CAN THE COMPUTER BRAINWASH YOUR CHILD?
June 6, 2014
Click on following video link from Bosnia, formerly part of Communist Yugoslavia. The time spent viewing this video may be the best time you ever put into studying what is really going on in your child's classroom now that books have been removed, and each child will have his/her own computer, connected with the central offices' data base. Be sure to check my new blogabcsofdumbdown.blogspot.com for Anita Hoge's pending excellent submissions related to assessment, data collection, and the use of your child's and your family's most private information: to whom it is being given, and for what purposes.
to view the video
DOSITEJ project - empowering education
There were concerns in United States academia, back in 1972, regarding the wholesale use of computer technology in education. Were these concerns put aside due to global corporate and political pressure? Don't forget the late Professor B.F. Skinner, the U.S. father of operant conditioning, referred to the computer as "his box." The following quotation comes from my book the deliberate dumbing down of america (p. 196-197), explain in clearly Professor Skinner’s views regarding the use of “his box” in the classrooms of America. From an article titled “THERE HAS BEEN A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE ABOUT TEACHING: B.F. SKINNER ARGUES that Pedagogy Is Key to School Reforms” by Susan Walton, Education Week, August 31, 1983:
“Improving methods of teaching would do more to help public education than would lengthening the school day or any of the other reforms proposed by the National Commission on Excellence in Education and other groups that have recently issued reports on education. So argues B.F. Skinner, the Harvard University psychologist whose pioneering theories about and studies on the “conditioning” of behavior have had a substantial impact on education. Still a source of controversy 40-odd years after Mr. Skinner began his research, those theories have been instrumental in the development of mastery learning and the “teaching machines” of the 1960s. The behavioral scientist’s work has also been an integral part of the debate over individualized instruction.... Central to Mr. Skinner’s thinking on education are the notions that children should be allowed to learn at their own pace and that teachers should rely on“reinforcers” or rewards, to strengthen patterns of behavior that they want to encourage.
“Mr. Skinner argues that computers, as they are most commonly used, are essentially sophisticated versions of the “teaching machines” of the 1960s…. Pointing to recent articles and reports on how to improve education, Mr. Skinner argues that one central fallacy is that it is more important for teachers to know their subject matter than to know how to teach it. Mr. Skinner also advises that educators stop making all students advance at essentially the same rate.... No teacher can teach a class of 30 or 40 students and allow each to progress at an optimal speed. Tracking is too feeble a remedy. We must turn to INSTRUMENTS [emphasis in original] for a large part of the school curriculum. The psychologist also urges educators to “program” subject matter. “The heart of the teaching machine, call it what you will, is the programming of instruction—an advance not mentioned in any of the reports I have cited,” he writes. He argues “the reinforcing consequences of being right” will eventually prompt students to do what they are supposed to do, but to elicit the behavior the first time,their behavior must be “primed” and “prompted.” “Programmed instruction,” Mr. Skinner contends, makes “very few demands on teachers.”
Here’s a brief video clip (1:22 min) of Professor B. F. Skinner himself giving a demonstration of advanced pigeon training to birds who had already been conditioned.
Here are some very important quotes from BF Skinner:
(1) Operant behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences for the individual. Both processes have controversial features. Neither one seems to have any place for a prior plan or purposes. In both, selection replaces creation.
Personal freedom also seems threatened. It is only the feeling of freedom, however, which is affected. Those who respond because their behavior has had positively reinforcing consequences usually feel free. They seem to be doing what they want to do. Those who respond because the reinforcement has been negative and who are therefore avoiding or escaping from punishment are doing what they have to do and do not feel free. These distinctions do not involve the fact of freedom.
(2) Operant conditioning shapes behavior as a sculptor shapes a lump of clay. Science and Human Behavior (NY: Macmillan & Co., 1953)
(3) I could make a pigeon a high achiever by reinforcing it on a proper schedule. Evans, Richard I., B. F. Skinner: The Man and His Ideas, (NY: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1968)
THE MEAT OF THIS ARTICLE FOLLOWS!!! (I hope you read through to this point! Since this is the point of the article.) The following quotes are from leading American educators associated with the National Education Association, and from one official in the U.S. Department of Education regarding the potential misuse of computers in the schools. First, in 1984, SCHOOLING AND TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 3, PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: A COLLABORAtive Model, An Interpretive Report on Creative Partnerships in Technology—An Open Forum by Dustin H. Heuston, World Institute for Computer-Assisted Teaching (WICAT) was published under a grant from the U.S. Office of Education, HEW, National Institute of Education, which, under the heading “Discussion: Developing the Potential of an Amazing Tool” in Schooling and Technology, stated:
“We’ve been absolutely staggered by realizing that the computer has the capability to act as if it were ten of the top psychologists working with one student.... You’ve seen the tip of the iceberg. Won’t it be wonderful when the child in the smallest county in the most distant area or in the most confused urban setting can have the equivalent of the finest school in the world on that terminal and no one can get between that child and the curriculum? We have great moments coming in the history of education.” [excerpted from my book the deliberate dumbing down of america, page 213.]
Let's step back in time to 1972 and 1981 when plans were being made by leading computer technologists/scientists for the implementation of computers in the schools. I, Charlotte, while working in the U.S. Department of Education in 1981-1983, examined a request for federal funding of Project BEST: Basic Educational Skills through Technology, the federal grant that I leaked to Human Events, for which I was subsequently fired.
In doing so I located, deep in the education archives of the Department, in a separate building, a document (scroll down to end of article) which was referred to in the Request for Funding of Project BEST. This 1972 document, edited by Donald Ely, who subsequently became involved in the 1981 Project BEST which I leaked to the press, is of extreme importance since it reveals the concerns of leading computer experts related to the power of the computer to change one's values, attitudes, and beliefs.
The National Education Association also expressed some of the same concerns outlined in the 1972 paper. Here is the NEA's 1981 SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCtional Technology Report which was presented to their 60th Representative Assembly, held July 4–7, 1981. This report was related to the problems of programmed learning (computer assisted instruction), and stated:
In its coming involvement with a technology of instruction, the profession will be faced again with the challenge of leadership—by example and by effective communication— the challenge of convincing the public that education is much more than treating students like so many Pavlovian dogs, to be conditioned and programmed into docile acceptance of a do-it-yourself blueprint of the Good Life.
The problems associated with technology, in its final analysis, are problems of freedom and control. Whose freedom? Whose control? As a result of its study, the committee urges the Association to view the problems and promises of instructional technology not as a single issue but rather as a broad continuum of issues affecting all aspects of education and teaching—from purposes to products, from political pragmatism to professional practice. Most problems produced by technology have to do with the human use of human beings. In his book, The Illusion of Technique: A Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization (Doubleday: New York, 1978), William Barrette observes that—“Human creativity exceeds the mechanisms it invents, and is required even for their intelligent direction.... If we try to flee from our human condition into the computer we only meet ourselves there.”[Excerpted from my book, page 174.]
Evidently, in 2014, the use of computers has been accepted without examining the ethical questions posed in the 1981 NEA paper, or the 1971 paper. One should also refer to my blog Post "Education, Technology, and Individual Privacy" by Larry Grayson, one of the leading computer technology experts in the U.S. Department of Education. Click on: ABCs of Dumb Down: HOW TO HELP PROTECT STUDENTS...
The following excerpted material from a 1972 document is also taken from my book (pp. A-35-38) is from a report, “The Field of Educational Technology: A Statement of Definition,” by Donald P. Ely, Ed., October 1972:
...Is technology neutral?