Education Evolutions Newsletter #17


sas-ipad flickr photo by zandwacht shared under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

Education Evolutions:

Select Readings on Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

Here are five curated articles about education, technology, and evolutions in teaching.

  • Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education chief, is living proof white people haven’t gotten over Brown v. Board of EducationSalonAmanda Marcotte  (7 minute read)
    In light of the DeVos hearings this week, it is hard to avoid including more about her. This is a fascinating opinion piece that traces the legacy of the landmark case to today’s class and race problems persist, especially in urban school systems. I find all this emphasis on “choice” to be extremely disingenuous. Parents have been able to choose private schools over public for quite some time. Who can afford a private school is another matter but Marcotte highlights just how much this rhetoric of choice will ultimately be a ruse that results in even more segregation than we already have. There is not a voucher that is going to cover the difference between the gutted public schools and where Trump or DeVos sent their kids.

  • Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.The UpshotThe New York TImes (9 minute read)
    The fact that access to the most elite colleges has not really changed all that much should not seem all that surprising. It mirrors the society and culture at large. At many of the most selective institutions of higher education, including half the Ivy League, the top 1% dominates the student body. Given the rise in tuition costs, schools can easily, even consciously, segregate their student body by socio-economic class even more than the public K12 system, if they choose. What deserves more genuine concern is the impact on social mobility universities can have. Given declining financial support it is hard to see how students from lower incomes have much of a shot attending the most selective institutions and reaping the benefits therein.

  • How Dropping Screen Time Rules Can Fuel Extraordinary LearningMediumMimi Ito (3 minute read)
    There has been a lot of attention paid to the idea of screen time, even in this newsletter, since the American Association of Pediatrics changed their stance on the topic. Mimi Ito is one of the leading scholars on adolescents in the digital age and makes a strong case that the very notion of screen time may have outlived its usefulness. In a world filled with screens, it is increasingly hard to limit exposure. Plus, not all time in front of a screen is equal. Her recommendations are insightful, particularly the list of questions to consider from Blum and Livingstone. This is practical, positive stuff.

  • CWRU, Cleveland Clinic and Microsoft Transform LearningYouTubeCase Western Reserve University  (3:19 minute view)
    Also courtesy of a newsletter reader, here is a video that showcases some awfully cool technology that could serve education in some actually transformative ways. As interesting as the anatomy example might be, I couldn’t help but wonder about possibilities of just how powerful visualizing information three-dimensional holographic ways can be. There have to be so many opportunities that have not even been dreamed of yet. While a few are listed, I am not sure that it even scratches the surface. The bigger problem is likely to be the cost and time associated with developing content like this. It strikes me as something that could take a while but have heavier long-term  implications.

  • Pixar Easter Eggs – Facebook Video – Disney (2:40 minute view)
    This one is simply for pure fun. If you are not one of the people who has already added to the 9.5 million views of this video give it a look. If you have children or have just watched a lot of Pixar’s films it is a real treat to see how many little elements linked between films.

As always thank you for supporting this newsletter.

Education Evolutions Newsletter #16


sas-ipad flickr photo by zandwacht shared under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

Education Evolutions:

Select Readings on Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

Here are three curated articles about education, technology, and evolutions in teaching.

  • Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poemsThe Answer Sheet @ The Washington PostValerie Strauss  (14 minute read)
    This piece presents quite a dark irony that makes for fascinating reading. Reading a poet wrestle with the poor questions that were conceived about her work is interesting enough but Sara Holbrook’s eloquent takedown of the entire standardized testing juggernaut is even more so. For one, the fact that one of her poems was not even formatted correctly only kicks off the calamity. The way she addresses the questions is both clever and poetic. Plus, I lover her final reflection. Best of all, this is a call to action to end the madness.

  • There is no “technology industry”Medium – Anil Dash  (6 minute read)
    Dash makes an important argument in this piece which requires us to examine how we think about the conglomerates that call themselves technology companies and all of its implications. Companies that we often think of technology companies have more in common with General Electric now than the romanticized Silicon Valley start-ups. Technology has become so pervasive that nearly all commercial enterprises are tech companies. Even more important, Dash explains how the labels and language we use matters. It is central to how we understand these companies and their impact on society and our lives. Unquestionably best line in the piece, “ Marc Andreessen famously said that “software is eating the world”, but it’s far more accurate to say that the neoliberal values of software tycoons are eating the world.” Education just happens to be one more morsel for those omnivorous values and tycoons.

  • Rich and poor teenagers use the web differently – here’s what this is doing to inequalityThe World Economic ForumRosamond Hutt (3 minute read)
    I am admittedly not the biggest fan of PISA but this is a fascinating development. It would seem that the OECD’s information correlates with what we have known here in the United States for some time. Want to know where the good schools are? Look where the money is. As the report explains, “Equal access does imply equal opportunities.” This is a truth that should be more obvious than it is. Too many assumptions are made about the availability of information and opportunities online. It is interesting that the recommendation is more about basic literacy than tech devices or service. All that being said, I am tired of test results being used as the data and justification for decisions and conclusions.

As always thank you for supporting this newsletter.