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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Often the questions we ask mask the questions we should be asking. The problem we're solving masks the problem we should be solving. "If you learned that kids were being fed doughnuts for breakfast every day, would your first question be whether we should add rainbow sprinkles?" Such questions help preserve - and conceal - a conservative attitude toward education, argues Alfie Kohn. They don;t address what should be changed, only whether we should use rainbow sprinkles or pixie dust. "Similarly, if we're asking how to personalize learning — a question from which ed tech companies may ultimately stand to profit — then what we're not asking is why a curriculum has been imposed on students and standardized to the point that it has to be personalized. If the learning were personal in the first place, if it emerged from students' own questions about the world, there would be no need to add a separate step of harm mitigation." Image: Seattle Times.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jun 20, 2024 05:22 a.m.

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