It goes by many names. Recently, this video from five years ago surfaced in my Facebook Newsfeed:
You remember the Texas teen who told off a teacher for handing out packets of worksheets, sitting at her desk, and otherwise making no effort to engage the class in learning.
After watching the video again, it struck me: this is the future of public education as envisioned by such personages as Bill Gates, Jeff Zuckerberg, the Waltons, Laurene Jobs, the Koch brothers, the list goes on and on.
Under a technology-based system of competency-based learning or personalized learning, children sit in front of computers and work on programs that have placed them on a learning path. The path is the same for each child, but the spot on the path where each child works is different.
If the computer does the teaching, then there is no need for a professional teacher. Paraprofessionals could be hired at minimum wage to supervise the room, keep behavior under control, and ensure each child clicks away on the keys.
How? Technology has a solution. The paraprofessional has no need to walk around the room; at her desk, she has a monitor to watch that shows what each child is doing to make sure they aren’t playing games or watching music/sports videos.
Human interaction is not needed.
Most monitoring systems provide features by which the monitor can interrupt off-task children with messages or even by killing the inappropriate apps they are on.
Now go back and watch Mr. Bliss again. Hear him as he demands that which competency-based education or personalized learning will eliminate: the human relationship between teacher and child that is the very heart and soul of education.
What’s the difference between packets of worksheets and computer-based programs? Only this: