QQ: Is personalized learning really just personalized de-personalization?

Yong Zhao asks if schooling isn’t like sausage making. And if machines are replacing cognitive functions, why are you going to school?

zhao keynote 2

Yong describes contemporary schooling as sausage-making: people enter the system with all kinds of unique talents but over the years we strip those away in favour of developing a select few skills and chunks of knowledge which meet some externally supplied standard called employable skills or university entrance requirements. If you’re natural skill set matches the standard, you’re in luck. It’s a bit of a lottery, really. If there is a mismatch between your skill set and the employable skills, you sometimes go to learning assistance which provides extra support to help you make the standard. And if there is a significant mismatch, you might go to a so-called alternative school.

The support is well meaning, to be sure, but it troubles me that it might amount to personalized de-personalization.

On the other hand, it might mean that alternative programs are actually much more progressive than the standard model.

One Comment

  1. Reply
    Chris Long (@clonghb) May 11, 2014

    I used to know 40-50 telephone numbers by heart. Maybe more. Now I don’t think I know over 10. Still use the phone, but also other means of communication and our phones do the remembering for us. So there’s not much value in remembering anymore. I do think the new wave of standards reflects this to some degree and we need to re-think what we value.

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