In Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning by Audrey Watters, the author offers a comprehensive examination of the historical context and implications of educational technology in American classrooms. Ben Whitmore's review delves into Watters' central thesis, emphasizing her cautionary message about the enduring influence of behaviorist ideas on modern education. The review highlights the persistent parallels between B.F. Skinner's teaching machines and today's learning management systems, emphasizing the need for a critical, human-centered approach to educational technology. It encapsulates Watters' call for educators, politicians, and tech leaders to resist the allure of automation and prioritize the agency of teachers and students in shaping the future of education.
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