp the role the federal government and the Department of Defense more specifically have played in bringing us to where we are today.
— Source: “How exactly did the Department of Defense end up in my child’s classroom?” by Seattle Education
Focus group results have been refined into sophisticated campaigns designed to convince us that digital education for children is superior to face-to-face instruction with a certified teacher. The goal? Put technology front and center in 21st century school redesign, and push human beings to the sidelines…If it’s innovative, it must be good. Personalization? Bring it on! And for students in underfunded schools with leaky roofs and tainted water, the arrival of technology brings a glimmer of hope that someone actually cares. But are we bridging a digital divide? Or are we setting our schools up for digital dehumanization down the road?
— Source: “Hybrid Learning, Cicada Killers & the Next Big Fight” by Seattle Education
As a very small social studies publisher, we see these developments from both ends: the DoD/DARPA connection is dominated by large companies and foundations with a particular guiding educational philosophy — one we don’t share. We believe that learning requires true interactivity, and that true interactivity requires software that can respond to different interests. Our design makes it possible for students and teachers to proceed as they see fit through our wealth of content, whether they want to get a basic grasp of a subject or explore it in depth. Our software uses your web browser, which makes it as accessible as possible, to as wide a range of students as possible.
And while we provide in-program assessments at several levels, as well as reporting for teachers — although quite rudimentary compared to the meta data and para data described in the post! — we do not envision our software as a teacher replacement. Everything we design rests on the assumption that a human teacher is guiding the learning process, and will be there to explain, assist, and evaluate.
It is possible to use digital educational tools that don’t demand souls as payment!