Corporate Takeover of American Classrooms
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. November 15, 2018 Excerpt from "The Consequences of Screen Technologies in Texas Education"
Rather than creating products that teachers need and want to use, Silicon Valley tech giants decide what they want to sell and then create a sales pitch such as “personalized learning” – code for computerized education that replaces teachers.
In 2012 Rupert Murdoch, media mogul, invested more than $1 billion into Amplify to develop educational video games.
Mohit Midha, CEO of Mangahigh which develops video math games, calls for schools to ditch traditional instruction because students cannot focus for more than five minutes. It is true that students now have difficulty focusing on reading content, but Midha did not disclose what experts report: that digital reading encourages distraction and invites multi-tasking.
With almost no public oversight, Google has quickly gained a major presence in public classrooms through bypassing district administration and taking their free classroom Google Apps for Education Suite (GAFE) and low cost laptops direct to teachers.
Google creates brand loyalty through training and certifying teachers on Google products so they can set up their own consulting services – code for “lobbyists” – and sell Google products to their school districts “for the children” at the expense of taxpayers.
Google owns the education market. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Chromebooks represented about 60 percent of mobile device shipments into the U.S. K-12 schools, according to Futuresource Consulting.
While the student is using Google devices, personal data is being collected. However, Google has refused to disclose how it uses data collected from students’ online activities including what is collected, why it’s collected, and how the data is used.
Thousands of free Android educational apps available in the Google Play store are tracking children, exposing kids to targeted ads and automatic profiling. The study, “Won’t Somebody Think of the Children,” was published in the scholarly journal, Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. The researchers say the problems are rampant and provide parents with a privacy analysis of each app, including the popular Google Classroom and Khan Academy.
There is a growing anger among parents because their children’s school issued Chromebooks, that are brought home, are collecting information about the parents’ bank and credit card accounts, passwords, and other highly personal information which is stored and shared.
Through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have introduced a digital learning program into schools that allows students to “take charge of their own learning” -- code for students teaching themselves. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has developed education software that includes social, emotional, and physical development.
Zuckerberg’s lofty goal is for a “billion students” around the world to learn by using software with very little teacher help. Since January 2016, CZI has given away $308 million to groups working to “’personalize’ learning, reshape teacher training, and diversify the ranks of education leaders.”