April 2012 Archives

I'm working on an introductory workshop on digital media and learning for the upcoming Future of Learning Institute run by Harvard's Graduate School of Education and Project Zero. One of my jobs is to introduce participants to the diverse landscape of the field of education technology. One of the biggest problems in the ed-tech space right now is that the phrase "education technology" means very different things to different people and organizations. Here's a 2x2 model that summarizes (and, of course, oversimplifies) the entire education technology space into three groups: Market, Open, and Dewey

Earlier this week I spent an evening, via Skype, with Steven McGee's Teaching with Technology class in the Learning Sciences Department at Northwestern. Steven came to a talk I gave at AERA on the same topic, and he invited me to join his students. Since I was I was basically just doing a webinar with them, I screencast the event so that I could share it here, and so he could share it with sick students who missed class.

Wendell Berry sums up my position on the role of technology in K-12 education reform. My read of the history of U.S. education is that no new gadget or Web page is going to change practice at scale. If we want things to be different, it will be a long, slow process of working with 3.2 million teachers in 14,000 districts. Plan for that.

The most fun and rewarding thing to do with Common Sense Media's new Learning Ratings for Apps and Games is to challenge them. As with any rating system, the ratings themselves are useful, but the real learning starts when young people (or people of all ages) start talking critically about the ratings.(I introduced the basics of Common Sense Media's Learning Ratings in Monday's post.

One of the key problems with educational media is that there are no objective, neutral arbiters who are evaluating apps, games, and Web sites to determine whether or not these media offer meaningful learning experiences. As a result, developers have an incentive to focus on making their products "appear" educational rather than focusing on actually making them meaningful learning experiences. There is no external review for developers making any kinds of claims about their products.

Yesterday I was on Radio Boston, a news show produced by WBUR, talking about education, social media, media literacy and Kony 2012. My main point is that the Kony campaign is incredibly persuasive not just as a video but as a powerful narrative situated in a hyperlinked environment with very accessible opportunities for action.The sophistication of the campaign raises the bar for the kinds of Media Literacy skills that students need.

There are three great media events coming up in the next 30 hours.

I arrive at the final of my three part series of Automated Essay Score Predictors.In this final post, I offer a scenario of how Automated Essay Score Predictors could be used in a progressive history course in an elite private school.

How could machines that automatically grade essays lead to Deeper Learning? On the face of it, the premise sounds preposterous. But I'm increasingly convinced that there is a potentially powerful policy strategy here, and this post provides an overview. But first, a review of what Automated Essay Scoring programs are.

Do new technologies and new media truly transform practice, or are they amplifiers of well-established pedagogies?

Automated Essay Scoring software programs can grade essays as well as humans. That was one of the key findings from a new Hewlett Foundation study of Automated Essay Scoring (AES) tools produced by eight commercial vendors and one open source entry from Carnegie Mellon University.

I was getting all ready to write up my two presentations from AERA today, when I found out on twitter that my new friend and colleague Janine Lim had already done it (on her fabulously titled blog Out on a Lim). These are two works in progress, papers where I have some findings but haven't put things together in a publishable form.

My own contribution to the Hewlett Grantee Meeting was a talk entitled "When Open Encounters Different Classrooms," which is part of my ongoing campaign to raise serious concerns about issues of equity and education technology.

The richest exchanges on day two of the Hewlett Open Educational Resources Grantee Meeting came from those who challenged the fundamental premises of the meeting.

I spent the afternoon at the Hewlett Open Educational Resources Grantee Meeting, and the heart of the agenda was brainstorming obstacles to the widespread adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) and giving the Hewlett program officers a chance to talk about trends and changes in the landscape related to OER.

I'm spending this week at the annual Hewlett Open Educational Resources Grantee Meeting, where a group of developers, educators, and researchers are gathering to discuss the advancement of Open Educational Resources or OER.

Welcome to EdTechResearcher! This blog is a space for building bridges between educators who use technology in their practice and researchers who seek to better understand the impact of technology on teaching and learning.


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