Megachange is a term used to celebrate how classroom computers can “‘break down the barriers that traditionally separate the preletterate from the letterate [yes, that is the spelling. Literate is reserved now to mean the hoped for change in ways of thinking], the concrete from the abstract, the bodily from the disembodied. ” It puts the focus on the visual and how things are used. It dislodges the “privileged position of text” and allows “dynamic media” to guide perception of the world. It no longer sees ‘learning as facts and skills to be acquired.” Instead, via the data captured by adaptive software, digital learning will allow room for what was supposedly rejected by traditional, instructional oriented education, which “had no explicit concern for feelings or for personality or for development of the individual on a level that was not reducible to such specific atoms of learning.”
That discussion of megachange was from an MIT Professor, Seymour Papert, in his 1993 book Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer. Papert’s work is seen by the well-funded Edutopia site as relevant to how digital learning should be implemented under the Common Core. That means that Papert’s theories of Constructionism [seeming to update Piotr Galperin’s theories via the computer] come in as do his desire to create a new view of knowledge grounded in experience. He wants to see a shift in organizations, communities, and in our view of knowledge–from hierarchy to hetarchy. Nothing is to be treated as inherently superior and hetarchy creates a “system in which each element is equally ruled by all others.”
Of course, element is used here not as a modular component of a computer program, but as a substitute for actual people. Hetarchy is a communitarian concept where the will of the majority binds all. Democratic, but tyranny for the minority. It fits right in with a cooperative commonwealth or King’s Beloved Community concept of the future, but is definitely not grounded in our current political structures and institutions. That of course is where the Holos Consciousness comes in. Papert thanks Nicholas Negroponte by name and mentions his founding of the MIT Media Lab in the book. Why did I start with megachange in education instead of going straight into the nature of the Macroshift? Because this is how the Ervin Laszlo defined the Breakthrough Scenario to get to a Holos Consciousness in a critical mass of people:
“A new vision of self, others, and nature surfaces on the Internet, on television, and in the communication networks of enterprises, communities, and ethnic groups…Global news and entertainment media explore fresh perspectives and emerging social and cultural innovations. The public’s goals and ambitions become reoriented–toward ‘the good life’ conceived not as amassing the greatest possible amount of money and material goods but as finding meaningful personal relationships and caring for others and for nature…”
Yes, I do get how much of that is going on now, including last Friday’s announcement the US is turning over control of the Internet to the same UN-affiliated entity, ITU, that is pushing the Information Society vision so hard now (including the recent Sakhalin Declaration on IML-Information and Media Literacy). Does this part sound familiar as well? “Funds and capital are channeled from military and defense applications and the demands of an affluent minority to the needs of the people who make up the bulk of the society. Measures are implemented to safeguard the environment, create an effective system of food and resource distribution, and develop and put to work sustainable energy, transport, and agricultural technologies…More and more people enter the Internet and other communication systems as active dialogue partners. Their communication reinforces solidarity and uncovers further areas of mutual interest.”
That’s the vision of a World shifting towards a Holos Consciousness. It follows that quote with a blurb from Gandhi that “our world has enough to provide for people’s need, but not enough to provide for their greed.” Of course we have all noticed that the people pushing this so-called planetary ethic of altruism from school district offices to the universities to charitable foundations are exceptionally well-paid from taxpayer funds or tuition or untaxed endowments or trusts. Like Al Gore’s jetting about, the point is not how the creators intend to live, but how the rest of us should. My observation in my book and this blog on where education reform always ends up sure does make more sense when we understand that “a macroshift is a transformation of civilization in which the technology [ICT in case that is not obvious] is the driver and the values and consciousness of a critical mass of people the decider.”
And how do we guide consciousness to what is desired? By altering “values, worldviews, and ethics.” People need to change “their preferences, priorities, values and beliefs,” which is of course much easier if they are convinced that the planet is in environmental crisis from human behavior and the current nature of the economy. Let’s put last week’s Climate Depot story of junior high students unable to sleep because of concern over global warming catastrophes in light of this aim. The emphasis in the 90s on what was then called outcomes based education and what is pushed as social and emotional learning, Whole Child, and soft skills now makes so much more sense with the admission it is:
“the values, beliefs, and ethics that can bring our macroshift to a humane and sustainable conclusion. These ‘soft’ factors in the life of society are the new imperatives of our time–they are even more essential to success than the traditional ‘hard’ factors of economic, political, and business engineering and reengineering.” If the duration of this same intent and targeting of consciousness over decades surprises you and seems a bit conspiratorial, the Preface to the Macroshift book actually contains a shout-out to the creators of the 1970s World Order Models Project, by name, although WOMP itself is not mentioned. Many people have told me the WOMP post is the most alarming wake-up call they have ever read on this blog.
http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/reorienting-world-order-values-via-the-intervention-of-activist-education-and-progressive-politics/ The described organic reorientation of K-12 education fits perfectly with Papert’s goals for computer learning and the recently announced global curriculum redesign project with many of the same players involved with the Macroshift to a Holos Consciousness. It also ties the transition to the goals of “socialism with a human face’ described in that post. Yes, quoting Gandhi about needs is so much better from a PR standpoint than attributing the desired planetary ethic to Marx. However, the desired slogan of “Live in a way that enables others to live as well” is unquestionably a simple restatement of Uncle Karl’s small c vision–his human development theory. It was also tied to society getting to a certain stage of technological development that would supposedly allow everyone’s needs to be met without beggaring everyone.
In ancient times all roads led to Rome. In the 21st century all education and other radical reforms of institutions and political structures seem to always wind back to that chronically unemployed 19th century moocher with a toxic vision. Which is why we keep the vision without attributing it back to the notorious name where it really started. Marx WAS right that consciousness was the essential component of getting a desired revolution in the real world. He was wrong though to believe it would be a natural by-product of social class. Holos Consciousness or insisting that learning be about concrete experiences that are relevant to real world problems are both just the latest attempts to alter consciousness in ways advantageous to anyone with hopes for radical transformation. Computers again are just a tool that lets those experiences be programmed as desired.
It is in light of these transformational goals that the push for mindful, contemplative experiences should be seen. It is how students get the announced goal of a new kind of rationality. One that, as Papert noted above, does not privilege print. It is no accident that Macroshift uses the Greek term for the written word-Logos-to describe the kind of rationality it wants schools and the media and entertainment to squelch. It claims “Logos-inspired evolution was materialistic and conquest-and-consumption-oriented. The alternative to it is evolution centered on human development and development of human communities.”
By admission this Holos Consciousness is rooted in deep spiritual practices. It is a “collective evolution” with nothing but disdain for the individual. It is all about “adjusting our values, aspirations, and behaviors.” The latter of course is accomplished via the collection of data on students using poorly understood definitions of Competency, Student Growth, and Student Achievement.
At no time are parents ever likely to hear the phrases–Marxist Humanism, Holos Consciousness, or the planetary ethic. Yet compliance with all these visions, which are in fact euphemisms for each other, will be actively guided, measured, and cultivated.
From the reading selections to learning tasks to classroom topics and vocabulary to the nature of the open-ended problems on assessments and projects and digital curricula and online games.