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The Pearson Vision of the Future of Learning

by Susan Ohanian

Call me a Luddite, but I find this Pearson vision of learning called Victoria's Story to be dystopian and really really disturbing. As one viewer said, "Why is there a guy [from Pearson] creeping into Victoria's bedroom, and why is it his job to know her schedule at all times? WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT THIS!? This is not just cheesy, it is some weird crazy crap..."

I think I might ask, "Does Victoria get any quiet time? Time all by herself?"

This film is one of a series put out by Pearson. An introduction is followed by stories of three learners.


Victoria's Story;

Rey's story;

Simone's story

Maybe I was particularly disturbed by the overpowering interference of these information injections presented as "new learning opportunities" because of a conversation last night. I was trying to explain why I was opposed to the Common Core. So I described the projected computer control of the test will move into computer control of the classroom: Johnny is given a reading passage and questions. If he can't answer the questions, he's given an easier passage, if he gets it right, a tougher one. The computer dictating each child's assignments is called individualization.

My friend exclaimed, "Isn't that wonderful!"

She wasn't at all bothered by the lack of human interaction--or by the fact that some unknown entity is controlling a one-size-fits all canned curriculum that's just presented to different kids at different times.

I tried to explain that learning isn't linear--one thing, then the next thing, etc.

A third person in this conversation, another teacher, jumped in with a classroom anecdote--of the wonders of what happened when she took a detour from her carefully planned lesson.

But I came home realizing that The Public doesn't have a clue of what teachers do, not a clue of the magic of what David Hawkins called The Bird in the Window.

Pearson is killing all the birds and putting blackout curtains on the windows. But don't blame them: They are providing what the Business Roundtable and the US Department of Education want.

— Susan Ohanian





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