Mark Zuckerberg

Posted on December 2, 2015

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Per http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34978249  , Mark Zuckerberg is makin’ celebrity news creating an LLC (not a charity, so he can be political if he wants).  He wants to give away 99 percent of what his shares are worth over the rest of his life.   (Of course, Twitter shares would change value, eh?)

I understand “personalized learning” is something he wants to pursue.  A nice lady interviewed on NPR http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/01/458084147/mark-zuckerberg-and-priscilla-chan-have-baby-promise-to-give-away-fortune said she thought they’d learned from their previous attempt at “charity” in New Jersey, when 20% of the money was spent on consultants.   I can tell you that I pegged that as the 1% keeping each other rich and happy in the “name” of fixing things for the unwashed (good grief, even misguided missionaries weren’t living the consultant’s life).   I’d love to be wrong (and have it be the seasoned stereotypical New Jersey consultants who cleverly siphoned the funds)…

… personalized learning, eh?   “Personalized” the way that http://lumenlearning.com/blog/personalization-in-lumens-next-gen-oer-courseware-pilot/  talks about? Or ‘Knewton’s’ version of if… per https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/a-personal-tutor-available-at-the-click-of-a-mouse/2015/08/26/ed05ac70-4aa0-11e5-8e7d-9c033e6745d8_story.html and talked about http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2015/08/open_education_resources_adaptive_technology.html ?

Yes, those use OER and they may have other plans… will they be like Bill Gates where he lets a hedge fund analyst make the lessons, and we get Khan Academy?   Granted, Khan Academy has vastly improved but … finding people who really know from learning is worth doing (and, unfortunately, having the job called “teacher” doesn’t mean you really know from learning).

If he asked me to develop personalized learning, I’d say “okay, who gets this personalized learning?   Are we screening for the brightest and the best?”   Then… you’d love the students with my profile but not the ones I work with.

If you want really personalized, let’s create a team of experts from the folks at places like The New Community School   and Landmark College (and me, of course :P)  and design things so that yes, the People Who Don’t Fit Into School Paradigms can succeed.   Yes, let’s make activities that don’t just “include” visual examples to help build concepts.   Let’s build the concepts and include the bridge to verbal language.   We can do so much better than the old-school multiple-guess.   We could have students map out their learning path and provide “learning experiences” that aren’t just a cute phrase, but really are “learning experiences.”

Dude, a team of six of us with the right project manager could put together a course strand to get folks from innumeracy to facile-with-numbers — a little “Integer Crush” addictive interactions, installing tablets on the backs of our public transit with the games in them…

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