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Who's Investing in Ed-Tech? (2015)

Note: Kin has this very smart work-hack where he takes email inquiries – particularly those that he receives again and again and again – and turns them into blog posts. Then, instead of responding to each at length, he can respond with a link to said blog post. I received an email from the Educator Writers Assocation’s Mikhail Zinshteyn, asking about the shape of ed-tech investment, and I decided to answer it here, because I think it’s a question that others have as well.

The question:

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The Automatic Teacher

“For a number of years the writer has had it in mind that a simple machine for automatic testing of intelligence or information was entirely within the realm of possibility. The modern objective test, with its definite systemization of procedure and objectivity of scoring, naturally suggests such a development.

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The First Teaching Machines

B. F. Skinner is often credited as the inventor of the “teaching machine.” While no doubt the phrase is often associated with his name and with his behaviorist theories, he was hardly the first person to design a machine for teaching. But identifying who was "the first" poses a challenge, in part because it depends on how “teaching machine” is defined. It depends on whose achievement is recognizable or recognized, on what “counts.”

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Ed-Tech Investments: January 2015

When I went to write my year-in-review post in December on “The Business of Ed-Tech,” I realized that I didn’t have the numbers I needed to calculate investment levels or to identify the biggest rounds of funding and the most active investors. So I swore I’d pick up a project that I started in 2013 but hadn’t maintained: the Ed-Tech Matrix, an effort to map the industry’s investments and acquisitions.

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Hack Education Weekly News

Education Politics

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Multiple Choice and Testing Machines: A History

Why multiple choice? It’s a question that’s plagued me for a long time, particularly as someone who grew up with one foot in the American and one foot in the British education system. (The former involved a lot of multiple choice testing; the latter, almost none.)

Where and when did multiple choice assessment originate? Who decided it was a good measurement of learning? How did multiple choice come to look this way? Like, why are there only four or five options in the typical multiple choice test? Why not three? Why not thirty?

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Separating Education Research from Marketing

A version of this article first appeared on Educating Modern Learners

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Hack Education Weekly News

The State of the Union

Tuesday night, President Obama gave the annual State of the Union pep-talk. Among the education-related proposals: free community college, a law protecting student’s data and privacy, streamlined higher education tax credits, and universal pre-school.

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A Hippocratic Oath for Ed-Tech

This post first appeared on Educating Modern Learners

Ethics and educational technology – we don’t talk a lot about the two together, but perhaps it’s time we do. We can’t simply assume that ed-tech is good or progressive, for starters. Nor can we ignore the growing political and economic power of the ed-tech industry. Although comparisons between medicine and education aren’t always that useful, perhaps there’s something to be learned from the promises the health care profession makes … and breaks.

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