Something Wicked Coming to a Classroom Near You

In my Salvo Column I have reported on how Walmart, GM, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and many other powerful interests, are using the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to funnel money into policies that would draw the liberal arts into the all-consuming orbit of the computational mindset. For example, among the ISTE’s proposals are plans that would reduce Shakespeare’s Macbeth to a series of data points that become fodder for the real learning activity, namely coding.

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”

Under the influence of false equivalences between the human and the machine, we end up understanding neither: we imagine machines are capable of things they are not, such as fixing our world’s problems and even moral reasoning, and we also begin believing that the only human type of cognition that really matters is calculation. On such a scheme, wisdom is narrowed to knowledge, knowledge is reduced to mere information, while information—along with everything else that matters—collapses into pure data. And given that data is something a computer can always crunch better, it follows that human thought, imagination, and insight are mere surplus input.

In My Fair Lady, Professor Higgins famously declared, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” For the modern educational theorists, the question is, “Why can’t a student be more like a computer?”

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Here’s a link to my article:

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