Hack Education

Against "Innovation" #CNIE2014

Here are the slides and the notes from my talk today at CNIE in beautiful Kamloops, British Columbia. Initially I wanted to talk about some of the differences between the cultures of education and Silicon Valley and how "innovation" is framed by both. Instead, I found myself a heading down a rabbit hole with the etymology of the word "innovation." What I fear is that we talk about "innovation" without any referent except that somehow -- magically and inevitably -- "the new" is good, technology is good, technology is progress. We conflate "innovation" with positive social change.

Robots and Education Labor #bccagora

I gave a talk this morning at Berkeley City College as part of an event about outsourcing, adjunctivism, and higher education culture. I wanted to talk about labor and technology -- not just about MOOCs, essay-grading software, and other education technologies in the news and in classrooms today, but about some of the history of automation in education as well. Of course, I can't help but invoke literature and film in doing so: the history of robots there too.

Hack Education Weekly News: Pearson Wins Major CCSS Standardized Testing Contract. Shocker.

In this week's news, Pearson won the contract to develop and administer PARCC's version of the CCSS tests (about 15 million students are covered by this testing consortium. 15 million times $29.50 per test. Will that be on the test?). Some folks are arguing kids are mad at Michelle Obama because she's been pushing for healthier school lunches. Me, I reckon some folks will use any opportunity to be mad at the Obamas. Google launches an LMS. Microsoft adds Khan Academy content to PowerPoint. Automattic, the company behind Wordpress, raises a ton of money.

Hack Education Weekly News: Louis CK vs the Common Core

In this week's news roundup: Louis CK tweets about the Common Core and standardized testing. Google says it's going to stop scanning for advertising students' emails in Google Apps for Education. The Obama Administration releases the names of 50+ schools it's investigating for Title IX violations. ConnectEDU files for bankruptcy. Marc Andreessen invests in a brain wave company. And other fun stuff.

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Beneath the Cobblestones... A Domain of One's Own

Here are the notes and slides from my talk today at Emory University as part of the Atlanta Regional Incubator for A Domain of One's Own. I wanted to talk about why this initiative -- one that I call one of the most innovative in ed-tech -- matters. But after this event was postponed twice for snow -- in Atlanta.

Hack Education Weekly News: The End of Net Neutrality?

In this week's news: InBloom announces it will close. The Supreme Court votes to support an affirmative action ban in Michigan. The FCC proposes new language that would end net neutrality. The money and power people met in the Arizona desert to talk about "education innovation" and money and power and Magic Johnson. Football players at Northwestern University are voting today on whether or not to unionize.

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Hack Education Weekly News: Udacity Charges for Certificates, a Harry Potter MOOC, and Other Ed-Tech "Magic Formulas"

In this week's news: more details about the new SAT. Udacity will no longer offer free certification to its MOOC completers. Coursera's CEO rewrites online education history. Tony Bates is retiring. Chegg buys a daily deals site. 60 years after Brown v Board of Education, US schools are resegregating. RIP Gabriel García Márquez. And hey! My other project Educating Modern Learners is now live!

Educating Modern Learners Is Live!

After several months of writing and editing and website building and tweaking and stuff, Educating Modern Learners is live! As I mentioned earlier this year, I've taken on the role of editor and lead writer for a new progressive education/technology site, founded by Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon. I'm pretty excited about what's in store for the coming weeks and months. I hope others are too...

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Hack Education Weekly News: Heartbleed, Data Insecurity, But Hey Lots of Money for Ed-Tech Startups Nonetheless

Oh hey! The Internet is broken! Or at least, the security of sites using OpenSSL has been broken -- for several in fact. The bug, which the NSA has (shocker!) purportedly exploited, means that encrypted transmissions -- the ones you thought were encrypted? -- are vulnerable. While the common advice is OMG CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS, it's best to wait to make sure the sites have actually fixed their own vulnerabilities before doing so. And let's ask some hard questions dammit about why very few ed-tech vendors have issued any information about this to their users.

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Engaging Flexible Learning #bcdl2014

Here are the notes and the slides from my keynote yesterday at the BC Digital Learning Conference. (Incidentally, Slideshare: you are a piece of shit.) Anyhoo. I was asked to respond to some of the things I'd heard over the three day event. And I tried. I also wanted to share a cautionary tale about the future of education and ed-tech. Because someone has to do it.

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