Hack Education Weekly News

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. It’s a bit tricky to do some weeks – because some weeks I’m traveling and some weeks a major event happens in the middle of the week making some of the “before” reporting seem a little odd.

(National) Education Politics

“Buckle Up, Betsy DeVos: Democrats Have Won the House,” Education Week warns.

I haven’t included updates to all the education races or education-related races here. I’m sorry. I’m tired.

“Midterms test the durability of the teacher uprising,” says The Washington Post.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What the Midterm Elections Mean for Higher Ed.” Inside Higher Ed writes “What a Divided Congress Means for Higher Education.”

Young and College-Educated Voters Played Key Roles in Democratic Wins on Tuesday,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

From the Department of Education press release: “U.S. Department of Education Fulfills Administration Promise to Invest $200 Million in STEM Education.” (These are grant funds, many of them already in existence. But nice PR.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Feds Prod Universities to Address Website Accessibility Complaints.” The subhead asks if “fully accessible” is possible, which… sucks.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Paul.

The race between Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond for California State Superintendent has still not been called.

Via Chalkbeat: “Election results: Newark opts for elected board, NJ voters approve $500M for schools.”

Via AZ Central: “Arizona voters said ‘Hell no’ to Prop. 305, Ducey’s school voucher plan. But will he listen?”

(Speaking of vouchers in Arizona, AZ Central reported – pre-Tuesday’s election – that, “Parents spent $700K in school voucher money on beauty supplies, apparel; attempted cash withdrawals.”)

Good news in Wisconsin. Via Education Week: “Democrat Tony Evers, Wis. Schools Chief, Narrowly Defeats Gov. Walker.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Candidates Embracing Their Black-College Roots.”

Via Chalkbeat: “In New York City schools, 40,000 students aren’t getting required special education services, report finds.”

Immigration and Education

Casey Parks is such a great journalist and I am thrilled she is working for The Hechinger Report. Here’s her latest: “Immigrant students find hope in soccer, but some states won’t let them play.”

Via The Washington Post: “Trump can’t immediately end DACA, appeals court panel says, setting up Supreme Court fight.”

Education in the Courts

Via ACLU: “Children Cruelly Handcuffed Win Big Settlement Against the Police in Kentucky.”

Via The Washington Post: “Supreme Court refuses to block young people’s climate lawsuit against U.S. government.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Harvard’s Admissions Process Was Just Dissected in Federal Court. How Did It Hold Up?”

There’s more legal news in the “immigration and education” section above. And there’s more legal news in the “for-profit higher ed” section and in the “business of financial aid” section below.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Politico: “Navient is mounting a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s plans to overhaul how the federal government collects student loans. The company alleges in a lawsuit, which became public on Monday, that the Education Department’s process for selecting companies for its new loan servicing platform has been unfair and violated federal procurement rules.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a for-profit college chain seeking to assure access to Title IV federal student aid money while it undertakes a financial restructuring.”

Inside Higher Ed reports that “Laureate Mulling Sale of Walden University.”

Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)

Via the Edmonton Journal: “Athabasca University reaches deal with cloud-computing giant Amazon.”

In the first phase of the project, all staff will be brought up to speed on cloud computing. The university will then begin augmenting its online offerings using machine learning and artificial intelligence products from Amazon.

Over time, students will be able to customize their learning experiences using Amazon products such as Kindle and Echo’s Alexa assistant.

So basically, Athabasca is making it possible for AWS to learn a lot about higher ed and, should it chose, launch new products to compete in the higher ed industry. Well done, team.

Via Techcrunch: “LinkedIn Learning now includes 3rd party content and Q&A interactive features.” Here’s how Edsurge puts it: “LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly).”

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via Slate: “Tech-Bro Culture Was Written in the Code” – “How computing pioneers at Dartmouth in the 1960s gave rise to the macho tech culture we see today.”

Via the Idaho Statesman: “Middleton Heights staff placed on administrative leave over controversial Halloween outfits.” Their racist Halloween costumes involved dressing up as the “border wall.”

Via Texas Monthly: “Meet the Women Whose Persistence Made Texas A&M Change Its Sexual Assault Policies.”

Via NPR: “Legacy Admissions Offer An Advantage – And Not Just At Schools Like Harvard.”

Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

Via Ocala Star Banner: “High school students now required to wear ID” – either clipped to their clothes or on a lanyard around their neck. This is following a school shooting at Forest High School in Florida.

Via Education Week: “Beware the Unintended Consequences of the School Safety Movement.”

Via the Las Vegas Review: “For some, random school searches are small price to pay for safety.”

Via The LA Times: “Thousand Oaks shooting leaves 13 people dead, including gunman, and 18 injured.” I’m including this story as the bar was “packed with college students.”

And same goes for the story about a shooting in Tallahassee – it’s loosely connected to the local campus. As Tallahassee.com reported, “Scott Beierle, gunman in Tallahassee yoga studio shooting, remembered as ‘really creepy’.” That is, he “had a history of arrests for grabbing young women around the campus of Florida State University.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Maryland’s student government organized a rally to encourage backing the football team. Many minority students and others said it was time to focus on the abuse of athletes and the death of a black player.”

Via USA Today: “Analysis shows 147 college football programs had at least one player diagnosed with CTE.”

There’s another sports-related story in the “immigration and education” section above.

Labor and Management

11% of our host community in New York are teachers. For many teachers, being a host is a natural extension of the knowledge and compassion they have shared throughout their careers. ????????????????— Airbnb Citizen (@AirbnbCitizen) November 2, 2018

I have an idea. Let’s make sure educators can all earn a living wage.

Via Chalkbeat: “Here’s the letter announcing Michael Milkie’s departure from Noble Network.”

Via The New York Times: “Google Workers Reject Silicon Valley Individualism in Walkout.”

(I missed this news last week.) Via Chalkbeat: “Chicago’s Acero teachers vote 98% to authorize first-ever charter school strike.”

The Business of Job Training (and Educational Benefits for Employees)

Writing in Edsurge, Entangled Solutions’ Lauren Dibble, Michael B. Horn, and Rob Urstein all say they agree with venture capitalist Ryan Craig and his new book A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College: “The Rise of Early-Career Enhancers in Education.” It’s not the last mile of education. It’s the first mile on the next leg. Or something.

Via Campus Technology: “The University of North Dakota has teamed up with for-profit training company Woz U to provide short-term technology education programs.” No mention of any of the recent controversy about Woz U and the for-profit it’s affiliated with, Southern Career Institute.

Contests and Conferences

Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill with “Notes on EDUCAUSE 2018.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Has ‘Shift’ Happened?asks Edsurge.

(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Products like this remain one of the most terrifying ideas in education technology.

Via The Atlantic: “The Backlash Against Screen Time at School.”

I'm sorry, but if you were the "poster child" for promoting tech and now have suddenly positioned yourself to be the "poster child" for criticizing tech, I am just gonna assume you're more into being a "poster child" than much else— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) November 9, 2018

Via The Verge: “Instagram might be working on school Stories.” All those teachers promoting their personal brandzzz on Insta will be thrilled!

Via Techcrunch: “Flickr says it won’t delete Creative Commons photos.”

Via Edsurge CEO Betsy Corcoran: “Edtech Incubators are Fading. Here’s What Will Replace Them.” This is a profile of Bobbi Kurshan, Senior Fellow and Innovation Advisor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (and an advisor to Edsurge – which certainly explains a lot about this article). This is largely a promotional piece for Penn and for the workshops that Penn GSE offers entrepreneurs, which I guess is what we’re supposed to think is replacing incubators – although certainly weekend workshops don’t offer the ever-important VC funding that many incubators have done.

EdWeek’s Market Brief published a story on incubators in Africa this week but the link now 404s. So perhaps incubators are fading after all.

Ed Week’s Ben Herold is a sly one because here is a headline in the form of a question that most assuredly can be answered “yes”: “Are Companies Overselling Personalized Learning?

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson Unveils Immersive History Curriculum, Even as Potential Sale of K–12 Products Looms.” From what I can glean, “immersive” means there are photos and recordings available with the curriculum.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

From Pearson: “AI-based tutoring: A new kind of personalized learning.” “New” since, oh, the 1960s.

Via Edsurge: “What Robots Can Teach Us About Being Human.”

Via Wired: “What the Boston School Bus Schedule Can Teach Us About AI.”

Via Edsurge: “Cat Ears and Robot Friends: What Japan’s Educational Future Could Include.” Based on what one sees at an education conference.

“Don’t let a robot stalk your babysittersays The Outline.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

From Capital and Main: “Reed Hastings: Netflix CEO Goes Nuclear on Public Schools.” (I don’t know that this really goes best under the “philanthropy” header here.)

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Yuanfudao has raised $250 million from Tencent. The tutoring company has $494.2 million total.

Photomath has raised $6 million from Learn Capital and Goodwater Capital. The math-problem-solving app has previously raised funding but did not disclose the amount.

Kinvolved has raised $1.54 million from Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the Twilio.org Impact Fund, New York Ventures, Excell Technology Ventures, GingerBread Capital, and u2i. The absentee monitoring software has raised $3.3 million total.

Tutoring company GuruQ has raised $300,000 from an unnamed investors.

Via Crunchbase: “China’s Education Startups Continue To Pull In Massive Funding Rounds.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The New York Times: “At China’s Internet Conference, a Darker Side of Tech Emerges.” (This is worth thinking about in light of the massive amount of funding pouring into Chinese education companies right now.)

There are plenty of surveillance-related stories in the “guns are ed-tech” section above.

Via Education Week: “They Hacked Their School District When They Were 12. The Adults Are Still Trying to Catch Up.”

Via The News & Advance: “LU makes email addresses available to campaigns for a fee as candidates grow increasingly savvy with big data.” LU here is Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. (FERPA is such a joke.)

Research, “Research,” and Reports

I’m only including this here because I like to remind folks that many marketers are futurists and many futurists are marketers and they’re often all wrong. Via Apple Insider: “Gartner, IDC were both wildly wrong in guessing Apple’s Q4 Mac shipments.”

Via Education Week: “Computers + Collaboration = Student Learning, According to New Meta-Analysis.”

“The EDUCAUSE 2019 Top 10 IT Issuesfrom Educause.

Via The Washington Post: “Major depression in American youth rising, new report says.”

“Nobody Knows How Well Certificates Are Doing Against Degrees,” says Campus Technology, writing up a report by Eduventures.

Why Aren’t Schools Using the Apps They Pay For?asks Edsurge, writing up the results of a Brightbytes study of data from schools using the Brightbytes’ analytics platform. So perhaps the problem isn’t that schools aren’t using the apps that they pay for. Perhaps the problem is that schools who pay for Brightbytes are the kinds of places happy to throw their money at any sort of ed-tech.

The app store for higher educationby Ben Williamson.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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