Reply to Benjamin Doxtdator on Personalised Learning

Replied to The Propaganda behind Personalised Learning by Benjamin Doxtdater (Long View on Education)

So what do we do? Educate ourselves. Follow critical educators on Twitter, read books that expose corporate interests, and support the work of people like Audrey Watters who act as independent journalists.

Another thought provoking read Benjamin. I really like your call for people to educate. I am also intrigued by your four filters:

  • Funding
  • Expertise
  • Ideology
  • Flak

I think that they provide a useful framework to get started. I just wonder about the entry point for many teachers who are already a part of the ‘learning machine’? I agree about supporting those like Watters and mobilising. I wonder if this is a part of what Howard Stevenson and Alison Gilliland describe as a ‘democratic professionalism’.

My question and concern is whether a structural systemic knowledge is enough? I really like Ben Williamson’s approach focusing on the assemblage:

In this broad sense, a data assemblage includes: (1) particular modes of thinking, theories and ideologies; (2) forms of knowledge such as manuals and textbooks; (3) financial aspects such as business models, investment and philanthropy; (4) the political economy of government policy; (5) the materiality of computers, networks, databases and analytics software packages; (6) specific skilled practices, techniques and behaviours of data scientists; (7) organizations and institutions that collect, broker or use data; (8) particular sites, locations and spaces; and (9) marketplaces for data, its derivative products, its analysts and its software.source

An example of this is his work around ClassDojo. What I think is useful about this approach is that it incorporates skills into the wider critical discussion. For me, that is a part of my interest in Google’s GSuite. That is also, in part, what drives me to do my ‘eLearn Update’ newsletter. I just wonder if there is a limit to dialogue from the outside?

Apologies if this is a complete misreading Benjamin.

4 responses on “Reply to Benjamin Doxtdator on Personalised Learning”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write that, Aaron. It’s helped to push me to clarify my thinking.
    Are you getting at the difference b/t an ‘outside’ media analysis vs an ‘inside’ working knowledge of how the platforms / assemblage operate in the class and beyond?

    1. I’m not sure Benjamin. I wonder if ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ are problematic too. I want to say the word ‘whole’ but unsure about that as well. I guess I just wonder what part the technical plays.

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