Commodification of learners

From my Twitter feed today, it got me thinking about how the big idea people are thinking about teaching and learning today:

  • “Hearing feed from conference proposing another model where students and teachers are networked computer parts.Why not view them as humans?”
  • “Stripping away humanity from teachers and students is how we got into this mess in the first place, I think. Descartes’ mechanistic view=bad”
  • “Can’t we view tech as tools to support humans instead of viewing humans as machines?
  • Does stripping away humanity allow for mistreatment?”
  • “Do we create metaphors to fit people into our existing worldview so we can decide how to get them to do what we want more efficiently?”


The students and teachers as networks concept really concerns me. The more we simply view people as computers (things), the easier it is to devalue them as individuals. Objectification of humans is a step towards slavery. To some extent, I think many corporations already simply view employees as commodities. Viewing students as commodities will continue to make things worse and worse. I do not want my kids to be treated as commodities in school. I don’t want to have class sizes so large that I have to treat my students as widgets that are simply products in an industrial warehouse we call school without really understanding what that means. 

There is great fear among those I follow on Twitter that the economic troubles in states will be used as an excuse to make expedited decisions to move students to models of school that are about efficiency of dumping information into kids brains for later regurgitation. It also concerns me that there is a push to putting more and more kids online without really understanding the side-effects of doing so long-term. Making important decisions about our students from Kindergarten through graduate school and beyond is something that must be studied extensively before any policy is made.


One thought on “Commodification of learners

  1. I agree the current trends towards pushing more students on fewer teachers will result in massive cracks in education. Teachers are already over worked and under paid regardless of University or Kindergarten level teachers. Ultimately our kids will be the ones who will pay dearly for these cuts as the over worked under paid teachers will not be able to pay any individual attention to their students; which will leave a lot of students falling through the cracks of this system!

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