Just Sociology

The Unintended Consequences of Large Tech Companies in Education

Large tech companies have made significant strides in the education sector, offering new and innovative ways of learning through technology. However, there are significant concerns about the unintended consequences of the influence of these companies on the education sector.

This article explores four key subtopics related to concerns about large tech companies in education: the algorithmic approach to education, learning through failure, focus on individualized learning, and their influence on the democratic process. Additionally, the article will delve into the challenges of commercial education, translating them into two subtopics: the failures of technological disruptions and the culture clashes between technology and education.

Subtopics on Problems with Large Tech Companies in Education

Algorithmic Approach to Education

The algorithmic approach to education is a fascinating and innovative way of learning that has been generating a lot of discussion globally. However, it poses some social and moral complexities.

Real-world education is complex and multi-layered, and algorithmic models may strip it of the nuanced and difficult-to-quantify qualities necessary for holistic learning. Educational programming may exclude socio-cultural and economic variables, which can be essential for public learning.

Algorithmic models may be useful for some applications, but they need to be balanced with real human interactions and contextual learning experiences.

Learning through Failure

Silicon Valley start-ups glorify individual successes, and in doing so, they undermine social democratic education. The ethos of learning through failing can be a boon for individual learning, but it is incompatible with public learning in more significant swathes of society.

In reality, the vast majority of individuals will not achieve success through the approach of learning through failure promoted by these start-ups. Therefore, the ultimate aim of public education is to help individuals progress as a whole rather than to nurture exceptional individuals.

Focus on Individualized Learning

The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and flipped classrooms is opening up greater opportunities for education, but they need to be approached with caution. There is a risk that the focus on individualized learning may lead to a neglect of the public good of education.

Equality of opportunity is a crucial element of public education, and individualized approaches may inadvertently exacerbate existing social inequalities. As such, it is crucial to maintain a balance between individualized learning and ensuring the public good of education.

Influence on Democratic Process

Large tech companies have a significant influence on the democratic process regarding education. Platforms like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have a considerable impact on public policy, and as such, there is a need to hold them accountable.

Educational ministers may be beholden to the interests of these companies when crafting policies related to education. As such, the democratic process needs to be vigilant to ensure that the interests of the private sector do not impede access to quality education for all.

Subtopics on Challenging the Benefits of Commercial Education

Failures of Technological Disruptions

The rise of digital innovations has a significant impact on the education sector. However, there are often unintended downsides to these technological disruptions.

The rise of MOOCs, for instance, has not achieved the intended consequence of expanding educational access, and instead often results in students dropout. As British academic Neil Selwyn notes, technological disruptions are often presented as black and white, positive changes without any nuance recognition of their implications in real-life scenarios.

Culture Clashes between Technology and Education

The integration of technology into education also exposes underlying culture clashes between the two fields. Technological advancements often ignore the moral questions and individual freedoms intrinsic to educational environments, which prioritize community cohesion, communal responsibility, and social democratic values.

With the increasing reliance on educational technologies, it is important to recognize these fundamental differences between technology and education and work towards bridging them.

Conclusion

While large tech companies have significantly contributed to educational innovation, there are significant concerns about their influence on the education sector. Algorithmic approaches may strip education of its nuanced and complex qualities, and the focus on individualized learning may undermine the public good of education, exacerbating social inequalities.

Furthermore, commercial education initiatives may inadvertently exclude meaningful cultural and economic variables necessary for holistic learning, such as community cohesion and social democratic values. It is imperative to scrutinize the influence of large tech companies on the education sector to ensure that public access to quality education is sustained, and nuanced complexities and morally significant values of public education are not lost.

Expansion: Conflicting Viewpoints on Education

Education is an essential aspect of human development, and the way people perceive it remains a significant bone of contention. Silicon Valley and public education, for instance, have different viewpoints on how to approach education, which generates a lot of discussion worldwide.

This section explores two key subtopics related to these conflicting views: Silicon Valley’s view of education and public education’s view of education. Silicon Valley’s View of Education

Silicon Valley’s view of education offers an interesting contrast to the traditional and more conservative views that underpin public education.

The primary emphasis of educational innovation in Silicon Valley lies in the algorithmic models that focus on efficiency and personalization of learning. The idea is that these models deliver more favorable outcomes, and the effectiveness of the educational technology hinges on measuring specific learning outcomes.

In addition to algorithmic models, learning through failure is a core underbelly of the Silicon Valley approach to education. They argue that embracing failure is essential to learning how to succeed.

There is an emphasis on individualization of action, with the belief that students should be given the opportunity to develop their own unique learning paths. However, the Silicon Valley approach is often met with criticisms for its skepticism towards experts in the academic field.

Through their startups and technological solutions, edtech companies make the claim of possessing all the answers to learning, leading to the potential reduction of teaching to a mere technical instruction rather than a nuanced and complex practice that involves a variety of social and moral complexities. Public Education’s View of Education

A much more traditional and conservative approach to education is that of public education.

Public education focuses on bringing about experiences that support every learner and promote community cohesion, communal responsibility, and the public good. It emphasizes the need for teaching to be done in a socio-cultural context, which takes into account the individual differences of students and the various historical and cultural backgrounds of people who inhabit the learning environs.

Public education is committed to ensuring the social democratic values of education. For public education, community cohesion and communal responsibility lay at the heart of the enterprise of public schooling.

Fundamental to this enterprise is a belief that education is not simply an individual means to an end but has intrinsic importance to society at large. However, some criticisms of public education exist.

A significant aspect of these criticisms lies in the slow pace of adaptation to societal changes, which could lead to public education’s potential loss of relevance. Additionally, public education is too standardized for those individuals who require a more personalized experience or unique learning path.

Expansion: Reconciling the Differences between Technology and Public Education

When looking at the existing conflict concerning education, the critical question that emerges is if it is possible to reconcile the different viewpoints between Silicon Valley and public education. This section explores two key subtopics that address reconciling the differences between technology and public education: finding common ground and moving forward.

Finding Common Ground

The way to reconcile diverging viewpoints towards education ultimately lies in finding common ground. It is vital to reconcile the approaches taken in both viewpoints to ensure that the values taught in public education remain relevant and that technology is used to augment the original values of public education.

Stakeholder involvement is essential in this endeavor; policymakers, educators, and technologists all play significant roles in the process. All of these groups need to recognize that, in modern society, education is a democratizing influence that provides the opportunity for individuals to develop and achieve social mobility.

Policymakers need to define the social and democratic values that guide public education, while educators need to develop pedagogies that aim for the comprehensive education of learners in light of these values. Technologists, on the other hand, need to develop technologies that align with these values, augmenting the goals of public education.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, one must contend with the tensions that arise within the confluence of technology and public education. Education in modern society is often thought of as a market commodity, resulting in the rise of neoliberal public managers.

Disruptive technologies pose a challenge to public education in the fact that, if left unregulated, it leads to the division of the education market into those that can afford it and those that cannot. To prevent this from happening, it is vital to remain dedicated to the ideal of social and democratic education, which instills in all learners a desire to participate in the process of learning and understands the importance of a holistic education that is inclusive of every individual.

Reconciliation of the divergence between technology and public education lies in the recognition that technology should not supplant or undermine pedagogically sound educational practices.

Conclusion

The conflicting views between Silicon Valley and public education dominate discussions of reform concerning educational policy in modern society. It is critical to reconcile these viewpoints to ensure that the values taught in public education remain relevant while technology is used to augment the original values of public education.

This can be done by finding common ground and defining the social and democratic values that guide education, developing pedagogies that aim for the comprehensive education of learners in light of these values, and approaching edtech companies and educational stakeholders with a view that ensures greater collaboration to benefit all learners. In conclusion, this article has explored the complex issues surrounding large tech companies in education, including their algorithmic approach, focus on individualized learning, and influence on the democratic process.

It has also analyzed the different attitudes towards education that exist between Silicon Valley and public education, as well as the need to reconcile those viewpoints through finding common ground and moving forward. While there are significant concerns about the influence of technology on education, it is important to recognize its potential to enhance and augment pedagogically sound educational practices.

By remaining dedicated to social and democratic education, stakeholders involved in education can ensure that every learner is provided with educational opportunities that serve the public good. FAQs:

1.

What are the primary concerns regarding large tech companies in education? The primary concerns regarding large tech companies in education include their algorithmic approach to education, the focus on individualized learning, and their influence on the democratic process.

2. What is public education’s view of education?

Public education emphasizes the need to bring about experiences that support every learner and promote community cohesion, communal responsibility, and the public good. 3.

What is Silicon Valley’s view of education? Silicon Valley’s view of education emphasizes algorithmic models that focus on efficiency and personalization of learning, as well as learning through failure and individualization of action.

4. How can the divergence between technology and public education be reconciled?

The divergence between technology and public education can be reconciled by finding common ground among educational stakeholders and defining the social and democratic values that guide public education. 5.

What is the significance of social and democratic education? Social and democratic education instills in all learners a desire to participate in the process of learning and understands the importance of a holistic education that is inclusive of every individual, ensuring that learners are provided with educational opportunities that serve the public good.

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