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The History of the Future of Education Technology
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    This is the transcript of the talk I gave this afternoon at a CUNY event on "The Labor of Open"

    Thank you very much for inviting me here to speak to you. I’m quite honored to get to kick off your event here, and I hope I can say some things that will be provocative and maybe generative for the kinds of discussions you’re having today.

    As I’ve thought about what I might say, I will admit, I had to do a lot of reflection about what my relationship is to “open.” Because it’s changed a lot in the last few years.

    I don’t want to make this talk about me. That would be profoundly unhelpful and presumptuous. But I also don’t want to make that word “open” do work politically (or professionally) that it hasn’t done for me personally (politically and professionally). And while I understand that for many people “open” is a key piece of an imagined digital utopia, it hasn’t been always so sunny for me.

    At the beginning of the year, I made a bunch of changes to my websites – that is, my personal website and Hack Education, the publication I created almost a decade ago. I changed the logo. I updated my author photo. And I got rid of the Creative Commons licensing at the footer of each article.

    My websites have always been CC-licensed – although admittedly, I’ve used different versions over the years, mostly going back and forth with whether or not I want that non-commercial feature. I guess, in some people’s eyes, that means my work was never really, truly “open.”

    I thought a lot about this change, about ditching the CC licensing – this is my work, after all, and as such, it’s deeply intertwined with my identity. It’s also my experience – my lived experience – as a woman who writes online about technology.

    Five years ago, I removed comments from my website. Lots of folks were not pleased. But dealing with comments was a kind of labor that I was no longer willing to do.

    I’d written a couple of articles that had ended up on the front page of Reddit and Hacker News – articles critical of Codecademy and Khan Academy, in particular – and my website was flooded with comments signed by Jack the Ripper and the like, chastising me, threatening me. “Just delete those comments,” some people told me. “Flag them as spam.” But see, that’s still work. Not very rewarding work. Emotionally exhausting work. Seeing an email appear in my inbox notifying me that I had a new comment on my site made me feel sick. So I removed comments altogether – that’s the beauty of running your own website. I felt then and I feel now that I have no obligation to host others’ ideas there, particularly when they’re hateful and violent, but even if they’re purportedly helpful – “there’s a comma splice in your last sentence.” Or “It’s a little off topic but anyone looking for a job should check out this website that is currently hiring people to work at home for $83 an hour.” You know. Helpful comments.

    Since then, annotation tools like Hypothes.is and Genius have become popular. And even though I didn’t want comments on my website, these companies have built tools so that people could mark up my writing on my websites nonetheless. The comments weren’t literally on my website; they’re an additional layer, if you will, on top of my writing – hosted elsewhere, outside my control (and, I suppose, outside my responsibility, my “work”). So I added a script to my site that made it impossible for these tools to function on Hack Education and on my personal blog. As I wrote then to explain my decision,

    This isn’t simply about trolls and bigots threatening me (although yes, that is a huge part of it); it’s also about extracting value from my work and shifting it to another company which then gets to control (and even monetize) the conversation.

    (The response from the head of Hypothes.is was “but we’re a non-profit.”)

    I also wrote on my site,

    Blocking annotation tools does not stop you from annotating my work. I’m a fan of marginalia; I am. I write all over the books I’ve bought, for example. Blocking annotations in this case merely stops you from writing in the margins here on this website.

    When I wrote this, my work was still CC-licensed, so as long as folks followed that – redistributing it with attribution for non-commercial purposes – they could post an article from Hack Education elsewhere and mark it up to their hearts’ content there. But as people responded with outrage at my decision to control what happened on my website, in my personal digital space, I confess: I became increasingly irritated. I was told that because I’d published something online, anyone could do what they wanted with my work. I was told that I was silencing dissent. I was told I was being irrational, controlling – “authoritarian” someone called me. All because I’d disabled some JavaScript on my website.

    Now, nothing can stop you from writing in the margins of my work. I can’t stop you. I have never tried to stop you. I’ve never hired lawyers to stop you. You can print it my essays and scribble all over them. You can buy a copy of my books – in digital or in print – and you can mark those up too. You can take an excerpt and add your own commentary. You can highlight the comma splices and point out the typos. You can call me names and tell me to get back in the kitchen.

    But because I’ve removed the Creative Commons licensing, you now do have to do one thing before you take an essay of mine and post it elsewhere: you have to ask my permission.

    As a woman who writes online about technology, I have grown far too tired of “permission-less-ness.” Because “open” doesn’t just mean using my work for free without asking. It actually often means demanding I do more work – justify my decisions, respond to accusations, and constantly rethink how and where I want to be and am able to be and work on the Internet.

    So I’ve been thinking a lot, as I said, about “permissions” and “openness.” I have increasingly come to wonder if “permission-less-ness” as many in “open” movements have theorized this, is built on some unexamined exploitation and extraction of labor – on invisible work, on unvalued work. Whose digital utopia does “openness” represent?

    Perhaps it’s worth looking at history of the idea that the Internet is utopian in its founding or in its intent – at “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” for example, at its claim that “Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications.” Transactions and relationships, the declaration notes, but it makes no mention of work or pay or labor or costs. “Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere,” the declaration proclaims – the “no place” of utopia, no doubt, “but it is not where bodies live.” You know, I felt every one of those death and rape threats in my body. I have had to fear for my body when I’ve shown up some places, in person, to speak.

    I like to remind people that with all this sweeping rhetoric about revolution and transformation, that John Perry Barlow wrote “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” in 1996 in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum. I don’t know about you, but that’s neither a site nor an institution I’ve never really associated with utopia. Indeed, perhaps much of this new technology was never meant to be a utopia for all of us after all.

    “On behalf of the future,” Barlow wrote, “I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”

    Who does have sovereignty in this vision of the future? Who labors, who manages? Who is welcome? And if there are those who are unwelcome – and clearly there are – what does that mean when something like “open” gets invoked to talk about this digital space? What does it mean that some of the people and places and documents and diatribes that those in digital technology’s “open” movements point to as their inspiration, as their origin stories, as the past and the future of “cyberspace,” are deeply committed to misogyny, to racism. (It’s 2018, by the way, and if your slide-deck on “open” still contains pictures of Eric S. Raymond or Linus Torvalds then I’m just going to assume your idea of “open” has not thought about power relations at all. Your message, to echo Barlow, “you are not welcome among us.”)

    And I don’t mean here, how do we trace history through a different set of voices? I mean, how might “open” and “digital” be built on precisely these beliefs – on exploitation and exclusion and violence?

    When we think about “open” and labor, who do we imagine doing the work? What is the work we imagine being done? Who pays? Who benefits? (And how?)

    I talk a lot in my writing about “the history of the future” – that is, the ways in which we have, historically, imagined the future, the stories we have told about the future, and perhaps even the ways in which those narratives shape the direction the present and the future take.

    I’d like to turn to some of of these depictions of the future, a series of postcards that were created in 1899 in France to celebrate the turn of the century and to imagine what the world might be like in the year 2000.

    I’ve used one of these images many times in talks – it’s so perfect. It reveals so much about how we imagine (how we have long imagined) the future of education. This illustration depicts a classroom in which the schoolmaster stuffs textbooks, including L’Histoire de France, into a machine. A student turns the hand-crank, and the machine grinds the books into information, delivering it via electrical wire to the helmets – and we can assume into the minds – of the schoolboys, all sitting pensively with their hands crossed on their desks.

    (This is an illustration of school. This is an illustration of knowledge. This is an illustration of imperialism. This is an illustration of whiteness and maleness. This is an illustration of work.)

    Isaac Asimov published a book collecting and commenting on these illustrations in 1986 – so still over a decade before the year 2000 – and this is how he described this particular image:

    Presumably, the students hear the information in the books as it is automatically converted into sound, which, one gathers, impresses itself on the young minds more efficiently than would be the case if the teacher read the books aloud or if the students read to themselves. While this is not likely to happen, either now or in the future, we are indeed likely to have an education revolution by 2000 but it will, of course, involve the increasing use of computers as storehouses and deliverers of information."

    Computers, not books. Computers, not electrical wires and helmets.

    As Asimov’s interpretation should remind us, throughout the twentieth century (and on into the twenty-first), the future of education (and more broadly for your purposes as librarians, the future of scholarship, knowledge-building, and knowledge-sharing) has been imagined again and again as a highly technological endeavor where machines streamline the efficiency of teaching and learning.

    The efficiency of teaching and learning – that means we need to talk about labor, in this illustration, in our imagined futures, in our stories. Because it’s not just the machine (or it’s not the machine alone) – in this depiction or in our practices – that is doing “the work.” There is invisible labor here. Not depicted. Not imagined. Not theorized or commented upon by Asimov.

    Indeed, almost all the illustrations in this series – and there are 50 of these in all – involve “work” (or the outsourcing and obscuring of work). Let’s look at a few of these (and as we do so, think about how work is depicted – whose labor is valued, whose labor is mechanized, who works for whom, and so on. And if you’re familiar with these illustrations, think about those that are regularly used in talks like this and those that have you never seen before – why):

    (A sidenote: I included this illustration because I think it is a mistake to ignore the imperialism in this vision of the future. Ignoring racism in the technological imagination does not make it go away.)

    What do machines free us from? Not drudgery – not everyone’s drudgery, at least. Not war. Not imperialism. Not gendered expectations of beauty. Not gendered expectations of heroism. Not gendered divisions of labor. Not class-based expectations of servitude. Not class-based expectations of leisure.

    And so similarly, what is the digital supposed to liberate us from? What is rendered (further) invisible when we move from the mechanical to the digital, when we cannot see the levers and the wires and the pulleys.

    One note here about these illustrations – because I want to make it clear that the problems we face with digital labor and digital utopias are not necessarily simply about the digital but rather about systems and structures that have long been in place: These cards were commissioned by a novelty toy maker in Lyon, France called Armand Gervais. A freelance artist named Jean Marc Côté was hired to draw them. According to the Canadian science fiction writer Christopher Hyde, Côté finished the drawings in the summer of 1899, and then he “sank into obscurity.”

    Obscurity – there’s that process of erasure once again. Invisible labor. Labor obscured.

    Nothing else is known about Côté, says Hyde. In late 1899, the founder of Armand Gervais died, and the company went out of business. The cards were never distributed. Hyde bought the cards – this set of 50 – from an antiques dealer who, in the late 1920s, had sought to purchase the abandoned Armand Gervais factory. While touring it, that man had discovered a trap door – or so the story goes – that revealed a store room where all the items that had been manufactured for sale were placed when the factory closed its doors. Found among them was this one set – one complete and undamaged set – of illustrations. The antique dealer sold them to Hyde who showed them to Isaac Asimov who reprinted them in his book Futuredays. The illustrations were in the public domain – “open” and outside of copyright protection, that is. But we can see in the production of this book that there are layers of labor that are lost and obscured when Isaac Asimov’s name is listed as author. (Côté’s name does not appear on the cover.)

    And to be clear too, in his commentary that accompanies the illustrations, Asimov is no better at predicting the future – the shape of the year 2000 – than Jean Marc Côté was in the images he’d drawn one hundred years prior. Both are caught up in the same sort of imperialist and technological imaginations of manhood and “man’s work” and machine that Jules Verne, inspiration for the genre of science fiction and for these very illustrations, was more than a century ago.

    Chronicling the technological advances of the twentieth century – since Côté drew his illustrations – Asimov writes in the book’s introduction, “all these things mean change, change, change – one way change, progressive change.” “In fact, it is possible to argue,” he adds, “that not only is technological change progressive, but that any change that is progressive involves technology even when it doesn’t seem to.”

    I’ve got some significant quibbles with this. It does make for a nice story about human history – I think there’s a Harvard professor making the rounds peddling a new book that makes a similar sort of claim: we are becoming less violent and more altruistic. Things get better. Asimov’s statement makes for a powerful story about technology too: that technologies, not people, have historical agency; that new technologies are inevitable, necessary, and above all, good; that these advances are intertwined with Enlightenment ideals of reason and liberalism and science. That the machine is, as such, liberatory. That the machine is utopian even – or at the very least, that it pushes us in that direction.

    My theory for social change does not posit that technology is the (or even an) actor. That is, I do not believe, to borrow from the title of one of Kevin Kelly’s books, that social change (progressive or otherwise) is “what technology wants.” My theory for social change rests on the political struggle of people, on collective social action.

    And that’s work.

    And it’s work not often imagined in digital utopias. (Collective action hardly makes an appearance in Jean Marc Côté’s illustrations, with the exception of fire-fighting and war and wealthy people sitting around a radium “fire.”) We can speculate on why this might be. Perhaps it’s because machines are supposed to enhance productivity. Perhaps because we’re more eager to talk about people as consumers than as workers. Perhaps it’s the emphasis on leisure rather than labor. Perhaps it’s that today’s “platform capitalism,” as Nick Srnicek argues, extracts our data not just our labor. Perhaps because futurists rarely talk about reproductive or affective labor. Perhaps because we’re “knowledge workers” now and as John Perry Barlow argued in his “declaration of independence” that is “not where bodies live” – knowledge work is pure thought, pure mind, pure intellect.

    If digital utopia doesn’t see our bodies, it makes sense it cannot see our work. If digital utopia cannot imagine our existence, it makes sense it will not value our presence (or notice our absence).

    Of course, that also might mean it won’t expect our resistance. (Even if our resistance is as small as blocking some JavaScript on our personal websites… but I’m guessing this group will think and act bigger.)


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  • 05/11/18--06:10: 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


    First Lady Melania Trumplaunched her “Be Best” campaign this week, encouraging people to be nicer on social media. Looks like she just recycled an Obama-era document that the FTC put out. Oh well. At least some people heard her message:

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal task force releases ”roadmap“ for alternative federal system for apprenticeships, with calls for more industry involvement and criticism of higher education. But questions remain about how the new system would work.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education plans to hold a negotiated rule-making session aimed at changing regulations for federal aid eligibility to try to ‘promote greater access for students to high-quality, innovative programs,’ according to a Wednesday posting from the Office of Management and Budget.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos to Review Restrictions on Religious Institutions.”

    There’s some news in the venture capital section below on Betsy DeVos’s (terrible) investments.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a reorganization Wednesday that will eliminate the separate arm that focused on the interests of students and other young Americans. The Office of Students and Young Consumers had actively and aggressively policed the student loan industry and monitored credit card companies and other financial institutions that serve – or target – college students and other young people.” More via NPR.

    Via The Washington Post: “Free textbooks? Federal government is on track with a pilot program.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The Oregonian: “Portland Public Schools fielded report after report that educator Mitch Whitehurst engaged in sexual misconduct with students, starting the very first year of his 32-year career, a damning investigation released Thursday says.”

    Via The 74: “Under Shadow of Online Charter School Scandal, Mike DeWine & Richard Cordray Win Primaries in Race for Ohio Governor.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The chancellor’s office for California’s community college system on Tuesday released recommendations for a performance funding formula that Jerry Brown, the state’s Democratic governor, proposed in January as part of his last budget plan.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Pacific Standard: “Children Will Now Be Separated From Their Parents at the U.S. Border.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via CBS News: “Texas Christian University tutors accused in alleged cheating case.” The alleged cheating involved study materials posted to Quizlet.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Michigan Sued Over Speech Code.”

    Via The New York Times: “Man Who Hacked West Point and Government Websites Is Charged.” That’s Billy Ribeiro Anderson.

    “Free College”


    Via The Washington Post: “Maryland governor plans to sign free community college bill into law.”

    The Business of Financial Aid


    Via the BBC: “The man hired to run the Student Loans Company was appointed against officials’ advice and without having his references checked, a report says.” That’s Steve Lamey, who ran the British loan company, and who was fired for “gross misconduct” in late 2017.

    There’s more financial aid-related news in the federal education section up top.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Tom Vander Ark in Getting Smart: “Venture University: A Trade School for the Innovation Economy.” There’s no degree. “The tuition becomes an investment fund. Learners can earn tuition back and then some–or not, depending on how their investments fair.” Sounds legit.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Laureate Describes Its Shifted Focus.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    “If You’re Worried About Free Speech on Campus, Don’t Fear Students – Fear the Koch Brothers,” writes David Perry in Pacific Standard.

    To be honest though, lots of folks should fear white women on campus:

    Via NPR: “College Apologizes After Native American Students’ Visit Is Sidelined By Police.” That’s Colorado State University.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Yale Police Called on Black Student Taking a Nap.”

    And another story from David Perry: “A Texas Principal and the Casual Criminalization of Race and Disability in Schools.”

    “The University of Oregon is changing course evaluations to make them more useful and eliminate implicit bias,” says The Daily Emerald.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “AAUP says University of Nebraska-Lincoln violated Courtney Lawton’s academic freedom when it ended her teaching appointment over a high-profile political dispute on campus.” (Be sure to read Steve Kolowich’s coverage of this.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UNC Rejects Faculty Panel’s Finding That Administrators Interfered in Critic’s Class on Sports.”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “Auditors probed U-M’s endowment years ago. Then delay, delay, delay.” U-M here is the University of Michigan.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “At Columbia University, Art Students Want Their Tuition Back.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NYU’s Abu Dhabi Campus May Still Be Exploiting Workers, Report Says.”

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Postscript on Rio Salado Coverage: Clarity about different outcome types.”

    Via Wyofile: “College dumps transgender protections after GOP, community pressure.” That is Eastern Wyoming College.

    Oh look. Another “banning laptops” story, this one from Ohio State University: “Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise.”

    “Which university or college will be the first to reach $100,000 per year?” asks Bryan Alexander.

    Via The Atlantic: “One Ohio School’s Quest to Rethink Bad Behavior.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via Education Dive: “Stackable degrees could be the future of higher education, experts say.” “Experts.”

    Testing


    The College Board has called for extra security on the upcoming AP exams.

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via ThinkProgress: “Michigan State admits Nassar sexually abused student-athletes, but says he didn’t break NCAA bylaws.”

    There’s some more sports-related news in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

    Labor and Management


    Edsurge talks with AFT head Randi Weingarten.

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein: “Portentous Changes in Instructure’s Executive Management.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Nearpod Names Ed-Tech Veteran Maurice Heiblum to President, COO Post.”

    Via NPR: “After 3-Day Strike, University Of California’s Service Workers Vow To Keep Fighting.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Duke Administrator’s Complaint About Music Apparently Got 2 Campus Baristas Fired.”

    There’s more news on hirings and firings in the financial aid section above.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Is diversity hiring a threat to academic growth?asks Education Dive.

    Can This AI-Powered Baby Translator Help Diagnose Autism?asks Wired.

    Should Professors (a) Use Multiple Choice Tests or (b) Avoid Them At All Costs?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


    Google’s got our kids,” says The Outline.

    Google had a big event this week – you know, the one where tech journalists do the company’s marketing work for them by writing up every announcement made on stage in its own, separate article. (Some of the stories are in the “robots” section below.)

    Chromebooks are ready for your next coding project,” says the Google blog.

    Klout is closing. (Thanks GDPR!) However will Michael Petrilli and Rick Hess rank teachers now?

    Via Boing Boing: “After the Boy Scouts opens up to trans kids, queer kids and girls, the Mormons severed their 105-year relationship to scouting.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


    “A Google Assistant update will teach kids to say ‘please’,” says Techcrunch.

    Google just announced an AI bot that could change teaching & learning…. consequences are both exciting & terrifying…” says Donald Clark.

    Via The New York Times: “Facebook Adds A.I. Labs in Seattle and Pittsburgh, Pressuring Local Universities.” The privatization of research…

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


    Via Education Week: “Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Team Up to Seek ‘State of the Art’ Ideas for Schools.” More via Peter Greene.

    Sponsored content this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this and this and this.

    Edsurge covers the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, a conference run by its investor NewSchools Venture Fund.

    Via The New York Times: “What Charles Koch and Other Donors to George Mason University Got for Their Money.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Theranos Cost Business and Government Leaders More Than $600 Million.” Betsy DeVos and her family invested $100 million in the company. The Walton family invested $150 million. Rupert Murdoch invested $120 million. Carlos Slim invested $30 million. Gee, what is with some people and their penchant for backing fraudulent tech?!

    LMS-maker Fuse Universal has raised $20 million from Eight Roads Ventures. The company has raised $30 million total.

    Blockchain company Learning Machine has raised $3 million from PTB Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Learn Capital.

    Shearwater has raised $600,000 from Rethink Education. The mentoring company has raised $1.2 million total.

    Income-sharing agreement company Lumni has acquired two income sharing agreement companies, Base Capital and Paytronage.

    Private equity firm Francisco Partners is acquiringRenaissance Learning and myON.

    And on a side note, this article in Edsurge (penned by an investor) on “Where Edtech and Its Investors Miss the Mark” is a thing to behold. I’m not sure what my favorite part is. Perhaps it’s opening with a quotation that cannot definitively be attributed to William Butler Yeats (which could, indeed, explain why investors miss the mark: they don’t do good research).

    More VC-related news: “The ASU + GSV Conference was More GSV than Ever – And That’s Good,” says Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Buzzfeed looks at how privacy laws curtail students’ access to information about perpetrators of sexual misconduct against them.

    Via Edsurge: “COPPA Best Practices: Advice for Schools on Staying on the Right Side of the Law.”

    More on that study on how Android apps violate COPPAvia Appcensus.

    There are some data security-related court cases in the legal section above.

    Via The New York Times: “Scholars Have Data on Millions of Facebook Users. Who’s Guarding It?”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via EdWeek Market Brief: “Principals Report More Influence Over School Budgets Than Curriculum Choice in National Survey.”

    Via Edsurge: “Streaming Platforms Show Promise – And Risks – For Developing Literacy In Preschoolers.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New findings: college students actually perform worse with access to digital course-planning platforms that show how previous students performed.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Report finds that attacks on educational institutions and their students and employees appear to be on the rise.”

    A new report from the NEPC: “Full-Time Virtual and Blended Schools: Enrollment, Student Characteristics, and Performance.”

    What kinds of research matter to educators?asks Benjamin Doxtdator.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 05/18/18--06:20: 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 Forbes: “The Startup President: How France’s Macron Nearly Built An EdTech Company.” Ed-tech: where you don’t need an actual product idea for a company, and you can incubate your neoliberalism anyway.

    Mick Zais has been confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Education.

    Via Education Week: “DeVos Team Considering Reshuffling of Education Department’s Main K–12 Office.”

    Lots of Betsy DeVos-related for-profit higher education news in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    Via Education Week: “FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal to Take Effect June 11, Worrying Schools.” More via Edsurge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Career Training Groups Encouraged by Trump Pick for CTE Job.” That is, Scott Stump. And CTE here, to be clear, means career and technical education not chronic traumatic encephalopathy, although I would understand it if you were confused.

    The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss with a clickbait-y headline: “Betsy DeVos went to New York to visit schools for the first time. Guess which ones.” I’ll save you the click – two private orthodox Jewish schools: Manhattan High School for Girls and the Yeshiva Darchei Torah Boys School.

    Via The Yale Daily News: “Federal Office of Civil Rights investigates Yale” for too many programs that benefit women, or something.

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    State and local teachers’ protests are in the “labor and management” section below.

    Via EdScoop: “Google adds new terms to comply with Connecticutstudent data privacy laws.”

    Via NPR: “Illinois Imposes Sweeping Control Over Chicago’s Special Education Program.”

    Local Indianapolis school politics via Chalkbeat: “The Mind Trust’s new CEO pledges to listen to critics and look to parents to lead changes.”

    Via The New York Times: “L.G.B.T. Students in Oregon Were Bullied and Forced to Read Bible, Report Says.” That is, students in the North Bend School District.

    Immigration and Education


    Via Slate: “ICE claimed a Dreamer was ‘gang-affiliated’ and tried to deport him. A federal judge ruled that ICE was lying.”

    Via NPR: “A DACA Recipient Graduates Amid Deportation Fears.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Texas System Apologizes for Revoking Nepali Students’ Scholarships.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Violate Your Student Visa? You’re Not Welcome Here.”

    Education in the Courts


    More about the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports gambling in the sports section below.

    Via NPR: “Michigan State University Reaches $500 Million Settlement With Nassar Abuse Victims.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Textbook Authors Sue Cengage Over Subscription Model.” More via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

    Via LJWorld.com: “KU student who hacked computers and changed his grades is convicted of 4 felonies.” That’s the University of Kansas.

    “Free College”


    Via Edsurge: “For Free Community College, Online Learning Isn’t Always Part of the Recipe for Success.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A two-year college in Ohio will award students a free second year of tuition if they successfully finish their first year while completing at least 30 credit hours.” That is, Marion Technical College.

    The Business of Financial Aid


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “How Parent PLUS Worsens the Racial Wealth Gap.”

    Via Bustle: “I’ve Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000.”

    “Examining Trends in Graduate Student Debt by Race and Ethnicity” by Seton Hall University professor Robert Kelchen.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via The New York Times: “Education Department Unwinds Unit Investigating Fraud at For-Profits.”

    Via The New York Times: “A State Attorney General Calls Out Betsy DeVos on For-Profit Colleges.” That’s New Jersey’s AG, Gurbir S. Grewal.

    David Halperin writes, “The once for-profit Art Institutes are now run by the non-profit, faith-based Dream Center. But they’re connected to the new Woz U and a web of for-profit companies – raising questions of conflict of interest and legal compliance.”

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


    Via The Blade: “School that took ECOT students wants poor scores ignored.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, a failed online charter school. The school that took the students when Ohio shut the former down, K12 Inc’s Ohio Virtual Academy – another institution with a pretty shoddy track record.

    Via The Washington Post: “Don’t know the graduate next to you? You’re not alone. One-third of students take at least one class online.”

    VCU’s Jon Becker on distance education as a “pot of gold” – parts 1 and 2.

    The University of Rosario has joinededX.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via Willamette Week: “Marylhurst University Will Abruptly Announce Its Closure Today, In its 125th Year of Operation.” More on Marylhurst from Inside Higher Ed and from The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Note: Marylhurst was one of the experimental sites of the EQUIP program.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Catholic U. Plan, Which Could Result in Layoffs of Tenured Profs, Moves Ahead.”

    Via The LA Times: “A USC doctor was accused of bad behavior with young women for years. The university let him continue treating students.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The accusations against Columbia International University President Mark Smith were shocking enough – a former university general counsel alleging that Smith covered up rampant sexual harassment and bigotry by his son when they were both employed by another religious college.”

    Via Edsurge: “How Cornell University Diversified Its Incoming PhD Computer Science Student Body.”

    The Atlantic on the University of Pennsylvania: “The Ivy League School That Won’t Talk About Its Most Famous Graduate.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Years of State Budget Woes, the U. of Illinois Will Hire Hundreds of Faculty Members.”

    Via NPR: “Spelman College Quietly Eliminates One Of The Country’s Few Jazz Programs For Women.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “This Is What Georgia Tech Thinks College Will Look Like in 2040.” Don’t worry. I’ll circle back around in a couple decades to check up on these predictions.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UMass-Boston Faculty Votes No Confidence in System’s Leaders Over Purchase of Small College.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Teachers at a D.C. school say seniors’ absences were erased, prompting investigation.”

    “The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschoolingby The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson.

    Stanford’s Larry Cuban on Khan Lab School– part 1 and 2.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via The Wall Street Journal: “One Year of ‘College’ With No Degree, But No Debt And a Job at the End” – and, I guess, no school either as this is a story on MissionU, which just closed its doors after being acquired. More on that in the “upgrade/downgrade” section below.

    Speaking of unaccredited programs that seem to get lauded in the press, here’s The Chronicle of Higher Education onRunchero University, an unaccredited “utopian community based on cooperative living and practical skills”: “This Software Millionaire Is Building the Low-Tech College of His Dreams.” The rich guy in question: Kevin Runner.

    Via Edsurge: “Why the Lumina Foundation Is Betting Big on New Kinds of Credentials.”

    Testing


    Via The Atlantic: “An SAT for CEOs.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Supreme Court’s decision permitting sports gambling creates a slew of issues for colleges, sports administrators and the NCAA, David Welch Suggs Jr. says.”

    Labor and Management


    Via NPR: “Before They Walk Into A Classroom, These New Teachers Will March On The N.C. Capitol.” More on why North Carolina teachers are protesting in The Washington Post.

    Via In These Times: “Colorado Teachers Are Mad as Hell – And Now They’re out on Their First Strike in Decades.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cornell Violated Federal Labor Law in Grad Assistant Union Election.”

    Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Washington have voted to unionize.

    Via The Kentucky Kernel: “ UK seeks to fire tenured journalism professor over sales of his own textbook.” The UK, in this headline, stands for the University of Kentucky. The professor in question: Buck Ryan. (If you Google him, you might surmise there’s a lot more going on here than just textbook sales.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Texas State U. Police Chief Resigns Amid Racial Tensions on Campus.”

    An op-ed from someone from Kelly Services– you know, the temp agency – in Edsurge on “Why Solving the Teacher Shortage Is Critical for Edtech.”

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Campus Technology: “University of Washington Continuum College Launches Coding Boot Camp.” That is, the university has outsourced the teaching of JavaScript, Node.js, HTML, CSS, and jQuery to the for-profit company Trilogy Education.

    Speaking of which, Inside Higher Ed writes, “Trilogy Education Services runs coding boot camps for a growing number of universities. The partnerships are lucrative for the institutions, but are they worth the reputational risk?”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative the Future of Philanthropy?asks the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

    (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


    College “alternative” startup MissionUentersthe ed-tech deadpool. More on the ending in the venture capital section below. Somanypuff piecesin the ed-tech press about this – including one a week ago in The Wall Street Journal. So many people predicting this company would disrupt higher ed. How embarrassing for y’all.

    Michael Horn writes in Edsurge about “Why Google Maps– not Netflix or Amazon– Points to the Future of Education.” Funny, it was just a few years ago that he wrote that, indeed, Netflix and Amazon did point the way.

    It’s almost as though there are zero consequences in ed-tech for being full of shit.

    Techcrunch with the corporate PR: “For Apple, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about education.” And another one: “Apple brings its coding lessons to schools for students who are blind and deaf.”

    Different company, but same practice – tech journalism as marketing. Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches Youth Portal to educate teens on the platform, how their data is being used.” The Verge tries to take a slightly skeptical angle: “If Facebook wants to appeal to teens, it might start by rethinking its new ‘Youth Portal’.”

    Still more advertorialcontent.

    The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino on“The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul.” Bonus points, truly, for having a “mindfulness curriculum.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What a Controversy Over an App Tells Us About How Students Learn Now.” The app in question is Quizlet, a digital flash card tool that allows students to share their study notes. Because students have never been able to share notes or study together until this moment in history.

    Rolin Moe is just on fire with this essay on the idea that “innovation should be an academic discipline.

    Via The New York Times: “Assassin’s Creed Has a New Mission: Working in the Classroom.” (Compare/contrast with this pretty terrible piece on Fortnite.)

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


    Despite the headlines, Google Duplex did not defeat “the Turing Test.” In fact, Axios suggests that Google might have staged the demo it gave of its new voice assistant. But questions about accuracy never stop ed-tech evangelists from pronouncing that new shiny things are the future of teaching.

    Via Campus Technology: “Carnegie Mellon to Offer Undergrad AI Degrees.” Tune into my newsletter tomorrow when I blast a curriculum that offers no social sciences or humanities courses.

    Via Techcrunch: "Starting a robotics company out of school? Not so fast, suggest investors.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


    Via Wired: “Musk, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Ethically Iffy ‘Philanthropy’.”

    Via the AP: “Bill Gates Gives $44M to Influence State Education Plans.”

    There’s some CZI news in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative includes this.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    OpenClassrooms, a French MOOC provider according to Techcrunch, has raised $60 million from Bpifrance, General Atlantic, Alven Capital, and Citizen Capital. It has raised $69.7 million total.

    Coding, a Chinese learn-to-code company, has raised $15 million from Tencent Holdings.

    ClassWallet has raised $2.3 million from Sinovation Ventures, NewSchools Venture Fund, Florida Funders, Brentwood Associates, and Rainfall Capital. The financial management company has raised $6.3 million total.

    Selected has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Propel Capital and Kapor Capital for its teacher-hiring software.

    WeWork has acquiredMissionU. (Among its other recent acquisitions: the Flatiron School and about $18 billion in rental contracts.) MissionU will close its doors.

    Chegg has acquiredWriteLab for $15 million.

    Learn-to-code company Tynker has acquiredPythonroom.

    Boxlight has acquiredCohuborate for $1.8 million.

    Pluralsight has gone public, raising $310 million. Several more storiesvia Techcrunch.

    “Why Was Springer Nature’s IPO Withdrawn?” asks The Scholarly Kitchen’s Roger Schonfeld.

    Via Edsurge: “New Markets Venture Partners’ Latest Edtech Fund Closes at $68 Million.” Investors in the venture capital fund include ACT, Lumina Foundation, Strada Education Network, ECMC Group, and Prudential Financial.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via Wired: “Congress, Privacy Groups Question Amazon’s Echo Dot for Kids.”

    Via The Intercept: “Experts Say Keep Amazon’s Alexa Away From Your Kids.” So of course, it’ll be in classrooms everywhere.

    Via Stuff.co.nz: “Machine learning algorithm is claimed to predict which students will drop out.”

    Via The Epoch Times: “High School in China Installs Facial Recognition Cameras to Monitor Students’ Attentiveness.”

    Coming soon to a school near you, this via the South China Morning Post: “China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale.” Sounds like “social emotional learning” to me!

    It’s not really a privacy story, but I’m including it in this section nonetheless. An op-ed in The Hechinger Report by Lisa Petrides and Doug Levin: “A look at the ethics of public education in an increasingly digital world.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via Crunchbase: “These Schools Graduate The Most Funded Startup CEOs.” Surprise surprise. Harvard, Stanford, and MIT top the list.

    I’m not sure what this headline means, but hey. It’s an op-ed from venture capitalist Ryan Craig in Techcrunch: “Broadening education investments to full-stack solutions.” Are full-stack solutions compatible with “unbundling”? It’s so hard to keep the hoopla straight.

    Via KQED’s Mindshift: “Hospitals See Growing Numbers Of Kids And Teens At Risk For Suicide.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “High-income kids seem to benefit more from educational videos more than low-income kids, study shows.”

    Via Edsurge: “Report: Class of 2018 Has Better Job Prospects than Classes of 2009–2017, but Still Faces Challenges.”

    The American Enterprise Institute has released a report on apprenticeships and community colleges.

    Via Education Week: “The Average Teacher Spends $479 a Year on Classroom Supplies, National Data Show.” For what it’s worth, this is self-reported data.

    The NEPC has released a new report on “full-time virtual and blended schools.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Yes, College Is ‘Worth It,’ One Researcher Says. It’s Just Worth More if You’re Rich.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “As NYC encourages more elementary teachers to specialize in math, new research shows the strategy could hurt student learning.”

    School funds should follow students, not protect institutions,” says Brookings Institution, echoing Betsy DeVos’s rhetoric so that’s interesting.

    Via The Associated Press: “Schools See Steep Drop in Librarians, New Analysis Finds.”

    Related: Education Week’s Ben Herold on a recent talk by USC professor Safiya Noble: “Schools Shouldn’t Trust Google Search Because It Reinforces Racism, Researcher Argues.”

    You know that stat that folks like to toss around about the 30 million “word gap” experienced by poor children and children of color? Guess what…

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 05/25/18--04:50: 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


    Arne Duncan Is Serious: Americans Should Boycott School,” writes The Atlantic’s Adam Harris. That is, boycott schools until gun laws are changed.

    Via the Department of Education’s press office: “Prepared Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.”

    Also via the Department of Education’s press office: “U.S. Department of Education Announces Opportunity for Federal Student Loan Borrowers to be Reconsidered for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

    More about some of the horrible stuff she said in the immigration section below.

    Via NPR: “Education Department Launches ‘Top-To-Bottom’ Review Of Teachers’ Grant Program.”

    More on the business of financial aid in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Women’s Law Center on Monday blasted the Education Department for investigating Yale University for potentially discriminating against men, saying the Trump administration appears hostile toward a key federal gender discrimination law.”

    Via The Chicago Sun-Times: “Dems want to scrap tax cut for rich to fund teachers’ raises.”

    Mark Zuckerberg testified before the European Parliament this week. I’m gonna quibble with this “take” from The Verge: “European legislator says Jobs and Gates ‘enriched’ society, asks if Zuckerberg ‘created a digital monster’.”

    Via NPR: “German Families Playing Hooky Stopped By Police At Airports, May Be Fined.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    California Governor Jerry Brown says that higher education should be like Chipotle: “You stand in the line, get either brown rice or white rice, black beans or pinto beans. You put a little cheese, a little this, a little that, and you’re out of there. I think that’s a model some of our universities need to follow.”

    Via Vogue: “Rape Culture Is on the Ballot ​i​n California.”

    There’s more on research about school closures in Chicago in the “research” section below.

    Via Tucson.com: “Arizona’s Schools Chief Seeks Limits on Teaching Evolution, Big Bang Theory.”

    Via NJ.com: “Newark picks its own school superintendent for first time in 22 years.” That’s Roger Leon.

    Via EdWeek: “Teacher Beats Kentucky House Majority Leader in GOP Primary.” More via The NYT. That’s Travis Brenda.

    Via Chalkbeat: “The Denver school district is exploring the idea of creating its own police officers.”

    Rachel Cohen in the Washington City Paper: “Behind the Consulting Firm Raking In Millions From D.C. Charter Schools.” That firm: TenSquare.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Charter schools advocates’ next push: Funding for school security.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New York Doubles Down on Open Educational Resources.”

    Via Education Week: “Wyoming school district begins search for firearms trainers.” That’s the Cody School District.

    Immigration and Education


    Via Politico: “DeVos: Schools should decide whether to report undocumented kids.” This is, in fact, unconstitutional, but I gather we no longer expect government officials to worry about such things.

    Education in the Courts


    Via NPR: “Court Sides With Transgender Student In Bathroom Case.” Also via NPR: “‘I Hope This Will Set A Precedent,’ Says Trans Teen Who Won Case Over Bathroom Access.” The student: Gavin Grimm. Hero.

    Via the ACLU: “ACLU of Oregon Reaches Sweeping Settlement with North Bend School District Over LGBTQ Discrimination and Bible Reading.”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “Michigan State to pay Larry Nassar victims $500 million in settlements.” Via Deadspin: “Michigan State’s Nassar Settlement Could Set A Troubling First Amendment Precedent.”

    Via Wired: “Supreme Court Rules Against Workers In Arbitration Case.”

    Via the AP: “Families of Sandy Hook victims sue Infowars’ Alex Jones.”

    Via The Charlotte Observer: “Charlotte School of Law turns to one of America’s top lawyers to fight back in lawsuit.”

    The Business of Financial Aid


    “The Department of Education on Wednesday announced the process by which borrowers who had made ineligible payments for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program could be reconsidered for the benefit,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The biggest chain of for-profit colleges that is still overseen by an accreditation group axed by the Obama administration – and given a second chance by Betsy DeVos – failed this month in its initial bid to get recognition elsewhere.” That’s Virginia College.

    There’s more for-profit higher ed news in the “courts” section above.

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


    Oh look. MOOCs are back in the headlines again.

    Via Edsurge: “The Second Wave of MOOC Hype Is Here, and It’s Online Degrees.”

    IHE blogger Joshua Kim offers“25 Million Reasons Why LinkedIn / Microsoft Will Buy Coursera.”

    Cyber Charters in at Least 5 States Face Closure. What’s Going On?” asks Education Week’s Ben Herold.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via Education Week (from last Friday – as I work on the week’s round-up of news, I try to avoid looking at social media, but I think there was another school shooting this morning): “10 Dead, Most of Them Students, and 10 Wounded in Texas High School Shooting.”

    The Washington Post claims that, “2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than deployed service members.” (It is a stretch to argue that schools are more dangerous than the military. Puh-lease. Schools are – statistically speaking, at least – the safest place for children to be.)

    Via Haaretz: “ Spying on Linda Sarsour: Israeli Firm Compiled BDS Dossier for Adelson-funded U.S. Group Battling Her Campus Appearances.” I haven’t seen anyone who argues that left-leaning college students are the greatest threat to free speech comment on this. (Or on this. Or on this.)

    Via SPLC: “Texas principal censors paper, bans all editorials and ousts award-winning adviser.” That’s the Eagle Nation Online at Prosper Higher School in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    Via the Harvard Crimson: “Star Economics Prof Fryer Facing Harvard and State-Level Investigations, Barred from Lab He Heads.” That’s Roland Fryer and these are harassment allegations, in case the headline isn’t clear.

    Via The LA Times: “Students warned USC about gynecologist early in his career: ‘They missed an opportunity to save a lot of other women’.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Amid Scandal of Campus Gynecologist, USC Faculty Members Call on President to Resign.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “This Professor Was Accused Of Sexual Harassment For Years. Then An Anonymous Online Letter Did What Whispers Couldn’t.” The professor in question: UC Santa Cruz’s Gopal Balakrishnan.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside Gay Students’ Fight to Be Heard at BYU.”

    Via The Boston Globe: “‘Shame on you, Jared Kushner’: Harvard alumni tear apart classmate in 15th reunion notes.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Oregon Officials Apologize for Linking Student’s Death to ‘Poor Life Choices’.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Western Governors’ New Fund-Raising Arm for Scholarships.” The Chronicle of Higher Education headline: “Here’s How Western Governors U. Aims to Enroll a Million Students.”

    Via The New York Times: “Oxford Lifts the Veil on Race, Wealth and Privilege.”

    The Atlantic’s Adam Harris on“The Schools That Are Bringing Poor Kids Into the Middle Class.”

    Via NPR: “For Troubled Kids, Some Schools Take Time Out For Group Therapy.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fuller Theological Seminary has announced that it will sell its Pasadena, Calif., campus and move to a new site about 30 miles away.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fallout from the closure of Mount Ida College continued this week with new revelations of personal and business ties between the college president and a benefactor who loaned the college money to try to keep it operating.”

    Via The Intercept: “Cash Incentives for Charter School Recruitment: Unethical Bribe or Shrewd Marketing Technique?”

    Democracy Prep: ‘No Excuses’ Schools that Build Citizens?” by Stanford’s Larry Cuban.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which oversees the country’s higher ed accrediting bodies, voted Thursday to have a subcommittee study oversight questions involved in for-profit colleges seeking to reclassify as nonprofit entities.”

    Via Edsurge: “Elon U. Has Been Working to Reinvent the Transcript. And That Has Given It Some Eye-opening Data.” (“Reinventing the transcript” seems to be one of the things folks are hoping to make “trend” this year.)

    Via Education Dive: “An 80 credit-hour bachelor’s degree?”

    “It’s Time to End College Majors as We Know Them,” argues Jeff Selingo in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Before We End Majors As We Know Them…” IHE blogger John Warner responds.

    Testing


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New ACT Rules on Those With Disabilities.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    There’s more Nassar news in the courts section above.

    ESPN on women’s softball: “Why in the world a defunct school in a town called Wahoo matters to Oklahoma’s 3-peat bid.”

    Labor and Management


    I don’t really know where to stick this profile of the University of Toronto psych professor that appeared in the Style section of The New York Times. Here I guess as I think it does say something about the sort of academic labor that is valued right now. “Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has hired as its new chancellor a former University of California official who managed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work on postsecondary education from 2012 until early this year.” That’s Daniel Greenstein.

    Via E-Literate: “Interview with CEO of Instructure on changes to executive team.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Success Academy COO leaving for another charter network.” That’s Kris Cheung who plans to join KIPP.

    The Business of Job Training


    “What does the ‘future of work’ mean for schools?” asks Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum. “Big claims leave educators with more questions than answers.”

    Speaking of predictions about the “future of work,” Campus Technology says that “Skills Deficit Will Imperil U.S. Economy by 2030.” Imperil!!

    Via Education Week: “Is STEM Oversold as a Path to Better Jobs? Which STEM jobs are in demand and pay well? It’s complicated.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “A growing Jeffco program trains future early childhood workers while they’re still in high school.” That’s the Jeffco Public Schools in Jefferson County, Colorado.

    “Education recoded: policy mobilities in the international ‘learning to code’ agenda” by Ben Williamson, Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt, Catarina Player-Koro, and Neil Selwyn.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Can Portable Schools in India Keep Kids Off the Streets?asks Pacific Standard.

    Will Blockchains Revolutionize Education?asks Educause.

    (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 Verge: “Hasbro just trademarked the smell of Play-Doh.”

    “The One-Teacher, One-Classroom Model Needs an Upgrade,” says Edsurge. “Here’s What’s Next.”

    From the Google blog: “Google Science Fair 2018: Resources for educators to get ideas flowing.”

    Also from the Google blog: “More tools for homeschoolers.” Just what every homeschooler wants! An LMS!

    Via Gizmodo: “Google Removes ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Clause From Its Code of Conduct.” Finally. Of course, much like the myth about “20% time,” I am sure educators will consider to cite this as a reason why schools should be more like Google.

    “What Happened to Facebook’s Grand Plan to Wire the World?” asks Wired.

    Inside Higher Ed on the closure of MissionU: “Self-Proclaimed Alternative to College Closes After a Year.”

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Top Hat’s OER Announcement: Doubling down on faculty engagement.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


    Via The Atlantic: “The Future of AI Depends on High-School Girls.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


    Sponsored content appearing this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Gates Foundation, includes this article (suggesting most professors think they’re better teachers than they actually are) and this article (making the case for “flipped learning” without using videos).

    Sponsored content appearing this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this article touting Slack.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    Real Time Cases has raised $3.5 million from SWaN Ed LLC. The content provider has raised $4.2 million.

    Yellowdig has raised $800,000 from Musketeer Capital, SRI Capital, QB1 Ventures, Rosecliff Capital, and Bob Ciaruffoli. The discussion forum software maker has raised $2.4 million total.

    Frontline Education has acquiredPrologic Technology Systems.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via the ACLU: “Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology.”

    Via The Washington Post: “And now, facial-recognition technology used in casinos is going into a public school district.” That’s the Lockport schools in Buffalo, New York.

    Via Fox13: “Amazon Alexa recorded private conversation, sent it to random contact, woman says.” Amazon later said it appeared to be an Alexa “butt-dial.”

    Via NPR: “How Schools Across The Country Are Working To Detect Threats Made On Social Media.”

    Via The Verge: “Teen-monitoring appTeenSafe leaks thousands of user IDs and passwords.” Oh. The. Irony.

    When a school scans your driver’s license, who keeps your information safe?” asks NJ.com. Shrug emoji.

    Via Common Sense Media: “2018 State of EdTech Privacy Report.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “3 Takeaways From a Book-Length Federal Report on ‘The Condition of Education’.”

    Via The Atlantic: “An Unusual Idea for Fixing School Segregation.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Demand for K–12 Private Education Poised to Soar in Persian Gulf Countries.”

    Via Bryan Alexander: “American higher education enrollment declined. Again.” More on enrollment data from the NCES and from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

    “What’s Going On In Your Child’s Brain When You Read Them A Story?” asks NPR.

    The 74 Explains: How to Teach Your Baby Grit.”

    “The Maps for Learning Don’t Exist Yet” says Amplify CEO Larry Berger.

    Via Chalkbeat: “From an ‘F’ to an ‘A’, Tennessee now sets high expectations for students, says Harvard study.”

    Via WBEZ: “Study: 2013 Chicago School Closings Failed To Help Students.” Via The Chicago Reporter: “Study: After mass school closings, impacted students lagged academically.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


    0 0
  • 06/01/18--04:20: 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 Atlantic: “The GOP’s Public-Education Dilemma.”

    Via Politico: “Trump issues orders making it easier to fire federal employees.”

    There’s more on the Department of Education’s awfulness on student debt relief in the financial aid section below.

    Via The New York Times: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders Chokes Up at Student’s Question on Shootings.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Forgotten Girls Who Led the School-Desegregation Movement.”

    Via The New York Times: “‘OMG This Is Wrong!’ Retired English Teacher Marks Up a White House Letter and Sends It Back.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    While most of the headlines this week about Puerto Rico addressed the fact that a Harvard study found the death toll from Hurricane Maria hit almost 5000, Edsurge runs with a happy story about the island: “Months After a Devastating Hurricane, Puerto Rican Schools Turn to the Sun.”

    Via NPR: “Texas Governor Lays Out School Safety Plan In Wake Of Santa Fe Shooting.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Montgomery County, Maryland District Pulls RFP for Curriculum Decision Worth Millions.” That’s after the district discovered that someone involved in the RFP review process had plans to retire and go work for Discovery Education.

    The Hechinger Report onpersonalized learning: “The massive experiment in New Orleans schools that few have noticed.”

    Via NPR: “Preschools In Ghana’s Capital Challenge Call-And-Response System.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Buzzfeed: “A Pilot And His Assistant Were Arrested For Trying To Deport A Student Back To China.” I don’t know if “deport” is the right verb here. Perhaps “kidnap” is more accurate.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Higher-Ed Groups Warn Against Visa Restrictions for Chinese Students.”

    Via Pacific Standard: “Thousands of Children Have Suffered Abuse at the Hands of U.S. Border Protection Agents.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via the AP: “Court: Gov’t violated privacy law for defrauded students.”

    There’s more legal wrangling in the financial aid section below.

    Okay, this isn’t an education story per se, except the part where ed-tech seems so enthusiastic about the whole “neuromarketing” thing. (I think it’s called “social emotional learning” in education circles though.) Via The Guardian: “Food firms could face litigation over neuromarketing to hijack brains.”

    “Free College”


    Via NPR: “A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work?”

    The Business of Financial Aid


    Via The Washington Post: “Courts halt DeVos’s partial student debt relief plan.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

    Via The Washington Post: “Trump administration to hand student debt collection to loan servicers, ending use of collectors.”

    The Outline highlights the “Summer’s hottest dystopian crossover event is MoviePass and student loan debt”:

    Refinance your debt with Laurel Road, and get a free annual MoviePass membership! A fabulous example of our healthy capitalist economy working its magic.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Mostly Positive Effects of a ‘Last-Dollar’ Scholarship.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via NPR: “New Jersey Attorney General On Investigating For-Profit Colleges.”

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


    Via The Diplomat: “Online Learning in North Korea.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “In Indiana’s Wild West of virtual charter schools, a new one is opening – on a farm.”

    Via Education Week: “How an Online Tutor Became a ‘Math Celebrity’.”

    Via Edsurge: “CSU and California Community Colleges Partner on a Tool to Find Transferable Online Courses.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    (From last Friday. This story broke as I was typing up my weekly news round-up.) Via Chalkbeat: “A student is in custody after Noblesville West Middle School shooting that injured another student and teacher.” Via The Washington Post: “‘Hero’ teacher released from hospital after Indianaschool shooting, says congresswoman.”

    Via The Outline: “I went to high school in a high-security fortress. You don’t want that for your kids.”

    Via The New York Times: “For ‘Columbiners,’ School Shootings Have a Deadly Allure.”

    “I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous,” writes Bernard Schiff in The Star.

    Via Journal & Courier: “As the waiting continued this week at Purdue University, President Mitch Daniels and the university’s trustees were keeping a low profile about their bid to take on management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.” Wait, so Purdue is gonna run Kaplan and a nuclear lab? JFC.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How a Student Got Kicked Out of Class – and Became a Conservative Hero.”

    Georgia State University must have a huge marketing budget. Or maybe the company it’s using for its predictive analytics programs– EAB, I think – does and that’s why we’re hearing all these stories.

    New England College and the New Hampshire Institute of Art will merge.

    Morthland College will close.

    Testing


    Genetic Intelligence Tests Are Next to Worthless,” says The Atlantic. Not that that’ll stop folks from hawking "precision education," of course.

    Via TPM: “No Test Left Behind – How Pearson Made a Killing on the US Testing Craze.”

    “How Can a Student Be ‘Proficient’ in One State But Not Another?” asks Edsurge. Spoiler alert: because states have different proficiency standards.

    Via The Washington Post: “U.S. Education Department warns school districts to protect student privacy for SAT and ACT.”

    Via the BBC: “A head teacher has been banned from the profession indefinitely after helping pupils cheat in their SATs. Karen Parker also bought them junk food for motivation and set off a fire alarm during exams at Robert Bruce Middle School in Kempston, Bedfordshire.”

    News from Egypt in University World News: “Mandatory electronic marking system draws mixed response.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via Buzzfeed: “These Basketball Players Sued Their College For Anti-Gay Discrimination– And Lost.” That would be Pepperdine University.

    Via Education Week: “Gamers Are the New High School Athletes: The Rise of Esports.”

    Via SportsDay: “Wealth vs. wins: Inside the economic disparity that separates some area baseball, softball teams from others.”

    Labor and Management


    Via The New York Times: “U.S.C. President Agrees to Step Down Over Scandal Involving Gynecologist.” And via The LA Times: “Nikias’ tenure as USC president was marked by growth and scandal.”

    Former Kaplan exec Justin Serrano has been hired as the president of Schoology.

    There’s more HR news in the testing section above.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Edsurge: “Walmart Chooses Three Colleges Where Its Employees Can Study For $1 a Day.” That is: University of Florida, Brandman University, and Bellevue University. The offer applies to business and supply chain management degrees only. More on the story from The Atlantic.

    Upgrades and Downgrades


    Via Edsurge: “Teaching Kids Finance and Smart Spending With Cryptocurrency.” Does this curriculum teach kids about the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about centralized banking that are intertwined with cryptocurrency too? Just curious.

    Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “As Juul vaping surges among teens, health concerns grow.”

    Via Variety: “Valve Removes ‘Active Shooter’ Game and Its Developer From Steam.” (My god. I am going to have to make a “school shooting” section for this weekly news stuff, aren’t I.)

    Via Techcrunch: “Roblox follows Minecraft into the education market.”

    Via Wired: “With Venues, Oculus and Facebook Push Social VR Into New Territory.”

    Via Edsurge: “How AR and VR are Being Used to Teach SEL.” Sponsored content from Newsela. (Among Newsela’s investors: the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, for those keeping track of who is hustling for VR in education.)

    Speaking of SEL, here’s The Atlantic on“Teaching Sobriety With ‘The Bottle’.”

    Via Venture Beat: “Fantage kids virtual world will shut after 10 years.”

    “The Theranos Story and Education Technology” by John Warner.

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids no longer requires the kids’ parents to be friends, too.”

    “Where Has Teen Car Culture Gone?” asks The Atlantic.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


    Via Edsurge: “With a Siri-Like Assistant, this Australian U. Wants to Rethink the Student Experience.” This Australian U is Deakin University.

    Maybe this story should go in the privacy section. Maybe it falls under Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. Via The South China Morning Post: “China’s schools are quietly using AI to mark students’ essays… but do the robots make the grade?”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Amazon’s Alexa: Not Yet as Smart as a 5-Year-Old Child.” LOL. “Yet.”

    Via Science: “How researchers are teaching AI to learn like a child.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


    Via The Guardian: “The trouble with charitable billionaires.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Undeterred by Criticism, Koch Foundation Increases Spending in Higher Education.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this.

    Via the Non-Profit Quarterly: “Gates Foundation Marches to Its Own Drummer – Right Through our Schools.”

    Via Fortune: “Why Melinda Gates Has Been Funding Female VCs Through Her Secretive Investment Firm.”

    DonorsChoose data scientist Barbara Cvenić gives some insight into the kinds of things teachers request on the funding platform. Roombas, for example. And refridgerators. (LOL.)

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    Trilogy Education has raised $50 million from Highland Capital Partners, Macquarie Capital, and Exceed Capital. The coding bootcamp has raised $80 million total.

    Learnosity has raised $18.8 million from Battery Ventures. The assessment company has raised over $52 million total.

    SelfStudy has raised $3 million from the International Anesthesiology Research Society.

    GoGuardian raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sumeru Partners.

    2U has raised another round of funding by selling stock – some $330 million worth.

    Via Edsurge: “Acquisition Autopsy: Details – and Questions – Behind MissionU’s $4M Sale to WeWork.”

    Kaltura has acquiredRapt Media.

    ECS Learning Systems has acquiredPREPWORKS.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Most Ed-Tech Products Don’t Meet Minimum Criteria in Their Privacy Policies, Report Finds.”

    This on “predictive algorithms” is terrible, and I apologize for linking to it.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    There’s more research on testing and on financial aid in the testing and financial aid sections above, respectively.

    Via funding.hackeducation.com: “The Business of Ed-Tech: May 2018 Funding Data.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school.” I bet you will never guess where.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Moody’s: Declining Enrollment Is Squeezing Tuition Revenue.”

    Via Pew: “Teens, Social Media, & Technology 2018.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “D.C.’s private school voucher program hurt low-income students’ math test scores, according to federal study.”

    Via Education Week: “Fortnite May Be Addictive, But Could Also Promote Learning, Say Stanford Experts.”

    “Asking the Wrong Question About Personalized Learningby Frederick Hess.

    Via NPR: “Let’s Stop Talking About The ‘30 Million Word Gap’.”

    Via Business Insider: “The famous Stanford ‘marshmallow test’ suggested that kids with better self-control were more successful. But it’s being challenged because of a major flaw.”

    Via Edsurge: “Believe and You Can Achieve? Researchers Find Limited Gains From Growth Mindset Interventions.” (I can’t wait ’til the “replicability crisis” comes for the mindset and grit hype.)

    Via DML Central: “Google Report Reveals State of K–12 Computer Science Education.”

    Via WaPo: “New polls find most Americans say teachers are underpaid– and many would pay higher taxes to fix it.”

    Also via WaPo: “Are American kids happy in school? New data tells a surprising story.”

    New research on hot classrooms via NBER: “We provide the first evidence that cumulative heat exposure inhibits cognitive skill development and that school air conditioning can mitigate this effect.”

    Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends. (I haven’t looked to see how closely this follows the Kleiner Perkins investment portfolio. But as always, take these “trends” with a grain of salt. Some people tell stories about the future because that’s where they think they’re going to profit.)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 06/05/18--11:40: 8
  • Hack Education turns 8 years old today. I’d registered the domain a few days earlier back in 2010, but on this day, I wrote my first article here. I think my boyfriend rolled his eyes. "Good luck," he said. (Funny, 8 years later, he is still my boyfriend.)

    For the past 8 years, I have supported myself through this site, thanks in no small part to the encouragement and financial support of my readers. I have never wanted to scale via venture capital. I have never accepted sponsorship dollars to pay for me to promote certain products or policies. I don’t advertise. I don’t consult. I don’t have a full-time gig that enables me to write about education technology as part of my job description. Hack Education is here because I’ve decided to devote myself to it… and somewhere along the way, folks have decided it was worth keeping (me) around. They’ve invited me to speak and allowed me to publish the transcript of my talks here. They’ve contributed to this work via PayPal or Patreon.

    Thank you.

    I can’t really boast about how many readers this site has had over the years – I don’t believe in tracking that number because I think analytics are suspect at best, surveillance capitalism at worst. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve published because frankly I’m too lazy to count.

    But I am pretty glad that I get to do what I do: that is, write about education technology and the history of the future of education. I still firmly believe all this is key to understanding the past, present, and future of education (and even of computing technologies more broadly). As it is so goddamn crucial, I suppose that means there are a couple more years left in this website before all this "blogging thing" has run its course....


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  • 06/08/18--11:10: 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 Atlantic: “DeVos Says There’s One Thing Her School-Safety Commission Won’t Be Studying: Guns.” Also via The Atlantic: “The Trump Administration’s Approach to School Violence Is More Style Than Substance.”

    The Department of Educationplans to shutter its cafeteria, once known by the lovely name of EDibles. (Probably afraid EPA head Scott Pruitt was going to start dining there now that he’s been banned from the White House mess hall.)

    Via E&E News: “Cabinet heads told to praise Paris exit. ‘No exceptions’.” Good job, Betsy. A+ for compliant behavior.

    The US Senate has confirmed Kenneth L. Marcus to serve as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. Remarks from the Secretary of Education on the confirmation.

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Chalkbeat with the scoop: “De Blasio’s plan to overhaul admissions at elite – and segregated – high schools.” That’s high schools in NYC in case you don’t recognize the mayor’s surname. Via The New York Times: “De Blasio Proposes Changes to New York’s Elite High Schools.” More on the plan from Chalkbeat.

    Via KPCC: “LAUSD may try again to give an iPad or computer to every student.”

    The Orlando Sentinel on what students are learning in some of Florida’s voucher schools: “Private schools’ curriculum downplays slavery, says humans and dinosaurs lived together.”

    The Atlantic on psychiatric hospitals in Illinois: “The Kids Who Are Cleared to Leave Psychiatric Hospitals – But Can’t.”

    Via The Charlotte Observer: “NC legislators advance bills putting God and cursive in schools, expanding charter takeovers.”

    Elsewhere in North Carolina, Dana Goldstein reports for The NYT on “What Budget Cuts Mean for Third Graders in a Rural School.”

    Via Democracy Now: “Puerto Rico Is a ‘Playground for the Privileged’: Investors Move In as Homes Foreclose & Schools Close.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “In contentious interview, Betsy DeVos’ husband Dick DeVos says ‘everybody wins’ with charter schools.” (The interview was part of a VICE documentary on the effect charter schools have had in Michigan.)

    An update from LA School Report on Tuesday’s primary elections in California: “California primary results: Newsom and Cox advance to November’s gubernatorial race; Tuck leads Thurmond in battle for state superintendent.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via The New York Times: “‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Judge Aaron Persky, who ruled in sex assault case, recalled in Santa Clara County.” The case in question: Brock Turner, the Stanford athlete that many felt was given a too-lenient sentence for attempting to rape an unconscious woman.

    The Business of Financial Aid


    Via The Atlantic: “The Confusing Information Colleges Provide Students About Financial Aid.”

    Via The New York Times: “The Cost of Going Back to School as an Adult.”

    Via NPR: “We Now Know A Lot More About Students Who Receive Federal College Grants.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of career colleges and the number of credentials they award have dropped by roughly 20 percent in the last four years, new data from the U.S. Education Department show.”

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


    Via Edsurge: “Andrew Ng Is Probably Teaching More Students Than Anyone Else on the Planet. (Without a University Involved.)” (I think it’s probably Big Bird and friends, but hey. Hype men gonna hype.)

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Here’s How Higher Education Dies– A futurist says the industry may have nowhere to go but down. What does the slide look like?” – that’s Bryan Alexander interviewed by The Atlantic.

    Here’s how higher education dies – you let Niall Ferguson drive the narrative about “free speech” and intellectual honesty on campus. Via The Stanford Daily: “Leaked emails show Hoover academic conspiring with College Republicans to conduct ‘opposition research’ on student.” Via Inside Higher Ed: “Niall Ferguson Resigns From Stanford Speaker Series Post Over Leaked Emails.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Questions on Michigan’s Investment Tactics.” That’s the University of Michigan to be clear.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UVa Library’s Plan to Cut Stacks by Half Sparks Faculty Concerns.” (Contrary to the headline, from what I hear from my friends at UVa, most faculty, students, and librarians seem to support this move.)

    Via The New York Times: “Columbia University Is Cited for a Cracked Building Facade, Inviting Memories of a 1979 Death.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Mizzou’s Freshman Class Shrank by a Third Over 2 Years. Here’s How It’s Trying to Turn That Around.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “After becoming the first public college in California to lose accreditation, Compton College is preparing to stand on its own once again.”

    Testing


    Via The Hechinger Report (and related to a lot of the goings-on in the local education news section above): “How one test kept New York City high schools segregated.”

    “So Long, SAT Essay. Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out” by John Warner.

    Khan Academy launches free Official LSAT Prep,” says the Khan Academy blog.

    Labor and Management


    Gotta love corporate blog entries with headlines like “Continuing on our journey.” That is, the latest from Blackboard announcing a string of changes to executive roles.

    Adjunct faculty at Nazareth College have voted to unionize.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern Illinois U. May Be About to Fire Its President.”

    “collapse porn: MLA edition” by Alex Reid.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Techcrunch: “Udacity and Google launch free career courses for interview prep, resume writing and more.”

    The head of the OECD’s education division, Andreas Schleicher, writes in The Hill about “Educating students for the fourth industrial revolution.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “How Silicon Valley schools are trying to boost lower-income students into high-tech jobs.”

    Via the Google blog: “Teaching coding, changing lives: Google.org supports MolenGeek.”

    Via The 74: “Ripple, Blockchain-Based Payment Network, to Grant $50M to 17 Universities for Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Research, Workforce Development.”

    Upgrades and Downgrades


    Here’s how you do clickbait. You put a celebrity in the headline when he’s really not connected to the idea. You make broad and unprovable claims. Via Forbes, the king of clickbait: “Elon Musk-funded XPRIZE Is One Step Closer To Ending Global Illiteracy.”

    This is also how you do clickbait, I suppose. Via Philadelphia Magazine: “This Quaker Sex Ed Teacher Says Your Kids Need to Be Porn-Literate.”

    Via Motherboard: “Twitter Is Banning Anyone Whose Date of Birth Says They Joined Before They Were 13.”

    Via Techcrunch: “GitLab’s high-end plans are now free for open source projects and schools.” (Yes, GitLab is a competitor of GitHub – and there’s some big GitHub news in the funding section below. A well-timed press release, hoping for some tech churnalism. Seems like it worked out.)

    Apple had a big press event this week. Among the education-related news: “Apple unveils new screen time controls for children,” says Techcrunch. “Apple’s New Focus: Student ID Cards,” says Inside Higher Ed. (More in the privacy/security section below on the implications of this.)

    Inside Higher Ed onFacebook’s plans to partner with community colleges to teach digital literacy. Here’s how the Des Moines Register wrote about Des Moines Area Community College’s involvement: “Facebook chooses Iowa college for rare digital marketing education partnership.” Hi schools. If your marketing department thinks this is a good idea, if your media studies department thinks this is a good idea, tell them to read more.

    Via The New York Times: “Steam, After Pulling School Shooter Game, Says It Will Sell Nearly Everything.”

    Via Edsurge: “Thunkable Launches Cross-Platform App Maker That Lets Kids Drag, Drop and Build.”

    Via The New York Times: “Edcamps: The ‘Unconferences,’ Where Teachers Teach Themselves.” No mention of how corporations flood these events with their products and pitches.

    “Some Thoughts on OERby Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “LearnZillion Going After District Curriculum Business, Aims to Compete With Big Publishers.”

    Via Edsurge: “Amplify’s Been Quiet. Here’s Where CEO Larry Berger Says It’s Going in 2018.” That’s Amplify, formerly Wireless Generation, formerly NewsCorp’s education division.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “How Textbook Rentals Undercut Students.”

    Via Mashable: “Amazon wants to send your kiddos science and tech toys for $20 a month.”

    Copy Machines in Libraries Are ‘Going the Way of the Dodo’ – Slowly,” says Edsurge.

    Via the Getting Smart blog: “Incubating EdTech: AT&T Announces 4th Aspire Accelerator Class.” No matter how bad things get in ed-tech, someone still wants to fund more startups. See also,from the press release: “ETS and LearnLaunch to Fund Edtech Startups.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


    Via The Verge: “MIT fed an AI data from Reddit, and now it only thinks about murder.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


    Via CNBC: “Billionaire conservative donor David Koch to retire from Koch Industries, influential political network.”

    Via Counterpunch: “Billionaires Want Poor Children’s Brains to Work Better.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this on “student voice and choice.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “$100M Gift to National U for ‘Social Emotional Learning’.” The money comes from South Dakota businessman T. Denny Sanford, whose company – checks notes – sells social emotional learning curriculum to schools.

    Via The 74: “Michael Bloomberg Pledges $375 Million to Help Prepare Students for College and Careers.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    PlayVS has raised $15 million to bring “esports infrastructure to high schools.” Investors in the round include New Enterprise Associates, Science, CrossCut Ventures, Coatue Management, Cross Culture Ventures, the San Francisco 49ers, Nas, Michael Dubin (Dollar Shave Club founder ), and Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch). The company has raised $15.7 million total.

    Microsoft has acquired GitHub. Here’s the NYT headline: “Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Moving to Grow in Coding’s New Era.”

    Curriculum maker Lincoln Learning Solutions has acquired curriculum maker Evan-Moor Corporation.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via The New York Times: “Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends.” I’m sure this is covered in that Facebook-created digital literacy curriculum folks are cooing about.

    Via Education Week: “‘Impenetrable’ World of Student Data Brokers a Major Concern, Study Says.” More on the report from Bill Fitzgerald.

    Via Connecticut Public Radio: “School Districts Struggle To Comply With New Student Data Privacy Law.”

    Via The Intercept: “Face Recognition Is Now Being Used in Schools, but It Won’t Stop Mass Shootings.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Unproven facial-recognition companies target schools, promising an end to shootings.”

    Via Edsurge: “Apple’s New Digital Student IDs Raise Questions About Security.”

    An op-ed in The New York Times by Alvaro M. Bedoya, the former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, on data as “A License to Discriminate.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lobbying group for independent colleges says it’s open to expanding federal data collection on student outcomes but remains opposed to student-level database favored by public colleges and many policy makers.” That’s the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    How Do We Know If Ed Tech Even Works?asks Education Week.

    This isn’t really new news, but I’ll put it here nonetheless as it’s something to pay attention to. “The Research Network On The Determinants Of Life Course Capabilities And Outcomes” from the Center for the Economics of Human Development. Genetics, psychology, and statistics working together to measure people. The genetics of “grit,” if you will.

    Via The Atlantic: “Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test.” More on the marshmallow test from Daniel Willingham.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What would Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, a very friendly robot, plus a bevy of scientists, mystics, and wannabe scholars do at a fancy resort in Arizona? Perhaps real harm to the field of consciousness studies, for one thing.”

    “Global Demand for Mobile Computing Devices in K–12 Grows, Powered by U.S. Market” – or so predicts Futuresource Consulting, according to EdWeek’s Market Brief.

    More on the latest Pew study on teens and social media– I noted it in last week’s round-up – in Education Week and by Bryan Alexander.

    “What the Mary Meeker slides mean for the future of education,” according to Bryan Alexander. For those keeping track at home, here are the investments that her venture capital firm, KPCB, has made in the future of education.

    Via Pacific Standard: “Suicide Rates Have Increased Across the U.S. Since 1999.”

    RIP


    I feel as though I’d be remiss to not include here a person who taught us so much about the world. I doubt he considered himself an educator. He was a storyteller and a provocateur. Dammit, I adored him. RIP Anthony Bourdain.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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    This is the transcript of the talk I gave at the Tech4Good event I'm at this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The complete slide deck is here.

    I want to talk a little bit about a problem I see – or rather, a problem I see in the “solutions” that some scientists and technologists and engineers seem to gravitate towards. So I want to talk to you about pigeons, operant conditioning, and social control, which I recognize is a bit of a strange and academic title. I toyed with some others:

    I spent last week at the Harvard University archives, going through the papers of Professor B. F. Skinner, arguably one of the most important psychologists of the twentieth century. (The other, of course, being Sigmund Freud.)

    I don’t know how familiar this group is with Skinner – he’s certainly a name that those working in educational psychology have heard of. I’d make a joke here about software engineers having no background in the humanities or social sciences but I hear Mark Zuckerberg was actually a psych major at Harvard. (So that’s the joke.)

    I actually want to make the case this morning that Skinner’s work – behavioral psychology in particular – has had profound influence on the development of computer science, particularly when it comes to the ways in which “programming” has become a kind of social engineering. I’m not sure this lineage is always explicitly considered – like I said, there’s that limited background in or appreciation for history thing your field seems to have got going on.

    B. F. Skinner was a behaviorist. Indeed, almost all the American psychologists in the early twentieth century were. Unlike Freud, who was concerned with the subconscious mind, behaviorists like Skinner were interested in – well, as the name suggests – behaviors. Observable behaviors. Behaviors that could be conditioned or controlled.

    Skinner’s early work was with animals. As a graduate student at Harvard, he devised the operant conditioning chamber – better known as the Skinner box – that was used to study animal behavior. The chamber provided some sort of response mechanism that the animal would be trained to use, typically by rewarding the animal with food.

    During World War II, Skinner worked on a program called Project Pigeon – also known as Project Orcon, short for Organic Control – an experimental project to create pigeon-guided missiles.

    The pigeons were trained by Skinner to peck at a target, and they rewarded with food when they completed the task correctly. Skinner designed a missile that carried pigeons which could see the target through the windows. The pigeons would peck at the target; the pecking in turn would control the missile’s tail fins, keeping it on course, via a metal conductor connected to the birds’ beak, transmitting the force of the pecking to the missile’s guidance system. The pigeons’ accuracy, according to Skinner’s preliminary tests: nearly perfect.

    As part of their training, Skinner also tested the tenacity of the pigeons – testing their psychological fitness, if you will, for battle. He fired a pistol next to their heads to see if loud noise would disrupt their pecking. He put the pigeons in a pressure chamber, setting the altitude at 10,000 feet. The pigeons were whirled around in a centrifuge meant to simulate massive G forces; they were exposed to bright flashes meant to simulate shell bursts. The pigeons kept pecking. They had been trained, conditioned to do so.

    The military canceled and revived Project Pigeon a couple of times, but Skinner’s ideas were never used in combat. “Our problem,” Skinner admitted, “was no one would take us seriously.” And by 1953, the military had devised an electronic system for missile guidance, so animal-guided systems were no longer necessary (if they ever were).

    This research was all classified, and when the American public were introduced to Skinner’s well-trained pigeons in the 1950s, there was no reference to their proposed war-time duties. Rather, the media talked about his pigeons that could play ping-pong and piano.

    Admittedly, part of my interest in Skinner’s papers at Harvard involved finding more about his research on pigeons. I use the pigeons as a visual metaphor throughout my work. And I could talk to you for an hour, easily, about the birds – indeed, I have given a keynote like that before. But I’m writing a book on the history of education technology, and B. F. Skinner is probably the name best known with “teaching machines” – that is, programmed instruction (pre-computer).

    Skinner’s work on educational technology – on teaching and learning with machines – is connected directly, explicitly to his work with animals. Hence my usage of the pigeon imagery. Skinner believed that there was not enough (if any) of the right kind of behavior modification undertaken in schools. He pointed that that students are punished when they do something wrong – that’s the behavioral reinforcement that they receive: aversion. But students are rarely rewarded when they do something right. And again, this isn’t simply about “classroom behavior” – the kind of thing you get a grade for “good citizenship” on (not talking in class or cutting in the lunch line). Learning, to Skinner, was a behavior – and a behavior that needed what he called “contingencies of reinforcement.” These should be positive. They should minimize the chances of doing something wrong – getting the wrong answer, for example. (That’s why Skinner didn’t like multiple choice tests.) The reinforcement should be immediate.

    Skinner designed a teaching machine that he said would do all these things – allow the student to move at her own pace through the material. The student would know instantaneously if she had the answer right. (The reward was getting to move on to the next exciting question or concept.) And you can hear all this echoed in today’s education technology designers and developers and school reformers – from Sal Khan and Khan Academy to US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. It’s called “personalized learning.” But it’s essentially pigeon training with a snazzier interface.

    “Once we have arranged the particular type of consequence called a reinforcement,” Skinner wrote in 1954 in “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching,” "our techniques permit us to shape the behavior of an organism almost at will. It has become a routine exercise to demonstrate this in classes in elementary psychology by conditioning such an organism as a pigeon.”

    …Such an organism as a pigeon.” We often speak of “lab rats” as shorthand for the animals used in scientific experiments. We use the phrase too to describe people who work in labs, who are completely absorbed in performing their tasks again and again and again. In education and in education technology, students are also the subjects of experimentation and conditioning. In Skinner’s framework, they are not “lab rats”; they are pigeons. As he wrote,

    …Comparable results have been obtained with pigeons, rats, dogs, monkeys, human children… and psychotic subjects. In spite of great phylogenetic differences, all these organisms show amazingly similar properties of the learning process. It should be emphasized that this has been achieved by analyzing the effects of reinforcement and by designing techniques that manipulate reinforcement with considerable precision. Only in this way can the behavior of the individual be brought under such precise control.

    If we do not bring students’ behavior under control, Skinner cautioned, we will find ourselves “losing our pigeon.” The animal will be beyond our control.

    Like I said, I’m writing a book. So I can talk at great length about Skinner and teaching machines. But I want folks to consider how behaviorism hasn’t just found its way into education reform or education technology. Indeed, Skinner and many others envisioned that application of operant conditioning outside of the laboratory, outside of the classroom – the usage (past and present) of behavior modification for social engineering is at the heart of a lot of “fixes” that people think they’re doing “for the sake of the children,” or “for the good of the country,” or “to make the world a better place.”

    Among the discoveries I made – new to me, not new to the world, to be clear: in the mid–1960s, B. F. Skinner was contacted by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, a non-profit that funded various institutions and research projects that dealt with mental disabilities. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was apparently interested in his work on operant behavior and child-rearing, and her husband Sargent Shriver who’d been appointed by President Johnson to head the newly formed Office of Economic Opportunity was also keen to find ways to use operant conditioning as part of the War on Poverty.

    There was a meeting. Skinner filed a report. But as he wrote in his autobiography, nothing came of it. “A year later,” he added, “one of Shriver’s aides came to see me about motivating the peasants in Venezuela.”

    Motivating pigeons or poor people or peasants (or motivating peasants and poor people as pigeons) – it’s all offered, quite earnestly no doubt – as the ways in which science and scientific management will make the world better.

    But if nothing else, the application of behavior modification to poverty implies that this is a psychological problem and not a structural one. Focus on the individual and their “mindset” – to use the language that education technology and educational psychology folks invoke these days – not on the larger, societal problems.

    I recognize, of course, that you can say “it’s for their own good” – but it involves a great deal of hubris (and often historical and cultural ignorance, quite frankly) to assume that you know what “their own good” actually entails.

    You’ll sometimes hear that B. F. Skinner’s theories are no longer in fashion – the behaviorist elements of psychology have given way to the cognitive turn. And with or without developments in cognitive and neuroscience, Skinner’s star had certainly lost some of its luster towards the end of his career, particularly, as many like to tell the story, after Noam Chomsky penned a brutal review of his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity in the December 1971 issue of The New York Review of Books. In the book, Skinner argues that our ideas of freedom and free will and human dignity stand in the way of a behavioral science that can better organize and optimize society.

    “Skinner’s science of human behavior, being quite vacuous, is as congenial to the libertarian as to the fascist,” writes Chomsky, adding that “there is nothing in Skinner’s approach that is incompatible with a police state in which rigid laws are enforced by people who are themselves subject to them and the threat of dire punishment hangs over all.”

    Skinner argues in Beyond Freedom and Dignity that the goal of behavioral technologies should be to “design a world in which behavior likely to be punished seldom or never occurs” – a world of “automatic goodness.“ We should not be concerned with freedom, Skinner argues – that’s simply mysticism. We should pursue ”effectiveness of techniques of control“ which will ”make the world safer." Or make the world totalitarian, as Chomsky points out.

    Building behavioral technologies is, of course, what many computer scientists now do (perhaps what some of you do cough FitBit) – most, I’d say, firmly believing that they’re also building a world of “automatic goodness.” “Persuasive technologies,” as Stanford professor B. J. Fogg calls it. And in true Silicon Valley fashion, Fogg erases the long history of behavioral psychology in doing so: “the earliest signs of persuasive technology appeared in the 1970s and 1980s when a few computing systems were designed to promote health and increase workplace productivity,” he writes in his textbook. His students at his Behavioral Design Lab at Stanford have included Mike Krieger, the co-founder of Instagram, and Tristan Harris, a former Googler, founder of the Center for Humane Technology, and best known figure in what I call the “tech regrets industry” – he’s into “ethical” persuasive technologies now, you see.

    Behavior modification. Behavioral conditioning. Behavioral design. Gamification. Operant conditioning. All practices and products and machines that are perhaps so ubiquitous in technology that we don’t see them – we just feel the hook and the urge for the features that reward us for behaving like those Project Pigeon birds pecking away at their target – not really aware of why there’s a war or what’s at stake or that we’re going to suffer and die if this missile runs its course. But nobody asked the pigeons. And even with the best of intentions for pigeons – promising pigeons an end to poverty and illiteracy, nobody asked the pigeons. Folks just assumed that because the smart men at Harvard (or Stanford or Silicon Valley or the US government) were on it, that it was surely right “fix.”


    0 0
  • 06/16/18--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.

    Apologies that this week this article is a day late.

    (National) Education Politics


    At the G7 Summit, the countries pledged $3 billion for girls’ education. Except the US.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Under DeVos, a Smaller Department of Education.”

    There’s some accreditation news in the accreditation section below.

    From the Department of Education press release: “Office for Civil Rights Launches Investigation into University of Southern California’s Handling of Sexual Harassment Claims.”

    Via The New York Times: “Net Neutrality Has Officially Been Repealed. Here’s How That Could Affect You.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The Atlantic: “What’s Going On With New York’s Elite Public High Schools?” Via Chalkbeat: “In a politically charged town hall, Carranza tackles segregation, testing, and charter schools.”

    Via The New York Times: “Cynthia Nixon’s Education Plan: Ambitious, Progressive, Expensive.”

    Via Capital & Main: “The Battle of Hastings: What’s Behind the Netflix CEO’s Fight to Charterize Public Schools?”

    Via The Chicago Sun Times: “Sex abuse scandal is latest CPS fiasco under Rahm Emanuel’s watch.”

    Immigration and Education


    Defense Contractors Cashing In On Immigrant Kids’ Detention,” writes The Daily Beast.

    Via The Verge: “Palmer Luckey’s border control tech has already caught dozens of people.” Palmer Luckey is the founder of Occulus Rift. So be sure to tout how VR is going to make people more empathetic. More on the shit-poster via Wired.

    Education in the Courts


    “Who’s Behind the Janus Lawsuit?” asks The American Prospect. Surprise, surprise. Betsy DeVos’s family.

    Via NPR: “Harvard Accused Of ‘Racial Balancing’: Lawsuit Says Asian-Americans Treated Unfairly.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “His Rap Song And Profile Photo Caused A School Lockdown. Now He Faces Years In Prison For It.”

    Not directly education-related (except for the number of education reformers who invested), but according to the AP, “Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes charged with criminal fraud.” (Related: “Theranos investor Tim Draper blames the company’s downfall on an investigative journalist,” Business Insider reports.)

    Graduate assistant Lindsay Shepherd is suing her university, Wilfrid Laurier University, because she was asked some tough questions or something. The word “inquisition” is in the headline on Inside Higher Ed.

    The Business of Financial Aid


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Where Grad Students Struggle With Loan Repayments.”

    Via Edsurge: “Beyond Tuition: How Innovations in College Affordability Are (Or Aren’t) Helping Students.”

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


    “Free MOOCs Face the Music,” writes Inside Higher Ed on edX’s decision to start charging fees.

    More “MOOC” news under the job training section below.

    Via Education Week: “A report released by Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank, indicates the nine schools in the Reflector readership area lost an average of nearly $482,633 over the last six years to ECOT.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school company.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of California and Texas A&M Win Bid to Run Birthplace of Atom Bomb.”

    Anya Kamenetz onAlexandra Lange’s new book The Design of Childhood (which I cannot wait to read): “Century-Old Decisions That Impact Children Every Day.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Michigan State Was ‘Deeply Sorry’ for Abuse. Then It Wasn’t.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fraternity Members Suspended for Racist, Homophobic Video.” All this at Syracuse University.

    Via the Iowa City Press-Citizen: “University of Iowa responds after dozens accuse man of sexual harassment.”

    Via The New York Times: “How Universities Deal With Sexual Harassment Needs Sweeping Change, Panel Says.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How the University Became Neoliberal.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos Brought Back For-Profit Accreditor Her Own Department Faulted.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Report Says No to a For-Profit Accreditor– but It Might Not Matter.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Southern New Hampshire U Issues Blockchain Credentials to College for America Grads.”

    Inside Higher Ed on Guild Education: “Connecting Cashiers to College Degrees.”

    Via e-Literate: “UF Online’s New Corporate Partner: Discover Financial joins Walmart with Online Education benefit.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “First Watch Restaurants Inc., a Florida-based breakfast chain, has joined a growing number of companies offering employee education benefits.”

    From the press release: “Concentric Sky Announces BadgeRank – a New Search Engine for Digital Badges.”

    Testing


    The New York Times: “For Survivors of a 9-Hour Chinese Exam, a Door Opens to America.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Controversy Over Just How Much History AP World History Should Cover.”

    “An Ultra-Selective University Just Dropped the ACT/SAT. So What?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education. That’s the** University of Chicago**.

    A story in Edsurge, written by someone from an SEL company, on SEL – but totally not sponsored content: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About SEL Assessment But Were Afraid to Ask.”

    Labor and Management


    Via Wired: “Google’s Diversity Stats Are Still Very Dismal.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Investigation of Sexual Misconduct, a Dartmouth Professor Will Retire.” That’s psychology professor Todd F. Heatherton.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Women of Color in Academe Make 67 Cents for Every Dollar Paid to White Men.”

    The Business of Job Training


    Via NPR: “Despite A Revamped Focus On Real-Life Skills, ’Home Ec’ Classes Fade Away.”

    From the Coursera blog: “Coursera for Business Is Now Available to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses.”

    Via The Evolllution: “Bootcamps Go To College.”

    Contests and Competitions


    Via NPR: “Parkland Drama Teacher Who Helped Save 65 To Receive Tony Award For Education.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Is School a Waste of Time?asks Rachel Cohen.

    (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 Atlantic: “The Demise of Toys ‘R’ Us Is a Warning.”

    Via Education Week: “How (and Why) Ed-Tech Companies Are Tracking Students’ Feelings.”

    Ed-Tech That Makes Me Want to Scream,” writes John Warner. Yes.

    Via The Verge: “Fitbit’s $100 fitness tracker for kids is now available to buy.”

    Via Social Justice Books: “Scholastic Tells Children: Trump is Great.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children.” It would have never included saying “Trump is great,” no doubt.

    Via Edsurge: “Here Are the 9 Higher-Ed Startups Taking off From Michelson Runway.” (Michelson Runway is a startup accelerator program.)

    VR Helps Us Remember,” Techcrunch claims.

    Edsurge on replacing the Horizon Report: “Group Looks for New Ways to Peer Over the Edtech Horizon.”

    Via the press release: “Blackboard Bringing Contactless Student IDs to Apple Wallet for Campuses Nationwide.”

    D2L Bets on The Cloud and Advances in User Experience,” writes Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill.

    Via the Google blog: “Start your college search with Google.”

    “How Has the School Bus Evaded Revolution?” asks Pacific Standard.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Facebook Adds Community Colleges to Program.” More via Edsurge, which does not disclose its financial relationship to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “The ethical dilemma of the robot teacherby Neil Selwyn.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


    Via The Washington Post: “The Quest of Laurene Powell Jobs.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this on screen time and this on grade levels.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    Memrise has raised $15.5 million for its language learning app. Investors included Octopus Ventures, Korelya Capital, Balderton Capital, Avalon Ventures. The company has raised $21.8 million total.

    Open Learning has raised $8.5 million for its MOOC platform. Investors in the round include muru-D, Prestariang, Paramount Corporation Berhad, ICS Global, and Clive Mayhew. The company has raised $10.2 million total.

    Bibliotech has raised $5 million for a “Spotify for textbooks.” Investors were not disclosed. The company has raised $6.5 million total.

    Intersective has raised $3.75 million from Main Sequence Ventures. The “experiential learning” company has raised $3.8 million total.

    Gradescope has raised $2.75 million from Reach Capital, K9 Ventures, Ironfire Ventures, GSV Acceleration, Freestyle Capital, and Bloomberg Beta. The automated grading company has raised $5.3 million total.

    FaceMetrics has raised $2 million from Larnabel Ventures and VP Capital. Here’s the horrific headline: “FaceMetrics lands $2 million to gamify kids’ screen time and track immersion with AI.”

    Language learning company Squiggle Park has raised $1,025,000. Investors include Heather Reisman and John Montalbano.

    Civitas Learning has acquiredClearScholar.

    EducationDynamics has acquiredJMH Consulting.

    Lincoln Learning Solutions has acquiredEvan-Moor.

    Pitsco Education has sold its Star Academy program as well as its math and science curricula to NOLA Education.

    Via The New York Times: “AT&T Closes Acquisition of Time Warner.” (I haven’t done a complete job of tracking AT&T’s ed-tech investments, but here’s a start.)

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via The Verge: “Retailers will probably keep selling kids insecure smart toys until they’re forced to stop.”

    Via Mic: “Target and Walmart stop selling the superbackable kids’ toy CloudPets after pressure from Mozilla.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Why your student’s personal data could be freely bought and sold.”

    Via Futurism: “Security Companies Want To Use Facial Recognition To Stop School Shootings.”

    Published on Edsurge, written by someone from an admissions company but totally not “sponsored content”: “Rethinking the Metrics of College Admissions.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Inside Higher Ed on a new report from Pearson: “Higher Ed’s Next Reform Push: ‘Demand-Driven Education’.”

    “Fewer U.S. TeensSmoking, Doing Drugs, and Drinking Milk,” says Education Week.

    Via The Outline: “As overall teentobacco use declines, the proportion of vaping teens rises.”

    Be aware of the drumbeat from business of tech sites that want to convince you screen-time restrictions are damaging. Via Inc: “Kids Whose Parents Limit Screen Time Do Worse in College, New Study Shows.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Do Online Students Want? 3 Findings From a New Survey Offer Some Clues.”

    “Don’t Buy The Arizona State Report On Digital Learning,” says Forbes.

    Via Edsurge: “The Number of Students Taking Online Courses Is Quickly Rising, But Perceptions Are Changing Slowly.”

    Maker Culture Has a ‘Deeply Unsettling’ Gender Problem,” says Edsurge.

    Via The New York Times: “Where Boys Outperform Girls in Math: Rich, White and Suburban Districts.” A response from Vanderbilt University professor Ilana Horn:

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Major Scientific Society Says Harassment Derails Women’s Careers. Critics Say the Group Hasn’t Done Enough.”

    “If This Is the End of Average, What Comes Next?” asks Dan Willingham.

    “The Four Questions I Always Ask About New Technology in Educationby Dan Meyer.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


    0 0
  • 06/22/18--03:20: 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.

    Immigration and Education


    “The Trump administration is committing violence against children,” says UVA professor James Coan in The Washington Post– that is, of course, by separating them from their parents and placing them in jail.

    Via The Houston Chronicle: “Explainer: Must immigrant parents, children be separated at the border?”

    Via Vox’s Dara Lind: “What Obama did with migrant families vs. what Trump is doing.”

    Via ProPublica: “Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border.”

    Via Reveal: “Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims.”

    Via Wired: “How a Child Moves Through a Broken Immigration System.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children.”

    Separating Kids From Their Families Can Permanently Damage Their Brains,” writes The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan.

    The Naples Daily News on a lawsuit by the SPLC over schools blocking immigrant students from attending: “This teen is one of about 200 immigrant students who have been excluded from Collier County high schools.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Overlooked Children Working America’s Tobacco Fields.”

    After someone noticed that Microsoft had boasted that it was working with ICE, Nitasha Tiku says that“Microsoft’s Ethical Reckoning Is Here.”

    Via The Mercury News: “23andme donating DNA kits to help reunite migrant families.” Ah yes, trust Silicon Valley to make a terrible situation even worse.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Britain Makes It Easier for Chinese Students to Get Visas.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of universities contracting with corporate entities to recruit for and manage first-year programs for international students keeps growing. As competition increases, institutions report mixed results with the model.”

    (National) Education Politics


    White House to Propose Merging Education, Labor Departments,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Betsy DeVos’s statement. Via The Washington Post: “Merging the Labor and Education departments won’t accomplish much, say experts.” “Trump’s education department merger plan echoes Indiana priorities under Pence, Holcomb,” Chalkbeat notes. “The Dept. of Ed. Reorganization Plan is Out. Where Is the Office of EdTech?” asks Edsurge. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Brief History of GOP Attempts to Kill the Education Dept.” Still more on the proposal from Inside Higher Ed, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, from Education Week, and from Edsurge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Department announces a second yearlong delay of some gainful-employment disclosures as DeVos works on a do-over of the vocational education rule.”

    There’s more Department of Education news in the financial aid and accreditation sections below.

    Via ProPublica: “DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited From Obama.”

    Via Reuters: “U.S. quits U.N. human rights body, citing bias vs. Israel, alarming critics.”

    Via The Verge: “Trump directs DOD to establish a Space Force in a surprise announcement today.” Really looking forward to Space Force Academy. (Ron Howard voiceover: she was not really looking forward to Space Force Academy.)

    From the Department of Education press release: “Federal Commission on School Safety Meeting to Focus on the Effects of Entertainment, Media, Cyberbullying and Social Media on Violence and Student Safety.” Notice anything missing from that list? Starts with a g? Ends with -uns?

    Via ProPublica: “HUD Is Failing to Protect Children From Lead Paint Poisoning, Audits Find.”

    Via The Guardian: “Algeria shuts internet to prevent students cheating during exams.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via Education Week: “This Is What Hundreds of School Closures in Puerto Rico Looks Like.”

    Via NPR: “Closures Of Schools In Puerto Rico Complicate Family Life.”

    Via the Journal Sentinel: “More than 300 Kettle Moraine parents sign petition against online learning platform.” That’s a school district in Wisconsin, and the learning software in question is the Summit Learning Platform, created by the Summit charter school chain and built by Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Colorado May Drop ‘Liberal’ From ‘Liberal Education’.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Summer learning programs are too expensive for many of Mississippi’s kids.”

    Education Week on an initiative in the San Francisco school district: “A Bold Effort to End Algebra Tracking Shows Promise.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Louisiana ends policy that held thousands of students back a grade or more.”

    Andre Perry on public transportation in DC: “The route school buses can take toward racial equity.”

    Via The New Yorker: “The Complex Disadvantages Underlying New York City’s Specialized-High-School Dilemma.”

    Via NPR: “NYC Mayor On Diversity Problems With City’s Elite Public High Schools.”

    Via The Casper Star Tribune: “ Remains of Northern Arapaho boy will be returned to Wyoming after a century in boarding school graveyard.” (So yeah. The US has a long history of separating children from their parents and sending them to violent institutions.)

    Education in the Courts


    Via Techdirt: “Court Says Probation Violations By Teen Don’t Justify On-Demand Warrantless Searches Of His Electronics.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Washington Settles Campus Republicans’ Free-Speech Lawsuit for $127,000.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Supreme Court of Canada says law society acted reasonably in denying approval to proposed Christian law school with a code of conduct prohibiting same-sex sexual activity.”

    There are more court cases in the immigration section above and in the financial aid section below.

    “Free College”


    “Long-shot gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon takes aim at New York’s free tuition program, calling for a lower income limit, less stringent credit requirements and a first-dollar program,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    The Business of Financial Aid


    Via The Washington Post: “Judge rejects DeVos’s interpretation of order to halt partial student debt relief plan.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Crisis-level student loan default rates among black borrowers and those who attended for-profits cannot be explained fully by students’ backgrounds, study finds, including measures of income, employment and parental wealth.”

    Via The Washington Post: “Are Betsy DeVos’s policies exacerbating racial inequities in student debt? These lawmakers think so.”

    “An ambitious college affordability plan released by the Center for American Progress Wednesday would aim to guarantee that no student has to borrow to pay for their education,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Woolf University: the Airbnb of higher education or a sheep in wolf’s clothing?” asks Tony Bates.

    There’s more for-profit related news in the national politics and in the financial sections above.

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


    To borrow from Jello Biaffra, “MOOCs aren’t dead, they just deserve to die.”

    From Edsurge: “How Blockbuster MOOCs Could Shape the Future of Teaching.”

    Via Class Central: “Udacity Completes the Switch to Term-based Scheduling for Its Nanodegrees.”

    Also via Class Central: “Coursera Lets Instructors A/B Test Their Courses, Experiments With Automated Coaching.”

    There’s more MOOC-related news in the nanodegree section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via The Investigative Fund: “How Elite Charter Schools Exclude Minorities.” More in The Hechinger Report.

    “Has Your School Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations?” asks ProPublica, and you can answer that question via the publication’s new database containing “status of all of the civil rights cases that have been resolved during the past three years, as well as pending investigations.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ohio State Shuts Down Office That Helped Sexual-Assault Victims.”

    Via The New York Times: “New York’s Elite Girls’ Schools Are Starting to Admit Transgender Students.”

    Via the BBC: “University includes Rommel quote in email to students.” That’s the University of Exeter offering what it thought was a motivational message. (!!??)

    Via The Seattle Times: “Evergreen State College is updating after protests, decline in enrollment.”

    College Admissions Will Never Be Fair,” says “MathBabe” Cathy O’Neil.

    Via The Atlantic: “Harvard’s Impossible Personality Test.”

    Via CTV News: “Yukon College set to become Canada’s first northern university.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    “The U.S. Department of Education is preparing to take a "deep dive" into accreditation, Diane Auer Jones, a special adviser to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, said Tuesday,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via the Udacity blog: “Introducing the Udacity Blockchain Developer Nanodegree Program.” Also via that blog: “Udacity’s School of Artificial Intelligence Opens the New Deep Reinforcement Learning Nanodegree Program for Enrollment.” I’m curious what “deep reinforcement learning” is, but have zero interest in paying money for a nanodegree.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Accreditor Places Sweet Briar on Warning Status.”

    There’s an accreditation-related court case in the legal news section above.

    Testing


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Eight private schools in Washington area – including St. Albans and Sidwell Friends – announce they will stop offering Advanced Placement courses.”

    Via The New York Times: “A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt.”

    Via The New York Times: “What Is the SHSAT Exam? And Why Does It Matter?”

    There’s more testing news in the national politics section above.

    Labor and Management


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Brown Agrees to Grad Union Election Terms.”

    Via The New York Times: “For First Time, New York City Teachers Will Get Paid Parental Leave.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “MIT Clears Junot Díaz to Teach.”

    There’s more labor news in the immigration section above. And, of course, there’s the proposal on merging the Departments of Education and Labor – that’s in the national politics section up top.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Techcrunch: “Patriot Boot Camp wants to turn soldiers into entrepreneurs.”

    Personalized learning” now includes working on a goat farm apparently.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is AI disrupting higher education?asks Education Dive.

    Can an AR and VR Pilot Program From Google Prepare Kids for Future Careers?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


    “Can You Put a Score On a Student’s ‘Agility’ or ‘Diligence’?” asks Edsurge. “A New Service Tries It.” That is, a new behavioral testing product from Cerego, which also announced it would launch a “skill” for the Amazon Alexa surveillance device.

    Speaking of pseudoscientific products, Education Week reports that “DeVos-Supported ‘Brain-Performance’ Company Loses Appeal Over Misleading Advertising.” That’s Neurocore which has claimed it can treat autism and ADD.

    All this pseudoscience is, of course, part of the “social emotional learning” hype. Case in point: “A Growth Mindset Isn’t Enough. It’s Time for a Benefit Mindset,” says commentary in Education Week. Or this one: “A Growth Mindset Can Reduce the Gender Gap in STEM,” claims Coursera’s blog.

    Via The MIT Technology Review: “School lockdowns are so prevalent that companies are making apps to help teachers manage them.” (Guess what’s going to be one of the "top ed-tech trends" this year?)

    Microsoft backpedals on VR promise,” says Techcrunch. Viva la VR revolución!

    Speaking of Microsoft… “GitHub’s New Education Bundle Equips Students With Industry-Standard Coding Tools,” says Edsurge.

    There’s more Microsoft news in the immigration section above and in the acquisition section below. I’d love to hear any folks involved with the company’s education-related products speak out about the ICE connection, eh?

    Via TorrentFreak: “YouTube’s Piracy Filter Blocks MIT Courses, Blender Videos, and More.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Sesame Workshop will produce children’s shows for Apple.”

    Via NPR’s Anya Kamenetz: “A Guide To Parental Controls For Kids’ Tech Use.”

    “The Dangers of Distracted Parenting” – according to The Atlantic.

    Via Edsurge: “Facebook Expands Digital Training Initiative with College Partnerships in Chicago.”

    Ben Williamson on Pearson: “Edu-business as usual – market-making in higher education.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


    Via The Guardian: “‘This is awful’: robot can keep children occupied for hours without supervision.”

    There’s another robot story this week but since the headline was in the form of a question, it’s not in this section.

    (Venture) Philanthropy, Foundations, and the Business of Education Reform


    Via Chalkbeat: “The Gates Foundation bet big on teacher evaluation. The report it commissioned explains how those efforts fell short.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative hires to donate tech, not just money.” The new hires: Jonathan Goldman, formerly of Level Up Analytics and Intuit (and Khan Academy board member) and Phil Smoot, formerly of Microsoft.

    Via Technical.ly: “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative partners with Philly DA’s office on tech, data.”

    Walton Family Foundation Unveils New $100M Effort to Support School Diversity, Inclusion, and Innovation,” says Walton-backed publication The 74.

    Via The New York Times: “How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country.” See also: How the Koch Brothers are killing public education and academic freedom around the country.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Motivated by 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Lumina Foundation adds racial justice to grant making, which has focused heavily on college completion.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education


    VIPKID has raised $500 million from Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Tencent Holdings, Sinovation Ventures, Northern Light Venture Capital, Learn Capital, YF Capital, Coatue Management, and Bryant Stibel Investments. The tutoring company has raised $825 million total.

    Sphero has raised $12.1 million from Walt Disney and Mercato Partners. The educational toy-maker has raised $119.5 million total.

    TinyTap has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Reinvent VC, Radiant Venture Capital, Aleph, and Inimiti. The educational app-maker has raised $9.1 million total.

    Microsoft has acquiredFlipgrid.

    2U has acquiredCritiqueIt.

    Degreed has acquiredPathgather.

    Vista Higher Learning has acquiredSANTILLANA USA.

    Pharos Capital has acquiredCCME School.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via DML Central: “Scientists Seek Genetic Data to Personalize Education.” Honestly, I prefer the version of “personalized learning” that involves the goat farm (see the job training section above).

    Via the ACLU: “Facial Recognition Cameras Do Not Belong in Schools.”

    There’s more surveillance-related tech in the “upgrade/downgrade” section above.

    Via The Telegraph: “University students’ data to be shared with private companies.” Surprise, surprise, “private companies” here would include Pearson.

    Via Wrench in the Gears: “Childhood Captured: Pay for Success and SurveillancePre-K Play Tables.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by Newsela: “Building Social Connections for LGBTQ Students with Data and Tech-Enhanced Curriculum.”

    Some privacy and security tips from the K–12 Cybersecurity Resource Center: “Must-Have Technology Gear to Bring to ISTE 2018.”

    Via EdTech Strategies: “Scholastic Makes Misleading Privacy, Security Claims in Services Directed to Children.”

    I don’t really know which section is best for this story on Julia Kristeva, literary theorist and alleged collaborator and spy. So surveillance section it is.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    There’s more research on lead poisoning in the national politics section above. There’s more research on student loan debt in the business of financial aid section above. There’s more research on how the Gates Foundation throws its money around in the venture philanthropy section above.

    Via Education Week: “20% of Educators Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed or Assaulted at Work.”

    Also via Education Week: “To Make Ends Meet, 1 in 5 Teachers Have Second Jobs.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “More bullying reported at New York City schools, study shows.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Employment and Debt of 2008 College Graduates.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Teaching more black or Hispanic students can hurt observation scores, study finds.”

    “Young people ‘see cannabis as safer than alcohol’,” says the BBC.

    Via Wired: “WHO Calls Gaming Disorder an Illness. Experts Say Not So Fast.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The College-Graduation Problem All States Have.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Survey: 7 in 10 People Don’t Believe Online Classes Can Provide a ‘True College Experience’.”

    Another survey written up by Campus Technology: “Two-Thirds of Online Students Do Some Coursework on a Mobile Device.”

    Via The 74: “New Research: Despite Great Enthusiasm for Personalized Learning, Teachers Say Attempts to Innovate Are Often Stymied by School District Bureaucracy.” This research, for what it’s worth, is from the Center on Reinventing Public Education, which is happy to find any excuse to talk about public school bureaucracy, no doubt.

    “Some new data on learning stylesfrom UVA professor Daniel Willingham.

    “Study shows VR increases learning,” says Donald Clark.

    Via NPR: “It’s Easier To Call A Fact A Fact When It’s One You Like, Study Finds.”

    Via Vox: “The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud.” Perhaps we should put a moratorium on all invocations of famous psych studies. I propose we start with Bloom’s 2 Sigma claims.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project