New Mindsets and Changed Values Tied to ICT as the Long Sought Marxian New Mode of Production

Computers and ICT generally just keeps getting cited as the magic technology that Marx and Engels speculated could allow a world where everyone’s needs get met. Advances in technology was a hugely important concept in all their political theorizing of how in the future society would be organized in radically different ways. That the age of the individual and capitalism would be over. It’s the era I have explained as small c communism in previous posts because that is what they called it. Well, they also called it the age of association and community. Princeton prof Robert Tucker said it was to be a time of positive humanism. Since that term is less off-putting than either communism or Marxist Humanism, that strikes me as a better term for us to use so we don’t bring in visions of Kremlin Walls or Mao’s Black Book uninvited. But the future social and economic vision is the same as what we have encountered under varying names in numerous posts now.

And the prosperous West remains the target. With education as the preferred vehicle to gain the desired changes in consciousness and values and attitudes and especially feelings. We in the West assumed the PH vision was about who had what. But it turns out Uncle Karl’s theory had what might be called a magic trigger. Let me explain with a quote:

“every historical mode of production has been conditioned by the nature of the available means of production or state of technology. As [Marx] puts it in a vivid passage, ‘The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.’ According to this view, the rise of a new technology, a new set of material productive powers…”

necessarily triggers a social revolution. Computers, the Internet, cellphone communication etc–what I and others abbreviate as ICT–are being held up as that triggering technology. And to put it bluntly we have political idealogues, ready to administer public sector and NGO bureaucrats, and tech and media companies ready to stop future competition, who are quite happy to use education to commence the needed changes in mindsets and values. All while being well-paid of course. All over the globe but especially in the US. That’s really a big part of what Common Core is about when you peel back the layers and delve into the ever present, consistent, feature–must use ICT as an integral part of classroom. The focus.

Being honest that this tracks back to Uncle Karl would of course be a bad PR selling point so instead we get university students being told that “unjust ecological and social conditions” require “transformation of existing power relations and even worldviews.” Radical change needs minds that have been primed to accept “a society based upon distribution according to need” and primed for activism. Students who believe in the “possibility of realizing it, of moving from the world as it is to the world as it ought to be.”

Gaming and role-playing and little factual knowledge are really useful to such aspirations of transformative change. Luckily for the Change-the-World Crowd the visual, concrete, nature of making school about the use of the computer and making films and power points ditches the abstract mind bolstering aspects of reading print that is designed around symbols for sounds. Remember that when you find out that Pearson and the MacArthur Foundation underwrote a 2011 PBS special called “Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century” hyping the new types of literacy. How digital media is “changing the ecology of reading and writing” so it is no longer “doing the type of reading where you sit in your bedroom by yourself reading a novel.”

What about under an umbrella on the beach while working on a tan I ask in alarm?

No, “kids need to get a deep passion” for what they are doing and school needs to be about what will make them feel passionate. We shouldn’t be rewarding the “kid who stays up late reading a book” while “a kid who spends that same time working with his guild in ‘World of Warcraft’ is thought to have a problem.” Yes, these quotes are coming straight from the program’s transcript.   http://www.pbs.org/parents/digital-media/pdf/digital-media-transcript.pdf Have a read if you can stand it. The vision of “where learning and assessment are the same thing.” Which is precisely what Robert Torres said is a big part of the Gates Foundation’s current focus. So that computer, role-playing, games become the means of measuring whether learning is occurring.

No I am not kidding. Torres spoke at the G Summit in April 2013 on “Transforming Education with Gamification” and saw it as a means of determining if the Common Core Standards and the new science standards are being met. And I noticed that very time the interviewer, Gabe Zicherman, brought up knowledge, Torres switched back to his preferred term–learning. Behavioral changes then will do while the head remains quite empty.

In case you are stunned by this whole idea, here’s the June 28, 2012 News Release creating GlassLab–The Games, Learning and Assessment Lab–under the premise that “video games can revolutionize American education and students’ testing and learning. We can harness students’ passion and energy for video games and utilize that to reach and educate a 21st century workforce with skills critical for college and career readiness.” One can just imagine this idea of work or college but at least all the students will get plenty of daily practice with the designated new mode of production. http://www.instituteofplay.org/2012/06/2498glass-lab-press-release/ Torres is quoted as saying “we need projects that will work with students and speak to them in their native language: digital media. Through game-based learning, students will be challenged, and teachers and parents can get real-time feedback on student progress.”

Will the parents really understand that the Growth and Achievement are from being online and immersed in role-playing video games? Will they understand that the games will count as Literacy under the Common Core? This presentation is about 7 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahYeJ5LmnXI . You can decide if this is your idea of desirable Learning or Literacy. And with Pearson and NewsCorp’s Amplify and many of our Gordon Commission members involved with GlassLab, this really does look like the intended future. Have a look if you’d like  http://glasslabgames.org/

One of the people interviewed as part of that PBS program was Dr Nichole Pinkard, founder of Chicago’s Digital Youth Network. Which Gates is supporting but not quite as generously as the $50 million the MacArthur Foundation has plowed in. Here’s the vision of a different design for classroom learning  http://spotlight.macfound.org/blog/entry/pinkard-videogames-inspire-classroom-design/ Dr Pinkard made a very interesting statement in her interview with PBS. She said that “literacy has always been defined by technology.” Under this theory of history grounded in you know who’s writings, the technology changes the type of consciousness. So the printing press and moveable type are what made print the new designated form of literacy. And this line of thinking goes, since we now have tablets and films and videos on demand and computers learning to respond to sound, we should change the nature of what constitutes literacy.

Now John Dewey and the Soviet psychologists, among others, all understood that learning to decode and use symbols for sound or math that did not look visually like the concept they actually stood for is what turbocharged the potentials of the individual mind. (As compared with drawing a fish to symbolize a fish). And in the name of Equity and Mastery Learning and Gamification and Engagement and the new Era of ICT, we are trashing that herd-defying, capable of logic, abstract mind. Trying to put the Genie Back in the Bottle and deliberately regress in the average person’s working knowledge.

I simply cannot imagine a scenario where this will turn out well. It’s just a matter of how far down this Expensive Road to Ignorance we travel before recognizing what is going on.

I believe Marxism in essence is a Public Sector Subjugation Theory over the Individual and his or her Precious Mind. I get why people who currently have power, or who want more like the UN, would want to keep bringing it back. It levels the most capable and turns everyone else into reliable clients in search of “Bread and Circuses” delivered by the public sector and their privileged cronies.

And we may not be able to stop this but it is certainly time we understood what infamous theories we are really dealing with here. And thus why digital literacy and the use of the computer in some form is front and center now in education.

19 thoughts on “New Mindsets and Changed Values Tied to ICT as the Long Sought Marxian New Mode of Production

  1. Grant Wiggins often speaks of students being able to apply knowledge in the context of “the game.” But this is a new low point—playing with toys. It’s like going to school and playing Yo Yo’s and Jacks. I read the slides from Torres’ presentation—I wish I could find the video of his presentation.

    The video you linked to was very interesting. I still find it humorous that a guy from the Gates Foundation is running his Powerpoint presentation from a MacBook. I can’t imagine Steve Jobs would have publicly presented anything associated with Apple on a Windows machine.

    • http://www.slideshare.net/gzicherm/robert-torres-g-summit-2013 is the slideshow from the Summit.

      Here is the link to the interview with Gabe. It takes a while to load. Torres went to Oberlin undergrad. The end result of using games as the focus of the classroom, it seems to me, is precisely what Oberlin ecology prof David Orr seeks as slow knowledge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMmnsYgoGaQ

      Finally, a book on this from 2011 came yesterday so I will look at that before I write the next post. Remember I said in the beginning this was really a 4-parter and international.

      • I can’t get over how poorly Torres answers the questions. But I guess there are no sensible answers to what he’s advocating. He might as well be a representative from Mattel, Hasbro, or ToysRUs.

        • You can see why I came to the conclusion this is simply a means to get an ideology in place. Which of course it is.

          I have a 1988 book called Global Mind Change: The New Age Revolution in the Way We Think by Willis Harman. Gamification gets those types of minds without explaining it as altered consciousness.

          Also listened to an interview of Marina Gorbis this morning. She said we have spent 40 years creating these tools and now these tools will change us and that will create a human-centered society.

          Using virtual reality to reimagine the world just does not strike me as a good idea if part of the template is to actively nurture so much ignorance of the past and responding from emotion.

          • The look in the kids eyes (playing games) in the slides from Torres’ presentation sure looked like some form or altered consciousness.

          • I have decided to interrupt my 4-parter to use Harman’s book to describe what it is Gamification is after. It gets at the unconscious level and the mind does not differentiate experience in a virtual world from experience in the real world.

            Reading back through what I had reacted to when I first read the book I can now see the clear connections to Resnick’s higher order thinking skills, Hewlett’s Deep Learning, and Dweck’s Growth Mindset. In fact I just wrote in the margin in orange ink for contrast “No wonder Hewlett hired Robert Kegan and Peter Senge to track to see if the actual Common Core implementation would be consistent with its outlined Deep Learning.

            I will interject that post for explanation before moving on to what Irina is up to on all our behalf at UNESCO. I love reading about how she has to push UNESCO hard in certain directions now because of what she promised when she ran for president. By all means, let’s screw American students because of something promised to other countries that UNESCO would do to us.

          • OK. I am several chapters into the how to use Gaming to fix Reality book and it is telling me that the videogames have always and still do rely on Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s 1975 work on Flow. I even have a tag on Csik because he just keeps popping up. But the concept of Excellence in education now is also quietly built around his work. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ is the December post where I explained why this highly emotional state is so useful to anyone wanting to create a Transformation mentality.

            But this is disgusting to be foisting on students with parents unawares or simply aware the child “just loves going to school now.”

          • Interesting. 1988–only four years after 1984. And we thought it passed us by uneventfully.

          • Harman was involved with Humanist Psychology in the 60s and is President of the Society of the Noetic Sciences.

            What Harman is seeking in terms of a new mind fits with the goals of the World Order Models Project and the new humanism generally.

            The 2011 book I am reading now Reality is Broken is using virtual gaming to advocate for comparable gratifying experiences in the workplace. So far her vision of what work in the future should be like is fitting right in with what Shoshana Zuboff described in The Support Economy and what Peter Senge described in his early 90s Fieldbook. The means and rationales change but not the vision. Not really. And it all fits with what Robert Tucker called the small c vision in his 61 book I have written about.

          • I wonder how Csikszentmihalyi feels about how Jane McGonigal are using his ideas to support her point of view? It’s been 10 years since I read his book on Creativity, but from what I can remember his concept of ‘flow’ was a lot more significant that playing a game of Pac Man.

          • Well since he is scheduled as a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2013 Serious Games conference in Redmond it cannot be a surprise that so much gaming is now based on his and Martin Seligman’s Positive Psych work. I have finished the book as of this afternoon. I really encourage you to get a copy. I will be fair but the hubris of what is being sought must be read to be appreciated. I have also ordered Marina Gorbis’ new book after listening to her this morning.

            http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-if-higher-order-thinkingdeliberate-confusion/ was the first time I wrote about Csik. “Trying to direct the course of the future” by altering current cultural memes sure fits the bill for what Jane outlined in the book. Graphically. She came on my radar because she is speaking at ISTE.

            Her “new engagement economy” so fits what Zuboff and Boyte et all lay out they could have all done lunch together.

          • I started the book this morning. It’s astonishing. I really think there ought to be a 12-Step program for these folks. I hope there is some audio or video posted of Csiik’s speech at the conference. I’d love to here how he reconciles/qualifies it with what he has written.

          • Well you may have to keep postits still shrink wrapped to throw against the wall in anger at the presumption of “we just need to reorganize society so reality gives comparable satisfactions to games.”

            Fiero indeed. No wonder well meaning but fairly clueless promoters keep mentioning about blended learning that “the kids just can’t get enough of school.”

            Wait til you get to Torres’ Quest to Learn being classified as Alternate Reality.

    • I am following up on the Games angle and that 2011 book and this came up as related. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2012/03/gaming_leveling_up_global_competence.html

      Global Competence is the Project Zero work being done for CCSSO, the trade group that is supposed to be the “state-led” sponsor of the Common Core Standards. If you remember PZ also does the same push for IB and calls it Global Consciousness for them.

      Having delved into several of Robert Tucker’s and Bertell Oltman’s books explaining Uncle Karl a big part of the small c version we are now calling Positive Humanism is teaching people to think in terms of the species. All the mentions of holistic and interdependent are really to that same end. That kind of humanity as the focus orientation seems dangerously naive to the realities of this world. Just ask the bereaved wife and child of that poor UK soldier killed at Woolwich. You can bet that reality of expressed antipathy will not be a variable contingency in any of these virtual worlds.

  2. I knew there was an attack on the artifacts of mind, i.e. books, etc. through the supposedly deep ecology movement, but I had no idea it was so pervasive and advanced as this. Thanks for the tip-off.

  3. It is hard to beleive that much of what is going on is built on quackery like deep ecology. But it is a means to an end, i had no idea also that the dalai lama story and mao, and the germans and the occultism of robert muller and how i see its shadows in common core content. There is a phenomenon called centering prayer an emptying of the mind, that has come into catholicism, occulty eastern transcendentalism, the opposit of catholic prayer. The efforts to breakdown and dilute under peoples noses their history and tradition without them noticing. A careful con. Same with ccss and its deep learning. Attack from all sides. Cultural marxism, antonio gramsci, secular humanism, marxist humanist, secular positivism, deep ecology, global warming, all the means to the end. I think that those who perpetrate this cultural genocide have to cling to the bogus phony ideologies and verbose confusing psychological theories because they lack religion and without their reframing their own efforts or views they could not ethically continue

    • Madmommy-

      Interesting you mentioned that because I not only recognize what you are describing from Willis Harman’s book but I remembered this doctoral thesis that is a description of the same phenomenon. http://www.bath.ac.uk/cree/sterling/sterlingthesis.pdf is a little weekend reading. Let me tell you though how I cam across that thesis. It must have been the source of presentations at the Planet Under Pressure conference in March 2012 in London. The one where I first read about the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Alliance and realized no one was aware the US govt and the UK had committed to such global transformations. And with the operations in Sweden it is mostly out of sight.

      This group, ihdp, involved with the Belmont Challenge, came up recently in connection with my tracking the release of this inclusive wealth report. http://www.ihdp.unu.edu/article/iwr . Clearly our government and others and the UN bureaucrats have plans for us to have alternative values that they have picked out for us.

      IHDP is also who the Ehrlichs are working with as in that “we are more than five years into fundamentally changing human behavior” that I have also written about. And IHDP is the group that expressly cited Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer as “among the futurists” working the accomplish its long term goals for humanity. Definitely a group that conveniently for its power is planning around the concept of the species. Reaching deep into the psyche is a means of getting people to either think or just respond from that level as well. That came out in those Alice Bailey posts and the 1953 UNESCO conference in Chicago the Ford Foundation funded. There is definitely a widespread recognition of the usefulness of reaching into that level even if it strikes us as dastardly and tyrannical.

      Which is why I am occasionally forced to write about such an off-putting topic. Not the first to go there. Or even the 20th. It just keeps coming up apparently because it works at transformating what guides a person.

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