Just Sociology

The Risks of MOOCs Technological Deschooling and Outsourcing Education

In recent years, the widespread use of technology in education has sparked a number of debates around the world. From debates around MOOCs to critiques of outsourcing education to private companies, these discussions center on the use of technology in classrooms and the consequences it entails.

This article will discuss two themes concerning technological advancements in education. The first is the risks of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and technological deschooling.

The second will focus on the outsourcing of elementary and primary education to private companies, specifically, Bridge International Academies. We will explore the positive and negative aspects of each theme and examine the potential consequences for education systems, students, and communities.

1) The Risks of MOOCs and Technological De-Schooling

In 2008, MOOCs were introduced in Canada as a new form of online learning. MOOCs are massive, open, and online courses.

These courses are flexible and can be accessed from any location, enabling students to learn at their own pace. However, critics argue that MOOCs favor already learners and the well-resourced, undermining schools’ capacity to teach empowering knowledge.

This trend could jeopardize the role of schools as sites for subjectification, socialization, and qualification. Schools shape identities, develop social and emotional skills, and impart values to students, essential for developing their capacity for success.

In recent years, globalized ed-tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple, have been entering classrooms to provide tools for teaching and learning. While these companies have the potential to enrich education systems, they also pose a risk to the education system by potentially shaping curricula according to their interests and values.

It is therefore necessary to consider the risks and dangers of these companies’ values and interests in shaping education systems, curricula, and pedagogy.

2) Outsourcing Elementary and Primary Education to Bridge International Academies

In some parts of the world, the state has outsourced the responsibility for primary education to private companies. In Liberia, for example, the government partnered with Bridge International Academies, a private company, to provide education to more than 1000 schools.

While the hope was to increase access to quality education, this outsourcing poses risks and dangers to students and communities. The role of the state in education is to provide quality education to all students, regardless of social status or income.

The state is responsible for ensuring equal access to education and creating opportunities for all students. When outsourcing education to private companies like Bridge International Academies, these responsibilities shift from the state to the company.

The Bridge International Academies model is a fee-based model that uses standard curriculum, centralized control, limited teacher training, and low pay. Critics argue that outsourcing to these types of companies abandons children and families to low-quality education while prioritizing student test scores over learning.

The potential consequences of outsourcing education to private companies include exacerbating economic inequality, exposure to unsafe learning environments, and contributing to the challenges of the digital divide. By outsourcing education, private companies risk not only failing to provide quality education but also contributing to the widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both the risks of MOOCs and technological deschooling, and the outsourcing of primary education to private companies need to be considered carefully. While technological advancements have the potential to provide opportunities for more students, they also pose risks and dangers to education systems, students, and communities.

Leaders in education need to be cautious with these risks and ensure that technology is used in ways that align with education’s goals, values, and ethics. Ultimately, we need to remember that the consequences of the decisions we make concerning education will affect students, families, communities, and societies for many years to come.

Neil Selwyn is a globally recognized expert on digital technology and education. He is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia, and has authored numerous books and research papers that have significantly contributed to the field of education technology.

Selwyn has a background in sociology, focusing on the relationship between technology and social inequality. His work seeks to understand how digital technology is embedded in educational institutions, and how it influences social inequality.

He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of London. After completing his Ph.D., Selwyn worked as a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He then worked as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of London, Birkbeck College, and later as an Associate Professor at the University of Bristol, UK. Since 2012, Selwyn has been a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University.

Selwyn is known for challenging the widely held belief that digital technology is a solution to the problems in education. He believes that over-reliance on digital technology in education can lead to the marginalization of those who do not have access to or are not competent in using digital technology.

His research focuses on how the use of technology can reinforce social inequalities, rather than bridging them. 4) Selwyn’s Key Principles

– Tech Integration

Technology should be integrated thoughtfully and appropriately and not used as a one-size-fits-all solution for education.

– Social Impacts

Technology must be analyzed through the lens of social impacts, particularly regarding issues of access, equity, and fairness in education. – Inclusive Education

Technology should not marginalize students who do not have access to technology or who are not digital natives.

– Empowering Students

Technology should be used to empower students by enhancing their learning experiences and enabling them to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Selwyn’s research has several key principles that teachers and educators can use to ensure that technology is integrated meaningfully into education.

These principles include thoughtful and appropriate integration of technology and an analysis of social impacts, particularly as they relate to access, equity, and fairness in education settings. In addition, Selwyn believes that technology must not marginalize students who do not have access to it or who are not digital natives.

Finally, he believes that technology should be used to empower students by enhancing their learning experiences and enabling them to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Integrating technology into education is a complex process that requires careful consideration of the role technology should play in enhancing student learning outcomes.

Selwyn emphasizes that educators must consider both the advantages and disadvantages of technology before integrating it into their learning environments. He suggests that pedagogical considerations should drive the decision to integrate technology and not the other way around.

One of Selwyn’s key principles is that technology must be analyzed through the lens of social impacts. This means that the potential effects of technology on access, equity, and fairness in education are considered before implementation.

For example, educators must ensure that students who do not have access to technology or who are not familiar with its use are not marginalized because of their inadequate knowledge. Inclusive education is another of Selwyn’s key principles.

He emphasizes that technology must not marginalize students who do not have access to it or who are not digital natives. Educators must use technology in ways that do not perpetuate social inequalities but instead provide opportunities for all students to succeed.

Finally, Selwyn emphasizes that technology should be used to empower students by enhancing their learning experiences and enabling them to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Educators should use technology to facilitate student-centered learning experiences and encourage students to take responsibility for their learning.

Conclusion

Neil Selwyn’s expertise in the field of education technology has significantly contributed to understanding the role of digital technology in shaping education. His principles emphasize that technology should be integrated thoughtfully and appropriately, with careful consideration and analysis of its social impacts.

Educators must use technology in ways that provide inclusive education opportunities for all students, rather than marginalizing those who do not have access to technology. Ultimately, educators must use technology to empower students and enhance their learning experiences, enabling them to develop essential skills that prepare them for the challenges of the future.

In conclusion, the risks of MOOCs and technological deschooling, as well as outsourcing education to private companies like Bridge International Academies, must be approached with caution. Technological advancements have the potential to provide opportunities for more students, but they also pose risks and dangers to education systems, students, and communities.

Neil Selwyn’s expertise emphasizes thoughtful and appropriate integration of technology, analysis of social impacts, and inclusive education opportunities for all students. Educators must use technology to empower students by enhancing their learning experiences and enabling them to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

The consequences of the decisions made concerning education will affect students, families, communities, and societies for many years to come. FAQs:

1) What are MOOCs?

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are massive, open, and online courses that can be accessed from any location, enabling students to learn at their own pace. 2) What are the criticisms of MOOCs?

Critics argue that MOOCs favor already learners and the well-resourced, undermining schools’ capacity to teach empowering knowledge and jeopardizing the role of schools as sites for subjectification, socialization, and qualification. 3) What is the role of the state in education?

The state is responsible for providing quality education, ensuring access and equal opportunities for all students, and creating opportunities for all students. 4) What is the Bridge International Academies model?

The Bridge International Academies model is a fee-based model that uses standard curriculum, centralized control, limited teacher training, and low pay. 5) What are the potential consequences of outsourcing education?

Outsourcing education to private companies like Bridge International Academies can exacerbate economic inequality, expose children to unsafe learning environments, and contribute to the challenges of the digital divide, among other potential consequences.

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