September 2013

The inside story on LA schools’ iPad rollout: “a colossal disaster”

Scarcely a month ago, on August 27, the Los Angeles County Unified School District placed the first iPads in students’ hands at the outset of a $1 billion plan to give one to every single student in the nation’s second largest public school district ($500 million for devices, plus an additional $500 million for internet […]


Tl;dr: Teaching, learning, attention, and the need to be interesting

Barry Schwartz via Barry Schwartz is a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, the author of two best-selling books, by all accounts a terrific teacher and mentor, and in my personal experience, a mensch. He has a provocative piece on Slate this week that deserves attention. It is about paying attention. See, in the […]


Sal Khan, Daphne Koller, Anant Agarwal, and the Schools of Tomorrow

Sal Khan at The New York Times Schools for Tomorrow Conference, September 17, 2013. As usual, the annual New York Times Schools for Tomorrow conference boasted a strong lineup of businesspeople, policymakers and academics on the pulse of educational innovation, performing for an audience of prematurely jaded journalists, ostentatiously Luddite faculty members, and businesspeople who thought […]


Beyond-standardized testing: Can emotional intelligence be tested?

This post draws on the ongoing research I’m doing for my next book, The Test, about the past, present and future of assessment in public schools. This past week the New York Times Magazine published Jennifer Kahn’s big feature story on emotional intelligence. Like much recent coverage of education, it argued for the importance of […]


New study: e-learning works for complex subjects and problem-solving

image: Flickr user Greenflames09 A randomized, controlled trial just published in the open access journal PLOS ONE compared two methods of e-learning to one face to face classroom group, and online learning came out well from the comparison. The students were all Danish nurses specializing in anaesthesiology; the course was an elementary unit on lung volume. […]


Teens Publish a Guide to Web 2.0 Teaching and Learning

Last month a high school English class at Sandvika VGS, one of Norway’s most technologically advanced high schools, published a book titled Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom. An American teacher, Ann Michaelson, who blogs about teaching using Web 2.0 tools, collaborated with the students using OneNote, SkyDrive and Google Docs to write […]


Personalized learning, computers and the “warm-body effect”

American Radio Works has recently released a five-part documentary on “personalized learning in the digital age.” In the second chapter they take on one of the more interesting and controversial threads of scholarship on learning and technology: Bloom’s Two-Sigma Effect and the computer tutor. Everyone knows that working one on one with a tutor is […]


Can online learning make teaching more human?

Data-driven pedagogy. The phrase conjures a robotic, dull future that only intensifies the worst aspects of 20th-century, bureaucratic, industrial wasteland-style schooling, where learners are defined down to “users,” or even metonymized as disembodied “eyeballs,” and force-fed bits of disconnected information. For a counternarrative, the question is simple. What can creative humans do with the power of […]