Currently Happening Presently Now: EDUCATION

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"The final difficulty that...must be faced in the attempt to integrate the science of learning and the technology of education is that of gaining access to children of school age for...experimental investigations."
-Arthur W. Melton, The science of learning and the technology of educational methods, Harvard Education Review, 29:97, 1959, page 103.

Paul, R. (1993). Pseudo critical thinking in the educational establishment: A case study in educational malpractice. Foundation for Critical Thinking.

"To the extent that the DOD promotes innovation in education and training, it offers itself as a huge laboratory to facilitate translation of educational research into educational technology. This underlies our desire to work closely with research and demonstration centers in universities and the emerging educational industry."
-Thomas D. Morris, Engineering Systems for Education and Training: Through DOD Industry Collaboration, in Proceedings of Conference on Engineering Systems for Education and Training. Washington, D.C, National Security Industrial Association, June, 1966, page 11.

Simon, H.A. (1980). Cognitive science: The newest science of the artificial. Cognitive Science, 4, 33-46.

Noble, D. (1989). Mental Materiel: The Militarization of Learning and Intelligence in US Education. Les Levidow and Kevin Robins. London: Free Association.

The new research on learning and intelligence underlying educator's elevated expectations has been sponsored not by the Department of Education, as one might expect, but rather by the Department of Defense, curiously enough, which leads one to wonder what is really going on.

Clearly, the sudden celebration of intellect and learning within an educational and intellectual wasteland, a celebration largely underwritten by the military, requires a deeper explanation. Could it be that educators have unwittingly adopted the framework of a larger military/scientific enterprise that only appears to be an agenda for public education because the language - intelligence, learning, thinking, and problem-solving - is the same?...

This new educational impulse is in fact a derivative venture. It is both a 'spin-off' from and a corollary of a much deeper and more pervasive enterprise, fuelled by military research and mirrored in corporate practice.This is the entrerprise to harness intelligence, both human and machine, for use within complex military and corporate technological systems...The new goal for education unwittingly reflects the need to fulfill this technological promise...The new appreciation of intellect represents the desiccation of human intellectual potential at the very moment it appears to be celebrating it. This is because cognitive processes of learning and thinking, needed as components in the complex information systems of the military and industry, are cultivated only with such needs in mind...

Successful utilization of intelligent systems requires maximizing the cognitive capacity and learning ability of the work force. This in turn requires the schools to serve both as laboratory and production site, bending human minds into technologies themselves...

Blaschke, C. L. (1967). The DOD: catalyst in educational technology. Phi Delta Kappan, 208-214.

Streibel, M. J. (1986). A critical analysis of the use of computers in education. ECTJ, 34(3), 137-161.

The drill-and-practice approach was shown to embody a deterministic, behavioral technology that turned learning into a systematically designed and quality-controlled form of work. Although drill-and-practice courseware programs were only intended to supplement instruction, they in fact introduced a technological framework into the classroom culture that mitigated against non-behavioral educational goals. Computerized tutorial programs were shown to extend the behavioral and technological approach to learning even further. That is, in tutorial courseware programs, interactions were still shaped by an external agent's intentions in order to maximize the learner's performance gains and still constrained by computable algorithms. Furthermore, the human learner was still treated as a means toward someone else's ends and only given a form of pseudo-control in the interaction. Most seriously, computerized tutorial interactions pre-empted personal intellectual agency and ultimately inner-directed learning. Finally, the use of computer programming and simulations in education was shown to limit the learner's mental landscape to objective, quantitive, and procedural "intellectual tools." This left the learner with an under-developed intellectual agency within the qualitive, dialectical, and experiential domains of natural and social events.

Neill, M. (1995). Computers, Thinking, and Schools in the "New World Economic Order." Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information. Ed. James Brook and Iain Boal. San Francisco: City Lights, 181-195.

So what's new? Surely not the drive for control or the use of behaviorism. What is potentially new are the means of control, the computer itself, and the target of control: thinking....While assessment is a necessary part of learning, it is all too likely that emerging cognitive techniques will simply become a more sophisticated method for sorting students...Moreover, the computer itself will be used to shape the personality. The model is the computer- the malleable, controllable, programmable "smart machine." Part of the information-technology agenda is to learn how better to control the thinking of humans. At the crudest level, schools will try to do what they have always tried to do, shape students into workers, but the more subtle strategy is to make the mind want to be computerized. Perhaps the child must be caught at a young enough age so that she is less able to resist effectively...The computer thus will be used to control how one learns to think in order to subsequently control how one thinks.


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