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The History of the Future of Education Technology
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    When I post an article to Hack Education, it’s (typically) something I’ve thought about and researched and written and re-written. But this site also has a number of subdomains where I am working on other research that isn’t necessarily accompanied by well-wrought prose or analysis.

    I spent part of the day today, for example, updating the Ed-Tech Funding Project, which lives at (Some $336 million was invested in education companies in the month of January and 14 education companies were acquired, in case you were curious.)

    Since 2015, I have been tracking in detail which companies are raising venture capital and from who. While, sure, you can find quarterly and annual reports from a variety of investment analysis firms that will give you the numbers, I wanted the details. I wanted to be able to play with the data, not just copy-and-paste someone else’s line graph tracking year-over-year investment patterns and trust that their definition of "education technology" matched my own.

    The Ed-Tech Funding Project has details about investments, acquisitions, mergers, IPOs, and spinoffs, as well as “the ed-tech startup dead pool.” I also track who’s received Gates Foundation money and who’s funding Edsurge (and paying for content to appear on that site).

    As part of my Spencer Education Fellowship, I am also examining various investment firms – what they invest in as well as who works there – all in at attempt to understand how powerful networks operate in education technology (and education reform) and how the stories we are told about the future of education technology are shaped. If you visit another subdomain –– you can see some of that work-in-progress.

    I update the Ed-Tech Funding Project once-a-month. There’s a blog attached to that project, and if you want to subscribe, there is an RSS feed. The project is hosted on GitHub, so the data is readily available to be downloaded, forked, re-used, scrutinized, etc.

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  • 02/02/18--03:30: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    The State of the Union is a right mess. President Trump gave the annual speech to Congress on Tuesday night. (Thankfully, I had class and didn’t have to listen.) Some of the education-related moments: “Less Community, More Vocational,” as Inside Higher Ed put it. “What Trump Didn’t Say About Education,” according to The Atlantic.

    More on the Department of Education and for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below. And more on the Department of Education and its plans for financial aid in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    From the press release: “U.S. Department of Education Launches New English Learner Data Story.” “Data story” is a fancy way of saying “website.”

    There’s news about Department of Education hires in the HR section below.

    Via The New York Times: “Republicans Stuff Education Bill With Conservative Social Agenda.”

    Religious colleges would be able to bar openly same-sex relationships without fear of repercussions.

    Religious student groups could block people who do not share their faith from becoming members.

    Controversial speakers would have more leverage when they want to appear at colleges.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Top Official at Justice Dept. Says More Colleges Should Punish Hecklers.” Because “free speech” matters, right up until someone laughs at a Keebler Elf during his Senate confirmation hearing.

    Trump’s 5G proposal is destructive nonsense,” says The Verge. “Let’s socialize wireless networks in America. Just keep Trump out of it,” says The Outline.

    Via the Broadcast Law Blog: “Time for the FCC to Review Children’s Television Educational Programming Obligations of Broadcasters? Commissioner O’Rielly Thinks So.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Newark has control once again of its public school system, which the state took away from the city 22 years ago.

    Via BocaNews: “Parents throughout South Palm Beach County are using iReady on behalf of their children, possibly skewing scores – and usefulness – of the $6-Million diagnostic computer system.” iReady is owned by Curriculum Associates.

    Discovery Creemos Academy– formerly known as the Bradley Academy of Excellence – a charter school in Goodyear, Arizona, has abruptly closed its doors.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Rocketship becomes latest charter network to pull the plug on Tennessee’s Achievement School District.”

    Via NPR: “In D.C., 34 Percent Of Graduates Received A Diploma Against District Policy.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Libraries Bringing Small-Town News Back to Life.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via NPR: “Nearly 9,000 DACA Teachers Face An Uncertain Future.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The Phoenix New Times: “The Battle Isn’t Over Between ASU Professor and Cop Who Arrested Her in 2014.”

    “Free College”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In West Virginia, Free Community College Would Come With a Drug Test.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Wants To Put Your Student Loan Money On A Bank Card.” All the better to surveil you with, my dear.

    Via The Washington Post: “Use of financial aid continues to grow, though fewer students are borrowing for college.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “The U.S. Department of Education on Monday distributed proposals for rewriting the gainful-employment rule, which the Trump administration halted last summer,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “The department’s do-over on the vocational education rule, which applies to for-profit college programs and to nondegree programs at nonprofit colleges, continues with a negotiated rule-making session next week.” The proposal would expand the gainful employment rule to all schools that receive federal aid, but it would remove any penalties for schools that fail to meet acceptable levels.

    An op-ed in The Washington Post: “On ITT and the Education Department, no more excuses.”

    More on bootcamps in the job training section below.

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

    It’s baaaaack: “Return of the MOOC,” The City Journal tells us.

    Via The Jordan Times: “ launches new platform for school learners, teachers.”

    “The problem with online charter schools,” according to Vox.

    There’s some (sorta) MOOC-related news in the venture funding section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    The Baffler onTurning Point USA and its harassment campaigns.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Scholars Defend Stanford Professor Receiving Threats.”

    Via The Triton: “White Supremacist UCSD Student Disrupts Lecture.”

    Columbia Plans to Commit Unfair Labor Practice in Hopes of Denying Graduate Student Workers Their Labor Rights,” says Remaking the University. (Disclosure: I currently have a fellowship at the Columbia J School.) More on Columbia University’s dastardly move in Inside Higher Ed. Happy 50th anniversary of 1968, Columbia administrators!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Hypothetical ‘Shark Tank’ Session Sets Off Real Worries at U. of Baltimore.”

    Via the Lansing State Journal: “Some faculty leaders at Michigan State University are threatening to seek the resignations of the entire MSU Board of Trustees if it follows through with a reported plan to appoint John Engler interim president.”

    Via the AP: “Two students were shot and wounded, one critically, inside a Los Angeles middle school classroom Thursday morning and police arrested a female student believed to be 12 years old, authorities said.”

    MIT students are being scared straight with episodes of ‘Black Mirror’,” says The Outline. Funny that the Media Lab turns to fiction. Student could read about the actual history of MIT, if they want to think about the ethical implications of their work, and its ties to the military industrial complex.

    Via The New York Times: “Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness.”

    “‘Happiness 101’ Courses Are a Necessary Stop-Gap for the Campus Mental Health Crisis,” says Slate. Ah yes, this old canard: “positive psychology” in lieu of addressing underlying structural issues.

    Via NPR: “Student Journalists Launch Website After They Say School Censored Their Paper.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “This Student Newspaper Let A Nazi Sympathizer Write For Them.”

    (To be clear, these are two different student newspapers.)

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via The New York Times: “University of Pennsylvania Takes Away Steve Wynn’s Honors. And Bill Cosby’s, Too.”

    Via Bitcoin Magazine: “Pilot Project Verifies Academic Credentials on the Bitcoin Blockchain.” Phew! Good thing Bill Cosby’s degree wasn’t on the blockchain as there’d be no adjusting it, amirite? The pilot, by the way, is at University College London’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Higher Learning Commission has placed Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago on probation, citing financial troubles that threaten to undermine its educational programs.”

    Memos from HR

    Stanford researcher Candace Thille is heading to Amazon. The “pioneer in the science of learning,” as Inside Higher Ed puts it, will help the technology company with its internal training program.

    Via Politico: “Families for Excellent Schools CEO fired after investigation into ‘inappropriate behavior’.” That’s Jeremiah Kittredge, who’s run one of the best funded pro-charter advocacy groups in the company.

    New hires at the Department of Education.

    The Business of Job Training

    Inside Higher Ed on“Phase 2 for Boot Camps.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Google expands Howard West to a full-year program to train more black engineers.”

    Contests and Awards

    Well, well, well. I was wondering when #metoo would come to education technology. The Verge reports that “GDC rescinds award for Atari founder after criticisms of sexually inappropriate behavior.” That’s Nolan Bushnell.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Hey Alexa, Can You Help Kids Learn More?asks Michael Horn in Education Next. (The “voice-activated classroom” would discriminate against some people with disabilities and against people who do not speak English, but hey.)

    (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 is bringing computer education to Alaska Airlines’ in-flight entertainment,” says Techcrunch. Because MOOCs on an airplane proved to be such an effective mode of instruction.

    Via Techcrunch: “Sphero’s CEO discusses the company’s shift from Star Wars to schools.” The company, which has raised some $107.4 million, laid off 45 employees last week. So time for some friendly PR, I guess.

    Via The New York Times: “Turn Off Messenger Kids, Health Experts Plead to Facebook.”

    Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein and Phil Hill are launching a “matchmaking service” called the Empirical Educator Project. Edsurge has some of the details.

    Via The New York Times: “School Shooting Simulation Trains Teachers for the Worst.”

    Via Campus Technology: “One of the founders and former CEO of online proctoring company ProctorU, Don Kassner, is launching a new venture: MonitorEDU, an online proctoring service powered by technology from ProctorExam. Kassner created Proctor U in 2008 with colleague Jarrod Morgan while serving as president of Andrew Jackson University (now known as New Charter University), and left the company in 2016.” Sounds like there’s some proctoring company drama underlying this story.

    Campus Technology also says that Indiana University is expanding its use of Salesforce. It’s just a rewrite of a press release, sure, but I’m noting it here so as to monitor how Salesforce attempts to “platform” education.

    It’s 2018, and folks are still so desperate to make VR a thing.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Google for Education Launches Beta for ‘Create Your Own’ Virtual Reality Experience.” And by “experience,” they mean “uploading a 360 degree image to Google and adding some explanatory content.”

    How a Montessori classroom of fourth graders is like an International Baccalaureate classroom is a real article– and a good demonstration of how Montessori can be reshaped to fit any agenda. Sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, of course.

    “Why Students Are Still Spending So Much for College Textbooks,” according to The Atlantic.

    “Reflections on 20 Years of Open Content: Lessons from Open Source” by David Wiley.

    Via Techcrunch: “Pearson is adding LittleBits kits to its STEM curriculum.”

    Edsurge on“An Education ‘Intrapreneur’ on the Difficulties Innovating in a Conservative Industry.” That’s former Pearson exec Larry Singer, who now runs Open Up Resources.

    Please stop making up cute variations of the word “entrepreneur.” Please stop.

    You can learn a lot about how entrepreneurs view education when they’re talking with their investors about the business.

    Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. Ugh.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Americans don’t fear artificial intelligence as much as is commonly believed, a new study by Gallup and Northeastern University has found. Officials at Northeastern say that it shows higher education should be more involved in training people for the artificial intelligence world.” More on the survey from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Elsevier on“The Augmented Researcher: What Does 2018 Hold for AI in Publishing?”

    Edsurge predicts the future of ed-tech. Or at least the year in ed-tech.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The Washington Post: “Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America’s education system.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Liveedu.TV has raised $10 million in an initial coin offering. Liveedu.TV is a learn-to-code platform. ICOs are… something else indeed.

    The digital reading platform Ellabook has raised $6.3 million from Qingsong Fund, QF Capital, and Vtron Investment.

    Packback has raised $4.2 million from University Ventures, Mark Cuban, and Hyde Park Angels. The digital textbook provider has raised $8.2 million total.

    Lambda School has raised $4 million from Y Combinator and Tandem Capital. The coding school has raised $4.1 million total and plans to use the money to expand its income-sharing agreement program.

    LearnPlatform, the startup formerly known as Learntrials, has raised $3.2 million from New Markets Venture Partners and Emerson Collective. The company, which helps schools evaluate their ed-tech usage, has raised $4 million total.

    TeacherGaming has raised $1.6 million from Founders Factory and Makers Fund. The company sold MinecraftEDU to Microsoft in 2016.

    Edovo has raised $250,000 from Twilio. The company provides “tablet-based educational content for incarcerated individuals.”

    LivingTree has acquiredEdbacker.

    ASSIST has acquired the online school Advantages School International.

    Asteria Education has acquiredECS Learning Systems.

    Taskstream, Tk20, and LiveText have merged to launch a new company: Watermark.

    The former for-profit higher ed chain Laureate Education– it’s now a “public benefit company” – is selling off a number of its schools, Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Coursera co-founder “Andrew Ng officially launches his $175M AI Fund,” says Techcrunch. It isn’t really a fund per se. But that’s okay. MOOCs weren’t really MOOCs either.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin has released a new study on the many security and privacy issues with school (and school district and department of education) websites. More coverage in Edsurge and in Boing Boing.

    “It’s Time to Make Student Privacy a Priority,” says the EFF.

    Via Buzzfeed: “Here’s What Happens When Your Mom Or Dad Steals Your Identity.”

    Via The Guardian: “Amazon patents wristband that tracks warehouse workers’ movements.” Worth thinking about, I’d say, in light of the Candace Thille news (see above), as well as the announcement that the technology giant is working with Berkshire Hathaway and Chase to form a new healthcare company.

    Via The Guardian: “Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases.” The story is not directly education-related, of course, except for all those ridiculous arguments that we need some sort of “FitBit for education.”

    “The Latest Data Privacy Debacleby Zeynep Tufekci

    FERPA, COPPA and the myths we tell each other” by Jim Siegl.

    The GM of a “situational awareness technology company” offers thoughts on “Preventing Problems with Predictive Analyticsin the Getting Smart blog. This article is mostly about fire extinguishers, oddly. Might I suggest, one way you can avoid problems – something not mentioned in the article – is by not using predictive analytics.

    More predictive analytics PR.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    I’ve run the numbers on ed-tech funding for the month of January – details available on

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Roughly three million Americans live more than 25 miles from a broad-access public college and do not have the sort of high-speed internet connection necessary for online college programs, according to a new report from the Urban Institute’s education policy program.”

    From Educause: “Higher Education’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies and Trends for 2018.”

    Alex Usher reviewsGeorge Mason University professor Brian Caplan’s new book The Case Against Education.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “International Grad Students’ Interest in American Higher Ed Marks First Decline in 14 Years.”

    Also via The CHE: “4-Year Colleges That Drew the Highest Percentages of First-Time Students From Out of State, Fall 2016.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Personalized Text Messages Boost STEM Student Persistence in Community College Study.”

    Edsource on an Aspen Institute study: “Student social, emotional and academic development becoming more intertwined in K–12 classrooms.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Nearly three-quarters of ninth graders tracked in a major federal study had received some kind of postsecondary education or training within seven years – and nearly a quarter of them had left their programs without a credential of any sort.”

    The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson on“What Kids Are Really Learning About Slavery.” Historian Angus Johnston posted a series of questions on Twitter about the claims made in the Teaching Tolerance report about what students do and do not know about slavery.

    “‘White Supremacists Are Targeting College Campuses Like Never Before’,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education. More on the report from the Anti-Defamation League in Inside Higher Ed.

    Via Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum: “Did new evaluations and weaker tenure make fewer people want to become teachers? A new study says yes.”

    And Matt Barnum is my journalist hero this week for poking some holes in the claims made in Bloom’s famous “2 Sigma” study– a study that gets trotted out all the time to justify various education technology projects: “Why ‘personalized learning’ advocates like Mark Zuckerberg keep citing a 1984 study – and why it might not say much about schools today.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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    Last week, The New York Times wrote about a new simulation program, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, that aims to teach teachers how to respond to an active shooter on school grounds – a simulation “that includes realistic details like gunfire, shattered glass and the screams of children,” one in which teachers can play the role of school staff, law enforcement, or the shooter her- or himself.

    It was not the first article on the program known as EDGE, the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment. There were a flurry of stories on the shooting simulation software at the beginning of the year – Gizmodo, Engadget, Rolling Stone, The Verge– several of which seemed to build on an AP story filed in the closing days of 2016.

    Sixteen school shootings occurred between the publication of that AP story and the one that appeared in The New York Times – about one every other day.

    From what I can tell, the story of the shooting simulation was not covered by any education publications – only by a handful of technology ones. This raises a number of interesting questions about coverage and about definitions. What counts as an education story? School shootings certainly do. But what counts as “ed-tech”?

    I tweeted something rather flippant about the story back in January when Gizmodo posted a video about the simulation, and I received an admonishment from one ed-tech evangelist that the software “has nothing to do with ed-tech.” I replied that metal detectors are ed-tech, that windows are ed-tech, and that one should consider how these technologies are distributed among various school buildings and communities. The individual sneered that my definition was uselessly broad, that this would mean that locks on school doors are ed-tech.

    Well, locks on school doors are ed-tech.

    When most ed-tech evangelists, like my interlocutor on Twitter, talk about ed-tech, they don’t mean “technologies used in education.” They don’t even always mean “computers in education” – or not all computers, at least. While they readily refer to the use of computers used for instructional purposes, computers used for administrative purposes are less likely to be touted, particularly with the recent focus on “personalization” or “learning outcomes,” particularly when education-related computations occur outside a school or district (as in the case of private student loan companies, for example).

    Perhaps due to education publications’ funding by education reform organizations and by venture capitalists, the coverage of “education technology” in much education media tends to coincide with these investors’ policies and portfolios. The definition of “ed-tech” is therefore incredibly narrow, often focused on products rather than practices. And that skews the ways in which we talk about “ed-tech” – how we might consider its politics and its purposes, how we might think about its origins and its implications.

    In her 1989 CBC Massey Lectures, the physicist Ursula Franklin offered a different definition of technology, one that I use in my own thinking and writing:

    Technology is not the sum of the artifacts, of the wheels and gears, of the rails and electronic transmitters. Technology is a system. It entails far more than its individual material components. Technology involves organization, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and, most of all, a mindset.

    If we recognize technology as practices, we can more readily see the connections to social relations, Franklin argued. We can then think about technology not just in terms of the introduction of a particular tool, but in terms of how technology might support or shift pre-existing values. Cultural values. Political values. Institutional values.

    To claim that a school shooting simulation isn’t “ed-tech” is remarkably unhelpful. It serves to bolster the ideological claims that technology is always bound up in “progress.” And importantly, this refusal to include certain technologies in “ed-tech” circumscribes much of the analysis one might undertake about systems, structures, histories.

    What is the history of military teaching machines, for example? What role has the military played in developing education technology (particularly training simulations) that have made their way into classrooms? How might the military’s values – overtly and subtly – permeate ed-tech? How do those coincide and how do they conflict with the values of the public school system?

    And what is the history of weapons used at school and of the machines used to detect and deter school violence? “Since the attack on Columbine High School in 1999, mitigating the damage of on-campus shootings has been an increasingly urgent priority,” The New York Times writes in that article about school shooting simulation software. “More than two-thirds of public schools nationwide practiced their response to a shooting in the 2013–14 academic year, according to the Department of Education; 10 years earlier, fewer than half of schools did so.”

    But of course, Columbine was hardly the first school shooting. And the practices (and products) adopted to “mitigate the damage” have a very different history in affluent, suburban schools than they have in high poverty, urban schools where metal detectors, for example, were introduced almost twenty years earlier.

    New York City. Boston. New Orleans. Washington DC. Detroit. These cities all experimented with metal detectors and mandatory searches of (some) students (in some schools) in the early 1980s. The adoption of these practices was a response, according to school officials, to fears of youth violence and weapons incidents in and around schools (but overwhelmingly the latter). Along with the introduction of drug-sniffing dogs, students increasingly found themselves exposed to surveillance and searches at school, the legality of the latter upheld in a number of Supreme Court decisions that decade.

    There were concerns at the outset about the effectiveness of metal detectors – not simply whether or not they reliably caught students bringing weapons to campus but whether their introduction changed school culture. “We’d be concerned about the impact psychologically on the climate of the schools,” Robert Rubel, the director of the National Alliance for Safe Schools told The Detroit Free Press in 1985 when the Detroit Public Schools introduced unannounced weapons sweeps using handheld metal detectors.

    Indeed, many other school districts that experimented with metal detectors admitted that they found them to be counterproductive. If nothing else, the screening process posed a logistical challenge, with students complaining they had to wait in line so long that they were often late to class. But some districts stuck with metal detectors nonetheless, often as part of a broader police presence in schools. As Carla Shedd writes in Unequal City, the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Public Safety boasted in 2013 that it supported a range of these types of technologies: “8,000+ cameras, 500+ alarm systems, 150+ X-ray machines, 300+ metal detectors, 400+ door entry systems, and 35 bus trackers.”

    Shedd argues that

    Contemporary urban youth are exposed to police contact more frequently and at earlier ages than their predecessors. Schools – and for those who live in public housing, even some homes – have begun to resemble correctional facilities. Metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and other mechanisms designed to monitor and control inhabitants are now standard equipment in American urban schools. Youth who must navigate these spaces are inevitably at high risk of police contact, which may lead to frustration, disengagement, and delinquency.

    “Standard equipment in American urban schools.” Education technologies, even.

    What happens if we refuse to talk about these as “ed-tech”, if we refuse to address the practices of surveillance and control as well as products of surveillance and control? If nothing else, this refusal stops us from having the necessary conversations about why some schools might get simulations that train teachers how to respond to a potential shooting, and some schools get metal detectors that interpolate all students as potential shooters.

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  • 02/09/18--03:55: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    “The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools,” by Clint Smith in The Atlantic.

    Via the US Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Announces New Student-Centered Funding Pilot Program.” “Student-Centered,” eh?

    The Chronicle of Higher Education on the Higher Education Act: “Why an Update of Higher Ed’s Sweeping Framework Could Be Years Away.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Department to Propose Compromise in Borrower-Defense Negotiations.”

    There’s more Department of Education news in the for-profit higher ed and in the info sec sections below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “NSF starts requiring that institutions report findings of harassment and suspensions in its funded labs and field sites, and reminds institutions that it can pull funding where necessary.”

    Via The New York Post: “Charter-school advocacy group to close up shop.” That’s the Families for Excellent Schools, whose CEO was fired last week amid sexual harassment allegations. Via Chalkbeat: “Before Families for Excellent Schools’ sudden implosion, waning influence and a series of stumbles.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Education Week: “Puerto Rico’s Governor Seeks Charter Schools, Raises for Teachers.”

    Via The Indiana Gazette: “Parents and other school district residents reminded the Indiana Area school board on Monday that their dissent of the Summit Learning program hasn’t waned, even though the administration scaled back the program and put it on ‘opt-in’ status for the 2018–19 school year.” The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has thoughts on the pushback, making the comparison between Zuckerberg’s corporate and philanthropic efforts and inBloom.

    The Salt Lake City school board has voted to rename Jackson Elementary. It will no longer be named after Andrew Jackson, but instead honor NASA engineer Mary Jackson.

    Via The Houston Chronicle: “Houston charter network bought Dallas condo for office, storage.” As one does…

    “What’s the matter with Oklahoma?” asks The Economist.

    Via The New York Times: “In Fight Over Science Education in Idaho, Lawmakers Move to Minimize Climate.”

    Via NPR: “With Thousands Of Homeless Students, This District Put Help Right In Its Schools.” The district in question: Dallas Public Schools.

    Immigration and Education

    Vox says this is an exclusive: “Trump’s draft plan to punish legal immigrants for sending US-born kids to Head Start.”

    This is a little old, but it just crossed my desk this week and it’s important enough to still include. Via the Law Librarian Blog: “LexisNexis’s Role in ICE Surveillance and Librarian Ethics.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via the AFP: “Court affirms $25 million Trump University settlement.”

    Via the Argus Leader: “A former official with National American University has accused the South Dakota based for-profit system of defrauding the United States government out of millions of dollars in a student aid program, a lawsuit unsealed Thursday in federal court alleges.”

    Via Eater: “Students Will Receive Big Payout in Lawsuit Against Le Cordon Bleu.”

    Via The Washington Post: “Think tank sues Education Dept. over public records requests on college accrediting bodies.” The think tank in question: The Century Foundation.

    Via The New York Times: “Tariq Ramadan Charged With Rape After Accusations by Two Women.” Ramadan is on leave from his position at Oxford University.

    Via Education Week: “Student Retweets Snoop Dogg, Then Sues School District for ‘Retaliation’.”

    Rachel Cohen on the upcoming Supreme Court caseJanus v. AFSCME, Council 31: “The Eminent Libertarians Who Might Save Public Sector Unions.”

    There are more stories relating to court cases in the “business of ed-tech” section below.

    “Free College”

    UW Madison Unveils Free Tuition Program,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    Free College, With a Catchby IHE’s John Warner.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Buzzfeed: “The Government Is Forgiving More Student Loans, And It’s Costing Taxpayers.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    There’s more news about financial aid in the politics section above.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos’s Education Dept. Relaxed Rules for For-Profits Under Accreditor That Closed.”

    There are more details about a couple of for-profit court cases in the courts section above. And one for-profit story is in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section because of course.

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

    Via Class Central: “TU Delft Students Can Earn Credit For MOOCs From Other Universities.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    “I’m a Stanford professor accused of being a terrorist. McCarthyism is back,” writes David Palumbo-Liu.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Protests Mount, U. of Chicago Plans for a Visit From Steve Bannon.”

    Via The New York Times: “An Addict Dies in a School Restroom. He Was a Teacher.”

    Via USA Today: “20 years in, shootings have changed schools in unexpected ways.”

    Via The New York Times: “Plans at Stanford Fall Apart for a Plaque at Site of Sexual Assault.”

    Via The Wichita Eagle: “Koch family to open new kind of private school at Wichita State University.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    There’s accreditation news in the courts section above.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via AZ Central: “Maricopa Community Colleges to eliminate football.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The contract of University of Montana women’s soccer coach Mark Plakorus won’t be renewed after he used a university cellphone to text escort services during at least five recruiting trips to Las Vegas.”

    Memos from HR

    Daniel Greenstein, who has overseen the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work on postsecondary education since 2012, announced Monday that he would leave the foundation next month,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Elizabeth Alexander has been named the new president of the Mellon Foundation.

    Via Buzzfeed: “Astrophysicist Christian Ott Was Just Fired From His New Job In Finland After Harassment Scandal.”

    Note the ratio:

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Edsurge: “New Cybersecurity Course Teaches Teens the ABCs of (Ethical) Hacking.” The course is from CodeHS, which shares a number of investorswith Edsurge. No disclosure, no surprise.

    Contests and Awards

    There’s talk of changing the name of the ALA’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to an author who isn’t so racist.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    “Have We Decided What ‘Gainful Employment’ Means Yet?” 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

    Via The New York Times: “Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built.” This is the Center for Humane Technology, which had a big PR push this week, with articles in Edsurge and Education Week. Doesn’t seem like any journalists caught this, tho:

    Via The Guardian: “‘Fiction is outperforming reality’: how YouTube’s algorithm distorts truth.”

    Via Techcrunch: “YouTube’s CEO promises stronger enforcement in the wake of controversies.”

    Via CNN: “YouTube to start labeling videos posted by state-funded media.” State-funded media includes PBS, apparently.

    Via The New York Times: “School Shooting Simulation Trains Teachers for the Worst.”

    School Shooting Simulation Software (and the Problem with How People Define ‘Ed-Tech’)” by me.

    “A lecture-capture platform with a ‘confusion alert’ button is changing the way some instructors teach,” says Inside Higher Ed with an article that seems like an ad for Echo360.

    The Telegraph on TurnItIn: “New university plagiarism software to be launched in crackdown on ‘contract’ cheating.”

    Via Boing Boing: “Cloudflare terminate Sci-Hub domains, declining to challenge court order.”

    Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein on his company’s new event series, The Empirical Educator Project.

    Via Techcrunch: “The creator of Snoo, the $1200 high tech bassinet just came out with a baby swaddle.”

    Facebook’s app for kids should freak parents out,” says MIT Technology Review.

    Speaking of Facebook… According to The Verge, “Facebook hired a full-time pollster to monitor Zuckerberg’s approval ratings.”

    Speaking of Facebook again… Via CB Insights: “Facebook Patents Tech To Bucket Users Into Different Social Classes.” Well, this will be useful to “personalize learning,” won’t it.

    Via Techcrunch: “PS4 update lets parents control how long their kid can play.”

    From the Lenovo website: “Lenovo™ Introduces Lenovo Virtual Reality Classroom.” $3000 for three headsets. “Lenovo Virtual Reality Classroom headsets come pre-loaded with more than 700 available Google Expeditions VR field trips and exclusive Wild Immersion content, created with the support of Jane Goodall. Teachers can bring STEM lessons to life through this immersive learning and take students on biodiversity journeys through Africa, Asia, the Amazon, and more.” Pretty sure all this is on YouTube for free, but hey. When it’s strapped to your face, it’s Wild Immersion.

    “What We Should Worry About When We Worry About Virtual Reality” – a guest post by Eugene Stern on the Mathbabe blog.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via eSchool News: “Why chatbots are not the future of student engagement.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Buzzfeed: “The Koch Foundation Is Flooding Colleges With Money.”

    There’s more about what the Kochs are up to in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

    Via Chalkbeat: “With new focus on curriculum, Gates Foundation wades into tricky territory.”

    The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced some new grants. Or rather, its education head Jim Shelton made a Facebook status update to that effect. There’s very little detail as to where CZI money is going. But according to what it revealed this week: $3 million for Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning; 1.5 million for California’s Ravenwood Elementary School District; $1 million to Stephanie Jones of the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and $75,000 to Matthew Biel of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Stories on the Facebook status update from Education Week and Edsurge.

    Good grief, Inside Philanthropy, could you pose at least one hard question here: “Teaching K–12 is Brutally Hard. Here’s How CZI Is Offering Support.”

    Details about several HR changes at foundations in the HR section above.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Quizlet has raised $20 million in Series B funding from Union Square Ventures, Icon Ventures, Altos Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, and Owl Ventures. The digital flash card company has raised $32 million total.

    Smart Sparrow has raised $7.5 million from the testing company ACT. The “adaptive learning” company has raised $23.5 million total.

    Niche, which provides rankings for neighborhoods and schools, has raised $6.6 million from Grit Capital Partners and Allen & Company.

    AstrumU has raised $3 million from Ignition Partners and Correlation Ventures “to bring efficiency to higher education with machine learning.”

    AdmitHub has raised $100,000 from the Michelson 20MM Foundation. The chatbot-advisor company has raised $3.8 million total.

    Seesaw has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Jeff Weiner, Wayee Chu, and Bubba Murarka. It also claims that half of all U.S. schools have teachers using Seesaw. There’s no way to verify these sorts of claims – the data comes from the startups themselves. But that doesn’t stop the tech press from running with it anyway.

    New Mountain Learning’s subsidiary EMC School has acquiredZulama.

    PeopleAdmin has acquiredPerformance Matters.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Educause has submitted a $55,000 offer to acquire the assets of the now defunct New Media Consortium, court documents reveal.” More via Bryan Alexander.

    Via Reuters: “Coding boot camp General Assembly explores potential sale: CEO.” More via Edsurge.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    The FBI’s Cyber Division and the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General have issued a warning to schools about cyber criminals.

    Edsurge on“Why Charter Networks Are Investing Heavily in Data Teams.”

    Not directly ed-tech related – except for the part where ed-tech evangelists keep trying to push for “smart classrooms” and “smart schools.” Gizmodo on “smart homes”: “The House That Spied on Me.”

    Again, not ed-tech related per se, but again, I saw y’all wearing your Google Glasses at ISTE and talking about how these would be the future of school. Via The WSJ: “Chinese Police Add Facial-Recognition Glasses to Surveillance Arsenal.”

    Via Bitdefender’s blog: “Security hole meant Grammarly would fix your typos, but let snoopers read your private writings.”

    There’s more surveillance news in the immigration section above.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via The Washington Post: “A flat-earther finally tried to fly away. His rocket didn’t even ignite.” (I think I’ll save most of my other commentary about rockets and marketing for tomorrow’s HEWN.)

    NPR’s Anya Kamenetz on “screen addiction” and teens. (She’s also written a new book on parenting and “screens.”)

    “The Implications of Gartner’s Top 10 Tech Trends of 2018 for Education– Part 2,” according to the Getting Smart blog.

    Via Chalkbeat: “How new evidence bolsters the case for California’s education policy rebellion.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “First-generation college students are less likely to persist and graduate than are children of college-educated parents, a national study finds.”

    How many made-up statistics can you put in a blog post introducing your company?

    Via The Atlantic: “The Origins of Diversity Data in Tech.”

    Via Mic: “Want to grow the US economy? Cancel student debt, new report shows.”

    Via George Veletsianos: “Educational Technology Magazine archive (1966–2017).”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study counters widely held views about how students’ political views change when they arrive in college.” But why let research get in the way of a good “liberal indoctrination” narrative…

    Via Times Higher Education: “University of Leeds study finds many undergraduates have never heard of term, or ‘trigger warnings’.” But why let research get in the way of a good “snowflake” narrative…

    According to Pacific Standard, “Meditation May Not Make You a Better Person After All.” Shocking. (But the hoopla over “social emotional learning” persists nonetheless.)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 02/16/18--04:40: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    I’m sorta loathe to give a lot of attention to Trump’s budget proposal. What the President proposes and what Congress approves always looks very different. But I’ll dutifully link to some of the headlines from the week. That’s what I do here. Via Chalkbeat: “Trump’s proposed education budget: more for school choice, less for teacher training.” Via The Atlantic: “Does Trump’s Education Budget Even Matter?” Here’s the Department of Education Press Office fanfare.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Here’s What the $400-Billion Federal Spending Deal Means for Higher Ed.”

    Hooray. “Learning styles” in the White House:

    Via Buzzfeed: “The Education Department Officially Says It Will Reject Transgender Student Bathroom Complaints.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Betsy DeVos made a covert visit to Indianapolis last week. Here’s why.” Spoiler alert: she was making a TV special and probably didn’t want to have jeering crowds in the background.

    Via The New York Times: “In Her Words: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Assesses a Year on the Job.”

    From CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington): “FOIA Request – U.S. Department of Education – Office of Government EthicsDeVos.” Has she divested and/or disclosed all her financial interests?

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Bill Would Hold College Presidents Accountable for Sexual Abuse by Employees.”

    There’s more on Department of Education efforts to help the for-profit higher ed industry in the for-profit higher ed section below. And there are several stories related to immigration and education in the immigration and education section below.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “Months of Searching Still Hasn’t Found New Schools Chancellor.” That’d be the replace for Carmen Fariña, who’s leaving her position as the chancellor for the New York City schools.

    Via E-Literate: “Hawai’i Senate Bill: Would mandate OER material for all U Hawai’i system courses.” And later in the week, an update: “Hawai’i Senate OER Bill Update: Amended language saves the day.”

    Via the Tennessean: “One of Nashville’s Achievement School District schools to close months after opening.”

    The Texas Monthly on the future of the Texas Republican Party (with implications for education policy).

    Via ELearning Inside: “An Emirati City Is Giving Tablets to Every K–2 Learner As Part of its Lughati Initiative.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via the AP: “Appeals court declares Trump travel ban unconstitutional.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Second Judge Orders DACA to Continue.”

    Via The Intercept: “From School Suspension to Immigration Detention.” The school-to-deportation pipeline.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “FBI director Christopher Wray tells Senate panel that American academe is naïve about the intelligence risks posed by Chinese students and scholars. Some worry his testimony risks tarring a big group of students as a security threat.”

    There’s some research related to immigration in the research section below.

    Education in the Courts

    Via Mother Jones: “A Federal Appeals Court Just Dealt a Blow to School Segregation.” That is, “A majority-white Alabama town can’t split from its majority-black county school district.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As** U. of Washington** Braces for Right-Wing Rally, Judge Bars It From Charging Security Fee.”

    Via “ECOT goes to Ohio Supreme Court with $80 million, its survival and state’s control of charter schools on the line.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “$1.5 Million to Get Into an Ivy.” “Lawsuit reveals just how much a college consulting service will charge for its services.”

    More legal action in the immigration in the section above.

    “Free College”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Bard College opens its second ‘microcollege’ in Brooklyn Public Library. The free program, which selects ambitious applicants from underprivileged backgrounds, culminates in an associate’s degree.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Portland State University announced a plan to offer free tuition to prospective transfer students from low-income backgrounds starting this fall.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Marketwatch: “One company will now handle close to half of all student-loan payments.” That’s Nelnet, which recently merged with Great Lakes Educational Loan Services.

    “What if the United States decided to cancel all student debt?” asks Bryan Alexander.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “After Borrower Defense Negotiation Fails, Department to Craft New Rule.”

    From Bloomberg: “Silicon Valley’s Singularity University Has Some Serious Reality Problems.” There’s more on Singularity University, which announced it has raised over $30 million in venture capital, in the venture capital section below.

    There’s more research on how students at for-profits fare (spoiler alert: not well) in the research section below.

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

    Via NPR: “Inside The Virtual Schools Lobby: ‘I Trust Parents’.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “As Online Schools Expand, So Do Questions About Their Performance.”

    Via The New York Times: “Berklee College Expands Online, to Graduate Degrees.”

    There’s more news about virtual schools in the courts section above and in the HR section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via Education Week: “17 Dead After Expelled Student Opens Fire at Fla. High School.”

    “Another School Shooting– But Who’s Counting?” asks The Atlantic.

    “No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong,” says The Washington Post. I’m not so sure we should dismiss Everytown’s calculations quite so quickly. I think we should count suicides as school shootings. I think we should recognize that schools are situated within neighborhoods, and when there is violence in the neighborhood, it affects the school, the students.

    Related, via Wired: “Pro-GunRussian Bots Flood Twitter After Parkland Shooting.”

    Via The 74: “Schools in Texas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma& Tennessee Mourn Educators Who Have Died Due to the Flu.”

    There are many departments at many universities where the ethics of technology is not just an add-on to an existing program. (There are, of course, many departments at many universities where it is.) But The New York Times wants you to know that Harvard and Stanford“are hustling to bring a more medicine-like morality to computer science.”

    Via The Portland Press Herald: “Head of UMaine System has financial stake in firm seeking multimillion-dollar contract for Orono campus.”

    Via the Lansing State Journal: “MSU Faculty Senate votes no confidence in Board of Trustees.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern New Hampshire U. Apologizes for Professor Who Said Australia Is ‘Not a Country’.”

    Inside Higher Ed on“The Complications of Free Speech” at Stanford.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How One Campus Is Dealing With Its Ties to a 20th-Century White Supremacist.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Princeton Professor Cancels Course After His Use of a Racial Slur Angered Students.”

    Via the Sacramento Bee: “High school science fair project questioning African American intelligence sparks outrage.”

    Via The Outline: “How historically black colleges transformed America.”

    “What’s So Different About High Tech High Anyway?” asks KQED’s Mindshift.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    The 74 interviewed Sal Khan on personalized learning and his goal to create a “global diploma,” which he says his company can “uniquely” do. Which is… um… a bold claim.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The American Bar Association panel that accredits law schools has proposed loosening its restrictions on online education.”


    ACT/SAT for all: A cheap, effective way to narrow income gaps in college,” writes Susan Dynarski in a Brookings report.

    Memos from HR

    Harvard has a new president, Lawrence Bacow: “Another ‘White Male Economist Named Larry’,” as The Chronicle of Higher Education put it.

    Via The Miami Herald: “This teacher married her girlfriend. Then she was fired by a Miami Catholic school.” (The school, incidentally, is a participant in Florida’s voucher program, where tax dollars are used to send students to private schools – a program that Betsy DeVos and others have touted.)

    K12 Inc’s CEO Stuart Udell has resigned.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “In a blow to the graduate student union movement on private campuses, three would-be unions withdraw their petitions from the National Labor Relations Board, saying they’ll instead return to seeking voluntary recognition.” That is, would-be-unions at Yale, Boston College, and the University of Chicago.

    Erin Bartram on leaving higher ed.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Techcrunch: “WeWork Labs, startup-focused co-working space, relaunches.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Lyft partners with Black Girls Code to help develop a more diverse tech industry.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Will Augmented and Virtual Reality Replace Textbooks?asks The Center for Digital Education.

    (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

    Facebook Funded Most of the Experts Who Vetted Messenger Kids,” Wired’s Nitasha Tiku reports.

    From the press release: “ISTE Launches New Professional Learning Partnership with; Announces Plans to Update Standards for Computer Science Educators.”

    The Verge profiles Digital Ally, a company that makes police body cameras and soon, a new “conducted electrical weapon.” I’m including this news here not just because TASER holds the monopoly on the market for these weapons. But because the head of sits on the board of directors of the company that makes TASER, Axon. And perhaps folks should think about who they want to have directing their efforts for “everyone to learn to code” and if we want weapons manufacturers to be leading that charge.

    Via Fast Company: “How Software Is Taking On School Shootings.”

    I like to track on “baby tech” because I think it underscores how much of Silicon Valley is building a future for the wealthy. Like this example, from Techcrunch: “Cybex starts selling its $330, app-enabled car seat made for safety geeks.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Why Startups Fail: Lessons for Education Companies.”

    Via Education Week: “Virtual Reality for Learning Raises High Hopes and Serious Concerns.”

    Uber wants to be public transportation, and I have some serious concerns,” writes Andrew Hawkins in The Verge. Okay. It’s not ed-tech. Except for the part in which ed-tech might be redefining public education too.

    Via Gizmodo: “Tech History Group Dedicated to Preserving Information Busted Deleting Apology Tweets [Updated].” Related: Safiya Umoja Noble’s new book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism is out soon, and it seems like a “must read” for teachers, particularly those who tout their special “Google Certified Educator” badges.

    There are always a bunch of stories each week on how one school or one district is implementing “personalized learning” in some one-off way. It’s never clear to me why these are “a story” – except for the part in which publications funded by the Gates Foundation and CZI are being subsidized to write these articles, I guess.

    “Higher Education Joins the Blockchain Party,” says Edsurge. No mention of how any of this connects to alt-right politics, but hey. It’s Silicon Valley. What do you expect.

    Via Techcrunch: “Need a post on about your ICO? $500, please.”

    It’s boom times for the “regret industry.” This week, Rick Hess posted on his Ed Week blog“A Confession and a Question on Personalized Learning” from Amplify CEO Larry Berger.

    Two articles by Maya Ganesh in Cyborgology on the newly announced Center for Humane Technology: “The Center for Humane Technology Doesn't Want Your Attention” and “The Center Does Not Want Your Attention II. On Time Well Spent and Ethics.”

    “Thoughts about Technology Then and Now” from Larry Cuban, who has a new book on education technology coming out soon.

    Via Kotaku: “Sex, Pong, And Pioneers: What Atari Was Really Like, According To Women Who Were There.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Teaching assistant robots will reinvent academia,” Times Higher Education claims. Fortunately, I hit the paywall so I couldn’t hate-read this

    AI Will Give Rise to ’Superhuman Workers,’ Says Google X Co-Founder,” writes (That’s Sebastian Thrun with yet another prediction about the future.)

    “How Russian Bots Spread Fear at University in the U.S.” – Inside Higher Ed covers a new journal article that explores how Russian bots were used to spread misinformation about BLM protests at the University of Missouri. (There is another bot story in the campus section above about Russian bots and the school shooting this week in Florida.)

    Via Techcrunch: “Sony now has a Koov robotics learning kit for US classrooms.” It’s $520. Because the future of robots and ed-tech is a future for affluent classrooms.

    Via Fast Company: “How Misty Plans To Build The Most Personable, Programmable Robot Ever.”

    “The Ghost(writer) Busters: Can machine learning help in the fight against contract cheating?” asks Claire Hardaker, in an article on Turnitin’s claims that it can identify when students have submitted work that isn’t their own.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    It’s “Annual Letter” time for the Gates Foundation, which means lots of press about the organization’s philanthropic efforts. Via The New York Times: “Bill and Melinda Gates Tackle ‘Tough Questions’ and Trump.” Via Chalkbeat: “To fight poverty in U.S., Bill and Melinda Gates say they may move beyond education.” Via The Washington Post: “Bill, Melinda Gates turn attention toward poverty in America.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Varsity Tutors has raised $50 million in Series C funding from Learn Capital, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and TCV. The tutoring company has raised $107 million total.

    Bullshit peddlers Singularity University has raised $32 million in funding from Silicon Valley Bank, PeopleFund, TAL Education Group, WestRiver Capital, and Boeing Ventures. It’s not the first round of venture funding, but the company has never previously disclosed how much it’s raised.

    Kuali has raised $10 million from Owl Ventures. Once upon a time, the LMS maker was a non-profit.

    CollegeDekho has raised $2 million from Man Capital. The college marketing company has raised $5 million total.

    Kaleidoscope Group has raised $1.3 million in seed funding from Gopher Angels, Yonoventures, and gener8tor. The “scholarship platform” company has raised $1.7 million total.

    Emmersion Learning has raised $600,000 from Zylun Global and Access to Education.

    TurnItIn has acquiredVericite.

    Microsoft has acquiredChalkup. Or acqui-hired some of the team at least.

    More news on Educause’s acquisition of NMC assets. From Bryan Alexander: “Updates on the New Media Consortium bankruptcy: a purchase, an intervention, and possibilities.” More from Edsurge.

    I didn’t catch this news last year, but I’ll make note of it here so I can update my list of education spinoffs: Misty spun out of the robotics company Sphero. (And there’s a story on Misty in the robots section above.)

    An education IPO! ReadCloud has gone public on the Australian stock exchange.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “This smartwatch for kids is adorable but probably not a great idea,” says The Verge.

    More “kid tech,” this time from MIT Technology Review: “A phone that says ‘no’ to little kid fingers.”

    Via The New York Times: “Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You’re a White Guy.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    A new report from Brookings: “Gainfully employed? New evidence on the earnings, employment, and debt of for-profit certificate students.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Study finds DACA encourages undocumented kids to stay in school, as Congress ponders their future.”

    Via NPR: “The Gap Between The Science On Kids And Reading, And How It Is Taught.”

    Via Motherboard: “‘Minecraft’ Data Mining Reveals Players’ Darkest Secrets.”

    “Californians Gain Confidence in (Misinformed) Understanding of Charter Schools,” according to the results from the latest PACE/USC Rossier poll.

    Via Edsurge: “​Report: Advising Attendance Is Up, but More ‘In-Depth’ Student Support Is Still Needed.”

    Educational Attainment Is Up, but Gaps Remain,” says Inside Higher Ed. That’s based on data from the Lumina Foundation.

    “Giving CC Students Home Computers Won’t Set Them up for Greater Success,” according to research written up by Campus Technology.

    “Shifting to a personalized-learning model requires that schools make a six-figure upfront investment, more than 40 percent of which is likely to go to technology, according to a new analysis of six ‘breakthrough’ Chicago district and charter schools,” EdWeek’s Ben Herold writes.

    “Did Flint’s Water Crisis Damage Kids’ Brains?” asks The New Republic. (I’m not putting this in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section because I think the answer is “yes.”)

    Via National Geographic: “Can Old Dogs Learn New Tricks? New ‘Brain Games’ May Help Them Stay Young.”

    Via Nesta: “What is the evidence for edtech?” Shrug. Enough evidence, I guess, that folks will try to sell you brain training for your dog…

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 02/23/18--04:15: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    There are stories about the school shooting in Florida and its ramifications in several sections below (and I will be the first to admit I have not gathered even close to all the links that are in circulation this week). Although the shooting is a local story, I am putting many of the articles here in the national section because, over a week later, it is still very much in the national headlines.

    Via NPR: “After Florida Shooting, Students Are Lobbying For New Gun Regulations.”

    “Courageous Grieving and The Tragedy In Parklandby Virginia Heffernan in Wired.

    President Trump has tried to blame the school shooting in Florida on everything but guns. On video games, for example – yes, that old canard. He has made a number of proposals: banning bump stocks, “hardening” schools.

    Via NPR: “Trump Backs Arming Teachers During Emotional White House Listening Session.”

    Trump’s ideas seem to be a reprise of a proposal the NRA put forward back in 2013.

    Via NPR: “How School Shootings Have Changed The Teaching Profession.”

    “I’m a Florida Teacher in the Era of School Shootings. What Happens in My Classroom During a Lockdown Drill Should Horrify Americans,” writes K. T. Katzmann in The Trace.

    The Absurdity of Armed Educatorsby Vann R. Newkirk II in The Atlantic.

    “The backwards logic of putting guns in schoolsby Gaby Del Valle in The Outline.

    “What Decades Of Covering School Shootings Has Taught Me” by NPR’s longtime education reporter, Claudio Sanchez.

    Via Education Week: “Students Spoke Out After Fla. School Shooting. Then Internet Trolls Attacked.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Here’s What It’s Like At The Headquarters Of The Teens Working To Stop Mass Shootings.”

    I’m putting this local story in this section because it too has national implications. Via the Houston Chronicle: “KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg fired following allegations of sexual misconduct.” Via The New York Times: “Michael Feinberg, a Founder of KIPP Schools, Is Fired After Misconduct Claims.” [More via Chalkbeat](Mike Feinberg, KIPP co-founder, fired after misconduct investigation).

    More federal stuff: Inside Higher Ed on restructuring at the US Department of Education: “Proposed reorganization would eliminate office of under secretary, which oversaw higher ed policy for much of the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, and combine postsecondary and career and technical education into a single office.”

    There are stories about teachers unions and national politics in the HR section below. There are stories about the Department of Education and for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below. Stories about the Department of Education and its policies regarding student loans are in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Wired: “Ajit Pai’s Plan Will Take Broadband Away From Poor People.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Houston Chronicle: “Houston-area school district threatens to suspend students who protest after Florida shooting.”

    Via NPR: “Kentucky Moves To Add Guns To Schools After School Shooting.”

    Schools across West Virginia were closed this week as teachers in the state staged a walk-out. Via NPR: “Why West Virginia Teachers Are Demanding Higher Pay and Improved Benefits.”

    Via The New York Times: “D.C. Schools Chancellor Resigns Amid Outcry Over Daughter’s School Transfer.”

    Via The Washington Post: “‘We serve the top 100 percent’: California community college chief responds to Trump.”

    Education in the Courts

    From The Century Foundation’s website: “Federal Judge Grants Century Foundation’s Temporary Restraining Order Against DeVos’ Department of Education.” Several other articles about this case are strewn around other sections here – in the for-profit higher ed section as well as the accreditation section.

    Via Wired: “Ex-Google Employee Claims Wrongful Firing For Criticizing James Damore’s Memo.” More Damore news in the HR section below.

    Via The San Jose Mercury News: “In a direct challenge to California’s landmark law guaranteeing public access to beaches, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla on Thursday filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that he should not be required to allow public access to Martins Beach in San Mateo County.” Oh sure sure, this isn’t exactly education technology news, except for the part where Khosla invests in education technology companies and his wife founded the open education organization CK–12. “Open.”

    “Free College”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Tuition-Free, With Strings.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education signaled Monday that it is interested in tweaking the standards used for determining whether student loan debt can be discharged in bankruptcy.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Borrowers With High Debt Levels Struggle to Repay Loans.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint Before Easing Restrictions on For-Profit College.” The college in question: Northwest Suburban College. There’s still more on this story in the accreditation section below.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Kaplan Sale Faces Final Hurdle, Purdue President Criticizes Faculty Opponents.” Of course.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ashford U. Faces New Setback in Battle Over GI Bill Funds.”

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

    Imperial College London will teach a class on artificial intelligence on the Coursera platform.

    There is some exciting Udacity news in the job training section below too.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    “The Real Threat To Campuses Isn’t ‘PC Culture.’ It’s Racismby Tressie McMillan Cottom.

    Via ProPublica: “Inside Atomwaffen As It Celebrates a Member for Allegedly Killing a Gay Jewish College Student.”

    Via Knox News: “White nationalist talk at UT draws about 45 and 250 protesters for peaceful event.” UT here is the University of Tennessee.

    News from one of my alma maters: “White supremacist flyers found on Casper College bulletin boards.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Turning Point USA Is Accused of Abandoning Kent State Chapter Following Diaper Fiasco.” Diaper fiasco.

    “A University of, by and for the People” – Sarah Vowell on Montana State University.

    “Why Is the Manhattan DA Looking at Newsweek’s Ties to a Christian University?” asks Newseek. “What in the World Is Going On Between Olivet U. and Newsweek?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The New York Times: “Rhodes Scholarships Go Global as Students From Anywhere Now Qualify.”

    Atlantic Union College will close its doors this year.

    Via Standard Digital: “School abandons computer lessons as tablets remains unpowered.” That’s the Nalekat Primary School in Kenya which has government issued tablets but no power to charge them.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via The Washington Post: “Education Dept. releases records at center of a lawsuit over accrediting panels.” More from The Century Foundation.


    Edsurge reprints the College Board’s graphs about the latest AP results.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    “The NCAA Says Student-Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid Because the 13th Amendment Allows Unpaid Prison Labor,” says Shaun King writing for The Intercept.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside Auburn’s Secret Effort to Advance an Athlete-Friendly Curriculum.”

    Memos from HR (and from the Labor Union)

    Via Buzzfeed: “Teachers Unions Think 2020 Is When They Will Defeat The Charter School Democrats.”

    “The AR Isn’t The Real Florida Teacher Pension Scandal,” Andrew Rotherham contends.

    Via The Verge: “James Damore’s labor complaint against Google was completely shut down.” More via Wired.

    There’s more news about lawsuit termination lawsuits in the courts section above. And there’s data about pay in the research and reports section below.

    The Business of Job Training

    “The Future of AI, Data, and Education,” says Udacity, as it announces a new advisory board…

    Udacity has updated its blog post, removing the photo of the 12 men and replacing it with a picture of a server rack. The advisory board itself remains unchanged.


    The New York Times profiles WeWork, including its plans to launch a private K–12 school to teach “entrepreneurship” or some such thing.

    Via Education Week: “Computer Science for All and Silicon Valley: Generous Support or Corporate Takeover?”

    In other learn-to-code news, the press release says thatMattel Expands Partnership With Tynker, Setting Goal To Introduce 10 Million Kids To Coding By 2020.”

    Via The Verge: “Dancing dinosaurs will teach your kid to code.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Computer Science for All: Can Schools Pull It Off?” asks Education Week.

    (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

    Among those companies trying to capitalize on the recent school shooting in Florida, the College Board, whose president David Coleman sent out an email praising the student protestors not for the content of their protests but for the skills he said they obviously learned in AP class. More via Inside Higher Ed.

    Via Edsurge: “Jefferson Education Accelerator Winds Down, Rebrands to Focus on Edtech Reviews and Procurement.” More via EdWeek’s Market Brief.

    Wikispaces Classroom (and free wikis from the company, now owned by TES) joins the ed-tech dead pool.

    “What Happens When You Combine Blockchain and Education?” asks Hackernoon. Nothing good, I’m gonna go ahead and guess. Oh wait, I don’t even have to guess…

    “Globalizing education standards with ISO 21001by Ben Williamson.

    “For the third time this month, scholars are questioning the integrity of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology,” writes Inside Higher Ed. “IEEE Removes Article Over Allegations of Plagiarism,” Inside Higher Ed notes later in the week, updating its earlier story.

    Reclaim Hosting’s Jim Groom explains“Why a Domain of One’s Own?”

    Via The Spoon: “Goodbye Lunchables: New School Lunch Delivery Services Offer Healthier Food Choices.”

    “How Augmented Reality Is Shaping the Future of Play,” according to Wired.

    “Ads for text therapy are everywhere, but people who have tried it say it’s surprisingly unhelpful and expensive,” says The Outline. Which means it’s probably going to be proposed for schools who cannot afford counseling services. Just you wait…

    Inside Higher Ed profiles ClassPulse, a(nother) classroom feedback tool.

    Speaking of feedback, Inside Higher Ed also profiles a sentiment analysis surveillance tool, developed at the University of St. Thomas, that claims it can tell how students are feeling and if they understand. Because god forbid you actually ask them.

    Via the blog: “Elsevier Collaborates with Hypothesis to Integrate Open Annotation.” I don’t often include partnership announcements in the “Hack Education Weekly News” but when a company that wraps itself in the rhetoric of “open” partners with one of the giants in the education publishing industry, one in the process of trying to become a data platform (and a former weapons dealer to boot), I figure one should take note.

    Via Campus Technology: “McGraw-Hill Education Launches Textbook and E-Book Rental Program.”

    It’s like that old Reese’s Peanut Butter ad… Mike Caulfield draws on the work of Dan Meyer: “The Three Acts of Online Media Literacy Lessons: A First Pass.”

    “The Purgatory of Ed Tech Transformation Initiativesby Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill. I guess we’re not calling them “pilots” any more?

    Ah, it must be time, once again, for one of these stories, this time from Business Insider: “Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free – and it should be a red flag.” Silicon Valley parents are not raising their kids tech-free. Don’t be ridiculous.

    I’ve got all the “learn-to-code” news in the job training section, because let’s be honest…

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Artificial Intelligence Is Coming. What Should We Teach?” asks the CEO of Schoolrunner in an article in EdWeek’s Market Brief. I’m gonna go with ethics, sociology, history, and critical race and gender theory. Thanks.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    How much money does the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative spent in order to place advertorials about personalized learning in ed-tech publications like Edsurge?

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Departures at Gates Foundation Stir Speculation About Its Plans for Higher Ed.”

    Bill Gates has no idea how much Rice-a-Roni costs. Rapidly expanding economic inequality and the cluelessness of one of the world’s richest men is so hilarious!

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Kidaptive has raised $19.1million in Series C funding from Formation 8 and Woongjin Thinkbig. The “invisible” “adaptive learning” company has raised $38.7 million total.

    IMAX Corporation has raised $13.5 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, LGT Impact, and Aspada. The textbook maker has previously raised $30 million.

    Sofatutor has raised $3.6 million from Frog Capital, Acton Capital, and JCMB. The test prep company has raised ~$8 million total.

    The Graide Network has raised $1 million from Network Ventures and other undisclosed investors. The writing assignment company had previously raised $40,000.

    I included Singularity University’s fundraise in last week’s“Hack Education Weekly News,” but I just want to note here that GeekWire’s Frank Catalano did get this detail from the company that I previously didn’t have: the for-profit school has raised $54 million to date.

    If there was one good thing that came out of Katrina, [it’s that] it wiped out the K–12 education system in New Orleans” –if there was one good thing that came out of this Edsurge article, it’s that you can see how much people in the ed-tech industry truly loathe public education and the people who work in it.

    “A peek inside Alphabet’s investing universe” via Crunchbase. Alphabet is, of course, the parent company of Google.

    “Kidtech startup SuperAwesome is now valued at $100+ million and profitable,” Techcrunch informs us.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “This MIT Startup Is Developing A Fitness Tracker For Your Brain,” says Fast Company. Do note all the stories this week that are intertwined with predicting and assessing people’s “moods” – that is, some sort of “social emotional” thingy.

    Algorithmic zoning could be the answer to cheaper housing and more equitable cities,” Techcrunch claims. Read some history, Techcrunch. OK?

    “An Algorithm Knows When Your Kid Is Using Your Phone,” says Futurism.

    Via “Concerns raised about digital billboards on HS campuses.” Because when people try to tell you that there’s no advertising in ed-tech, you really must remind them that they are dead wrong.

    Via the AP: “Las Vegas school partners with company to ban cellphones.” The company in question is Yondr which provides locked pouches so phones are not accessible.

    There’s a surveillance story in the “upgrade/downgrade” section above.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    There’s data about testing in the testing section above. There’s data about student loan repayment in “the business of financial aid” section above.

    Inside Higher Ed on professor pay: “Faculty members earn 15 percent less than others with advanced degrees, study finds. They work equally long hours.”

    Via Edsurge: “What Researchers Want Teachers to Know About Virtual Reality’s Health Risks.”

    Via The Telegraph: “ Teaching children with iPads means they struggle to concentrate without technology, study finds.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After 2016 Election, Campus Hate Crimes Seemed to Jump. Here’s What the Data Tell Us.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “College students may believe they’re ready for a job, but employers think otherwise. At least, that’s according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which surveyed graduating college seniors and employers and found a significant difference in the groups’ perceptions.” The key word here: perceptions.

    “Students are zapping their brains to get ahead in school – but evidence for the practice is limited,” says The Hechinger Report. I wonder where they get dumb ideas like this? Oh.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “World Bank’s ’Global Dataset’ Offers New Way for Comparing Countries’ Educational Performance.”

    Via Politico: “Facebook’s next project: American inequality.” A Stanford economist is using the company’s vast store of personal data to study why so many in the U.S. are stuck in place economically.“ That economist: Raj Chetty, ”a favorite among tech elites," so that’s special.

    A new report from Data & Society: “The Promises, Challenges, and Futures of Media Literacy.”

    “No one is teaching kids how to spot fake news,” says The Outline, with a look at the history of media literacy programs.

    But honestly it’s not just “the kids,” let’s be fair. I count at least 10 inaccurate or misleading claims in this article about the future of education / future of work. How can anyone expect ed-tech to be a “solution” to “media literacy” struggles when ed-tech proponents gleefully and purposefully spreads the bullshit so darn thick?

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 03/02/18--04:45: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “Trump Wants to Arm Teachers. These Schools Already Do.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Betsy DeVos’s school choice ideas are a reality in Sweden, where student performance has suffered.”

    Via The Washington Post: “DeVos moves to delay Obama-era rule on minority special-education students.”

    Via The New York Times: “Kushner’s Family Business Received Loans After White House Meetings.” (I’m including this here because all of these entities – Kushner’s family, the companies he received loans from – have education investments too.)

    Speaking of loans, there’s more about the Department of Education and the business of student loans in the “business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Motherboard: “The FCC’s New Broadband Map Paints an Irresponsibly Inaccurate Picture of American Broadband.”

    Via the BBC: “Learners let down by Learndirect, say MPs.” (Learndirect is a job training company that has a major contract with the UK government.)

    From The Express Tribune in Pakistan: “Around 500,000 laptops are likely to be distributed among talented and deserving students by the year 2020, according to Prime Minister Youth Programme Chairwoman Leila Khan.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Yesterday was high drama in Miami and NYC as the former’s school superintendent was supposed to be named the superintendent of the latter. The headlines tell the story of how all this unfolded instead: Via Chalkbeat: “Carvalho’s first New York City controversy: his salary, which would be 50 percent higher than Fariña’s.” Via The New York Times: “Alberto Carvalho Backs Out of New York City Schools Job.” Via Chalkbeat: “What happened when: Inside the circus that was the Carvalho pick and sudden rejection.”

    The New York Times reported on Tuesday that “West Virginia Teachers’ Strike Ends With a Promise to Raise Pay.” Nope. West Virginia’s teachers are still on strike. Via The Atlantic: “West Virginia’s Teachers Are Not Satisfied.” Still more via The New York Times.

    Via The Tampa Bay Times: “Despite Parkland’s opposition, Florida House panel votes to arm teachers.”

    Via TPM: “In Oath Keepers Webinar, Student Gun Control Activists Are ‘The Enemy’.”

    Via The Washington Post: “D.C. Public Schoolsgraduation rate on track to decline this year” – that is, from 73% down to 49%, based on high school seniors’ current progress.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Indiana still has the nation’s largest voucher program. But growth is slowing down.”

    Via The New York Times: “Arizona Republicans Inject Schools of Conservative Thought Into State Universities.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Southern New Hampshire University and several donors want to guarantee an education for 1,000 DACA students.”

    Via WaPo’s Jay Mathews: “Born in the U.S.A. and still hassled about the immigration status of their parents” on their college applications.

    Education in the Courts

    The US Supreme Court heard arguments in Janus v AFSCME this week – its decision “likely to permanently weaken public unions,” says NBC News. Via The Intercept: “The Right Is Trying to Take Down Public Sector Unions. It May Bring Much More Down With It.”

    Via Gizmodo: “‘Bro Culture’ Led to Repeated Sexual Harassment, Former Google Engineer’s Lawsuit Says.”

    Another Google lawsuit, as reported by Ars Technica: “Ex-Google recruiter: I was fired because I resisted ‘illegal’ diversity efforts.”

    Here’s some of the latest on the Dallas Dance, the former head of the Baltimore County Public Schools, who’s set to go to trial soon on perjury charges.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via NPR: “Education Department Wants To Protect Student Loan Debt Collectors.”

    Via Bloomberg: “Student-Debt Firms Protected From State Probes Under Trump Plan.”

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

    MOOC news is now much more often “job training” news, so there’s more on MOOCs in that section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    The New York Times profiles a new private school startup called Luminaria (and cites me in the process): “Why This Tech Executive Says Her Plan to Disrupt Education Is Different.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Richard Spencer Will Speak at Michigan State– Way Out on a Farm.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Shadowy ‘Group of 17 Faculty’ Adds Confusion to Chapel Hill’s Silent Sam Debate.” The headline really doesn’t do justice to this story, which involves a Confederate statue and a faculty group’s threat to remove it if UNC does not.

    Via The Washington Post: “In a prestigious high school math and science program, alumni say #MeToo.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “How KIPP’s observers and allies are reacting to co-founder Mike Feinberg’s firing” for sexual misconduct.

    Chalkbeat on how a Denver school uses yoga as a disciplinary tool.

    Business Schools Have No Business in the University,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Why Admissions Leaders Have – or Haven’t – Spoken Up for Prospective Protesters.”

    “How the student activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High demonstrate the power of a comprehensive education,” by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick.

    Via the Detroit Free Press: “Central Michigan University shooting: 2 dead, gunman at large.”

    Mount Ida College and Lasell College are in talks to possibly merge, The Boston Globe reports.

    Concordia College will close its doors.

    Via Wisconsin Public Radio: “UW-Stevens Point Provost: Program Cuts, Faculty Layoffs ‘Unavoidable’.”

    “Another queen sacrifice,” says Bryan Alexander. “Castleton University in Vermont.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lessons Learned From a $75 Million Failed Experiment.” That is, the closure of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning.

    University staff are on strike at some 60+ universities in the UK over plans to cut their pensions.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via The New York Times: “Hungary’s Soros-Backed University Is Reaccredited.”

    Via Campus Technology: “ACE and Credly Building Transcript for Digital Credentials.”


    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Iowa Lawmakers Wade Into Disputed Award of $31 Million State Testing Contract.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Opens New Investigation Into Michigan State’s Handling of Nassar Scandal.”

    “Black Labor, White Profits, and How the NCAA Weaponized the Thirteenth Amendment” by Kevin Gannon.

    Via The Washington Post: “Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs wins second Texas state girls’ championship.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue University’s president harshly critiques the current system that allows college athletes to drop out and go pro after a single season.”

    ESPN has more on the ongoing federal investigation into college basketball recruitment.

    Memos from HR

    Bloomberg discovers Taylorism: “Amazon’s Labor-Tracking Wristband Has a History.”

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Techcrunch: “Udacity grew its revenue over 100% year-over-year in 2017.”

    Speaking of Udacity, the company has responded to the outcry about its all-male, mostly-white advisory board by dissolving it.

    Chalkbeat on CZI’s grant to the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning: “‘Personalized learning’ comes to teacher training, bringing big ambitions and big questions.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Amazon will now pay Alexa developers for top-performing skills for kids.”

    Via the Google blog: “Learn with Google AI: Making ML education available to everyone.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is School Desegregation Coming to an End?asks The Atlantic.

    Can sending public money to private schools improve equity?asks The Hechinger Report.

    “School Shootings Have Declined Dramatically Since the 1990s. Does It Really Make Sense to Militarize Schools?asks The Intercept.

    (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 boasts that “Minecraft has inspired 85 million on” That is, “more than 85 million learners around the world have been introduced to some of the basic concepts of coding and computer science through the organization’s Minecraft activities.” I guess I’m a little skeptical about that number. That would mean more than one out of every ten school age children on the planet have undertaken one of’s Minecraft lessons. Even if every school age kid in the US public school system was introduced to Minecraft through, that’s still only about 51 million students. might see itself as the go-to site for the future of computer science education, time and time again it’s shown it needs help with basic math and statistics.

    It’s likeUber, but for Getting to the Hospital.” Actually, it is Uber for getting to doctors’ visits. I mean, what could go wrong?! (Including this here because a) people keep using the Uber analogy for education and b) I’m waiting for when the “ride-sharing” company launches its school-bus replacement plan. Meanwhile, “Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Joins Health Startup’s Board,” says Bloomberg. Because that’s how Silicon Valley punishes a failed CEO who, among other disastrous decisions, peeped at the medical records of a woman who was suing his company after she was raped by one of its contract workers.

    Via The New York Times: “Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City.” Privatize everything.

    Via the Southern Poverty Law Center: “How Tech Supports Hate.”

    Via The Digital Reader: “ Kobo to Retire Kobo Kids Accounts on 3 April.”

    Edsurge’s partnership with Elsevier.

    Ethereum’s smart contracts are full of holes,” says The MIT Technology Review. Good thing no one in education is silly enough to be promoting blockchain as a solution for anything.

    Oh wait. Via the press release: “World’s Largest Pilot of Blockchain Technology in Education Launched Affecting Over 400,000 Students.”

    Amazon Tries Its Hand in School Procurement,” says Edsurge, with a story that totally doesn’t sound like it come from Amazon PR.

    Via NPR: “Dolly Parton’s Nonprofit Reaches Milestone With 100 Million Books Sent To Children.”

    Educators sure do seem to discover a lot of new “mindsets.”

    Techcrunch on the latest in “parent-tech”: “Peanut, the matchmaking app for moms, launches a community feature called Peanut Pages.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Alex Usher reviewsRobot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

    From the Edmodo blog: “AI, Algorithms and What Should We All Be Thinking About?”

    Via Campus Technology: “Survey: In an AI World, Retraining Will Come from Employers, Not Higher Ed.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via the Harvard Crimson: “Koch Foundation Donations Spur Debate at HKS.” HKS is Harvard Kennedy School for you heathens who don’t know the school’s acronyms.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Meritize has raised $6.8 million from Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures, Cube Financial Holdings, ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared, and Meritize management. The company makes student loans based on students’ “academic data.”

    Sales bootcamp Strive Talent has raised $3.8 million from Upfront Ventures, Kapor Capital, Webb Investment Network, NextView Ventures, University Ventures, and Graph Ventures.

    The scholarship platform has raised $3 million in Series A from CBA Capital.

    The Graide Network– a platform for outsourcing grading – has raised $1 million from Network Ventures.

    Discovery Education has been acquired by the private equity firm Francisco Partners.

    Lightsail Education has been acquired by the private equity firm Agile Investment Group.

    Reports that Pearson is looking to sell its K–12 courseware business in EdWeek’s Market Brief, Inside Higher Ed, and Edsurge.

    From the press release: “Campus Technology Conference to Merge with UBTech.”

    Via China Money Network: “China’s Sunlands Online Education Files For $300M IPO In New York.”

    Reuters reports that SpringerNature is planning to IPO too.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Edsurge: “Cheating on Chegg? Maybe Not on Its Tutoring Platform.” So Chegg’s algorithms declare you’re a cheater, and you don’t get a tutor. JFC. Silicon Valley continues its obsession with cheating as an excuse to violate students’ privacy and their agency.

    Sponsored content on Edsurge– sponsored by Salesforce, that is, a company that seems quite keen on expanding its reach in education – on how predictive analytics systems work or don’t work: “‘Faculty Told Me They Hated It.’ When an Academic-Alert System Backfires – Twice.” My comments above about Silicon Valley’s obsession with cheating are also applicable here.

    Via The Verge: “Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology.”

    Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick writes about“Charting my kids’ development through targeted advertising on our family computer.”

    There are more privacy horrors in the “upgrades/downgrades” section above.

    Via Campus Technology: “Amazon Releases New Guidance on AWS and FERPA.”

    A report from Deloitte: “Elevating cybersecurity on the higher education leadership agenda.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    I’ve run the numbers on how much venture capital was funneled into education in the month of February.

    EdWeek’s Market Brief with data from the Association of American Publishers: “K–12 Publishers’ Sales Slip, But States’ Buying Cycles May Be to Blame.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Gallup survey finds that Americans believe more in ‘higher education’ than in ‘colleges and universities.’ Poll also drives home that skepticism is deepest among white men without degrees.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness has found that an increasing number of public, two-year colleges are using multiple measurements beyond standardized tests to place students in college-level math and reading courses.”

    Politico with research on school safety: “ Why hardening schools hasn’t stopped school shootings.”

    Via The Intercept: “Children of Color Already Face Violent Discipline in Schools. Arming Teachers Will Get Them Killed.”

    Via The New York Times: “Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged 57 Percent in 2017, Report Finds.” Inside Higher Ed notes, based on the same ADL report, that “Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus Up 89%.”

    The Pew Research Center is out with its latest report on “Social Media Use in 2018.”

    “How to Protect Your College’s Research From Undue Corporate Influence” – according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via Buzzfeed: “The Inside Story Of How An Ivy League Food Scientist Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies.”

    An op-ed in The New York Times: “The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes’.”

    Via NPR: “From Little Rock to Parkland: A Brief History of Youth Activism.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 03/03/18--07:45: Guns and Ed-Tech (Again)
  • It’s become commonplace for people to respond to President Trump by urging others not to take his statements seriously – not to give them attention or credence because “it’s a distraction.” Or “it’ll never happen.” No doubt, as a rule, Trump’s ideas are rarely well-thought-out. His policy proposals often seem to have been invented entirely off-the-cuff – as he speaks or as he tweets – and as such are hardly policy proposals at all.

    Trump’s notion of arming teachers in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida might be a perfect example of this. “It’s a distraction.” “It’ll never happen.”

    His call to “harden schools” does echo, some have suggested, a proposal the NRA made back in 2013 following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. That proposal recommended hiring more school security officers and arming select teachers. There aren’t a lot of details in Trump’s plan – and so many unanswered questions about how it could possibly work – but that hasn’t stopped other politicians from making similar statements, from unveiling similar proposals.

    They’re not simply demanding more weapons in schools. They’re demanding more weapons and anti-weapons technology, along with more surveillance capabilities. “We’ve got to invest in metal detectors,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said yesterday. “We’ve got to invest in bulletproof glass. We’ve got to invest in steel doors. We’ve got to invest in upgraded locks.”

    This is the second time I’ve written this year about guns and schools, something that I’d much rather not have to do – not because the topic strays from my focus here on this site on education technology. Rather, because all of this is ed-tech, but it’s rarely addressed as such.

    To reiterate what I wrote in that other essay: we need to expand what is too often a narrow definition of education technology – one that obsesses with gadgetry but fails to consider the context into which gadgets are introduced; one that lauds “innovation” but fails to understand systems, structures, histories; one that champions products but ignores practices; one that readily embraces “what’s new” and readily ignores “what’s just”; one that insists that “technology” means “computers in the classroom” and “technology” means “progress.” This narrow definition circumscribes what we think of as ed-tech, how we talk about ed-tech, how we imagine its development and its usage, and how we address the technological systems and practices that are already deeply embedded in any educational setting.

    “Hardening schools” is an education technology endeavor, whether or not we take seriously anyone’s suggestions about giving teachers guns. For now, “hardening schools” explicitly calls for hardware like those items listed by Governor Scott: metal detectors and bulletproof windows, as well as surveillance cameras and various sensors that can detect gunfire. It also implies software– social media monitoring and predictive analytics tools, for example, that claim they can identify students “at risk” of violence or political extremism.

    The hardware and software already exist in schools – although we know that these technologies are not implemented evenly across all demographics or across all schools. Perhaps the emphasis should be placed less on insisting that arming teachers will never happen and more on recognizing the ways in which these disciplinary regimes are already in place, the ways in which data and assessments are so readily and efficiently weaponized, and the ways in which education technologies facilitate a culture of surveillance and compliance and control.

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  • 03/09/18--03:30: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The LA Times: “Betsy DeVos’ visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prompts complaints from some students.” Here’s the readout from the Department of Education. “Why DeVos’s Parkland Visit Failed,” according to The Atlantic.

    There’s lots more from Betsy DeVos’s talk at SXSWedu in the conferences section below.

    No mention of DeVos in this WaPo story about her brother though.

    Via Politico: “The Trump administration has removed documents from an Education Department website aimed at transgender students, including those intended to help students fight for access to bathrooms of their choice.”

    Via The Washington Post: “The U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general is cautioning Congress against provisions in the House Republican higher education bill that would repeal regulations holding colleges and universities accountable for the use of federal student aid.”

    And there’s more about the Department of Education and financial aid in the financial aid section below.

    Via Buzzfeed: “A Top Trump Administration Civil Rights Official Says Peter Thiel Backed Her For The Job.” That would be Candice Jackson. In addition to the anti-First Amendment supporter Thiel, Jackson also name-dropped her connections to David Horowitz, a long-time advocate for silencing left-learning professors on campus, in order to get her job.

    “What If America Didn’t Have Public Schools?” asks Julie Halpert in The Atlantic.

    Via Edsurge: “Office of Edtech Wants Help Making Sense of All Those Higher Ed Providers.”

    Via The Daily Beast: “The Silicon Valley Giant Bankrolling Devin Nunes.” That would be Oracle, who also bankrolls plenty in education and ed-tech too.

    Via Education Week: “After Parkland Shooting, Sen. Rubio Questions Obama-Era Guidance on School Arrests.” And I am not even linking to the National Review article promoting this racist crap. But it is the worst “take” on school shootings.

    Via the AP: “The National Rifle Association has given more than $7 million in grants to hundreds of U.S. schools in recent years, according to an Associated Press analysis, but few have shown any indication that they’ll follow the lead of businesses that are cutting ties with the group following last month’s massacre at a Florida high school.”

    Via Apple Insider: “Jamf’s ‘innovation pod’ aims to offer iPad-based education to students in Haiti.” An “innovation pod” is actually a private classroom in a shipping container. Excellent re-branding.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Atlantic: “The Ripple Effect of the West Virginia Teachers’ Victory.” More on West Virginia’s teachers via NPR. Via The New York Times: “‘I Live Paycheck to Paycheck’: A West Virginia Teacher Explains Why She’s on Strike.” (Note how teachers have their physical activity tracked as part of their health insurance benefits package.)

    Via The LA Times: “Oklahoma comes closer to joining West Virginia in a major teacher strike.” More from KTUL in Tulsa.

    Elsewhere in OK: “Oklahoma police department fires guns into textbooks to see if they can stop bullets. Really.”

    Via The New York Times: “Anatomy of a School Lockdown: A Threat, Then the Anxious Wait.”

    Via The Boston Globe: “For charter schools across the state, the news has been relentlessly bad in recent months: A Western Massachusetts principal fired after a drug arrest. A Dorchester school placed on probation amid allegations of financial mismanagement. Multiple unionization efforts. A record-breaking campaign finance penalty. Black students in Malden punished simply for wearing braided-hair extensions.”

    I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I am sorry. But Wakanda would not have charter schools.

    Via The Washington Post: “Florida legislature backs new gun restrictions after Parkland school shooting.” Governor Rick Scott has still not said whether he will sign the legislation.

    NYC has a new schools chancellor: Richard Carranza, who currently heads the Houston school district. Chalkbeat, on last week’s superintendent brouhaha– : “The big loser in the Carvalho chaos, according to New York City papers: Bill de Blasio.” Also via Chalkbeat: “NYC knew about discrimination lawsuit involving Carranza, but say accusations are ‘completely false’.”

    “N.Y. drama takes two big prospects out of discussion for L.A. schools job,” says The LA Times.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Top school choice group advising Puerto Rico on controversial efforts to expand charters and vouchers.”

    Via NPR: “Charity Honoring Philando Castile Pays All Lunch Debts In St. Paul School System.”

    Via Wired: “Washington State Enacts Net Neutrality Law, in Clash With FCC.”

    Via The Oregonian: “Oregon won’t allow 529 tax breaks for K–12 private school.”

    Ball State University will take over control of the public school district in Muncie, Indiana.

    Via WSBT: “Indiana teen becomes superintendent of fake school corporation.” The 13-year-old created a fake school district and successfully registered it with the state department of education. Think of the money he could make soliciting ed-tech deals!

    Education in the Courts

    Via The New York Times: “Ex-Leader of Baltimore County Schools, a Tech Booster, Pleads Guilty to Perjury.” That’s Dallas Dance.

    Via The Verge: “Lawsuit against VC says he ‘groped and fondled multiple women’ for over a decade.” That’s Lucio Lanza.

    Via The New York Times: “Top Volleyball Coach Raped Teenage Athletes, Lawsuit Alleges.” That’s Rick Butler, who coached for USA Volleyball.

    Via The Register Guard: “Academy of Arts and Academics Principal Mike Fisher, who committed suicide Feb. 1, had sexually abused a student starting when she was 14 years old and continued having sex with her into adulthood, according to documents received by The Register-Guard.”

    “The Trump administration just failed to stop a climate lawsuit brought by 21 kids,” The Chicago Tribune reports.

    Via Ars Technica: “Judge bars student from violent games after alleged shooting threat.”

    Via The Chicago Tribune: “Pearson Family Members Foundation sues University of Chicago, aiming to revoke $100M gift.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal district judge in Maryland on Monday upheld the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offers temporary protection against deportation and provides the right to work to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers. The ruling has no immediate practical effect, as federal judges in California and New York previously ordered nationwide temporary injunctions barring the Trump administration from ending the program as planned.”

    DACA Lives, but for How Long?asks Inside Higher Ed.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Washington Post: “Education Dept.’s mishandling of student debt relief claims creating headaches for applicants.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Bloomberg: “Conflicts of Interest Seen as For-Profit Schools Eye Nonprofit Status.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “On Its 2nd Try, Grand Canyon U. Gets the Green Light to Become a Nonprofit.”

    Via The Conversation: “Purdue-Kaplan deal blurs lines between for-profit and public colleges.” There’s more on the new Kaplan in the accreditation section below.

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

    Via Edsurge: “​In Move Towards More Online Degrees, Coursera Introduces Its First Bachelor’s.” “Coursera and other purveyors of massive open online courses supposedly signaled the end of traditional credentials and, as some told it, universities. Now the company is betting big on both,” says Inside Higher Ed. Vive la MOOC révolution.

    Coursera More than Doubles Number of Degrees on Its Platform,” says Campus Technology.

    Via Chalkbeat: “A tiny Indiana district is banking on virtual education to survive. But at what cost?”

    Inside Higher Ed reports that there’s “confusion over distance education rules”: “Colleges seek guidance about looming federal requirement for online colleges to tell students whether academic programs meet licensing requirements in their home states.”

    “Orphan MOOCs and the Digital Dark Ages” by Jeffrey Pomerantz in Hybrid Pedagogy.

    There’s more research on race and gender discrimination in online ed in the research section below.

    Speaking of online education, this from earlier in the year. Via The New York Times Magazine: “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “ How PragerU Is Winning The Right-Wing Culture War Without Donald Trump.” It’s a “university” not a university, but hey. When has that ever stopped anyone?

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    The New York Times on“How the Parkland Students Got So Good at Social Media” – a really important corrective, I’d argue, to that “digital native” silliness.

    Lisa Miller in New York Magazine: “War Room” – “The teenage strategy sessions that built an anti-gun movement out of the trauma of Parkland in one week.”

    The New York Times on school resource officers.

    A Stanford student group, Stanford Students Against Addictive Devices, is protesting Apple for its role in “smartphone addiction.” Perhaps protest Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab?

    Via The Huffington Post: “Florida Public School Teacher Has A White Nationalist Podcast.” One white supremacist Florida public school teacher now no longer has a job.

    Via The Washington Post: “‘Nazis go home!’ Fights break out at Michigan State as protesters, white supremacists converge for Richard Spencer speech.”

    Christina Hoff Sommers’ speech was briefly interrupted at Lewis & Clark College, prompting at least one NYT op-ed writer to write something ridiculous (and wrong) in response.

    University of California president Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday that she wants the system to explore ways to guarantee admission to academically eligible students in the state’s community colleges,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    Via Buzzfeed: “University Puts Physicist Lawrence Krauss On Paid Leave While It Investigates Sexual Harassment Allegations.” That’s Arizona State University.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In a Fight Against Depression, UCLA Relies on Technology.”

    Whose University Is It Anyway?asks Ron Srigley in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Pacific Standard: “Purdue University Gets the Final Approval on Its Plan to Convert Kaplan Into a Non-Profit College.” More via Inside Higher Ed,

    George Mason University’s Tyler Cowen offers“A Radical Solution to the Overuse of Occupational Licensing.”

    There’s more licensing and certification news in the MOOC section above.


    Via Chalkbeat: “Indiana’s new ILEARN test is expected to be shorter than ISTEP.”

    “One Standardized Tests Provider Looks to Gaming and Personalized Learning to Innovate Exams” – Edsurge on ETS.

    Memos from HR

    Diane Auer Jones will join the Department of Education as senior adviser to the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, a post she held under George W. Bush.

    Katrina Stevens, formerly of Edsurge and the Department of Education, will join the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as its new director of Learning Sciences.

    Via The Iowa City Press-Citizen: “ACT to cut 100 jobs companywide.” Right after making some big VC investments too.

    Via The New York Times: “Harvard Professor Resigns Amid Allegations of Sexual Harassment.” That’s government professor Jorge I. Domínguez.

    There are sexual harassment allegations in several sections. Because education is certainly not immune from power and exploitation and violence.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Richard Buery, a New York City deputy mayor who tried to build bridges between the district and charter schools, will leave to take a senior post this month at KIPP, a national charter-school network.”

    The Business of Job Training

    Watch how the narratives about “the future of education” are crafted. Via The Wall Street Journal: “Why an Honors Student Wants to Skip College and Go to Trade School.”

    Conferences and Events

    Lots of marketing and PR from SXSWedu: Edsurge on nudges and behavioral economics. Edsurge on teachers leaving the classroom to join tech companies. Edsurge on mindfulness in public schools. Edsurge on the business of OER. Edsurge on "reality-based education.“ Edsurge on the ethics of ed-tech companies paying teachers. Edsurge on”Words to Never Use If You Want to Build a Diverse Edtech Company."

    Highlights from some of the featured speakers:

    Via Edsurge: “Betsy DeVos at SXSW EDU: ‘What Students Really Need Won’t Originate in Washington’.”

    Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “Betsy DeVos used Shutterstock picture to attack U.S. schools. Teachers aren’t having it.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: danah boyd on the Dangers of Weaponized Critical Thinking.“ Edsurge also weighs in on boyd’s SXSWedu keynote: ”danah boyd: How Critical Thinking and Media Literacy Efforts Are ‘Backfiring’ Today."

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Are AI-Powered Chatbot Tutors the Future of Textbooks?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

    Not pigeons, but hey… Via The Washington Post: “The Silicon Valley elite’s latest status symbol: Chickens.”

    “‘Blockchain’ is meaningless,” says The Verge’s Adrianne Jeffries. Which means it’s perfect for marketers to use in promoting their various education technology projects.

    Via The Guardian: “Facebook asks users: should we allow men to ask children for sexual images?” Thank goodness neither Facebook nor its founder have expressed any interest in bringing these questionable ethics and business practices to education. PHEW, RIGHT?

    “To get rural kids online, Microsoft wants to put Internet access on school buses,” The Washington Post reports.

    Via The Verge: “Lego will sell its first sustainable pieces later this year.”

    Via Laughing Squid: “Text-to-Teach Children’s Book Responds With Demonic Screeching When Battery Is Low.”

    Your Kid’s Phone Is Not Like a Cigarette,” Anya Kamenetz writes in a NYT op-ed.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “Assessing the dangers of AI applications in education” by Tony Bates.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The 74: “Harvard-MITPersonalized Learning Program to Help Early Readers Gets $30M From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” More via Education Dive.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Walton gives Indianapolis Public Schools$1.7 million to increase principal power.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Degreed has raised $42 million from Jump Capital, Founders Circle Capital, and Owl Ventures. The skills identification company has raised $76.2 million total.

    The language learning app ELSA has raised $3.2 million from Monk’s Hill Ventures. The company has raised $3.3 million total.

    GradTouch has raised ~$1.3 million from NPIF Maven Equity Finance to help “18–24 year olds transition from university life into a young professional.”

    Tarena International has acquired the K–12 robotics company Wuhan Haoxiaozi Robot Technology (a.k.a. Rtec).

    Springboard Education has acquiredKids’ Adventures.

    Asteria Education has acquired the test prep company ECS Learning Systems.

    The Stepping Stones Group has acquiredCobb Pediatric Therapy Services.

    The Verge reports thatFormer Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announces new investment fund focused on job creation.” And, yup, he’s going to focus on education. FML.

    In other education VC news, Edsurge points to“The Newest U.S. Education Technology Venture Fund? Look to Japan.” That would be Edulab Capital Partners.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    From the University of Arizona press office: Sudha Ram’s Smart Campus research tracks students’ social interactions and daily routines via their CatCard usage– and leverages that information to make predictions about freshman retention.“ This one’s for all those who whine that liberal colleges are the biggest threat to free speech on campus. I’d say that ”smart campus" projects are much much more dangerous.

    Via Willamette Week: “Portland State University Researchers May Have Violated Federal Law by Using the Personal Data of Thousands of Portland-Area K–12 Students.”

    According to Education Dive, “App shows how Internet of Things benefits colleges, students.” I’d say that “app shows how little colleges and the companies they partner with for various education technologies respect student privacy or sovereignty.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The 2018 Trends Report.”

    Research from ProPublica: the “Trump Town” project – “Tracking White House Staffers, Cabinet Members and Political Appointees Across the Government.” Look up the Department of Education folks. It’s fun.

    “There Is No ‘Epidemic of Mass School Shootings’” says Eric Levitz in the New York Magazine.

    Via NPR: “Here’s How To Prevent The Next School Shooting, Experts Say.”

    “The screen time debate is pitting parents against each other,” says The Verge.

    Via NPR: “More Than Half Of Transgender Teachers Surveyed Tell NPR They Are Harassed At Work.”

    Via CItyLab: “The Problem With America’s New National Broadband Map.”

    Via Times Higher Ed (republished in Inside Higher Ed): “One in three students globally is enrolled in private higher education institutions, according to research that reveals the huge growth and wide reach of private providers.”

    Inside Higher Ed reports on a Foreign Policy report: “China Intensifying Oversight of U.S. Student Groups.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Survey Finds Girls’ Isolation, Vulnerability Rise With Heavy Social Media Use.”

    Inside Higher Ed reports on a new study from the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University, finding “Race and Gender Bias in Online Courses.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    “To What Extent and Under Which Circumstances Are Growth Mind-Sets Important to Academic Achievement? Two Meta-Analyses” from researchers Victoria F. Sisk, Alexander P. Burgoyne, Jingze Sun, Jennifer L. Butler, and Brooke N. Macnamara. Spoiler alert: weak effects.

    Via Edsurge: “Why Professors Doubt Education Research.” Perhaps because education (technology) journalists write up some pretty silly stories based on the so-called findings? I’m just spitballing here…

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

    0 0
  • 03/16/18--05:15: 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.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “National School Walkout: Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across the U.S.” From The Atlantic: “The Student Walkout Against Gun Violence, in Photos.” NPR on the students who protested on Capitol Hill. ESPN turns to a real expert here: “Shaquille O’Neal says more cops is answer to school shootings.” WaPo’s Valerie Strauss asks, “ What legal rights do students really have to protest during the school day?” Robert Pondiscio writes in The 74 that “Civil Disobedience Means Facing Consequences. School-Sanctioned Walkouts Rob Students of That Lesson.” I am not sure that’s not what civil disobedience means, and the students most likely to experience gun violence are probably those least in a position to protest it (or at least, they are quite likely to suffer the most from “consequences”). But damn, the authoritarian streak in education reform is sure alive and well when it comes to the topic of school discipline, isn’t it.

    There are more stories about how individual schools responded to the students’ walkout in the “meanwhile on campus” section below.

    Via The New York Times: “Trump Finds Unlikely Culprit in School Shootings: Obama Discipline Policies.” I don’t think blaming Obama is “unlikely” at all with this administration or its racist supporters.

    Via NPR: “Trump’s Plan To Secure Schools Calls For Arming Teachers, Improving Background Checks.”

    The US Secretary of Education appeared on 60 Minutes this past weekend. And… well… I’m sure you’ve heard by now.

    The Department of Education tried to clarify some of the gaffs DeVos made in the interview, and wow, the media loved this story: Buzzfeed. Chalkbeat. NPR. “DeVos Digs Herself Deeper,” says The Atlantic’s Alia Wong. Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith on DeVos: “The Worst Government Possible, on Purpose.”

    From the Department of Education’s press office: Betsy DeVos’s remarks to the American Enterprise Institute World Forum. Sound the “factory model of education” klaxon!

    Via The Intercept’s Rachel Cohen: “Betsy DeVos Is Now Fighting the Union at the Education Department.”

    Via Politico: “DeVos defies White House in dismantling Education budget office.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Stops Providing Details on Resolved Title IX Cases.”

    More on the Department of Education and for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    The Department of Education’s Chief Privacy Officer Kathleen Styles has been “reassigned,” Education Week reports. Although the news initially suggested the position would remain unfilled, it appears as though Angela Arrington will be the interim CPO at the department.

    From the Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Issues Full Forgiveness of HBCU Hurricane Relief Loans.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A bipartisan group of 30 attorneys general signed on to a letter Thursday opposing House legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act over a provision that would bar states from regulating student loan servicers.”

    More on the politics of student loans in the financial aid section below.

    The** Department of Education** has selected the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education to manage its #GoOpen campaign.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via NPR: “Oklahoma Teachers Consider Strike.”

    Lots more labor-related news in the HR section below.

    Via The Washington Post: “ Why Florida school superintendents oppose new gun law Gov. Scott just signed.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Time Runs Out on Ball State School Takeover Plan.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ It was hailed as the national model for school reform. Then the scandals hit.” “It” in the headline is the DC Public Schools.

    Immigration and Education

    Via The Outline: “ICE is detaining teenagers when they turn 18.”

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump Administration might limit the number of visas available to Chinese students. More via Inside Higher Ed.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “‘Please Don’t Deport Our Professor’: Augsburg U. Frets Over One of Its Own.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Visas Issued to Foreign Students Fall, Partly Due to Trump Immigration Policy.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The Pacific Standard: “Prosecutors Will Seek the Death Penalty for the Accused Florida High School Shooter.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Washington Post: “Education Dept. opens door for student loan companies to ignore state authority.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the real reason that students do not complete the FAFSA is that it is too complicated:

    This isn’t really financial aid per se, but it’s part of the larger suite of financial products that schools (and the companies they partner with) push. Via Inside Higher Ed: “Wells Fargo’s deals with colleges are scrutinized for being costly to account holders. A senator wants answers, but the bank’s backers on campus say it’s sometimes the best option to help students – and institutional budgets.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “Negotiators appointed to revise the federal gainful-employment rule failed to reach consensus Thursday, leaving it up to the Department of Education to issue its own version of regulations for career education programs,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    From the Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Extends Closed School Discharge to More Charlotte School of Law Students.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ashford Seeks to Become a Nonprofit.” Ashford is a for-profit university run by Bridgepoint Education.

    Via KSLA: “Delta Tech students searching for answers after graduation canceled.” The school recently announced that it would end its attempts to regain accreditation after the Department of Education withdrew recognition for the for-profit in 2016.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Sector in Flux: How For-Profit Higher Ed Has Shifted.”

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

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try To Be An OPM: Conversion of for-profits and MOOCs.”

    There’s some Udacity-related MOOC news in the job training section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    There are more details about Tuesday’s school walkout protesting gun violence in the national politics section above.

    Via The San Jose Mercury News: “Students at Concord’s Mt. Diablo High break through gate in gun protest.” Concord, California, that is, where the front gates were locked in order to keep students on campus.

    There was also a lockout at all the schools in my hometown of Casper, Wyoming following a threat made by a student. The lockout prevented students from leaving schools to participate in the National Walkout Day protest.

    Via MLive: “Grand Blanc school locks doors to avoid student walkout over gun violence.” That’s Grand Blanc High School in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

    Via The New York Times: “Teacher’s Gun Is Accidentally Fired During Public Safety Class, Injuring 3.” The incident occurred at Seaside High School in Seaside, California.

    NPR visits Aztec High School in New Mexico where a school shooting occurred in December: “After A Deadly Shooting, School Moves On But The Trauma Remains.”

    Damn. “Strange” is an understatement in this subhead. Via “A strange message that went out over the loudspeakers at Woodland Primary School Tuesday scared kids and confused parents.”

    Via Mic: “Richard Spencer suspending the rest of his college tour because ‘antifa is winning’.”

    At least six people died on Thursday when a new pedestrian bridge at Florida International Universitycollapsed.

    Cooper Union unveils plan to cut undergraduate tuition back down to zero in 10 years,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    NPR on “risk” and playgrounds.

    I thought that teens weren’t into driving, but according to The New York Times, there’s “A Problem for High Schools: More Cars, and Nowhere to Park Them.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    “New report calls out NCAA for saying that black athletes graduate at higher rates than other black students, when that’s not true at the top conferences,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    Memos from HR

    Former Secretary of Education (and now, venture capitalist) Arne Duncan has joinedTurnItIn’s board of directors.

    David Harris is stepping down from his role at The Mind Trust. More from Chalkbeat on the organization’s role in charter schools and education reform in Indianapolis.

    USA Today’s education reporter Greg Toppo is moving toInside Higher Ed, where he will become its senior editor.

    “Why America’s Teachers Haven’t Been Getting Raises,” according to The Atlantic.

    University staff strikes continue in the UK. Via the BBC: “University strikers reject pension deal.”

    There’s more labor union-related news in the national politics and in the state and local politics sections above.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Online education provider Udacity quietly drops money-back pledge for those who can’t find a job after finishing their studies.”

    Via Techcrunch: “WeWork expands its Flatiron School education business fo London with £1M in scholarships.”

    Via Wired: “Tech Companies Try to Retrain the Workers They’re Displacing.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Perhaps this should go in the “reports” section. Perhaps it should go in the “robots” section. But when you give it a title like this, CoSN, I feel I have no choice but to stick it here. “Artificial Intelligence: Could emerging technologies ‘humanize’ teaching & learning?asks CoSN.

    Will these four technology trends change education in India?asks Livemint.

    (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

    YouTube, the Great Radicalizer” by Zeynep Tufekci. (This is so important to consider, as Tufekci noted on Twitter, in light of Google’s domination of the K–12 computing market.)

    At SXSW, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that it would start adding Wikipedia content to conspiracy-theory videos. Apparently Wikipedia received no “heads up” about this plan. Because relying on the free labor of others is precisely how this whole game works, I guess.

    Via The MIT Technology Review: “A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is ‘100 percent fatal’.” It’s called Nectome, just so you have a little heads-up when the YC-backed company pivots to “job training” or something.

    Techcrunch has details on another new YC Startup: “YC-backed Playbook wants students to make plans online, hang out offline.”

    “America is about to become a Toys ‘R’ Us graveyard,” says The Outline.

    UC Berkeley plans to shut down the server that runs the Chronozoom Big History project.

    Edsurge on Degress Compass, a course recommendation engine from Austin Peay University: “How a ‘Netflix’ Model For Advising Lost Its Luster.” Sponsored by Salesforce“which had no influence on the thoughts and opinions expressed in this story.”

    Edsurge on the “Five Dangers of Data-Informed Student Nudging.” Just five! Sponsored by Salesforce“which had no influence on the thoughts and opinions expressed in this story.”

    Edsurge onReagan Early College High School in Austin, Texas: “With Limited Options, a Struggling Campus Prepares Students for Life After High School.” Sponsored by Salesforce“which had no influence on the thoughts and opinions expressed in this story.”

    More sponsored content on Edsurge – this one, on “middle school obsessions,” sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. And this one too, also sponsored by CZI, on a science research program. “Personalized learning” – it’s simply the best idea that money can buy (that isn’t already being paid for by Salesforce, I guess).

    Via Edsurge: “VR Could Bring a New Era of Immersive Learning. But Ethical and Technical Challenges Remain.”

    More on VR from Edsurge: “The 10 Best VR Apps for Classrooms Using Merge VR’s New Merge Cube.” Not sponsored content? Really?

    Mindwires Consulting’s MIchael Feldstein offers an update on his company’s “Empirical Educator Project.”

    “How to Ungradeby UMW’s Jesse Stommel.

    Lisa Petrides, Douglas Levin, and Eddie Watson introduce The CARE Framework for OER. (Lumen Learning's David Wiley responds, with more words than the original post.)

    You can now learn Klingon on Duolingo, Techcrunch reports.

    More Techcrunch churnalism: “This eQuoo app games you into learning useful psychological skills.”

    The Wall Street Journal weighs in on laptop bans.

    Fitbit Ace is the company’s first fitness band for kids,” says The Verge. The tracker comes in purple or blue. No mention of privacy issues, because you won’t get invited to the next launch event if you’re too critical.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via Wired: “Med Students Are Getting Terrible Training in Robotic Surgery.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Education ‘Moonshot’ on Horizon From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    17zuoye has raised $200 million in Series E funding from Toutiao. The “homework help” company has now raised some $335 million, making it one of the most well-funded, privately held education companies in the world.

    Yogome has raised $26.9 million in Series B funding from Exceed Capital Partners, Seaya Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, and Variv Capital. The educational game-maker has raised $36.5 million total.

    Kiddom has raised $15 million from Owl Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The K–12 learning management company has raised $21.5 million total.

    Ponddy Education has raised $6 million for its language learning software from Chenco Holding Company, Osnaburge Ventures LLC, and the MIC Ponddy AR Fund.

    Saturday Kids, a coding bootcamp for children, has raised $1 million from Potato Productions.

    Will UdacityIPO?

    Edsurge’s Tony Wan interviewsTed Dintersmith, a partner at Charles River Ventures, at “what school could be.” (Here’s a look at CRV’s investment portfolio for a glimpse at what the firm imagines school should be.)

    Edtech Digest’s Victor Rivero interviewsTory Patteron, a partner at Owl Ventures on how the firm is “Betting 185 Million Dollars on EdTech.” (Here’s a look at Owl Ventures’ investment portfolio for a glimpse at where the money’s going.)

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “There Are No Guardrails on Our Privacy Dystopiawrite David Golumbia and Chris Gilliard (and this section of the Hack Education Weekly News is here to prove it).

    Via the Magnolia Reporter: “Magnolia School District buying advanced camera surveillance technology for MHS, MJHS.” Local law enforcement will be able to “tap into the system.”

    Via The Intercept: “Amazon Partnership with British Police Alarms Privacy Advocates.” Enjoy those Alexa in the classroom!

    Via The Verge: “University of Arizonatracks student ID cards to detect who might drop out.”

    Via The Register: “Privacy activists have called for more transparency and parental control over web monitoring in British schools after a survey indicated that almost half track their students online.”

    Here’s how Snapchat surveilled the students who walked out of school on Tuesday.

    Via Willamette Week: “Portland State University Researchers Cancel Presentation of a Research Project That May Have Used Federally-Protected Student Data Without Permission.” More via OPB.

    Via The Verge: “Peter Thiel’s data company Palantir will develop a new intelligence platform for the US Army.”

    Via the Tallahassee Democrat: “50,000 Leon students, teachers may be impacted by Virtual School data breach.” That’s the Florida Virtual School, to be clear.

    Via Remaking the University: “The Outsourcing of Payroll Data by the University of California and Why We Should Worry.” I’m not going to spoil it by telling you who has the contract for this project. But OMFG.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    A new report from the Network for Public Education: “Online Learning: What Every Parent Should Know.”

    “Where did venture capitalists go to college?” asks Techcrunch. You’ll never guess…

    The UK Higher Education Policy Institute predicts, “University place demand to grow by 300,000 by 2030.”

    From the NCES: “Changes in Bullying Victimization and Hate-Related Words at School Since 2007.” The data says bullying is down, but do note: the data comes from the years 2007 through 2015.

    Via Pacific Standard: “College Students Report Decreased Confidence in Free Speech Protections in a New Poll.”

    Stanford University professor Larry Cuban asks, “Whatever Happened to Direct Instruction? (Part 1)”

    NPR on“Rethinking How Students With Dyslexia Are Taught To Read.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “When Chicago cut down on suspensions, students saw test scores and attendance rise, study finds.”

    “How the ‘industrial era schools’ myth is a barrier to helping education today” by Sherman Dorn.

    School Segregation Is Not a Myth,” writes Will Stancil in The Atlantic.


    From Cambridge University: “Professor Stephen Hawking 1942 - 2018.”

    (A reminder, from Teen Vogue: “Saying Stephen Hawking Is ‘Free’ From His Wheelchair Is Ableist.”)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project