If Machines Replace Teachers

It is being proposed that technology, artificial intelligence, more properly ‘machine learning’, can and will soon replace human teachers and physical classrooms, that digital systems will tease, challenge and program each student with interactive screen experiences that will lead to predefined, conditioned outcomes, far more efficiently, with greater precision and most importantly control, than sloppy humans could ever manage. When viewed from within the realm of existing knowledge, why would anyone object?

What is generally not considered are the limitations of existing knowledge, not only as data or content, with its implicit misinformation and propaganda, but more deeply, structurally, as a state of consciousness, and the simple fact that screen media filter out the most important qualities and capacities that define being human.

We are faced with a breakdown of general social order and human values that threatens stability throughout the world. Existing knowledge cannot meet this challenge. Something much deeper is needed, a completely new approach. I am suggesting that the very means by which we try to solve our problems is the problem. The source of our problems is within the structure of thought itself.

David Bohm, Knowledge and Insight, 1981

Education as we know it, even most alternative educational models, exist in, and are limited by, the field or the state of mind David calls ‘existing knowledge.’ A metaphor that describes ‘the known’ is a house of mirrors, reflecting and re-reflecting bits of past conditioning as mental images, infinitely within the mirrored room. While this appears to be novel and vast, all this activity remains encased in the limited realm of a relatively tiny room, one small corner in the near infinite potentials of human consciousness. We call navigating the relative realities created in this house of mirrors - education.

Themes: 
education
technology
COVID

The Blind Leading the Blind

Normal isn’t necessarily healthy or natural,
or the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It is so much more demanding for parents not to substitute virtual for real experiences; no wonder a recent essay applauded the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for softening its position on screen time. This essay is the latest edition of the blind leading the blind, looking at water from inside the fish bowl and not at the true nature of the child, that is, after all, nature, not FaceBook, Sesame Street or the criminally misleading Baby Einstein. The arguments go like this:

Themes: 
screen time
technology

Marinated Minds

My wife and I went to a meeting for several hours. When we returned we both remarked that Carly Elizabeth had changed and indeed she had. No surprise here. She is changing every moment. We simply aren’t acute enough to notice. This morning she climbed the wood stairs hefting one of my shoes then scooted down, face first, carefully and skillfully on her way to the leather sofa that she now uses like a baby trampoline, exploring the bounce and uneven surfaces, smiling and uttering a variety of sounds as if to say, “there!” It was only a few weeks ago that she began to walk. Today it is a near constant joyful run. That is how fast her constant changing is.

Themes: 
attention
technology
child development
media
screen time

Radiant Attention

The shared attention between parents and children, between all of us really, I maintain, is telepathic. Recall Rupert Sheldrake’s studies on feeling watched and with animals. The question, of course, is the degree that we are sensitive and attentive to this subtle radiant communication. Sadly, mostly we are not which leaves our young children, who are innately sensitive and aware, stranded and disconnected.

Themes: 
attention
parenting
media
technology