In trying to figure our Summit Learning I have followed the money and found how Big Tech is seeking influence, market share and greater control in public schools while forcing schools to rely on their unproven learning platforms.
- Basically, Gates Foundation set out a working definition of ‘Personalized Learning’ using computer platforms in 2014.
- Funded by Big Tech donors “Personalized Learning” has been aggressively marketed at every level of education as the hot new thing. (nobody can even define it)
- Big Tech funds lobbying organizations who do market research and extensive, systematic lobbying at the federal and state level. These organizations include iNICOL.org, LEAP Innovations, CRPE.org and CASEL.org who lobbies for SEL. In one of their documents CASEL.org seeks 5.5 hours weekly for Social Emotional Learning in a public-school day. (This is at the cost of student learning and instruction time.)
- Personalized Competency Based Learning (PCBL) is the current push funded by Big Tech. Of course, learning platforms created and programmed by Big Tech claim they perfectly address, teach and measure PCBL. At least they say they do, none of the platforms have any evidence or third-party reviews.
- In March 2021, HB 181 changed the coded 2011 language from personalized education to adopting the Big Tech language of ‘Personalized Competency Based Learning’. Perfectly aligning with Big Tech marketing and lobbying. (there is no definition of Personalized Learning or Competency-Based Learning it is made up language by Big Tech) Our state believes in PCBL which requires Big Tech platforms, which Big Tech states can measure PCBL.
- Also in Utah due to Big Tech marketing and lobbying is USBE’s strategic plan, Utah’s Portrait of a Graduate, Utah’s Personalized Competency-Based Learning (PCBL) Grant Program and, most recently, release of Utah’s PCBL Framework and Guide to Education Flexibility in Utah.
So, Big Tech created the language and educational ideas. They marketed the heck out of their ideas even though they include poor performing ideas, generating excitement and demand. They systematically lobbied to get their ideas and language into state policy. They produced unproven learning platforms to address the educational need they created with their marketing. Taxpayers are paying for poor schooling ideas marketed by Big Tech, accepted by educational leaders without evidence and written into law by legislators.
Educational terms and ideas marketed by Big Tech
The list indicates low performing strategies (*) based on Visible Learning by John Hattie, which provides research and synthesis of 800 meta-analyses on the influences on achievement in school aged children.
- Personalized Competency-Based Learning (PCBL) or personalized learning or competency-based learning
- Personalized Digital Learning Platforms, 1:1 learning, one child learning from one computer. *
- Project -Based Learning*
- Child Centered Classrooms*
- Student Directed Learning, Student Lead learning or Student lead Instruction*
- 21st Century Learning (what does this term mean?)
- Social Emotional Learning
- Teacher as facilitator, teacher as mentor or coach*
We need to say “NO” and get the language changed to clearly defined, actional able, proven educational language for our taxpayer dollar