Hack Education

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.

Hack Education Weekly News: The End of InBloom?

In this week's education news: InBloom loses its final customer (New York State). PISA results (that's always fun). 2U ends its Semester Online initiative. Don't interpret that as a triumph for MOOCs though. Even MIT is raising an eyebrow at MOOCs now. Money money money for ed-tech companies. Some pretty awesome college admissions achievements for a handful of young Black men, prompting WaPo's Valerie Strauss to say we shouldn't talk any more about college admissions. WTF.

This Is Not a Test (This Is a Review of José Vilson's New Book)

This is a book review of José Vilson's new book, This Is Not a Test. This is not a bildungsroman. Not in the way the genre is traditionally defined. As such, it disrupts expectations about whose stories of "coming of age" get told, who is a subject (not an object) in the classroom -- as a teacher, as a student. The subtitle of the book is "a new narrative on race, class, and education." I'm incredibly honored to be the first to get to review the book. (I'm incredibly honored to be cited in it.) Buy it and read it.

Hack Education Weekly News: College Football Players Win Bid to Unionize

In this week's education news: a huge victory for student athletes at Northwestern University, who've been given the go ahead to form a union. New leadership at Coursera and edX -- the former, the former president of Yale and the latter, a former Vistaprint exec. Because who better to lead the charge for MOOC 2.0. Or something. 2U prepares to IPO. A bunch of startups raise money. Knewton's CEO insists that learning styles are real because he said so. And the beat goes on.

Hack Education Weekly News: Knowledge Pills and Other Ed-Tech Quackery

OK, I'm slightly out-of-it this week. That's what flying to England does for you, I guess. Also, I'm visiting family so jetlag plus emotional exhaustion equals a pretty sparse weekly roundup. My apologies. I was paying close enough attention to note that Nicholas Negroponte says that in 30 years time, we'll be able to injest knowledge -- through a knowledge pill or something. So just think. I won't actually have to pay attention to the news.

(How) Should Startups Compensate Schools and Teachers for their Feedback?

Another day, another discovery of super-shady practices going on in the ed-tech industry. Shocking. (Not shocking.) So here's an attempt to explain to educators (and to startups too, I guess) that the common practice is, when you have an ongoing relationship with a company and you give them meaningful feedback, that you are compensated. Startup advisors get compensated. Not just with some swag. Not just with some snacks at a little party. Not just with a logo for your website. Not with a promise that maybe someday when the company IPOs you'll get a discount on buying stock.

Hack Education Weekly News: Happy 25th Anniversary, World Wide Web

Happy 25th anniversary to the great piece of ed-tech ever invented, the World Wide Web. But in other ed-tech news, well... Microsoft partners with Knewton. Microsoft partners with Pearson. North Carolina wants its money back because it says that its statewide implementation of Pearson's PowerSchool isn't working properly. Microsoft partners with the CK-12 Foundation. Students in a class at Harvard were told not to ask questions as the lecture material was being used in a MOOC. Ed-reform funder Reed Hastings doesn't like democratically elected school boards.

Hack Education Weekly News: A New SAT, New Amplify Curriculum, and More from the SXSWedu Circus

Woohoo! SXSWedu! Wheeeee! News released in time with the event: new curriculum from Amplify! A revised SAT! Chromebooks! Analytics! Hype! And stuff. There was lots of other news too: Obama's budget for 2015; the acquisition of a couple of startups and funding for a bunch more; SRI's report on the usage of Khan Academy (note, it said "usage" not "effectiveness"); more edX consortium members; a decision in the Kansas state supreme court on school funding; and an epic spelling bee battle.

SXSWedu. This Again.

SXSWedu brings together some of the leading voices in (US) education: politicians and policy wonks (at the state and federal level), industry folks (from startups and corporations), the money people (from foundations and investment firms), educators (teachers and administrators), students, PR people, and journalists. And yet these groups mostly keep to themselves, only really mingling for pitches and press bonanzas. When they do talk to one another, it's often talking *at* one another via panels lasting 50 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A.

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Hack Education Weekly News: Facebook's Online Education Plans for Rwanda

In this week's education news: Facebook teams up with edX to offer online education (and Facebook) to Rwanda. The Department of Education "clarifies" its privacy rules (where "clarifies" equals "punts"). Lots of startups raise money, including Edsurge, Piazza, Credible, and Skillshare. Pearson stocks fall on reports that it's still struggling with ye olde transition to digital. An Arizona state senator worries that the Common Core means that students will learn about math that uses letters in place of numbers. Glasgow University students elect Edward Snowden as their rector.

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