[iDC] The Aims of Education

George Siemens gsiemens at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 06:32:45 UTC 2011

I'm sorry, but I call nonsense to these statements: "contemporary practices
in education is its commodification by the capitalist
superstructure"..." created
a child as labor product"..."dialectic that occurs is that the
hegemonic/labour complex is schizophrenic in that it cries for critical
thinking" (schizophrenia is misused here as it often is - it's not a
dichotomous state - it's a serious mental illness).

Do you believe these things? If so, why even bother trying to reform
education? Create a separate system that expresses the values and sentiments
stated in your post. What you are calling for is not educational reform but
an entirely different system. I'd like to hear more from you as to what your
education system would look like in practice. Will we have schools?
universities? Will we have professors? How will you, I, and others make a
living? Can we find any parallel examples in history or in other fields
(journalism) that support the arguments you are making?

I'm really quite tired of rants against the education system that don't
include a solution. Most critiques are an exercise in buzzwords 101. Give us
your vision. I don't agree with Anya's assessment of DIYU, primarily because
it's trying to recreate what already exists in literature, but I give her
credit for advancing something that holds the prospect of change.


On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 11:13 AM, Lichty, Patrick <plichty at colum.edu> wrote:

> One of my key arguments with contemporary practices in education is its
> commodification by the capitalist superstructure, but by definition,
> capitalism must colonize everything it touches as to maximize its potential
> return on investment and resource extraction.  However, we must also
> remember that its only function is the extraction of wealth for the
> concentration of capital and the eventual abandonment of the spent resources
> that it squanders.
> I agree with ken in that education has been commodified as learning, and
> with Simon in that education is the fostering of uniqueness, and this is my
> key difference with teh whole superstructure of assessment, accountability,
> rubrics, and standardization that higher education in the US is addicted to.
>  With the coming of No Child Left behind, standardization has created a
> child as labor product that then has to be broken from field-dependence at
> the university level.  The dialectic that occurs is that the
> hegemonic/labour complex is schizophrenic in that it cries for critical
> thinking, but it also enforces agendas of standardization and accountability
> which by definition is anaethema to uniqueness.  It wants standardized labor
> units that will think critically, but just not in ways that will threaten
> the dominant paradigm of colonial capitalism, which is very reminiscent of
> Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron".  Although I am required to follow this
> infrastructure in order to give w!
>  hat seem to be salient metrics to the control infrastructure of the
> institution, I feel that education will not cease to be "learning" unless
> alternate humanely-oriented practices are envisioned that foreground the
> non-standard, and destroys the idea of the individual as
> standardized-laboring-machine.  Conversely, I am also not in favor of
> Postman's admonition of abandoning the digital world in favor of a Socratic
> education, although I believe that the ubiquity of the networked culture
> shifts is from a Foucaultian culture of discipline to a Deleuzian culture of
> absolute control.
> The problem as I see it is how to reclaim the institution of learning as
> place of education, and I feel that this is the site of humane resistance in
> the contemporary educational institution - the decoupling of capitalist
> culture from the process of education.  I believe that there are many of us
> who are filling out the endless paperwork who are secretly operating on
> organic, qualitative practices, and hopefull these practices constitute the
> resistant underground while the totalitarian juggernaut of capitalist
> culture continues to ravage our intellectual future.
> Patrick Lichty
> Asst. Professor
> Dept of Interactive Arts & Media
> Columbia College Chicago
> 916/1000 S. Wabash Ave #104
> Chicago, IL USA
> "Sometimes you do things not for the logic of them, but only for the fact
> that it is the right thing to do, and that is all."
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