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ERIC Number: EJ1002445
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
Feedback in an Age of Efficiency
Nichols, T. Philip
Educational Leadership, v70 n1 p71-74 Sep 2012
Joseph Weizenbaum, a professor at MIT, designed ELIZA in 1964 as an experiment in artificial intelligence. ELIZA was constructed with a library of ready-made questions that could be summoned at a moment's notice in response to human input. When users' statements fell outside the program's scripting, ELIZA could adapt by rephrasing the words into a question that demanded further elaboration. ELIZA was a sensation in the computer science community, but Weizenbaum's own reaction was tempered by his observations of how people interacted with his invention. According to Weizenbaum (1984), people seemed to forget that the machine could not really understand them. Although the calculated feedback of the computer imitated genuine human response, it lacked the intention and spontaneity of true interpersonal interaction. The ELIZA project illustrates how easy it is to conflate technical feedback with meaningful response. This has significant implications in the classroom--especially in the 21st century, when there are rubrics to justify student grades, online services to analyze student writing, classroom management software to calculate student progress, and standardized tests to compare student performance. The digital age has enabled everyone to make just about every instructional teacher-student interaction quantifiable, systematic, and scalable. But at what cost? Has the desire for increased efficiency and objectivity in assessment conditioned teachers, students, and parents to be satisfied with technical calculations that lack the nuance of meaningful human feedback? And if so, how might teachers begin restoring personal, dialectical response to student learning? These questions are addressed in this article.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A