August 2013

5 myths of educational innovators, part II: DIY U, “everyone should code”

This is the second of two posts about busting cherished myths of educational innovators. The first post is found here. 4) Self-directed learning: This paper , published earlier in the summer by Paul Kirschner, a professor of Educational Psychology at the online Open University of the Netherlands, & Jeroen J.G. van Merrienboer at Maastricht University, in Educational Psychologist labels three popular ideas […]


5 myths of educational innovators, part I: disruption, digital natives, and learning styles

It’s almost back to school–a good time to clear out the cobwebs and challenge some conventional wisdom. Hype is seductive, and an enemy of clear thought. Luckily, I’ve recently come across some very well-spoken and thoughtful criticism of long-cherished ideas–even some of my own! Consider it a blast of compressed air for your brain instead […]


What Apple, IBM, Microsoft and LinkedIn Want with K-12 Schools

  There’s an ever-expanding universe of ed-tech startups out there, alongside the massive incumbents in textbook and educational materials that have moved aggressively into digital products and services. But to get a true picture of the direction of innovation in K-12, it is also helpful to look at how the big technology companies are tackling […]


Teens, mobile phones, and the digital divide

After $4 billion worth of federal grants over the past few years, 98 percent of Americans now have access to high-speed broadband Internet–in theory.  Yet 30 percent of Americans, according to the latest report from the US Department of Commerce, don’t actually have the Internet at home.  Broadband access is effectively no longer a matter of infrastructure, […]


Three rules for robograding, and other ed-tech innovations

Automated grading of students’ essays and short answers has been around for almost 20 years, but it’s engendering quite a bit of controversy as the technology progresses. A large study released in April, connected to a competition sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation, showed the grades assigned by a computer program to 22,000 7th, 8th and 10th grade essays matched […]


McGraw-Hill executive on Big Data: “Don’t look at us, look at Joe Camel”

Jeff Livingston is a senior VP at McGraw-Hill Education, one of the “Big Three” education companies along with Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The privately held company has offerings that span textbooks, Common Core-aligned assessments and adaptive learning. In the course of a free-wheeling conversation last week for my upcoming book, Livingston and I got onto […]


Four insights into the future of games and technology for learning

Two very disparate sources shared insights this week on the role of video games, and by extension, technology more broadly, in 21st century learning. James Paul Gee, a venerable yet cutting-edge education researcher and social critic, spoke about the topic to the Digital Media and Learning center of the MacArthur Foundation, and the Joan Ganz Cooney […]


Getting teachers to share nicely

Most teachers have file folders and flash drives full of material that they use to generate awesome lessons year after year: activities, projects, discussion questions, texts, audio, video. But they don’t always have easy ways to share these ideas, or discover new ones. A new non-profit ed-tech start-up called OpenCurriculum, based in Pittsburgh, launches this week […]


Course Choice: the death knell of public education?

  St. Augustine High School Marching Band, New Orleans, via Angie Antimatter on Flickr Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of my hometown state of Louisiana, is, by any measure, not a fan of traditional public education. As a graduate of twelve years of public schooling in the state and the daughter of two retired Louisiana […]