Good Read: Will the Wrong Kind of Data Further Marginalize Students?

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Mitch Resnick, the MIT professor whose Scratch program has taught scores of kids to code, talks in this interview about the tricky part of "personalized learning" trend in education.

"Clearly there are some advantages at having certain things personalized for you. As long as it’s some options, choices and suggestions, then it’s okay. But I wouldn’t want to be limited only to what a machine suggests for me. If it’s central to my experience, if I’m categorized in a certain way and pushed down a certain path, it could make a much worse experience for me. The machine could have students avoid things they might have been interested in."

"I sometimes worry [that] it’s very easy for computers to give feedback these days. It’s seen as this great thing. Students are filling out answers to problem sets and exams. Right away it shows them if they’re right or wrong and they can get feedback right away, which can influence what they do next. Getting feedback is great. I’m all for feedback.

My concern, it’s only easy to give feedback on certain types of knowledge and certain types of activity. I think there’s a real risk, that we as a society, are going to end up giving too much privilege to the types of knowledge and the types of activity that are most easily evaluated and assessed computationally."




Mitchel Resnick is the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. His research group is best known for inventing two blockbuster educational technologies: the programmable bricks used in the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and Scratch, a computer programming language that allows children to create and share interactive stories, games and animations.

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