2013 was a lost year for tech

2013 was a lost year for tech

qz.com on

"All in, 2013 was an embarrassment for the entire tech industry and the engine that powers it—Silicon Valley. Innovation was replaced by financial engineering, mergers and acquisitions, and evasion of regulations. Not a single breakthrough product was unveiled—and for reasons outlined below, Google Glass doesn’t count." How does ed-tech fit into Christopher Mims arguments? The MOOC hype and the MOOC disappointments? The iPad hypes and the LAUSD fiasco? The "data-driven education" push and the resistance to inBloom? The acquisitions in lieu of innovation? Yeah... I think this argument works.... read the full post.

Kansas university system censorship: Social media and academic freedom.

Kansas university system censorship: Social media and academic freedom.

www.slate.com on

"Why isn’t it within KU’s purview to fire people who use company equipment, or are on company time, or are in some other way using their company affiliation, to say something that isn’t in the best interests of the company? Because a university, especially a public university, is not a company. A public university does not have stockholders; it is not even allowed to make a profit. The “interests of the university,” to use the Kansas regents’ verbiage, are the creation, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge—the free exchange of ideas."... read the full post.

Black Mountain SOLE: MOOC campus for online learners has rough start

Black Mountain SOLE: MOOC campus for online learners has rough start

www.newrepublic.com on

"Since launching in September, Black Mountain has watched much of its seed money drain away as it struggles to build a seaworthy business model. Though many of the tech- and business-minded SOLEmates have flourished, creative types and liberal arts-seekers have foundered. The number of participants is growing, but at least half of the original class seems likely to leave before finishing their intended nine-month stay. Black Mountain was founded on the premise that college’s last remaining selling point, in this digital age, is community—so it set out to replicate the effect. The last four months have gone a long way toward proving the theory wrong."... read the full post.

Data Collection and Learner Control: Moving Beyond inBloom

Data Collection and Learner Control: Moving Beyond inBloom

funnymonkey.com on

"Recently, the near-exclusive focus on inBloom works to the detriment of addressing comprehensive concerns about student privacy. Compared to other companies offering datastores for student data, inBloom offers some key advantages: their codebase is available under an open source license, and their datastore is freely available online. This means that any entity who wants to can stand up a datastore on their own hardware, without interacting with inBloom at all. This also means that, unlike other data storage services currently in operation storing personally identifiable student data, third parties can do security audits on the code. With inBloom, we don't need to take the vendor's word on security. But to be clear: ALL of the current options raise serious privacy and security concerns. These concerns predate inBloom, and if inBloom were to disappear tomorrow, the same security and privacy concerns would continue to exist. As a result of federal reporting requirements that predate both inBloom and CCSS, nearly every district is currently storing data electronically, with predictably mixed results. There is no such thing as 100% security, in IT or in life."... read the full post.

Beware ‘brain-based learning’

Beware ‘brain-based learning’

www.timeshighereducation.co.uk on

"...The emphases that are developed from this way of thinking, in, for instance, the Brain Waves report on “adaptive learning technology” or the foreword of Educational Neuroscience to a “robot tutor”, risk confounding teaching with learning. By instrumentalising teaching instruments, by focusing on the brain and not the child or student, these advocates seem oblivious to the fact that both teaching and learning are not timeless and isolated activities but in their very essence socioculturally embedded. To me as a neuroscientist, committed as I am to the research endeavour of trying to understand how the brain works and what relationship such working may have to mind and consciousness, studying what happens in the brain when someone solves quadratic equations or learns a poem is endlessly fascinating. I worry, however, that some of the enthusiasts for educational neuroscience may have it the wrong way round. For neuroscientists, the phenomenology of, for instance, dyscalculia or dyslexia, prompts questions about the brain processes that may be involved, and in this sense the Royal Society report is right to encourage knowledge exchange between practitioners and scientists. But I would suggest that this is less about what educationalists can learn from us, and more about how their experience of teaching can help to frame the questions that neuroscientists ask about the brain."... read the full post.

“If I can’t love her, no one will”

“If I can’t love her, no one will”

fredrikdeboer.com on

"More than anything, there’s this: it is not merely the academic job market that is broken. Schuman may be appropriately cynical towards the tenure track job market, but in constantly gesturing towards other kinds of employment, she shows insufficient cynicism towards the broader world of employment. It is not just the academy that is broken. The fundamental system of trading work for material security is slowly dying in a world of capital-biased technological change and automation."... read the full post.

Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina

Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina

mfeldstein.com on

"Silicon Valley can’t disrupt education because, for the most part, education is not a product category. “Education” is the term we apply to a loosely defined and poorly differentiated set of public and private goods (where “goods” is meant in the broadest sense, and not just something you can put into your Amazon shopping cart). Consider the fact that John Adams included the right to an education in the constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The shallow lesson to be learned from this is that education is something so integral to the idea of democracy that it never will and never should be treated exclusively as a product to be sold on the private markets. The deeper lesson is that the idea of education—its value, even its very definition—is inextricably tangled up in deeper cultural notions and values that will be impossible to tease out with A/B testing and other engineering tools. This is why education systems in different countries are so different from each other. “Oh yes,” you may reply, “Of course I’m aware that education in India and China are very different from how it is here.” But I’m not talking about India and China. I’m talking about Germany. I’m talking about Italy. I’m talking about the UK. All these countries have educational systems that are very substantially different from the U.S., and different from each other as well. These are often not differences that a product team can get around through “localization.” They are fundamental differences that require substantially different solutions. There is no “education.” There are only educations."... read the full post.