Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Get Ready For More "Personalized" Online Learning

Not much on the education front in today's state of the state/budget address by Cuomo, unlike in previous years when he was slamming teachers for all the ills in society and calling for the "death penalty" for failing schools, but this proposal seems education-related to me:

PROPOSAL 10: Dramatically expand and improve access to high-speed Internet in communities statewide. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul detailed this proposal shortly after the New York State Public Service Commission voted to approve the merger of Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, which will dramatically improve broadband availability for millions of New Yorkers and lead to more than $1 billion in direct investments and consumer benefits.

Additionally, the state issued a $500 million solicitation for private sector partners to join the New NY Broadband Program, which will greatly expand Internet access in all regions of the state, with a focus on unserved and underserved areas.

In order to begin shedding humans in the education system and switching to "personalized" computer learning, they need to ensure "unserved" and "underserved" areas have widespread broadband Internet access.

So the "dramatically expanding and improving access to high-speed Internet" proposal is not specifically about education but it is education-related.

The future is not only online education and testing in schools, it will be online schooling at home.

This will be a disaster for society in the long run of course, but in the short term it will be a boon to the state and municipality coffers when they shed payroll, building costs, et al.

With public sector unions expected to lose large swaths of their membership after the Supreme Court rules on the Friedrichs case, who will be around to stop them when they decide urban and rural areas are going to have "personalized" learning at home?

Sure the suburban parents will make sure this doesn't happen in their communities, but you can bet they're aiming to make it happen elsewhere where the pushback will be minimal.

Just add "dramatically expanded and improved high-speed Internet access" and you're ready to go.


  1. So, like... when is someone going to tell us about the 100 hours we need to keep our certification and what counts towards those 100 hours? That starts as of June 2016 I believe, so does the previous 175 hr requirement just stop for people who have been collecting them, but haven't reached the end of the 5 year period? Nothing makes sense.

  2. The "technology" piece was always the juicy center. Its the big nut of the privatization movement, make no mistake.....charters are a middle step for sure....the step beyond that is shedding the physical plants of schools. None if this should be new information. In fact the corporate interests have been quite legible about it. Look at every "disruptive" new business model out there in any sector....shrinking or killing off physical plants is right up there with shrinking or killing off traditional employment models. So that Cuomo and other political mouthpieces of corporate interest and "reform" making strides in this direction is not new, not a thing, and should shock no one. Classrooms managed by IT "professionals" (you know, to make sure the computers are working optimally), and legions of kids not actually in classrooms is the goal. Shrink the demands and needs of physical plants, and take $30-100k teachers out of the loop entirely....then you have room for risk-free, government paid PROFITS. Nothing new here.

    As I commented awhile back on Diane Ravitch's blog:

    Part of the problem with this manufactured necessity of technology in school is that we, as teachers, often buy into some of the fundamental lies. In our district, teachers clamor for a smartboard, etc etc etc etc under the pretense that it somehow DEEPENS the learning experience for students….a highly questionable notion when subjected to even modest amounts of rigorous thought. Nonetheless, being an earnest, eager, and enthusiastic lot for the most part, teachers, long accustomed to grabbing for any tool or aid, have also lunged for technology….without the requisite thinking. I would argue that a very firm “NO” from teachers on technology would have quite an impact. NO, I don’t want X, Y, or Z. No I will not teach via algorithm. NO, NO, NO. But, too often technology and its myths have become a norm because they were accepted nicely.

    Perhaps what is needed is a counter-narrative coming from teachers that is a “return-to-authentic-roots” kind of thing. A return to the idea that with a teacher, some students, and a book, ignorance can be defeated and exposure to the enlightenment possible. A sort of artisanal classroom kind of thing, to appeal to all the Subaru driving parents who long for “authentic” food, clothes, homes, and experience everywhere else in their lives. Why is a Monsanto tomato bad and a Monsanto classroom for little Dylan good? “Technology in the classroom” is marketing-speak for a corporatized classroom, and we need to be the ones aggressively saying that. The problem is that we have to realize it first. We need to begin to understand that we need to create compelling counter-narratives. Certainly there is nobody else doing it for us! This is easy meat though for counter-narratives! Corporate food=bad. Corporate classroom where kids grow=good?? Come on. Too easy.

    The entire thing of “technology in the classroom” is an invented need for an invented problem. The most astounding piece of evidence to this is the fact that, somehow, devoid of any technology save for pen, paper, book, art supplies, instruments, lab material, a library. etc, all of us born before 1990 had no technology to speak of and we (well alot of us, myself probably excluded) actually LEARNED. Shocking. We are evidence that technology in the classroom is a sham. However, that sham is only called out and destroyed if we attack its first principles and ideas.

    I am not taking a Luddite position here, or a nostalgic one….but simply saying that learning is probably one of those landscapes of the human condition that does not require so much technological aid to participate in.

    We, as always, need to look at ourselves as organized(ish) teachers FIRST. Lets assume that privatizers will act like privatizers, their politicians will act always in their corporate interests, and that federal prosecutors will always find less than enough evidence. Its on us on all levels.

  3. I'll never, ever forget how that algorithm took a personal interest in me, and changed my life (sigh).

    1. +1, Michael.

      She synched so perfectly with CCSS Math standard 3.0A.1: Operations and Algebraic Thinking (Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each. For example, describe a context in which a total number of objects can be expressed as 5 × 7.)

      I was having so much trouble reaching proficiency on that standard until she came along.

      And: she was HOT!


  4. What are some online companies to invest in now or soon? Who knew cell phones would dominate an entire culture. Imagine if you bought QCOM when it was $3 a share? What's the names of the online schooling companies? I want in, NOW!

    1. you will be long dead by the time on line companies dominate the public education specter. Save your money

    2. I wouldn't be so sure of that. I don't want it...but you'd be surprised.

      Take Apple, for instance. I attended a workshop of theirs, last year, where they were teaching us how to use iBook "Author". You can create your own online textbooks, complete with text, pictures, animation, hyperlinks to everywhere online including test regions.

      The presenters were very knowledgeable and personable. My antennae went up, however, when they boldly stated that their end goal was to do to the publication industry with "Author" what they did to the music recording industry with iTunes.

      Although Apple is one of the big boys on the block, there are others and there are many, many smaller companies working their tails off to get in on the action.

      I've been working tech in the NYCDOE for about 15 years now. I don't like what I'm seeing and, with he HUGE amounts of money that the billionaires are pouring into education "standards" (gag me with a spoon), curriculum, testing, and technology, the fight against that push will become more and more difficult. Their influence is immense.

    3. Investing in those companies might, very well, turn a nice profit. There are some very creative ones out there that are just starting up. A friend of mine is working for one. His salary is 100,000 shares. If they catch on, he can retire. Of course, he does have to have a "day job", as well, in the meantime.

      Just keep in mind that you might end up directly subsidizing the changes we're talking about here. The question is whether this push for tech could destroy the social fabric of our communities or not. Kids spending hours in cubicles in front of a screen, absorbing and spitting out information. Is this beneficial to the lives of ours children over sitting together in groups and learning to take turns, listen to other ideas, make faces at the girl across the room, etc?

      We all do what we consider to be best for ourselves. I'm, personally, going to be very cautious with any investments I'm considering in educational technology.

  5. If anybody actually thinks that this case is for real then you are not living in the same world as the rest of us. This is a sham of major proportions. You mean to tell me that these jerk off teachers in california are that upset about paying $52 a pay check to protect their jobs and families??? You mean to tell me that these california teachers are upset that the union is a political pawn in the dirty game of politics where unions stick up for their members??? This is bull shit people and its big bull shit. This is communism and we the people are just taking it. The jerk offs who are running this case in california are backed by the kock bros. who seem to be the devil here on earth. The koch brothers are funding this bull shit court case to the supreme level as they have this hatred for the american worker. The same american workers who break their ass daily at walmart stores for their jerk off owners to rake in the money and then go after other hard working people and try to destroy their lives. This is communism people and the only reason people like the koch bros are relevant is because the have a few dollars and in america this seems to go a long way as any living human being now will sell out their soul for the all mighty dollar.

    1. love the comment however, I think it is more like corporate fascism... not communism. Interestingly, we have been laying down the fascist policies for decades... now we just need the new Fuhrer

  6. 1:56

    It is capitalism my friend.

    Abigail Shure

    1. abigail selling out yourself is not capitalism it is scum bagism

  7. Replies
    1. Let us be wary of the "non profits" people....too many people like bloomberg floating around pretending to be "non profits" just trying to "help" students in their education endeavors......

  8. I think that technology can play a very strong and important role in education. The kids are comfortable with it and there are so many possibilities. It's become a part of our every day lives and there is every reason to include it in the the classroom curriculum.

    That said, sitting in groups, standing in lines, interacting in work places, discussing events and ideas, etc are also normal and integral parts of life. These, too, need to be included in an educational environment. These qualities aren't innate to our species. They're skills that need to be taught and learned.

    My school received huge amounts of money for tech from grants. As a result, we were on the cutting edge with the equipment we received.

    Many of the teachers were wary, skeptical, and a little intimidated by the changes. I respected (and still do respect) these attitudes and would always stress and demonstrate, at every PD I gave, the need and methods to incorporate the technology into the existing routine. I always had a white board on hand, along with hands on materials. Once the teachers got the idea that the Smartboard/Attainment Stations/etc weren't going to take away what they were already using with great success, they started to get on board.

    Things have changed since then, however. It used to be that you could buy a program such as Neighborhood Map Machine in DVD format, plunk into the computer, and get to work. You'd have that DVD to work with for a long time. It was cost effective.

    Now you have to buy license subscriptions that require yearly renewal. Companies aren't making DVD sets, anymore. Boardmaker, one of if not THE most popular tools for children with autism, is much more expensive than before.

    Bottom line is that it seems that the private sector is not on board with the budget realities of the public school systems that they're selling to. Take printers, for example. We are being told to print out and make copies of booklets instead of buying textbooks. But ink sold for printers is ridiculously expensive. To the point where teachers are having to buy $100 cartridges from their own pockets. Then the printers/copiers break down and there is no backup in hard copy form (aka: books) to fall back on.

    And now we start to hear about "personalized learning". As though this concept hasn't been possible before the advent of our saviors, the gods of technology. It's all pre-packaged and ready to go. Everything aligned with the standards. Five minutes of instruction followed by a mini quiz. Results of the mini quiz instantly refer the student to the next lesson or a recap of the one just taken. The teacher monitors attention and makes printouts (hopefully) of the student's work, keeping records in folders as hardcopy backup to what's being stored on some super server somewhere in the world.

    In this version of learning, the teacher's role is subservient to that of the technology/curriculum developer.

    We're losing autonomy with the technology that's being developed. Technology was, at first, a tremendous tool for the teacher's use. Now it seems as though the end goal is to make the teacher a tool of the technology.

  9. Points and ideas considered around establishing those thoughts certainly considered to be as important as it should be, hopefully this would gain more probabilities for other professionals.

  10. Digital technologies are no doubt very important aspect in everyone’s education. Digitals open up many opportunities particularly because they give us access to Internet. Now Internet holds a lot of things, tools and services to help us handle our studies easier. For instance, you can go to and there you can solve the issue with your papers and leave your teacher satisfied. Applying process is very easy and you don’t even have to do anything by yourself! You just have to wait. That’s what I love about new technologies.

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