A/K/A the teacher, the pearson, and the technology.

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I admit it. I use Pearson’s web-based program in my classroom, Math XL.

Students need practice to master math. The technology allows me to assign them practice without burdening me with a grading load too great to handle. Even better, the program comes with built-in helps for the students: Show Me an Example, Show Me How to Solve This, excerpts from the textbook, and even Ask My Instructor, a feature that allows the student to send me an email with the specific problem they had and the solution they were trying to enter. I can look at the problem and give specific feedback.

I use Math XL for the first 30 mintues of a 90 minute block. During that time, I circulate through the room and help students, sometimes because they ask, sometimes because I look at the screen and realize they need a teacher interaction to solve the problem.

The use of technology doesn’t replace the crucial teacher/student interaction; it enhances it.

At least, the way that I use it.

Yet, I am troubled by the witch. Many persons, teachers, parents, and education advocates, are concerned about the privacy of children and how the data is protected.

For the technology to work, the site has to collect data. If the teacher cannot look at student work and results, the site has limited use. If the student cannot know how successful they were with an assignment, the site has very limited use.

Technology has to collect data. That is not the issue; the issue is how the data-collector protects the user.

Our 21st century counterparts to the 19th century tycoons, Vanderbilt, Astor, Rockefeller, Carnegie et al. and Gate, Jobs, Zuckerburg, Hastings et al., are building corporations to gather data on children from birth in the mistaken belief that the data can be massaged in longitudinal ways to conclude (not predict, they have the chutzpah to believe that data is infallible) what type of an adult the child will become and what the perfect job for them will be.

That is wrong in so many ways that the internet is full of protests against cradle-to-grave data collection.

A three-year-old child throws a toy at another three-year-old child out of frustration given the development of a three-year-old child. It tells us nothing about what kind of person the child will grow up to be.

The problem with the Silicon tycoons is that they know nothing about childhood development and, with the arrogance of wealth, believe they have nothing to learn.

In the lingo, they don’t know that they don’t know. But they make lots of money pushing technology and data collection in education.

One thought on “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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