Ed-tech relies on amnesia.

Howdy administrators,

I navigated the ethical sewer that is big tech. Notice which platform you don’t hear in the news for ethical lapses: WordPress.com. We made different choices.

DSISD should reconsider its ed-tech choices. Our ed-tech acquisition path is not okay. Mainstream ed-tech is a sewer too.

Many indie ed-tech and #ActuallyAutistic folks consider it a moral imperative to get schools away from where DSISD is heading with PBS, SEL, Class Dojo, and the like. Behaviorist ed-tech is an utter failure of imagination that resurrects ideas that should have been left to die out. I really want to understand the dynamics of how and why this stuff gets into schools and how we indie ed-tech and social model communities can convince you to please stop.

Greg McVerry on Twitter: "@rboren I agree with @chrisaldrich and @audreywatters in fact believe #IndieWeb a moral imperative for a schools https://t.co/J4tTR7Ihqp (https://t.co/HDEjoGRUpV)… https://t.co/exspcVWWKS"

Have y’all read NeuroTribes? Before buying into behaviorism, did you read NeuroTribes? Behaviorism is a big not welcome sign to me and mine. I am uncomfortable submitting C. to a culture built on it, especially without any clarity on what DSISD means by personalized learning. Why should we welcome more data collection and surveillance? Why should we welcome the tools and mindsets of the autism industry—which gets autism so very wrong?

John Marble on Twitter: "I just met a dad and his autistic son. Behaviors which had puzzled the dad for years I was able to instantly translate. It reinforced my frustration with the foundational things routinely missed by the autism industry - and why every autism entity NEEDS to hire autistic staff."

Ann Memmott on Twitter: "#NHSLongTermPlan Concerned, to read of intention to use a form of ABA on autistic children to 'improve outcomes'. (Positive Behaviour Support). There is extensive concern in the autistic professional and general communities about the long term impact of enforced normalisation."

I know folks at Albemarle and Penn Manor who are doing imaginative things aligned with instead of against neurodiversity and the social model of disability. They’ve offered time if anyone wants to talk to them. I really like their ed-tech approaches.

For many folks, their desert island ed-tech, the one thing they’d use if they could only use one, is blogging and WordPress. WordPress is the operating system for the open web and a foundation for indie ed-tech (and for distributed companies). You happen to know the person who wrote much of it.

Let’s talk ed-tech sometime. I'm just up the road on RR12. Come visit me sometime here in my demesne where I can be most comfortable and hopefully talkative. Schools are hard for me to be in, and chronic pain and wildfire muscle cramps limit my mobility. Bring laptops. I’ll show you behind the scenes of one of the first distributed companies in the world and show you how we do workflow thinking and inclusion. The way we work is ascendant and compatible with neurological pluralism.

Design for pluralism. Start by subtracting behaviorism.


BTW, Howdy, Dr. Poenitzsch. We haven’t met, but I’m including you as Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Innovation. I disagree with DSISD’s current ed-tech path, but agree with other stuff. I’m not all criticism. :-) I see the progressive potential in our district. Behaviorism is in the way of that. I’ve been inside the behaviorism of big tech and the behaviorism of the autism industry. This is not a path DSISD should continue down. Listen to autistic and disabled people on this. We know behaviorism best.

Ed-tech relies on amnesia.

Ed-tech is a confidence game. That’s why it’s so full of marketers and grifters and thugs. (The same goes for “tech” at large.)

Source: HEWN, No. 297

Despite scant evidence in support of the psychopedagogies of mindsets, mindfulness, wellness, and grit, the ed-tech industry (press) markets these as solutions to racial and gender inequality (among other things), as the psychotechnologies of personalization are now increasingly intertwined not just with surveillance and with behavioral data analytics, but with genomics as well. "Why Progressives Should Embrace the Genetics of Education," a NYT op-ed piece argued in July, perhaps forgetting that education's progressives (including Montessori) have been down this path before.

Does It Make More Sense to Invest in School Security or SEL?" Edsurge asked its readers this summer. Those are the choices - surveillance or surveillance.

What an utter failure of imagination.

Source: The Stories We Were Told about Education Technology (2018)

School leaders need slow software before going on buying sprees of teaching and learning software peddled by companies. Impulsive shopping-see opening paragraph above-hits school leaders as it does the typical consumer surfing Amazon or similar sites. This impulse buying is the way that fads get started (hype transforms fads into "innovations").

Of course, district officials who spend the money do not need software to slow their decisions down for a week that Icebox proposes. Instead of slow software, they can use some old-fashioned, analog ways of decision-making that bring teachers into the decision cycle at the very beginning with teachers volunteering to try out the new software (and devices) in lessons, administrators collecting data, and analysis of data by mix of a teachers and administrators. And I do not mean token representation on committees already geared to decide on software and devices. With actual groups of teachers using software (and devices) with students, then a more deliberate, considered, and informed decision can be made on which software (or devices) should get licensed for district. Of course, this suggestion means that those who make decisions have to take time to collaborate with those who are the objects of those decisions before any district money can be spent. And time is a scarce resource especially for teachers. Not to be squandered, but there are tech-savvy teachers who would relish such an opportunity.

My hunch is that there are cadres of teachers who do want to be involved in classroom use of software before they are bought and would appreciate the chance to chime in with their experiences using the software in lessons. Teacher validation of an innovation aimed at teaching and learning can not be sold or bought without teachers using the software in lessons. As Thompson points out it is a struggle to restrain impulsivity when buying stuff because "[o]ffered the choice, we nearly always opt for convenience." That applies to district leaders buying software for teachers to use in their lessons. And faddishness is the last thing that schools need when budgets are tight and entrenchment is in the air.

A Fad Dissolver period declared at the onset of a classroom trial that runs three-to-six months to determine how valid and useful the software is could halt the impulse buying that so characterizes districts wanting to show how tech savvy they are and avoid the common practice of storing in drawers and closets unused software and devices.

Source: The Virtue of Slow Software: Fewer Fads in Schools? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Technologists suck at predicting the future. They suck because they don’t understand the past; they’re blind to much of the present. They’re terrible at predicting the future because they fail to grasp the systems and practices surrounding their products, firm in their faith instead that their own genius (and their investors’ continued support) will be enough to muddle forward.

Source: HEWN, No. 298

And I think there's something about all these confessional narratives (and their hopes, I think, of becoming redemption narratives) that is also deeply intertwined with individual rather than structural change. These stories rarely situate themselves in history, for example, and as such really cannot offer much insight into how or why or even when things might've "gone wrong." They rarely situate themselves among other thinkers or scholars (or activists or "users"). They are individual realizations, after all.

So then, I have to wonder: why should we trust these revelations (or revelators) to guide us moving forward? Why not trust those of us who knew it was bullshit all along and who can tell you the whole history of a bad idea?

Source: The Tech 'Regrets' Industry