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Robert Winner

TEDCRED 100+

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What is your opinion on adaptive learning?

With Inbloom, a data analytics company, folding up the Adaptive learning community took a step backwards. Inbloom was stared in 2011 as The Shared Learning Collaborative founded by Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corp but left the non-profit role and re-established as Inbloom. The issue was that Inbloom not only collected educational data but went deep and personal into private information on students and families from 5 years old to college and professional learners. The risk of that much data being sold or marked far out weighed any advantages

It is estimated that the market for educational software and technology services is currently 8 billion dollars per year. There are many non-profits and companies like McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and News Corp pouring big dollars into the area.

Adaptive learning has been partially driven by a realization that tailored learning cannot be achieved on a large-scale using traditional, non-adaptive approaches. Adaptive learning systems endeavor to transform the learner from passive receptor of information to collaborator in the educational process which is the very reason we employ teachers.

So I must question what is the end goal here .... how many grants ... stimuluses ... tax write offs .... and other incentives are being employed. How would this change the educational system as we know it ... Is it possable that the system could be held hostage by corporate profit demands ... etc .... or used as a political tool.

How do you view this ......

Information for this question was taken from May 5 - 11 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek.

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  • May 23 2014: Robert

    What we seem to lack in our educational system is teaching. I think we are becoming very good at engineering and substituting the interpersonal relationships of teacher and student and students with a machine interface. We are not teaching robots that can be plugged into a USB port.

    To your question. Education has become an enormous boondoggle draining the tax payer, ($15,000 per student) and filling the wallets of unions and exploitative companies and still our children are comparable to third world countries. The entire process however, is driven by the same people who care for our veterans.

    The key to excellence in teaching is one driven by local Boards with State standards. A system where standards of learning achievements and objectives are enforced on all teachers and students, where there is a sense of achievement and expectation of achievement. A system driven by that irreplaceable interpersonal relationship between humans.

    In todays classroom education has been replaced with a political mandate of social correctness in teacher/student thinking, performance and function void any individual intellectual achievement. It would also appear that, with the computer, we are attempting to automate or robotize the classroom. If the machine (computer and software) is left to teach our children we will have human shells functioning as programmed automatons.
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  • May 16 2014: In my opinion, technology is becoming a crutch for many of the ills in education today. Don't get me wrong, technology used correctly, in an innovative way, can enhance education of students. However, things like this, using technology to adapt education for students, relies far to much on the technology and less on the educator.

    Tech can't fix everything. These systems are expensive, the software can't adapt to everything. Ultimately, someone is profiting from this, which is why these systems are in place. If money wasn't being made, the system wouldn't be created or provided to education.