I'm teaching an Introduction to Education course at MIT this semester, as part of their small Teacher Education Program to prepare MIT students to serve as K-12 educators. For the last few weeks of class, the students in class are teaching lessons to one another.
Last week, I proposed a 2x2 framework summarizing the field of education technology, which asked two questions 1) Are you trying to make a billion dollars? And 2) Do you believe education can be delivered? From these two questions, we get three categories for all ed tech ventures: Market, Open, and Dewey. Given all the hub-bub about Massive Open Online Courses last week, I thought I would take a moment to put the MOOCs into this Market/Open/Dewey framework.
The announcement yesterday from Harvard and MIT to jointly form EdX provides rapid acceleration to the arms race among elite universities to build Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to try to teach the world. (Or at least the Internet-accessible world interested in graduate courses in circuits.) If you just invested millions into for-profit players Udacity and Coursera, then you are not excited to hear that the two most prestigious universities in the world are pooling $60 million into a venture with an openly-licensed platform, free courses, and modest credentialing fees. I rode the train yesterday with my downstairs neighbor, Rebecca ...
Several weeks ago, Chris Lehmann tweeted from the Ed Innovation Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, "Educators - if you don't see that there is a billion dollar industry wanting to take over schools using tech as the Trojan Horse, wake up." If I were to have one quibble with the metaphor, it would be this: the free marketeers are not hiding inside the horse, ready to jump out only after they are let in the gates of schools. They are riding right on top of the horse, shouting "Hey, this is a great horse! Let me tell you how we plan ...
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.