"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Big Data Needs Your Personalized Data Points

As you take a few moments to listen to this super snail oil salesman, think about the implications of this technology in the hands of Zuckerberg and the Wall Street crime bosses who want to control the worldwide education industry. 

The battle to preserve student autonomy and anonymity from the efficiency zealots running Big Data will be the next great battle for teachers, parents, civil libertarians, and all freedom-loving people. 

The war against high stakes testing is now even more critical than before.  The expansion of opt out options will be required for parents who will need to have other alternatives to this kind of "schooling."  

While middle class parents will find options and, thus, be in positions to refuse this kind of dystopian plan for their schools, urban parents face socioeconomic obstacles that could allow for the imposition of fine-grained paternalistic treatments that will make the present-day "no excuses" chain gangs seem primitive by comparison.

The video above is from 2012, and since then Knewton has moved aggressively to partner with more textbook companies like Harcourt, technology giants like Microsoft (surprise!), gaming companies, online giants like Arizona State U, and various boutique tech companies.  

The key to Knewton's kingdom is what they call adaptive learning, which is refined by more and more data points that can only result from student (or other human) interactions with the technology. The more time students spend plugged in, the more their "personalized" learning plans become. 
Our technology allows us to personalize online education for our users. When it is integrated with online learning materials, our technology causes the presentation and focus of the course materials to adapt based on the user’s needs and how they learn best, and also provides analytic reporting to help track the user’s progress. This technology is key to most of our Service offerings.
It is fair to say that teachers and other humans get in the way of the accumulation of data points, as that time does not feed directly into the ongoing collection of data points that are used by Knewton's adaptive algorithms to fine tune its analysis and predictions. 

Since 2012, Knewton has expanded its consumer services so that anyone with a Knewton account is subject to having data used by their Consumer Services:"
We create a personalized learning profile for each user based on their interactions with online learning materials that use our adaptive learning technology (a “Learning Profile”). In cases where a Knewton Account or Child Account (as described below) has been created, we may be able to apply and link this Learning Profile across multiple online learning courses and subject domains that a user interacts with (including the Consumer Service and third party online learning applications) and which use our adaptive learning technology.

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