Zuckerberg Face(or)Book to Mainline ONLINE Education

I am playing with words in the heading.  I obviously am a subscriber to face to face and books rather than cyber realities.  It is not to say I haven’t benefited from cyber as I do work on computers as a tool, but as a transformative approach to  social change, I hear warning bells going off.  I am not alone, many people I’ve spoken to on the street are very concerned at this Brave New World emerging.  People know we have  lost the social connectedness, we don’t know our neighbours, we no longer smile at strangers, instead we are focused on what is safe, a cyber world, so we can feel good for a while.  If we stop looking at the fastfood images, we may fall into depression as we have totally neglected our mental health, wellbeing and life.  As we live like voyers to try and get joy from others lives.  That is the allure of the internet and social media.  On the other hand, as a tool it can be excellent for research, learning about the world, discovering what others think around the world and organising into groups.  The latter the governments do not want, the commercial side is the allure in this for the government/business nexus.

In respect of learning it is called tailored, personalised, customizing.  Lots of different ways to convey the idea of online learning. I love the words ‘address the disparities’ as if they are interested in equality.  Word smithing – it is a bit like flexible labour market, where employers are not flexible only labour given low wages and less conditions.  I am watching closely the language used to market social change as a public good whilst they sell of public assets, corportise government and mainline the public with spin that aims to make more money from them.  It has no real social conscience as business is not about welfare.

It is fascinating to learn from the masters of spin.  Funnily enough I used to work with them.

This is good – tech titans, as if they are giants because they make money.  I wonder where the real IT knowledge actually came from?

More words – Nontraditional philanthropic vehicles seems to be drawing new interest from veteran education officials.  I love the word ‘veteran’ this evokes military, service to country and long term (they know).  Nontraditional philanthropic, what is meant by this? it appears corporate to me rather than the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Worldvision for example.  Other language of interest is shaping students’ futures, that is what concerns me. Who are the people really shaping children’s future or do we want to empower children’s futures so they maximise their own potential based on what they want?  That is my question as an educator. the children should be at the centre of the family and centre of the society but unfortunately they are definitely viewed as future consumers, or in current education, controllable through shaping via technology.

We have already seen what Facebook has been doing with information.  Do we want on-line learning in the image of men who I question in respect of knowing what the real needs of children are?  do they raise their children full time and gain an insight into who that child is? what their dreams are? What they do during the day? Their hobbies?  The reality of the world men are making for their own kids?  Do you want them on computers all day and night or do you want them to grow up happy?  Those in the various silos of silicon valley have to decide, Zuckerberg has to choose, the IT (so-called) Titans have to decide, the governments, institutions and all those who profit out of this imagined reality that will indeed transform society but into what shape-change?  The kids are looking to you.  Next time you are walking around look at every child and know, if you are part of this 21st century agenda, know their lives you are changing.  Look into their eyes.


Zuckerberg and Chan Hire Education Leader to Run Philanthropic Effort



From left, James H. Shelton III, a former deputy secretary of the United States Department of Education; Priscilla Chan; and Mark Zuckerberg. Credit Charles Ommanney/Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, and Dr. Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician who is his wife, said Wednesday that they had hired James H. Shelton III, a former deputy secretary of the United States Department of Education, to oversee their efforts in education, in the latest example of former federal officials who are taking up jobs in Silicon Valley.

Mr. Shelton will lead the education component of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan announced they were creating last year for their philanthropic and social entrepreneurship endeavors. The education work is focused on customizing learning for students and addressing disparities.

“When you think about philanthropy, the question is, ‘How can you be catalytic?’” Mr. Shelton said in a phone interview. “It’s a huge opportunity for transformational work.”

Mr. Shelton’s hiring is part of a stream of Washington officials going to work for tech titans. Among them are Jay Carney, a former White House press secretary, who is now senior vice president for corporate affairs at Amazon, and David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to President Obama who is chief adviser and a board member at Uber.


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But in March, the Emerson Collective, an organization set up by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, said it had tapped Arne Duncan, the former education secretary, to lead an effort focused on young people in Chicago.

The advent of nontraditional philanthropic vehicles seems to be drawing new interest from veteran education officials. Both the Emerson Collective and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are limited liability companies, an organizational structure that enables investing and advocacy, as well as philanthropy.

“Silicon Valley traditionally has not played a huge role in education reform,” said Richard Culatta, a former director of the Office of Educational Technology at the Department of Education and now chief innovation officer of the state of Rhode Island.

He said the hiring of prominent education officials like Mr. Shelton, who is also a former executive at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mr. Duncan could herald new approaches to learning.

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“There could be huge impact from nontraditional organizations in really innovating in the field,” he said.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said the couple’s education initiative would focus on “personalized learning” — the idea of using various technologies to help students customize their educational pathways — and on addressing barriers to education like poverty and illness.

“We set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with the flexibility to support nonprofits, invest in companies and advocate for policies that will advance this mission,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. “We’ll build technology where it can help, and we believe in listening to and working closely with parents, teachers and students to understand the specific needs of the communities we’re working in.”

The couple are already involved in a variety of education endeavors. They donated $100 million to schools in Newark, and they have pledged $120 million to schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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They have donated $23 million to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit group dedicated to increasing broadband access for schools nationwide. They have also invested $15 million in AltSchool, a network of private schools.

Dr. Chan is also working on The Primary School, which takes a new approach to elementary schools. Scheduled to open this fall in East Palo Alto, Calif., it is a free private school that will provide health care and education for students and their families.

In a Facebook Live video on Wednesday, Dr. Chan said that she recognized the role that teachers could play in shaping students’ futures.

“Teachers were the first people who opened my eyes to what was possible in the world, and what was possible to me,” Dr. Chan said.

Correction: May 10, 2016

An article on Thursday about the hiring of James H. Shelton III, a former federal Department of Education official, to oversee the philanthropic efforts in education of the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, rendered incorrectly part of the name of a unit of the Department of Education. It is the Office of Educational Technology (not Education).

Mike Isaac contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on May 9, 2016, on Page B6 of the New York edition with the headline: Ex-Official to Run Zuckerberg-Chan Education Effort. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Mohandas Gandhi

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”