Thorndike won, and Dewey lost. You can’t understand the history of education unless you realize this. I don’t think you can understand the history of education technology without realizing this either. And I’d go one step further: you cannot understand the history of education technology in the United States during the twentieth century – and on into the twenty-first – unless you realize that Seymour Papert lost and B. F. Skinner won.
Skinner won; Papert lost. Thorndike won; Dewey lost. Behaviorism won.
It seems to really bother folks when I say this. It’s not aspirational enough or something. Or it implies maybe that we’ve surrendered. Folks will point to things like maker-spaces to argue that progressive education is thriving. But I maintain, even in the face of all the learn-to-code brouhaha, that multiple choice tests have triumphed over democratically-oriented inquiry. Indeed, when we hear technologists champion “personalized learning,” it’s far more likely that what they envision draws on Skinner’s ideas, not Dewey’s.
Source: Behaviorism Won
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