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Equitable Schools for a Sustainable World - Long View on Education
"“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.” bell hooks

Instead of writing a review of Different Schools for a Different World by Scott McLeod and Dean Shareski, I want to try reading it differently, from back to front. I’ll start with the last topic, equity, and then proceed to talk about: innovation, boredom, learning, economics, and information literacy. But first, I want to touch on the book’s epigraph: Seth Godin tells us to “Make schools different.”

Different is an interesting word. It’s certainly a different word from what people have used to call for educational transformation in the past. If we were to draw up teams about educational change, I’m confident that McLeod, Shareski, and I would all be against the authoritarian ‘no excuses’ strand of reform that fears student agency. We’re also for meaningful engagement over glittery entertainment.

Yet, we also part ways very quickly in how we frame our arguments. They argue that we should “adapt learning and teaching environments to the demands of the 21st Century.” Our “changing, increasingly connected world” speeds ahead, but “most of our classrooms fail to change in response to it.” I start from a different position, one that questions how the demands of the 21st Century fit with the project of equity."



"What makes McLeod and Shareski’s take different from the long history of arguments about schools? Here’s their answer:

“In some respects, the concerns in this book are no different from the concerns of the authors of A Nation at Risk… We agree schools need to change, but that change should have to do with a school’s relevance, not just with its achievement scores.”

I think that relevance is exactly the right word, but we must ask relevant to what?

Their answer is the “demands of the 21st Century” that come from “shifting from an industrial mode to a global model and innovation model.” In Godin’s book, he presents the data center as a source of individual opportunity. While that can be true, the number of well-paying jobs at Google and Youtube stars will always be limited. Freedom of expression and civic participation can’t flourish in an age of economic precarity.

So what are the alternatives?

Jennifer M. Silva writes a counter-narrative to the worship of self-sufficiency and competition, and exposes “the hidden injuries of risk”, which often lead to isolation, a hardening of the self, and tragedy. One of her interview subjects died because she lacked affordable health-care.

What Silva finds is that “working-class young adults… feel a sense of powerlessness and mystification towards the institutions that order their lives. Over and over again, they learn that choice is simply an illusion.” Writing in a global context, (2014), Alcinda Honwana gives a name – waithood – to this experience of youth who are “no longer children in need of care, but … are still unable to become independent adults.” Honwana explicitly rejects the idea that waithood represents a “failed transition on the part of the youth themselves,” and she carefully documents the agency of the youth she interviewed in South Africa, Tunisia, Senegal, and Mozambique.
“Young people I interviewed showed strong awareness of the broader socio-economic and political environments that affect their lives. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position and they despise and rebel against the abuse and corruption that they observe as the elites in power get richer and they become poorer … They are critical of unsound economic policies that focus on growth but do not enlarge the productive base by creating more jobs.”

There’s no sustainable future in Western countries measuring educational success by the extent to which they out-compete the globalized Other. In her conclusion, Silva presents Wally, who is like her other working-class interview subjects in every respect except his political activism, as a token of hope. Instead of privatizing his problems, he is able to translate them into political issues. The alternative lies not in making schools different, but making the world ‘different’, sustainable, and just."
benjamindoxtdator  2017  equality  equity  socialjustice  schools  sustainability  education  children  economics  globalization  competition  bellhooks  scottmcleod  deanshareski  litercy  infoliteracy  sethgodin  capitalism  digitalredlining  digitaldivide  chrisgilliard  marianamazzucato  hajoonchang  innovation  labor  work  rosslevine  yonarubinstein  jordanweissman  aliciarobb  carljames  race  class  boredom  richardelmore  mikeschmoker  robertpianta  johngoodlad  engagement  passivity  criticism  learning  howwelearn  technology  johndewey  democracy  efficiency  davidsnedden  neoliberalism  richardflorida  tonyagner  erikbrynjolfsson  andremcafee  carlbenediktfrey  michaelosborne  davidautor  inequality  surveillance  surveillancecapitalism  shoshanazuboff  jonathanalbright  henrygiroux  jennifersilva  alcindahonwana  change  precarity 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The real robot economy and the bus ticket inspector | Science | The Guardian
"Hidden in these everyday, mundane interactions are different moral or ethical questions about the future of AI: if a job is affected but not taken over by a robot, how and when does the new system interact with a consumer? Is it ok to turn human social intelligence – managing a difficult customer – into a commodity? Is it ok that a decision lies with a handheld device, while the human is just a mouthpiece?

What does this mean for the second wave robot economy?

Mike Osborne and Carl Benedikt Frey from Oxford University have studied the risk of automation in the US economy, concluding that 47 per cent of jobs in the current workforce are at high risk of computerisation. They come to this conclusion by looking for jobs that can’t be automated; the 47 per cent is what’s left over. In their model, there are three bottlenecks that prevent automation:
…occupations that involve complex perception and manipulation tasks, creative intelligence tasks, and social intelligence tasks are unlikely to be substituted by computer capital over the next decade or two.


These are bottlenecks which technological advances will find it hard to overcome. The authors predict that the next decade will see steps forward in the algorithms that automate cognitive tasks, including cutting edge techniques like machine learning, artificial intelligence and mobile robotics.

This second wave of the robot economy follows a first wave that automated manufacturing and repetitive manual tasks. So many of the desk jobs that our parents and grandparents would have done, like typing and manual data entry, are now becoming obsolete. And according to Osborne and Frey, some of the jobs that are most at risk of automation, were formerly present in droves at many city offices. This includes the likes of accountants, legal clerks and book keepers - dying breeds, and casualties of the robot economy. But Osborne and Frey think that tasks like navigating complex environments, creative thinking and social influence and persuasion will not be automated as part of these advances.

Some of my colleagues are interested in the second kind of task – creativity. They are working with Osborne and Frey to understand how resistant the creative economy is to automation: how many jobs in the creative economy involve truly creative tasks (if that’s not tautologous). Preliminary results look pretty good for creative occupations. 87 per cent are at low or no risk of automation.

Maybe service occupations where persuasion and influence are important will be saved too. The bus ticket inspector requires exactly the kind of social intelligence that Osborne and Frey argue a machine cannot replicate. But this doesn’t take into account the subtleties I witnessed on the top deck of the 76. It may not be job titles or wages that are most affected by the day-to-day of a robot economy. Automation of parts of a job, or of the context that someone works in, means that jobs not taken by machines are fundamentally changed in other ways. We may become slaves to hardwired decision-making systems.

To avoid this, we need to design human-machine jobs with the humans who will be part of them. I met Carla Brodley, Computer Scientist from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in the US a few months ago. She has applies advanced computing techniques to med­ical imaging, diagnosis and neu­ro­science. Brodley has publicly argued that the most interesting problems for machine learning come from real world uses of these computational techniques. She says the tough bit of her job is knowing when and how to bring the expert - doctor, radiologist, scientist - into the design of the algorithm. But she is avid that the success of her work depends entirely on this kind of user-led computational design. We need to find a Brodley for the bus ticket inspector."

[via: "'The real robot economy and the bus ticket inspector' @pesska on why we need user-led computational design."
https://twitter.com/Superflux/status/567745423163789312 ]
automation  robots  2015  design  jessicabland  computationaldesign  technology  london  mikeosborne  carlbenediktfrey  computerization  economics  services  socialintelligence  ai  artificialintelligence 
february 2015 by robertogreco

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