In the ancient world, if all roads did in fact lead to Rome, it would not be much of a stretch to decide that Rome was the place where those who took the time and expense to travel likely needed to go to. Likewise, if every K-12 education reform that I know is part of the mandatory classroom vision has the same actual or intended effect on the human mind and a student’s personality, we can conclude that the global transformationalists we met in the first two posts of this trilogy need a certain mindset for their success. In fact, I considered naming this post “Becoming a Plant” after the video game Reach for the Sun where students will be “challenged to ‘become a plant’ and balance resources like starch and water. “Extend your roots, sprout leaves, and make your flowers bloom before winter hits.’”
Now if I had described that “learning activity” before Christmas and linked it to the Arational Mind push we have been noticing going back to this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ , I would have had the makings of a good freestanding post. Knowing the goals of the global CIFAL Network, the desire to use ICT to extinguish the Left Hemisphere’s historic dominance per that Global Village book, plus the explicit goals transformational goals laid out by ValuesQuest and the Institute for the Future, and the new vision of the role of the law globally, just make it so much easier to grasp why fact-filled, analytical minds would be regarded as barriers to all that planning and collective transitioning.
We have been having a discussion in the comments about the federally required MPOs–Metropolitan Planning Organizations–that push metro-wide transportation projects and how they are now being urged to explicitly get into economic and workforce development. I have noted that one of the things WIOA requires is that all students be trained in ‘systems thinking.’ At a DC conference this week the federal Transportation Secretary Foxx proclaimed transportation plans as the ultimate “system of systems” that merited a 30-year lay-out of plans. Into all this planning about us, our future, and using our money, I believe it’s no accident that videogames and digital learning are being pushed into classrooms. http://www.kqed.org/assets/pdf/news/MindShift-GuidetoDigitalGamesandLearning.pdf
Paul Ehrlich’s co-author of that 1989 New World New Mind book discussed in the linked post above, Robert Ornstein, wrote a 1974 book The Psychology of Consciousness pushing a desire to move away from the rational, analytical mind fostered by phonetic reading and traditional math, science, or grammar to a holistic right brain orientation that would perceive the world in interdependent, relational ways. Very helpfully he tied the ability and need for such a shift to the world now being in a position to meet everyone’s ‘biological needs.’ Time then for a more collaborative, communitarian focus to global problem-solving. Needless to say, K-12 education would need to shift and Ornstein saw great possibilities once “computer-assisted instruction” was able to “take the ‘state’ of the learner into account.”
What would such instruction, maybe called ‘personalized learning,’ look like? How about the Mindshift confession that “When it comes to assessment, many games have robust back ends that provide assessment data about the students who play them. That data can be extremely useful, providing information about your students that is applicable well beyond the game itself.” Information the students themselves may very well not be aware of. Data that adaptive learning ICT platforms need if they are to have the desired effects of changing the child’s perceptions, values, beliefs, and attitudes as the new focus of student-centered K-12 education.
Fits the Ornstein desire for educational activity with the student “embedded in the environment” perfectly, except most people would not be familiar with the Ornstein or Marshall McLuhan work we have looked at. They would simply accept the sales pitch that games-based learning would “replace a points-based extrinsic motivation system with a contextualized hands-on learning experience.” Not being in the habit of reading federal statutes like WIOA or federal agency plans, they probably would not appreciate the significance of the confession:
“Keep in mind: The common attribute of all effective learning games is that they simulate systems [or real-world social structures the trasfomationalists want students to believe are systems comparable to how the heart and lungs reliably interact]. They teach students how to understand academic concepts in relationship to the world around them. Certainly this increases engagement [what Ornstein called Being in the Moment that he tracked to ancient Asian religious practices] and retention, but what really matters is about using knowledge in interdisciplinary ways. [Don't feel under control just because your personal use of knowledge is being prescribed in advance].
Digital or analog, game-based or not, good teaching and learning [Remember obuchenie?] is also about building social awareness, considering the individual’s impact on the wider world.”
Now won’t that latter effect work well with the Sustainability aspirations for the future laid out by the UN CIFAL Network, ValuesQuest, and that Institute for the Future Toolkit to prepare students for new forms of governance? We covered all the proposed role-playing in history classes as part of my AP US History Trilogy, but MindQuest proposes teaching American Government by having a student “role play a member of Congress.” A new form of Governance in utter disregard of the US Constitution is highly likely once curriculum is an “immersive experience” where “students sponsor bills, trade in influence, awareness, and approval. The game simulates meeting with lobbyists, donors, and volunteers. The object is to get reelected to office.” Now that certainly suffices as allowing “teachers to present academic concepts in a contextualized, experiential way.”
Interestingly enough, precisely what Ornstein said a Right-Brain oriented curriculum should be doing if it intends to shift the focus from intellectual content to personal knowledge. Oh, our joy at effective school reforms that will raise student achievement in meaningful, authentic ways knows no bounds. Why did I start this post’s title with Bogus Excuses? Well, should we buy that games-based learning is OK for the classroom because “a generation of gamers has grown up without a civilization collapsing”? Someone was not listening when their English teacher covered the dangers of hyperbole. How about this rationale? “Positive mood states” or empathy “toward people from another country.” I am also afraid that being told “the way corporations, foundations, and research organizations are thinking about games and learning” is no justification when they are all on record seeking transformational social change using K-12 education.
That’s it, isn’t it? K-12 education globally must be shifted to producing a mind and personality suitable for a collectivist orientation. The simulation will prime the students to act in predictable ways without being in a position to recognize that real world consequences do not follow the prearranged instructions of the software developer. It’s no accident that Jane McGonnigal of Institute for the Future is quoted on this point of how students will come to see the real world, without noting her IFTF affiliation. Only that she wrote a book called Reality is Broken that I covered here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/
If you want a transformed economy, then push education based on “connected, networked ways of knowing that will dominate the digital future. Sharing and collaboration go hand-in-hand with integrating non-competitive and non-commodified ways of playing games.” Will that lead to a shareable economy? Maybe but it will be necessary since so few graduates in such a vision will have the mind or skills that have always been necessary for wealth to arise outside of war and just taking.
Is it true that “The way students play and learn today is the way they will work tomorrow”? Maybe, but they will be quite poor in such a world unless they can get elected or appointed to office or get a tax-free job in the UN System. Mostly the gaming is prepping for the student to be a participating member of a planned and controlled system, blindly accepting from a deep emotional level that increasing levels of material deprivation are inevitable and not a result of predation by the public sector.
Instead of declaring war on another country for wealth this is a system of predation on citizens. For those of us with a base of history knowledge not grounded in role play, it’s what the nobility did when they imposed serfdom. People exist for the use and benefit of those with power and are not free to make their own choices. No thanks. Another bogus excuse is that “the distinction between STEM and ELA is an arbitrary and superficial one” since they are each “simply forms of expression.” That really is someone determined to extinguish the analytical, rational mind for reasons laid out in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book. “All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways.” Want to guess which side of the brain acts intuitively and which does not?
Another bogus excuse? Gaming needs to be a part of early childhood education because it “teaches those students to associate screens with refined cognitive skills.” In other words, those children are to never know what rational, non-designed, grounded in facts, spinning out of various scenarios and likely consequences actually feels like. And won’t that be helpful to all our self-confessed transformationalists and futurists?
I am going to close this with an update to what has been one of the most controversial Values Clarification exercises for decades. It is called the Lifeboat but gaming lets a similar scenario, and obligation to reach a consensus, be visual so that the body’s physiology gets pulled into the plight. It will respond as if it is actually in a Life or Death situation as Willis Harman recognized in the 80s in his Global Mind Change book. Carried out as part of a Zombie Apocalypse in Norway classrooms, MindQuest ends on that example of a “sociocultural view of learning” where students and teachers “believe in sharing and constructing knowledge together.”
So they and others can build a new kind of economy and society together. Never appreciating in time that none of these things actually are ‘systems’ ready to fall into place like a game.