March 2013

“Bring Your Own Device” and the digital divide

It was at the South By Southwest Edu conference in Austin earlier this month that I first heard the term B.Y.O.D. or B.Y.O.T.–“Bring Your Own Device” or “Bring Your Own Technology.” The idea is deceptively simple–instead of school districts spending money to outfit classrooms with the latest tablet or laptop, which will be outdated in […]


Special K: Don’t sleep on Khan Academy, Knewton

Listening to Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, speak on stage to several hundred attendees at the 5th Anniversary Gala last week for Innosight Institute—the non-profit that I co-founded—I thought about how Clayton Christensen and I have speculated for some time that the long-term future of much of educational content will be in the […]


Can open educational resources rise again?

“I haven’t heard any other journalists use the term OER,” Anant Agarwal of the MOOC platform EdX told me recently. This is a shame, to put it mildly. OER, or open educational resources, just means any type of material that is useful for learning and either in the public domain or published under Creative Commons license, […]


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 […]


What technology can (and can’t) do for education

As I reflect on the excitement of South By Southwest Education conference last week, a fundamental question keeps coming up: What proportion of the challenges facing the education system can actually be addressed with technology and innovation? Let’s quickly stipulate the issues here. Stop me if you’ve heard this all before. Many schools face serious […]


Bill Gates greeted by standing ovation from…teachers?

Patti Freudenberg works for the Clear Creek Independent School District in the Houston-Galveston area, where she is the “Teaching American History Grant Specialist,” currently leading groups of history teachers to historical sites around the US on a Department of Education grant. Clad in leopard print, she arrived bright and early Thursday morning to sit in the […]


The five most important ed-tech trends at SXSWedu

I’ve been on the ground in Austin for the South By Southwest Education Conference & Festival for 22 hours. In that time, I’ve interviewed six people, chatted with many more, and hit the Java Jive in the Hilton four times. Here’s what I see as the biggest trends coming out of the conference. Data and […]


Big data and schools: Education nirvana or privacy nightmare?

InBloom, a nonprofit start-up founded with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation, is taking center stage and spreading around some significant funds as an official sponsor of the South by Southwest Education conference in Austin, Texas this week. It hosted the official opening night party on Tuesday, is sponsoring a “networking […]