This is a fascinating and rather frightening essay about the quest for a teaching machine.

Philip McRae, the author, looks at the historical search for a machine that would standardize teaching, making it cost-efficient and providing a common curriculum. Then he describes the present-day efforts to aggregate Big Data, discover patterns, and create a platform through which content might be delivered to 100 or 200 students in a class.

Here is the pivotal line:

“At its most innocent it is a renewed attempt at bringing back behaviourism and operant conditioning to make learning more efficient. At its most sinister; it establishes children as measurable commodities to be cataloged and capitalized upon by corporations. It is a movement that could be the last tsunami that systematically privatizes public education systems.”