June 24, 2017

HEWN, No. 219

Could XPrize tablets replace teachers in Tanzania?” the BBC asks. I wrote about this initiative back in 2014, noting the politics and practices of “ed-tech imperialism” that it represents.

Some folks try to reassure us that robots will never replace teachers – that’s not the purpose of ed-tech, they insist. Meanwhile, plenty of Silicon Valley tech-types insist robots will. They start with automating the education of the most disadvantaged, of course, running their robot teaching experiments on poor, brown children first.

In other robot news: The Village Voice reviews the new Transformers movie. The New Inquiry’s Conspiracy Bot. The Week in Robots. And while FdB doesn’t invoke robots in his piece – “public services are not an ATM” – it’s worth thinking about his analogy and the ATM as an automated bank teller. Reminder: robots don’t “come for our jobs” or for social services. People in power make the decisions to not hire workers and to not hire human teachers and to not fund public services.

Elsewhere in the history of the future of education/technology: The History of Pearson. The History of the Pedometer (and the Problems with Learning Analytics). This week’s predictions about the future (of technology) – I’m keeping track of all these, not just because they’re horrifying but because they’re mostly bullshit. Nevertheless I see these predictions as part of an attempt to frame the narrative about what the future will be.

Speaking of which…

Oh yeah. He’s totally not running for President.

Yours in struggle,