User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Traditional Education is the Ultimate Filter Bubble

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The Filter Bubble warns that a potential downside to filtered searching [learning] is that it “closes us off to new ideas, subjects, and important information”[7] and “creates the impression that our narrow self-interest is all that exists.”[1] It is potentially harmful to both individuals and society.

Criticism towards the traditional education model typically revolves around its focus on maintaining an industrial model of education.  I believe that related to this, and possibly even more damaging, is that the traditional model also creates a filter bubble of learning.  Although the filter bubble is used to describe how the Internet algorithms are limiting searches to personal and confined interests, these ideas can also be used to describe traditional education.  Some of the characteristics of traditional education as a filter bubble include:

  • Students are grouped by age and typically similar cultural demographics as they are from the same neighborhoods.
  • Students are told what to learn, when to learn it, and how to learn it.
  • The topics to be covered, standards to be achieved, and curriculum to learn are mostly determined by the government.
  • Textbooks and testing instruments are written by a few individuals who decide what is important to learn and know.
  • Corporations decide which textbooks and testing instruments to highlight and disseminate.
  • Conformity is rewarded, diversity of thoughts and opinions is not.
  • Students who do not fit into the filter bubble are failed, asked to leave the system, or quit.

Illustration by Susan Sanford – see

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

September 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm

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