March 2014

Guest Post: Blended Learning in Kigali

Note: Through March 27 I’ll be sharing this Digital/Edu space with some excellent professionals in the area of learning and innovation on Thursdays. In addition to bringing new voices and ideas to our readers, this will help me as I finish the first draft of my forthcoming book, The Test, on the past, present and […]

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From Yale to Coursera

Coursera, the largest MOOC platform, announced today that Richard Levin will be coming on board as CEO. Levin was president of Yale University for 20 years before stepping down in 2013. “Technology,” Levin said in the press release, “now gives us the means to extend the reach of high quality education around the world and to […]

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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 […]

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$1 Million global education “Nobel in teaching” announced

Today at the Global Education and Skills Forum, in Dubai, education entrepreneur and philanthropist Sunny Varkey announced a $1 million prize, to be awarded to one outstanding teacher somewhere in the world. Nominations and applications are now open at globalteacherprize.com.  The winner will be announced in November. (disclosure: GEMS  Foundation supported my coverage of this event, but […]

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Why it’s so hard to get schools online in the digital age

In recent months there’s been a lot of news about public, private and philanthropic commitments to getting our public schools access to broadband Internet. In February, coming off a State of the Union address by President Obama that highlighted the issue, the FCC announced that it would move money around to double the sum available […]

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The top 5 #EdInnovations to watch

The benefit of a big conference like SXSWEdu is a sort of ambient exposure to trends. Here are five concepts that everyone (or at least key, smart people) were talking about at last week’s conference, and that bear keeping an eye on for the future.   1) ConnectED . Companies including Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Autodesk, Adobe, […]

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Live from SXSWEdu: Who’s Khan Academy in bed with now?

The White House, the College Board, Bank of America, and Comcast. What do they have in common? They’ve all announced partnerships with Khan Academy, the nonprofit provider of free educational videos and analytics tools, in the last 12 months. These partnerships combine various aspects of cash, content, and distribution. But in each case, the stodgier […]

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Live from SXSWEdu: #NewSATs or No SATs?

The big news coming out of SXSWEdu Wednesday was the New SAT. It even has a hashtag: #NewSAT. The changes to the test taken by millions of students each year, which will start in 2016 with today’s 9th graders, are, at first glance, puzzling. The vocabulary section will be simplified, with fewer “gotcha” words. The […]

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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 […]

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Amplify unveils new digital curriculum

Amplify, the digital education brand owned by News Corp, unveiled its new digital curriculum today at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, TX. They offered me a preview on February 21st. At last year’s conference Amplify announced its own custom-built educational tablet with great fanfare. Since then it’s had a rocky rollout with a recall in […]

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