Personalized Education is a Scam

Personalized education is code for students sitting in front of computers programmed according to their level in math, reading etc. This kind of “education” is great for tech companies, but research shows it is not so great for kids.

My experience proves the same: all my “high achieving students” spend their weekends at museums, parks and zoos, in art classes or building structures at home. All the kids that spend their time on a DS, computer or staring at the tv are the ones with delayed language development, non-existent problem solving skills and poor self control. My main goal every day is to level the playing field with lots of messy, hands on, interactive learning experiences and an emphasis on interpersonal skills.

Learning is a social process and relationships between students and teachers are the basis for all real learning.  Children learn by doing- with their bodies, their senses, their voices and with each other. This is not my opinion, it is proven by decades of research.

Computers are fine and can be a useful tool for skill building, research and  creating student materials. Pencils are also useful for learning, but no one is saying that they can fix everything missing in education.  There should be computers in classrooms, but they can never replace teachers and can never replace the social, active and sensory experiences that constitute real learning.

I’m glad I have a computer in my classroom, but if I had to choose I’d take scissors, glue, and construction paper any day.


One comment on “Personalized Education is a Scam

  1. Amerigus says:

    I have worked with adaptive learning online systems like iReady. Kids called me over when they were stuck and I saw screens that look like some bored graphic designer in a cubicle somewhere didn’t care enough to make clear what the kid was supposed to do.

    Technology can be great when harnessed by real teachers, but the system seemed at times like they were bribing kids to learn by incorporating video game graphics.

    The bottom line is there are no shortcuts to teaching kids with specific needs. Commercial education materials are just like the products in TV commercials, meant for a common denominator to make profits, not deduce and overcome learning obstacles.

    The makers of these products sometimes boast about how many former teachers they hire, begging the question, why not use 100% teachers?

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