Netflix’s founder saves the day for one education software startup

The Hechinger Report has been publishing excerpts from Richard Whitmire’s book On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope. In this third and final installment, Netflix founder Reed Hastings steps in to take over DreamBox. CHAPTER 25: Danner (and Reed Hastings) Discover DreamBox March 2010: Palo Alto, Los Altos, California; Bellevue, Washington […]


Using better metrics to build better schools

Envision runs a group of three charter high schools in the Bay Area. They champion, as many schools do these days, “deeper learning” and “21st century skills.” Envision enacts this philosophy through a “Know-Do-Reflect” process that uses projects, portfolios and presentations to integrate assessment with learning. They prompt students to turn the lens both inward […]


Knowledge pills, robo-graders, brain implants and other dystopian edtech

It’s been a good week for the weird fringes of ed-tech. On Tuesday,  Nicholas Negroponte took the stage at the 30th anniversary of TED, the starry technology-entertainment-design conference. He’s the mastermind of One Laptop Per Child. It pioneered the idea of low-cost personal devices for students around the world. Negroponte has been criticized as an extreme apologist for […]


SXSWEdu: Gates Foundation vs. Microsoft Education: What’s the difference?

On my first day in Austin I had a terrific hourlong conversation with Cameron Evans, Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft Education. He had a lot of candid observations and great lines: “The vast amount of data in our education system can be used for good, and also for bad actors and bad reasons,” and on […]


#Schoolprivacyzone: emerging best practices for a contentious issue

Advocacy group Common Sense Media held a summit in Washington, DC on Monday as part of a national campaign on the highly contested topic of student data privacy. A recent study by Fordham University Law School found that as schools and districts adopt cloud computing services, they are transferring student information to third-party providers, often […]


Measures of the heart: non-cognitive skills tests

Being smart isn’t all you need to succeed. Non-cognitive or meta-cognitive skills such as self-awareness, self-control, empathy, communication and cooperation are as important or even more important to long-term success than cognitive factors like math and reading ability. The evidence is undeniable, but US school assessment and accountability systems are currently limited to measures of […]


The scramble to sit at the blended learning table

Recently I found myself in the offices of Scholastic, the children’s publisher best known for K-12 book fairs across the country and Clifford, the big red dog. They are conducting a massive educational software launch this week, with both new and updated products for reading and math from kindergarten through high school. Margery Mayer, president of Scholastic Education, […]


Big bucks for blended learning in K-12: Where’s the evidence?

A Bay Area nonprofit called the Learning Accelerator (TLA), started with funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has just scored a $5 million grant to expand its operations greatly and get more blended learning programs into more K-12 schools. (Note: The Gates Foundation is among the various funders of The Hechinger Report.) “Blended learning […]


California initiative brings breath of fresh air

It’s an embarrassment that California, the state that led the technology revolution in America, is, according to Digital Learning Now, last in the nation in using technology to transform its education system from its current factory-model roots into a student-centric one. California policy has done its best to create a byzantine—some might say bizarre—set of regulations to […]