agregador de noticias
I think it would be very interesting to be able to hear some of the discussions behind the scenes. The "Edward E. Ford Foundation on Tuesday announced a $2 million grant to support the effort," according to this article, and one wonders, why? "This foundation has a narrow focus in its support—independent, private U.S. high schools," according to Inside Philanthropy. According to Scott Looney, head of school of the Hawken School, a private institution in Cleveland, "Once the new mastery transcript takes hold, he said, colleges will value it over traditional materials they currently receive. Looney said that, initially, he expected the use of the mastery transcript might encourage colleges to pay more attention to standardized-test scores."
We are in the process of entering an unhappy world where the browser is part of the operating system. This seems to be the trend set by Windows-S, on which Google's Chrome browser won't run. I'm not sure, but I don't think you can run Internet Explorer on a Chrome desktop either. "In theory, Google could use those tools to turn the desktop version of its Chrome browser into an app package.....But if Google or Mozilla or any of those smaller developers submitted one of those packages to the Store for distribution, the submission would be rejected."
Clayton R. Wright,
May 11, 2017
Clayton R. Wright's excellent conference list is available once again. He writes, "The 37th
edition of the conference list covers selected professional development events that primarily focus on the use of
technology in educational settings and on teaching, learning, and educational
administration. Only listings until December 2017 are complete as dates,
locations, or Internet addresses (URLs) were not available for a number of
events held after December 2017. In order to protect the privacy of
individuals, only URLs are used in the listing as this enables readers of the
list to obtain event information without submitting their e-mail addresses to
anyone. A significant challenge during the assembly of this list is incomplete
or conflicting information on websites and the lack of a link between conference websites from one year to the next."
Today's new word is 'agentive'. Something that is agentive "handles tasks so that you can use your limited attention on something else. So this part of 'acting on your behalf'—that it does its thing while out of sight and out of mind—is foundational to the notion of what an agent is, why it’s new, and why it’s valuable." This article looks at the concept, draws a very useful distinction between agents and tools, and makes the observation expressed in the title.'
Via The New York Times: “A Little-Noticed Target in the House Health Bill: Special Education.”
School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.
The bill that passed the House of Representatives on Thursday will cut Medicaid by $880 billion.
Via Education Week: “Congress Budget Deal Bans New Gold-Standard Studies of Federal Vouchers.” Banning research on school vouchers? Gee, I wonder why.
Via The Pacific Standard: “The New Spending Agreement Revives Abstinence Education.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Budget Deal Provides Money for NIH and Year-Round Pell.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What the Congressional Budget Deal Means for Higher Ed.”
Via NPR: “Under Trump Budget, Nearly 2 Million Kids May Lose After-School Care.”
Via The LA Times: “Trump is ending Michelle Obama’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative, CNN reports.”
Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy wins “best headline” this week: “ The Whole Grain Terror In School Lunches Is About To End.”
Via ProPublica: “Trump Administration Hires Official Whom Five Students Accused of Sexual Assault.” That’d be Steven Munoz, formerly at The Citadel military college, who’s been hired as the assistant chief of visits for the State Department.
A graphic essay in Fusion: “Betsy DeVos’ ‘School Choice’ Movement Isn’t Social Justice. It’s a Return to Segregation.”
“Just months after a major gaffe by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about the origins of historically black colleges and universities, a Florida HBCU is taking heat for inviting her to speak at its spring commencement ceremony next week,” Inside Higher Ed reports. The school in question: Bethune-Cookman University.
Via Education Week: “Under Trump, Ed-Tech Leadership Is Big Question Mark.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The IRS data retrieval tool that let financial aid applicants automatically import income information into the FAFSA won’t be restored for the current aid cycle, said James Runcie, chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid, in written testimony to Congress Wednesday.”
The Department of Education has rehired student loan debt collectors fired by the Obama Administration: Enterprise Recovery Systems and Navient-owned Pioneer Credit Recovery.
Not ed-tech per se (unless you recognize that “personalized learning” is greyballing), but according to The New York Times, “Uber Faces Federal Inquiry Over Use of Greyball Tool to Evade Authorities.”
Via The Washington Post: “Arizona lawmaker: Let’s end compulsory schooling and stop forcing education ‘down everybody's throat’.”
Via Tucson.com: “Arizona awards controversial loan guarantees to privately owned charter schools.”
Via the Miami Herald: “Lawmakers set to defund Miami school that educated makers of ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Hamilton’.” Follow-up: “After outcry, lawmakers scrap plans to fully slash grant aid to ‘Moonlight’ alumni’s school.”Immigration and Education
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Texas Governor Is Poised to Sign Immigration Bill, Raising Risks for Undocumented Students.”Education in the Courts
Via Politico: “Appeal could drag out Trump University settlement.”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the former co-owner of an education consulting firm were sentenced Friday by a federal judge to prison terms in conjunction with a corruption scandal.”
Via Politico: “A complex legal battle involving dozens of debt collection companies fighting over contracts with the Education Department has essentially suspended the government’s ability to collect defaulted student loans, the Trump administration disclosed in a court filing on Monday night.”
Via Infodocket: “Louisiana State University is Suing Elsevier For Breach of Contract.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Marquette University was justified in disciplining a professor who had publicly rebuked a graduate teaching assistant over her handling of classroom discussions of homosexuality, a state judge ruled on Thursday.”
And for those who claim that student protesters on college campuses are the gravest threat to free speech that this country faces… “A jury on Wednesday convicted three Code Pink activists on charges related to a protest at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general – including a Virginia woman who said all she did was break out in laughter,” The New York Times reports.
More court cases in the sports section below.Testing, Testing…
Via Kentucky.com: “UK student drops from ceiling to steal statistics exam.” UK here means University of Kentucky.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal authorities on Thursday announced the arrests of four Chinese nationals on charges of engaging in fraud on admissions tests that allowed three of them to obtain admissions to American universities and visas to study in the United States.” The test in question: the TOEFL.
“Is there an elegant way to administer exams in online courses?” asks “Dean Dad” Matt Reed.“Free College”
“‘Free’ College Programs Will Still Cost You,” says Nerdwallet.The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
More on last week’s Purdue and Kaplan deal:
“Purdue’s deal for Kaplan U trades a long-term business relationship for low up-front costs while raising worries – especially among faculty groups – about blurred lines between public and private higher ed,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
Via the Journal & Courier: “Legislation that set the stage for Purdue's dive into online higher ed also exempts ‘New U’ from state’s open meetings, public records laws. That, Purdue says, was part of the deal.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “There’s a Reason the Purdue-Kaplan Deal Sounds Too Good to Be True.”
I’m considered an “expert” here (among others) featured in IHE with thoughts and questions and analysis on the “Purdue-Kaplan marriage.”
Via NPR: “A Public University Acquires A Big For-Profit, And Raises Big Questions.”
“Mitch Daniels Wants to Sell the Soul of Public Education: Purdue Faculty Must Stop Him,” the Academe blog argues.
“Faculty members at Purdue University took a strong stance Thursday against last week’s unorthodox acquisition of Kaplan University, passing a University Senate resolution calling the deal a violation of common-sense educational practice and respect for Purdue faculty,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
Elsewhere in for-profit-land:
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Thirty student, consumer and veterans’ groups called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Thursday to seek public comment and impose conditions on the sale of several Education Management Corporation properties to a Los Angeles nonprofit.”
DeVry is rebranding as Adtalem Global Education.
Techcrunch profiles the coding bootcamp DevMountain.
The New York Times Editorial Board urges “Keep For-Profit Schools on a Short Leash.”
More research (and PR posing as research) on for-profits in the research section below. More on for-profits and accreditation in the accreditation section below. More on Trump University in the courts section above.Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
Brown University joins edX.
I missed this news earlier in April, via Class Central: financial aid applications for Coursera take at least 15 days.
“Y Combinator MOOC for Tech Startups Attracts Thousands of Views,” says Campus Technology. Not sure why this is called a MOOC. It’s just a bunch of video-taped lectures for the (offline) “Startup School” event that the startup incubator program runs at Stanford (which is really just a series of short talks by entrepreneurs and founders).Meanwhile on Campus…
Via The New York Times: “A Principal Is Accused of Being a Communist, Rattling a Brooklyn School.”
Via the AP: “A one-day sweep in which over 150 high school students were suspended for dress code violations is bringing new criticism to a Connecticut district of predominantly Hispanic and black students that was already under scrutiny for having low numbers of minority teachers.”
Via the AP: “AP Investigation Reveals Hidden Horror of Sex Assaults by K–12 Students.”
Via Business Insider: “Surveillance videos show police officer allegedly abusing high school students.”
One student was killed and three others wounded in a stabbing attack on the University of Texas Austin campus.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Glue-Gun Incident at Colgate Prompts Concern About Racial Profiling.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Noose Is Found on U. of Maryland at College Park’s Campus.” Police are investigating this as a hate-bias incident.
Via The New York Times: “F.B.I. Helping American University Investigate Bananas Found Hanging From Nooses.”
Via Buzzfeed: “A Trump Supporter Allegedly Attacked Students At A Kentucky University With A Machete.” The attack was at Transylvania University.
Via The Washington Post: “There’s a well-funded campus industry behind the Ann Coulter incident.”
Via BBC Newsbeat: “Student mental health costs should be free, according to the Royal College of GPs.”
The New York Times on “Shaming Children So Parents Will Pay the School Lunch Bill.”
Via KPCC: “Questions linger over closure of Whittier Law School.”
From the MIT press release: “Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) to spark global renaissance in education through innovation at MIT.”
The Pacific Standard writes about “Creative Corrections Education Foundation, a non-profit that provides scholarships for college-bound young people aged 18 to 27 who have a parent in prison, on parole, or off parole.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education on “The Christian Agenda Behind Inmate Education.”
Via Feministing: “Why Yale’s Graduate Student Union Hunger Strike Matters.”
Via The New York Times: “Most New York City Schools Had High Lead Levels, Retests Find.”Accreditation and Certification
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Trump administration has backed its predecessor’s decision to terminate the recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a national accreditor that oversees 245 colleges, most of them for-profits.”
Accreditation rules at Wayne State College in Nebraska are being criticized as a recent change requires “that professors teach only within their fields of expertise, as defined by their advanced degrees.” One professor, who’s taught philosophy for 50 years, will no longer be allowed to do so as her PhD is in English.
“Northwestern’s journalism school drops its accreditor, shortly after Berkeley did the same, echoing broader questions about the value of the process and whether it impedes innovation,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Accreditation is for Proles,” “Dean Dad” Matt Reed notes.
Via CNN: Florida Memorial University will award Trayvon Martin a posthumous bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science.Go, School Sports Team!
Cetys University is making a bid to become the first Mexican university to join the NCAA.
Via The Washington Post: “She didn’t laugh at racist jokes. Her coach said she didn’t have the right ‘chemistry’ for the team.” The student was seeking a spot on the University of Mary Washington women’s basketball team.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A state-court jury awarded $1.43 million in damages on Thursday to Jane Meyer, a former senior associate athletics director at the University of Iowa, ruling in her favor on all five claims in her discrimination lawsuit against the university.”From the HR Department
Via Gizmodo: “Facebook Will Add 3,000 More People to Watch Murders and Suicides.” Nope, robots will not be doing this job of content moderation, as Facebook recently boasted at its developer conference. It’ll be low-wage workers in places like the Philippines.
In other HR news from Facebook: “Facebook replaces Oculus computer vision head at center of underage sex scandal.”
Graduate students at Brandeis University have voted to unionize.
“Ted Mitchell, the former Education Department under secretary, has joined the board of directors of Frontline Education,” Politico reports.The Business of Job Training
Once upon a time, I’d have put Udacity in the MOOC section above, but I’m sticking this profile by RealClear Education here in the job training section: “Online Educator Udacity Adapts Courses to Changing Labor Market.”
The Pew Research Center asked “experts” about “The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training.”This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
“Is Clay Christensen Ready to Disrupt Parenting?” asks CMRubinworld. Will Christensen ever let this ridiculous narrative go?
“Is this the future of college: Online classes, but no degree?” asks the Associated Press.
“Zap! Can Electrical Stimulation Help Us Learn?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Is this increasingly popular teaching job the Uber for teachers?” asks eSchool News.
(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)Upgrades and Downgrades
Microsoft had a media event this week. Via The New York Times: “Microsoft Looks to Regain Lost Ground in the Classroom.” “Microsoft’s new education push plays to its strengths, the cheap and familiar,” says Techcrunch. Here is the Microsoft blog post announcing its new products.
CNN tries to explain “Why Google, Apple and Microsoft are battling for education.” I’ll save you a click: the answer is “money.”
Via CNBC: “This Chinese-Israeli start-up wants to change the way kids learn to code.” The startup in question: LeapLearner.
“OER-Enabled Pedagogy” by Lumen Learning’s David Wiley.
“Social-Emotional Learning Is the Rage in K–12. So Why Not in College?” asks the Student Experience Manager of the Minerva Project in an article in Edsurge.
Elsewhere in algorithms… Via The New York Times: “Sent to Prison by a Software Program’s Secret Algorithms.” And in other predictive analytics news, from The Intercept: “Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos ‘to Anticipate Criminal Activity’.” (If you think these stories are not relevant to education and education technology, you are not paying attention.)
Via The Outline: “Machine learning is racist because the internet is racist.”
Edsurge on “How Students Experience Georgia State’s Push to Use Big Data” and an Ellucian product called Degree Works.
Techcrunch lists 11 technologies that “want to hack your brain.”
“Brain data, neurotechnology and education” by Ben Williamson.
Happy 20th anniversary to Blackboard. Edsurge celebrates by reprinting Blackboard founder Matthew Pittinsky’s blog post “4 Secrets to Building a Tech Company for Higher Ed.” Pittinsky is currently the CEO of Parchment. (No disclosure on this story that Parchment and Edsurge share investors.)
Speaking of Blackboard, here’s a press release about Blackboard Classroom: “New Solution from Blackboard Helps K–12 School Districts Make Learning More Engaging, Personalized and Accessible.”
Via Edsurge: “Why Moodle’s Mastermind, Martin Dougiamas, Still Believes in Edtech After Two Decades.”
“TRUSTe’s Opt Out Is a Cynical Joke,” says Bill Fitzgerald.
Via Edsurge: “Zeal CEO John Danner: Want to Make Data Actionable? Start With Building the Right Culture.” (No disclosure that Edsurge shares an investor with Zeal.)
“How to Prepare for an Automated Future,” by The NYT’s Claire Cain Miller.
For more news about robots not taking jobs, see the HR section above.Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
AltSchool has raised $40 million from undisclosed investors. The private school startup has raised $173 million total. (Disclosure alert: Edsurge does not disclose it shares investors with AltSchool in its coverage of the funding news.)
Game-based learning company Legends of Learning has raised $9 million in seed funding from Baltimore Angels.
The private equity firm Education Growth Partners has acquired Apex Learning.
2U has acquired GetSmarter for $103 million.
Pearson released its quarterly report today and announced a “strategic review” of its K–12 courseware business, particularly with regards to print. Andrew Rotherham interviewed CEO John Fallon about the company’s shift to digital.Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
“Someone Hit the Internet with a Massive Google Doc Phishing Attack,” Motherboard Vice reports. Don’t click. Never click. (Use this as an excuse to avoid all future Google Docs and “collaborative” writing projects. You know you want to.)
“Hundreds of thousands of kids have identity info hacked from pediatricians’ offices,” says DataBreaches.net.
“235 apps attempt to secretly track users with ultrasonic audio,” says Boing Boing. Android apps to be specific.
“‘Is Our Children’s Apps Learning?’ Automatically Detecting COPPA Violations” by Irwin Reyes, Primal Wijesekera, Abbas Razaghpanah, Joel Rearson, Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, Serge Egelman, and Christian Kreibich.Data and “Research”
This is irresponsible. “Students to colleges: Please use our data this way,” reads the eCampus News headline in an article claiming students want even more of their data tracked and utilized. This is all based on a survey by Ellucian (the company behind the student information system Banner and Degree Works, a predictive tool profiled by Edsurge in a story linked above); and I’d sure love to see the wording of the questions.
Via The Independent: “Facebook research targeted insecure youth, leaked documents show.”
The latest report formerly known as the Sloan Survey of Online Learning has been released. “Digital Learning Compass: New report on distance education higher ed enrollments” by Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill. Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education also cover the report.
“Do For-profit Institutions Converting to Non-profit Affect Distance Education Enrollment Numbers?” asks Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill. (Spoiler alert: no.)
The ANOVA blog’s “study of the week” includes Skinner (but no pigeons): “Nicaraguan Sign Language and the Speaking Animal.”
Via Brookings: “How the quality of school lunch affects students’ academic performance.”
Edreports.org has released new reports on math textbooks and how well they align to the Common Core.
“Emerging Research on K–12 Computer Science Education: 6 Trends to Watch” by Education Week’s Ben Herold.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new paper finds students don’t leave postsecondary education when the for-profit institution they attend is sanctioned by federal agencies. They move into the public sector.”
Via Campus Technology: “Study: More Underrepresented Students Rely on Social Media for College Search.”
“The Most Polarized Freshman Class in Half a Century” sure makes for a great headline confirming all the hullaballoo lately about intolerance on college campuses. (Incoming classes are also increasingly diverse demographically.)
Via Pacific Standard: “Selective Colleges Take Fewer Low-Income Students, According to a New Report.”
From the American Institutes for Research: “The Income Share Agreement Landscape: 2017 and Beyond.”
More pushback on the US News and World Report 2017 high school rankings. “4th Best High School In New York Is A KIPP School That Doesn’t Exist,” education blogger Gary Rubinstein charges. “Why the U.S. News Best High School Rankings Are Flawed,” according to RealClear Education.
Creative Commons has released its State of the Commons 2016 report.
IHE blogger Joshua Kim asks where folks get the figure “$1.9 trillion,” supposedly the size of the global higher education market.
EdWeek’s Market Brief pushes another number about the size of education markets: “As more computing devices are available in K–12 classrooms, the market for ed-tech software and tools and back-end administrative technology platforms, is expected to grow to $1.83 billion by 2020, according to Futuresource Consulting, Ltd.”
“April 2017 Ed-Tech Funding” by me. One factoid: three companies – SoFi, EverFi, and Xueba100.com – account for more than 65% of the money raised so far this year. Unlike other people who tout certain dollar figures for the size of markets, I do show my work.RIP
Via Vox: “William Baumol, whose famous economic theory explains the modern world, has died.” Vox loves explainers but, like Baumol, doesn't always get the explanation right:May 4, 2017
Icon credits: The Noun Project
Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “Trump’s rather weird meeting with the 2017 Teachers of the Year.”
Via The Hill: “21 state AGs denounce DeVos for ending student loan reform.”
Via The Washington Post: “ Education Department relaxes financial aid process in the absence of IRS tool .”
In other Department of Education bureaucratic nightmares, “Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The House Veterans Affairs Committee this week postponed a planned hearing on potential updates to the GI Bill amid growing opposition to a proposal that would require new service members to pay into the GI Bill for future benefits.”
New hires at the Department of Education include former HP exec Holly Luong Ham (she will serve as the assistant secretary for management) and former Congressional staffer Liz Hill (she’ll serve as the press secretary). Elsewhere in the administration, Trump’s new State Department spokesperson “spread toxic anti-Muslim stories for years,” says The Intercept, highlight a segment where former FOX anchor Heather Nauert described swim classes for Somali-American girls as “Sharia Law.”
Via Chalkbeat: New York City “Mayor Bill de Blasio announces plan to expand universal pre-K to 3-year-olds.” (“What do we really know about the value of prekindergarten?” asks WaPo’s Valerie Strauss, before reprinting an article by UVA professor Dan Willingham.)
The New York Times on the conservative think tank The Heartland Institute’s efforts towards “Sowing Climate Doubt Among Schoolteachers.” (Not to mention The New York Times’ own efforts to sow climate doubt.)
Via Infodocket: “Two U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to Keep Government Research Data Publicly Available (Preserving Data in Government Act).”
A bill that would let the President pick the next Register of Copyrights has passed the House of Representatives.
The Rwandan government plans to roll out digital education this summer. It’s a partnership with Microsoft.
Via the BBC: “University staff from EU countries should be guaranteed a right to stay and work in the UK after Brexit to avoid a ‘damaging brain drain’, says a report from MPs.”Immigration and Education
Via The New York Times: “Judge Blocks Trump Effort to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities.”
Via EdSource: “1 in 8 children in California schools have an undocumented parent.”Education in the Courts
Via KIRO7: “Charges filed after University of Washington shooting outside Milo Yiannopoulos event.” “Prosecutors say Elizabeth Joy Hokoana, 29, and her husband, Marc K. Hokoana [supporters of Yiannopoulos, let me editorialize] ‘created a situation designed to allow Elizabeth Hokoana to shoot the victim in the middle of an extremely crowded event under the guise of defending herself or her husband.’”
Via The Washington Post: “Lawsuit filed against UC Berkeley for canceling Ann Coulter speech.” More on Coulter cancelling her speech in the campus section below.
Via NPR: “West Virginia State University Says It Is Suing Dow Chemical For Contamination.”
Via Multichannel News: “Trayvon Martin Attorney Parks Targets AT&T Over Alleged Broadband Redlining.” (In Cleveland.)
More on sanctuary cities in the courts in the immigration section above. More on the NCAA’s legal battles in the sports section below.Testing, Testing…
“Nation’s Report Card Finds Mixed Grades For U.S. Students In Visual Arts, Music,” NPR reports. The “nation’s report card” is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. And I hardly noticed any freak out about these scores this week like there usually is about math scores. Weird. It’s almost as though the narrative about “failing schools” doesn’t care much about students’ creativity.The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
Purdue University is buying Kaplan University for a dollar. Will this “new university” become a public university? Or something else? That is, will faculty have the benefits of other public universities in the state? (Wait, do Indiana professors still have benefits?) Dunno. But it’s a sign of the times, says The Chronicle of Higher Education. “A bold move,” says Inside Higher Ed. Edsurge’s Jeff Young and Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill both asked industry analyst Trace Urdan for his take. I’m waiting for Tressie McMillan Cottom’s response, as she’s certainly unlikely to hype the industry angle and will surely raise the important issues surrounding equity, “lower ed,” and justice. Me, I wrote about how far Kaplan Inc’s reach is in education politics and products.
Elsewhere: “North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has opened an investigation into Charlotte School of Law,” says Politico.
More on the University of Phoenix’s new president in the HR section below.Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
Online education pioneer Tony Bates asks “What is online learning?”
EdX has launched some new “professional certificate programs.”
From the press release: “ MOOCs and books initiative launched by Springer and Federica Weblearning.”
Via NBC News: “How to Thrive: Arianna Huffington Launches E-Learning Series.” (It’ll run on LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, which means it’ll cost you $24.99 a month.)Meanwhile on Campus…
How the school-to-prison pipeline targets students of color, via Mic: “This Texas 6th-grader was threatened with suspension all because of a haircut.”
Via The New York Times: “Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens.”
Right-wing troll Ann Coulter pulled out of her talk at UC Berkeley, because “because she had lost the backing of conservative groups that had initially sponsored her appearance.” Good grief, the handwringing. “We Have Been Here Before,” says Swarthmore history professor Timothy Burke.
More in the courts section above on the charges filed against a person who shot a protestor at a Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of Washington early this year. There’s also a lawsuit against UC Berkeley for cancelling Coulter’s speech (which I haven’t heard will move forward since Coulter was the one who cancelled.)
Via The Southern Poverty Law Center: “New Alt-Right ‘Fight Club’ Ready for Street Violence.” But sure, let’s condemn “liberal college students” as the problem.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Middlebury Professor Sorry for Co-Sponsoring Murray Talk.”
Via Newsweek: “Rand Paul to Teach ‘Dystopian Visions’ Course at George Washington University.”
Via The LA Times: “University of California administration is paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, state audit says.” Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Janet Napolitano Disputes Finding That Her Office Held $175 Million in Undisclosed Funds.”
Via Democracy: “The Untold History of Charter Schools.”
Gotta love a quote like this, from a story in Edsurge profiling McComb, Mississippi’s Summit Elementary School: “We are learning how to mitigate between policy and trying to be as innovative as possible without breaking state laws.” I’m more interested in hearing about segregation and state laws in Mississippi than the adaptive learning software a school is using. But hey.
Via The Hechinger Report: “With number of student-parents up, availability of campus child care is down.”
Via The New York Times: “In New York City Schools, an Ever-Rising Tide of Homeless Students.”
Via Times Higher Education: “Why Germany Educates International Students for Free.”
Via the Hong Kong Free Press: “China’s 8m graduates: Inside the world’s largest higher education boom.”
Via The New York Times: “At Hungary’s Soros-Backed University, Scholars Feel a Chill.”
“National Association of Scholars calls on universities to close their Confucius Institutes. Defenders say there’s nothing sinister about the Chinese-backed centers,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
Via Pitchfork: “Beyoncé Launches ‘Formation Scholars’ Scholarship Program.” The scholarship, “for young women studying creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies,” will be offered to students at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has doubled down on his prediction that half of all universities might close or go bankrupt within 10 to 15 years. He first made this prediction 6 years ago, so we’re looking at 4 to 9 years out, I guess. For what it’s worth, according to the latest data from the NCES, the number of post-secondary institutions in the US has increased since 2011. (Increased by just 2, but still.)Accreditation and Certification
“When a College Degree Isn’t Enough,” according to The Atlantic.
Inside Higher Ed reports on problems at Tallahassee Community College after students discovered their health IT program was not properly accredited.Go, School Sports Team!
“A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Pac–12 Conference infringed on labor laws and thus owed money to a former Division I football player,” Inside Higher Ed reports.From the HR Department
Kristina Johnson, formerly an under secretary in the US Department of Energy under President Obama, has been named the new Chancellor of SUNY.
Peter Cohen, formerly the executive VP of McGraw-Hill Education, has been hired as the new president of the University of Phoenix.
Russell “Rusty” Greiff has joined 2U as its senior VP and regional general manager. Greiff has previously been a partner at the 1776 venture fund and he was also a co-founder of the test prep company Grockit.
Jeff Fernandez, the co-founder of the online learning company Grovo, has resigned. His other two co-founders are gone from the company too, says Axios’ Dan Primack.
On the hiring of serial predators: “Ousted Over Sexual Misconduct Claims, and On to the Next Teaching Job.”
Students Oppose Pomona College’s Hiring of Alice Goffman as a Visiting Scholar," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Resident Advisers Gain the Right to Unionize.”The Business of Job Training
Via The Wall Street Journal: “Liberal Arts Colleges, in Fight for Survival, Focus on Job Skills.”
It’s not a “skills gap,” says Edsurge. It’s an “awareness gap.”
The Hechinger Report profiles Mechatronics Akademie, “a modern iteration of career and technical education for high school students. Created through a partnership between the local department of education, the Volkswagen Chattanooga factory and Chattanooga State Community College, it uses online and in-person instruction in an out-of-school setting to prepare students who might not pursue higher education after high school.”Upgrades and Downgrades
It’s 2017, and Wired still promotes a narrative that “hackers” are all young men. Good job.
Here’s the headline from The Next Web: “Universities finally realize that Java is a bad introductory programming language.” But thing is, most universities already do not teach Java as the intro language. The most commonly taught language is now Python. But do strive to maintain the narrative that universities are out-of-date and irrelevant, tech blog.
There have been several stories recently calling the Google Books project a failure. The Executive Director of HathiTrust responds.
“Internet Archive to ignore robots.txt directives,” says Boing Boing.
Via Techcrunch: “As Chromebook sales soar in schools, Apple and Microsoft fight back.”
Google announces more updates to its pseudo-LMS, Google Classroom.
Inside Higher Ed examines the challenges facing LMS provider Blackboard.
Via Campus Technology: “Pearson Expands Textbook Rental Program.”
Meal kits seem to be a popular startup idea right now. So no surprise, Techcrunch informs us that “Scrumpt now offers fresh, healthy lunches for kids.”
Not directly ed-tech related, but with all the algorithmic learning hype, I thought I’d include this story anyway: “FaceApp apologizes for building a racist AI.”
“How Can VR be Used for Learning?” asks Jade E. Davis on the DML Central blog.
“Snapchat’s smart pivot into an AR company but is AR ready for learning?” asks Donald Clark.
Via Edsurge: “Khan Academy’s New ‘Teacher Aid’ Tool Goes for a Test Drive in Southern California.” There’s a data dashboard, so you know it simply has to be useful.
Via The Financial Times: “ Inside Liberia’s controversial experiment to outsource education.” That’s to the ed-tech company Bridge International Academies. Nope. No neoliberalism anywhere in ed-tech.
Inside Higher Ed reports that “Fannie Mae, the largest backer of mortgage credit in the country, has issued new guidelines allowing home owners to refinance their mortgages to pay off their student loan debt. The option to essentially swap student loan debt for mortgage debt is an expansion of a program launched last year with personal finance company SoFi.”
Via Techcrunch: “CommonBond now offers direct student loans alongside debt refinancing.”
Via Buzzfeed: Navient, “America’s largest student loan company was also the most-complained-about financial services company in the country over the last three months, according to new government data released on Tuesday.” Nope. No neoliberalism here. Move along.Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF
According to Research and Markets’ latest forecast, “the artificial intelligence market in the US education sector to grow at a CAGR of 47.50% during the period 2017–2021.”
Via CNBC: “Google exec, Mark Cuban agree that these college majors are the most robot-resistant.”
Learn-to-code toy Ozobots is launching Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy branded robots.
Inside Higher Ed looks at drones (and rules about drones) on college campuses.Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
EverFi has raised $190 million in a Series D round of funding from The Rise Fund, TPG Growth, Advance Publications, Allen & Company, Eric Schmidt, Ev Williams, Jeff Bezos, and Main Street Advisors. The online “off-curriculum” education company has raised $251 million total.
EverFi also announced this week that it’s acquired the online compliance training company Workplace Answers.
In February, Holberton School announced it had raised $2.3 million in funding. This week, there were more details about who those investors are – including R&B artist Ne-Yo who will join the coding school’s board of directors.
Via Edsurge: “The Asian Money Fueling US Edtech Investments.”
Although this Wall Street Journal article is about the tech industry broadly, it’s still worth noting: “Once-Flush Startups Struggle to Stay Alive as Investors Get Pickier.”Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
Via The New York Times: “In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera.”
Via The Red & Black, an independent student paper serving the University of Georgia: “UGA Dining Halls to introduce eye scanners.”
Via EducPros.fr: “Pour la CNIL, ‘la France doit garder la souveraineté de ses données scolaires’.”
Via Education Dive: “Casper College looks to Amazon approach to customize student experiences.” “Shouldn’t we be able to use our LMSes to aggregate the experience of every student based on the DNA of their self-selected digital assets?” the CIO asks. No. You shouldn’t.
Speaking of why Amazon is a terrible model for education, via Motherboard: “Amazon Wants to Put a Camera and Microphone in Your Bedroom.” “Echo Look will use machine learning to decide if you look fat in that shirt.”
“Smart Sparrow Adds Learner Data Analytics,” says Campus Technology.
Via Duo Labs: “Phishing Across the Pond: 70% of U.K. Universities Impacted.”
“Cyber criminals are sharing millions of stolen university email credentials,” says USA Today.
“Should We Be Sending Students Who Hack Their Schools to Jail?” asks Doug Levin. No.
The list of questions Edsurge says schools are supposed to ask ed-tech vendors contains no mention of privacy or information security.
“The 4 Issues AltSchool Needs to Figure Out to Scale Its ‘Personalized Learning’ Platform” also do not include privacy or security. Perhaps that is how you “scale.”Data and “Research”
Via The Guardian: “Teenage hackers motivated by morality not money, study finds.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A report released Tuesday by the Science Coalition identifies 102 companies whose creation was fueled by competitive federal research grants from agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.” (The point: do not defund those agencies.)
Prediction press release service Research and Markets says that the “global cloud-based English language learning (ELL) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.07 percent from 2017 to 2021.”
A report via Google Research: “Unconscious Bias in the Classroom.”
Via Education Week: “Better-Educated Families Less Likely to Choose Pa. Cyber Charters, Study Finds.”
Here’s a headline to side-eye, via The Federalist: “Dartmouth Study Finds Democrats Are The Least Tolerant Students On Campus.”
“The Prevalence of Hook-Up Culture on College Campuses Is Completely Exaggerated – and That’s a Problem,” says The Pacific Standard, drawing on research by St. Vincent College professor Jason King.
The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson looks at research on how racism affects math education.
Pew Research asks, “In America, Does More Education Equal Less Religion?”
Why is the student veteran graduate rate so low, asks The Atlantic.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Students from American families with the highest incomes are almost five times likelier than students from the poorest families to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24, a new report shows.”
Also via Inside Higher Ed: “On average, white and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and black students do, a new report shows.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges Whose Undergraduates Borrowed the Highest Average Amounts in Federal Loans in 2014–15.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that 63 percent of college graduates still held student loan debt within four years of earning their degree.”
“A report released Thursday found largely negative results for students who participated in the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, suggesting that many of the program’s beneficiaries might actually fare better if they turn down the private-school money,” says The Atlantic, asking how this will affect the Trump administration’s position on vouchers. (Trick question!)
“Vouchers for students with disabilities aren’t always what they seem,” says Harvard Education’s Laura Schifter.
Charter-advocate publication The 74 boasts that “U.S. News Ranks America’s Top Public High Schools – and for the First Time, Charters Dominate Top 10,” but let’s perhaps consider how the US News and World Report’s rankings are pretty questionable to begin with.
Via The Cambridge Student: “National student boycott invalidates National Student Survey data.” I learned during my recent trip to the UK that the National Student Survey is a Very Big Deal, and by the sounds of it, its invalidation might be Very Good News.RIP
Via Berkeley News: “Hubert Dreyfus, preeminent philosopher and AI critic, dies at 87.” Read What Computers Can’t Do, and think more critically about how we define “reason” and “intelligence” and machine interventions in education.
Icon credits: The Noun Project
I have added a script to my websites today that will block annotations – namely those from Genius and those from Hypothes.is. I have been meaning to do this for a while now, so it’s mostly a project that comes as I procrastinate doing something else rather than one that comes in response to any recent event.
I took comments off my websites in 2013 because I was sick of having to wade through threats of sexualized violence in order to host conversations on my ideas.
My blog. My rules. No comments.
I’ve made this position fairly well known – if you have something to say in response, go ahead and write your own blog post on your own damn site. So I find the idea that someone would use a service like Hypothes.is to annotate my work on my websites particularly frustrating. I don’t want comments – not in the margins and not at the foot of an article. Mostly, I don’t want to have to moderate them. I have neither the time nor the emotional bandwidth. And if I don’t want to moderate comments, that means I definitely do not want comments to appear here (or that appear to be here) that are outside my control or even my sight.
This isn’t simply about trolls and bigots threatening me (although yes, that is a huge part of it); it’s also about extracting value from my work and shifting it to another company which then gets to control (and even monetize) the conversation.
Blocking annotation tools does not stop you from annotating my work. I’m a fan of marginalia; I am. I write all over the books I've bought, for example. Blocking annotations in this case merely stops you from writing in the margins here on this website.
Via The Military Times: “There’s a plan in Congress to start charging troops for their GI Bill benefits.”
“Should DeVos Block an Embattled Student Loan Giant’s Expansion?” Bloomberg asks. That’s poor embattled Navient.
Via The New York Times: “DeVos Halts Obama-Era Plan to Revamp Student Loan Management.”
More on the business of student loans in the upgrades/downgrades section below.
Via Pacific Standard: “Department of Education to Investigate Alleged Discrimination in Richmond Schools.”
Via The Verge: “Trump administration says it won’t release White House visitor records.” The White House has also discontinued open.gov.
“The Next Higher-Ed Funding Battle to Watch May Be in New Mexico,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.
I'm holding back tears at work. WH Snapchat spells "Education" wrong. pic.twitter.com/PDYLO6kW9U— f.o.x.x.i (@foxxi_loxxi) April 17, 2017
Immigration and Education
Via USA Today: “First protected DREAMer is deported under Trump.”
“Tech Is Dominating Efforts To Educate Syrian Refugees,” reports NPR.
Would-be students have many immediate needs. They have universally experienced some form of trauma. There is a lack of schools, teachers, books, uniforms and food. Yet, according to this study, nearly half of the donors have chosen to supply educational technology, far more than are building schools, providing basic books and materials or employing teachers.
Via The Washington Post: “Supreme Court case could pave the way for vouchers for Christian schools – or do just the opposite.”
Via Fortune: “These Popular Headphones Spy on Users, Lawsuit Says.” These popular headphones are the very expensive Bose headphones. Good thing no one in education is predicting that connected devices or the Internet of Things are the future, otherwise we’d have to be concerned about privacy in schools, right?Testing, Testing…
Via Education Week: “Rhode Island drops unpopular standardized test system.”“Free College”
NYT bore David Brooks has thoughts on “The Cuomo College Fiasco.”
“Shut Up About Financial Literacy,” says Sara Goldrick-Rab.The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
ESPN on the downfall of Forest Trail Sports University, an all-sports for-profit university.
Via Edsurge: “Reactions to a College Alternative: Debating the Merits of MissionU.”Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
Via WCTI12.com: “Boy, 8, drives to McDonald’s after learning how online.”
“MOOCs Started Out Completely Free. Where Are They Now?” asks Dhawal Shah, founder of the site Class Central. (Disclosure alert: no mention that Edsurge, which published this article, shares an investor with Class Central.)
Via the Udacity blog: “Udacity Launches Mobile Developer Education with Facebook at F8.”Meanwhile on Campus…
Via Mother Jones: “I Went Behind the Front Lines With the Far-Right Agitators Who Invaded Berkeley.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After one of its students was seen on video punching a woman at a protest in Berkeley, Calif., the president of California State University at Stanislaus said on Monday it had opened an investigation.”
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf wants to write about something other than how students are protesting free speech on campus and destroying democracy; so college students, I guess you’re supposed to email him with your thoughts.
Via The Washington Post: “‘I don’t like to be touched’: Video shows 10-year-old autistic boy getting arrested at school.”
More handwringing about distracted students and technology in the classroom in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A group of scholars object to a decision by the University of California, Berkeley, to remove many video and audio lectures from public view as a result of a Justice Department accessibility order.”
Via NPR: “Schools Will Soon Have To Put In Writing If They ‘Lunch Shame’.”
Last week, NPR covered the lack of clean water at schools on the Navajo Nation. This week, Edsurge covers a charter school there and its promotion of “personalized learning” and assessment technologies. Priorities.
Via The New York Times: “Whittier Law School Says It Will Shut Down.”
“University of California’s Payroll Project Reboot Now At $504 Million,” says Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.
Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Audit to examine questions on Peralta College district spending.”
Via KHOU: “AR–15 raffled for New Caney school charity.” That’s New Caney, Texas.
Via The New York Times: “Dolly Parton College Course Combines Music, History and Appalachia Pride.” The course will be offered at the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus.Accreditation and Certification
Via Campus Technology: “Education Department Database Publishes Accreditation Warnings.”Go, School Sports Team!
Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA Moves to Alter Football Recruiting Rules.”
Via IndyStar.com: “New IU policy bans athletes with history of sexual or domestic violence.” That’s Indiana University.
More on sports and for-profit universities in the for-profit higher ed section above.From the HR Department
DPLA executive director Dan Cohen will be stepping down from that role in June and joining Northeastern University as a provost/dean.
“Dallas Dance resigns as Baltimore County Schools superintendent,” The Baltimore Sun reports.
Via Buzzfeed: “Black Teachers Are Leaving The Profession Due To Racism.”Contests and Awards
Via the Education Writers Association: “2016 Finalists for the National Awards for Education Reporting.”This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
“Can There Be a Microscope of the Mind?” asks Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.
“Do controversial figures have a right to speak at public universities?” asks The USA Today.
“Can a District Disrupt the Edtech Industry?” asks Edsurge.
(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)Upgrades and Downgrades
Via The Hechinger Report: “Using virtual reality to step into others’ shoes.” Related from the radiator design blog: “‘If you walk in someone else’s shoes, then you’ve taken their shoes’: empathy machines as appropriation machines.”
Via NBC Los Angeles, a profile on Caine Monroy, who five years ago create the cardboard Caine’s Arcade.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “American Historical Review, a flagship journal in history, has apologized for assigning a book about inequality and urban education to a professor who has been criticized by many as a white supremacist.”
Via Education Week: “‘Personalized Learning’ Guidebook Geared to Rural Districts’ Needs.”
Via MarketWatch: “America’s student loan giant Navient is about to get even bigger.”
Via The Washington Post: “ Government watchdog investigating discrimination in student loan servicing.”
Via Edsurge: “Why Language Learning Apps Haven’t Helped Struggling ELL Students.”
I didn’t pay close attention to Facebook’s developer event this week. But there were others there to transcribe the PR, so I’m sure you can easily find what glorious products and futures were promised. Via MIT Technology Review: “Facebook’s Sci-Fi Plan for Typing with Your Mind and Hearing with Your Skin.”
In other FB-related news: “Facebook’s algorithm isn’t surfacing one-third of our posts. And it’s getting worse.”
Via Business Insider: “Planned Parenthood is following the ACLU’s lead and is joining a Silicon Valley startup accelerator.” Gross.
Via The Economist: “Silicon Valley’s sexism problem” – “Venture capitalists are bright, clannish and almost exclusively male.”
What higher ed can learn from American Express, according to venture capitalist Ryan Craig.
Via Boing Boing: “Prison inmates built working PCs out of ewaste, networked them, and hid them in a closet ceiling.”Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF
Via Techcrunch: “Robot tutor Musio makes its retail debut in Japan.”Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
Lumen Learning has raised $3.75 million in Series A funding from the Follett Corporation, Alliance of Angels, and the Portland Street Fund. The open courseware startup has raised $6.25 million total. Coverage and reactions from Edsurge, Inside Higher Ed, Geek Wire, Lumen co-founder David Wiley, Stephen Downes, Wiley again (responding to Downes), Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill, and Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.
Frontline Education has acquired job search site Teachers-Teachers.(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform
Via Edsurge: “New Profit Dishes Out $1M to 7 Organizations in Personalized Learning Initiative.” New Profit is a new venture philanthropy firm funded by the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (Disclosure alert, no surprise.)
Via Edsurge: “Houston Community College Receives $300K to Develop Z-Degree Program.” The money comes from the Kinder Foundation. Z-Degrees are programs with zero dollars worth of textbook costs.
Via Edsurge: “Couragion Receives $750k Through Small Business Innovation Research Grant.”Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
“He’s got access to your students’ info and is trying to decide what to do. Now what will YOU do?” asks databreaches.net.
The University of California’s press office announced the school “has uncovered a massive scheme targeting students through its student health plan that fraudulently obtained student information and then stole almost $12 million from UC by writing phony medical prescriptions in the students’ names.”
“Online Courses Shouldn’t Use Remote Proctoring Tools. Here’s Why,” says Edsurge.
Via Chalkbeat: “Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart – or completely misleading.”
Via the ANOVA: “Study of the Week: Discipline Reform and Test Score Mania.”
Via iNews: “University to monitor student social media to gauge well-being.” That’s the University of Buckingham, and this idea sounds awful.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “An Instructor Saw Digital Distraction in Class. So She Showed Students What She’d Seen on Their Screens.”
The lack of respect shown for students’ privacy never ceases to amaze me.
Blackboard says it is “Putting data in the hands of students.” (Not really. The LMS is displaying some of students' data back at them.)Data and “Research”
“So Far in 2017, Pace of Investment Into Ed Tech Bouncing Back,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief, drawing on a report from investment research firm CB Insights. (Reminder: you can find my analysis on ed-tech investment at funding.hackeducation.com.)
Via Inside Higher Ed: “PayScale’s Impact (and Limitations).”
Via Quartz: “For half a century, neuroscientists thought they knew how memory worked. They were wrong.”
UVA’s Daniel Willingham on research on computers and children’s social lives.
Via Edsurge: “Interest in Online Higher Ed Gain (But Campus-Based Programs Wane).” That’s according to a report from a consulting firm, Gray Associates.
“Support for public higher education rose in 33 states and declined in 17 in 2016 – including a massive drop in Illinois,” according to figures in the 2016 State Higher Education Finance report.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Pathway to a College Presidency Is Changing, and a New Report Outlines How.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “UNESCO Paper on Gaps in Global Completion Rates.”
“A growing body of research shows that full-time college students are more likely to graduate, yet experts caution against policies that neglect part-time students,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
Via WaPo: “Minority teachers in U.S. more than doubled over 25 years – but still fewer than 20 percent of educators, study shows.”
Bryan Alexander on a report from the Institute for the Future: “Americans versus the future.”
Via Education Week: “Augmented, Virtual Reality Yet to Gain Traction in K–12, Survey Finds.”
Icon credits: The Noun Project
This was what I said this evening at a panel at the University of Mary Washington as part of its Presidential Inauguration Week. The panel was titled "Higher Education in the Disinformation Age: Can America's public liberal arts universities restore critical thinking and civility in public discourse?" The other panelists included Steve Farnsworth (University of Mary Washington), Sara Cobb (George Mason University), and Julian Hayter (University of Richmond). I only had ten minutes, so my remarks really only scratch the surface.
In February 2014, I happened to catch a couple of venture capitalists complaining about journalism on Twitter. (Honestly, you could probably pick any month or year and find the same.) “When you know about a situation, you often realize journalists don’t know that much,” one tweeted. “When you don’t know anything, you assume they’re right.” Another VC responded, “there’s a name for this and I think Murray Gell-Mann came up with it but I’m sick today and too lazy to search for it.” A journalist helpfully weighed in: “Michael Crichton called it the ”Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect," providing a link to a blog with an excerpt in which Crichton explains the concept.
Apologies for quoting Crichton at length:
Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story – and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.
But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.
I remember, at the time, appreciating parts of this observation. Or at least, I too have often felt frustrated with the reporting I read on education and technology – topics I like to think I know something about. But I hope we can see how these assertions that we shouldn’t read and shouldn’t trust newspapers are dangerous – or at the very least, how these assertions might have contributed to our current misinformation “crisis.” And I’d add too – and perhaps this can be part of our discussion – that how we’ve typically thought about or taught “information literacy” or “media literacy” has seemingly done little to help us out of this mess.
This isn’t just about Michael Crichton’s dismissal of journalism (and I’ll get to why he’s such a problematic figure here in a minute.) It’s the President. “Forget the press,” he said during the campaign. “Read the Internet.” It’s the digital technology industry – including those venture capitalists in my opening anecdote – which has invested in narratives and literally invested in products designed to “disrupt” if not destroy “traditional media.” Facebook. Twitter. Automattic (the developer of the blogging software WordPress). Despite the promises that these sorts of tools would “democratize” information, that the “blogosphere” and later social media would provide an important corrective to the failures of “mainstream journalism,” we find ourselves instead in a world in which institutions and experts are no longer trustworthy.
And yet, all sorts of dis- and misinformation – on the Internet and (to be fair) on TV – is believed. And it’s believed in part because it’s not in print and not from experts or academics or certain journalists.
I wanted to share this Michael Crichton story for a number of reasons. As I was preparing my remarks, I faced a couple of challenges. First, I couldn’t remember where or when I’d seen these tweets, although I was certain I’d first heard about the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect from venture capitalists on Twitter. Searching for old tweets – verifying Twitter itself as a source – is not easy. Twitter’s search function offers us to “See what’s happening right now.” The architecture of the platform is not designed as a historical record or source.
I guess these tweets were the conversation I saw – I spent a lot of time looking through old VC tweets from 2013 and 2014 – although my memory tells me it was Tim O’Reilly, a different venture capitalist, who’d mentioned the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect and had caught my eye.
When and if you do find an old tweet you’re looking for – as a scholar, perhaps, or as a journalist – it is stripped from its context within the Twitter timeline, within the user’s stream of tweets. What was happening on February 28, 2014 that prompted venture capitalist Dave Pell to complain about journalism? I couldn’t really divine.
In this exchange, we have a series of other Internet-based information claims. Journalist Mathew Ingram links to a blog post to explain the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, but if you click, you’ll find all of the links in that particular post are dead, including the one that goes to “The Official Site of Michael Crichton.” If you google “Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect,” the top search result is Goodreads, a book review site owned by Amazon. The excerpt there doesn’t give a date or a source or a link to Crichton’s commentary.
The Internet doesn’t magically surface “the truth.” Its infrastructure can quite readily obscure things. You have to understand how to look for information online, and you have to have some domain expertise (or know someone with domain expertise) so you can actually verify things.
The “Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” comes from a talk titled “Why Speculate?” that Crichton gave in 2002 at the International Leadership Forum, a think tank run by the now-dormant Western Behavioral Sciences Institute. You can google this stuff, of course. Or maybe you know it. Maybe this is all, to borrow from Crichton “some subject you know well.”
Maybe you’re familiar with Crichton too, or more likely you’ve heard his name – a best-selling author; medically trained, but never formally licensed to practice medicine; creator of the TV show ER; writer and director of the movie Westworld (the one with Yul Brenner); and author of many novels including Jurassic Park, The Andromedia Strain, Disclosure, and State of Fear. After the publication of Disclosure, Crichton was accused of being anti-feminist; after the publication of State of Fear, he sealed his status as one of the leading skeptics of global climate change.
And this is all part of the message of that talk in which he argues for the existence of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Journalism, Crichton contends, is almost entirely speculation. Sunday talk shows, speculation. Global climate change, speculation. “False fears.” Crichton blames the end of fact-checking on the praise for Susan Faludi’s feminist book Backlash. He blames academia, particularly post-modernism: “most areas of intellectual life have discovered the virtues of speculation. In academia, speculation is usually dignified as theory.”
This was 2002 – Crichton doesn’t blame the Internet. He doesn’t blame the Web. He doesn’t blame Facebook. He blames MSNBC. He blames The New York Times.
2002 – A year before Judith Miller’s now discredited reporting on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq appeared in that very newspaper.
In the past 15 years, I wonder if that the “amnesia effect” has worn off in some troubling rather than liberatory ways. Increasingly we trust very little that the media says. Last year, Gallup found Americans’ trust in the media had dropped to the lowest level in polling history. The media, as Crichton and others contend, is all speculation. “Fake news.”
But it’s not just the media. We face a crisis in all our information institutions – journalism and higher education, in particular. Expertise is now utterly suspect. We mistrust (print) journalists – “the mainstream media,” whatever that means; we mistrust academics; we mistrust scientists.
We still trust some stories sometimes. Importantly, we trust what confirms our pre-existing beliefs. Perhaps we can call this the Michael Crichton Ego Effect. We have designated ourselves as experts-of-sorts whenever we confront the news. We know better than journalists, because of course we do. (This effect applies most readily to men.)
The Internet has made it particularly easy for us to confirm our beliefs and our so-called expertise. Digital technologists (and venture capitalists) promised this would be a good thing for knowledge-building; it appears, instead, to be incredibly destructive. And that's the challenge for journalism, sure. It's the challenge for universities. It's the challenge for democracy.
The Omidyar Network announced earlier this week that it has invested in Data & Society, a New York City-based research institute co-founded by danah boyd. The two-year $850,000 grant will fund Data & Society’s work on “the social and cultural issues arising from the development of data-centric technology.”
The grant is just one of a slew of recent investments by the Omidyar Network in companies and organizations that work in and around education technology, including Khan Academy, Hypothes.is, and Edsurge. And much like Edsurge (as well as another portfolio company, Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept), the Omidyar Network’s investment in Data & Society certainly raises questions about that organization’s ability to be “independent” in its research and analysis.
The Omidyar Network, a “venture philanthropy” firm founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, has invested over $1 billion in various projects – those run both by for-profit companies and not-for-profit organizations in finance, public policy, property rights, journalism, and education. According to its promotional materials, the Omidyar Network is “dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. We invest in and help scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change.”
The “power of markets,” according to this investment approach, is a force for “social good.” However, the history and the impact of the Omidyar Network’s investments, particularly in the Global South, tell a very different story. It’s a story of neoliberalism; it’s a story of privatized investment at the expense of public infrastructure. And when it comes to education – in the Global North and South – that story is of profound political importance.The Omidyar Network’s Education Portfolio
Where the dollars have gone:
- African Leadership Academy (leadership training) – $1.5 million
- African Leadership University (accredited university) – investment amount unknown
- Akshara Foundation (private school chain in India) – $950,000
- AltSchool (private school chain in the US) – $133 million
- Andela (coding bootcamp in Africa) – $27 million
- Anudip Foundation (coding bootcamp in India) – $850,000
- Artemisia (entrepreneurial training and startup accelerator program in Brazil) – investment amount unknown
- Aspiring Minds (career placement in India) – investment amount unknown
- Bridge International Academies (private school chain in Africa) – investment amount unknown
- Code.org (computer science career marketing) – $3.5 million
- Common Sense Media (media education) – $4.25 million
- Creative Commons (open licenses) – investment amount unknown
- DonorsChoose.org (crowdfunding school projects) – investment amount unknown
- Edsurge (ed-tech marketing) – $2.8 million
- Ellevation (English-language learning software in the US) – $6.4 million
- EnglishHelper (English-language learning services in India) – investment amount unknown
- FunDza (literacy program in South Africa) – $300,000
- Geekie (adaptive learning platform in Brazil) – investment amount unknown
- Guten News (literacy program in Brazil) – investment amount unknown
- Hypothes.is (annotation software) – $1.9 million
- Ikamva Youth (after-school tutoring program in South Africa) – $1.33 million
- IMCO (think tank in Mexico) – $202,500
- Innovation Edge (early childhood education in South Africa) – investment amount unknown
- Kalibrr (predictive analytics for hiring in the Philippines) – investment amount unknown
- Khan Academy (video-based instruction) – $3 million
- LearnZillion (instructional content and professional development company in the US) – investment amount unknown
- Linden Lab (best known as the maker of Second Life) – $19 million
- Lively Minds (preschools in Ghana and Uganda) – $360,000
- Numeric (tutoring program in South Africa) – investment amount unknown
- Open Knowledge (data and knowledge-sharing organization) – $2.64 million
- Platzi (online coding classes) – $2.1 million
- Reach Capital (venture capital firm) – investment amount unknown
- RLabs (entrepreneurship training in South Africa) – $465,000
- Siyavula (adaptive textbooks in South Africa) – investment amount unknown
- Skillshare (course marketplace) – $12 million
- Socratic (homework help) – $6 million
- SPARK Schools (a private school chain in Africa) – $9 million
- Teach for All (Teach for America, globalized) – investment amount unknown
- Teach for India (Teach for America but for India) – $2.5 million
- The Education Alliance (organization supporting public-private partnerships in education in India) – investment amount unknown
- Tinkergarten (marketplace for early childhood education) – $1.2 million
- Varthana (private student loans in India) – investment amount unknown
- Wikimedia Foundation (operator of Wikipedia) – investment amount unknown
In some ways, the Omidyar Network’s education investments look just like the rest of venture capitalists’: money for tutoring companies, learn-to-code companies, and private student loan companies.
While many insist that the latter should not “count” as ed-tech, to ignore the companies offering private financing for education is to misconstrue the shape and direction that investors and philanthropists like Pierre Omidyar want education to take.
It also obscures the shape and direction that these investors are pushing finance to take, particularly for the very poor and the “unbanked.” Indeed, microfinance initiatives in the developing world have been the cornerstone of the Omidyar Network’s investment strategy for over a decade now. This work has been incredibly controversial, and despite the hype about the promise of micro-loans – “financial inclusion” as the Omidyar Network calls it – the results from these programs have been mixed at best. That is, they have not pulled people out of extreme poverty but rather have saddled many with extreme debt. “Take SKS Microfinance,” write Mark Ames and Yasha Levine in a 2013 profile, “an Omidyar-backed Indian micro-lender whose predatory lending practices and aggressive collection tactics have caused a rash of suicides across India.”
(The winners in microfinance investing: the investors.)
In a 2012 article in the World Economic Review, Milford Bateman and Ha-Joon Chang argue that “microfinance in international development policy circles cannot be divorced from its supreme serviceability to the neoliberal/globalisation agenda.” Nor can the Omidyar Network’s investment policy – in microfinance and beyond – be separated from its explicitly neoliberal agenda.
That holds particularly true for its education investments. The Omidyar Network has backed DonorsChoose.org, for example, which encourages teachers to crowdfund projects and supplies. “The end result,” write Ames and Levine, “is that it normalizes the continued strangling of public schools and the sense that only private funding can save education.”
The Omidyar Network has backed AltSchool, a private school startup that blends algorithmic command-and-control with rhetoric about progressive education. “Montessori 2.0” and such. I recently spoke about AltSchool and its “full stack” approach to education – a technology platform that manages and monitors all digital activities and physical practices in the classroom. AltSchool is one of the most commonly-cited examples of how Silicon Valley plans to “disrupt” and reshape education.
I find this “platforming” of education to be profoundly chilling (and profoundly anti-democratic), particularly with its penchant for total surveillance; but it’s probably Bridge International Academies that serves as the most troubling example of the Omidyar Network’s vision for the future of education.
Bridge International Academies, which is also funded by the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – is a private school chain operating in several African countries that hires untrained adults as teachers. These teachers read scripted lessons from a tablet that in turn tracks students’ assessments and attendance – as well as teachers’ own attendance and pay. Families must pay tuition – this isn’t free public education – and the cost is wildly prohibitive for most. Moreover, outsourcing to scripted lesson delivery does not build the capacity – in terms of infrastructure or human resources – that many African nations need. As such expansion of Bridge International Academies has been controversial, and the Ugandan government ordered all the Bridge schools there to close their doors in August of last year. But earlier in the year, Liberia announced its plans to outsource its entire education system to Bridge International.
So, while in the US we see neoliberalism pushing to dismantle public institutions and public funding for public institutions, in the Global South, these very forces are there touting the “power of markets” to make sure public institutions can never emerge or thrive in the first place. Investors like the Omidyar Network are poised to extract value from the very people they promise their technologies and businesses are there to help.
Conveniently, the Omidyar Network’s investment portfolio also includes journalistic and research organizations that are too poised to promote and endorse the narratives that aggrandize these very technocratic, market-based solutions.
Disclosure: I have done some paid research for Data & Society on school accountability, and I have published a couple of articles on its website.
From the Department of Education’s press release: “U.S. Secretary of Education Announces Chief of Staff and Additional Staff Hires.” And what a fine bunch. Via ProPublica: “DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White.” Also on the list of new hires: Robert Eitel, “who had been criticized for his dual role as a top for-profit college official and Education Department adviser, has resigned from his position at Bridgepoint Education.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos Withdraws Obama-Era Memos Focused on Improving Loan Servicing.” Also via CHE: “DeVos’s Rollback of Servicing Guidance Raises Fears Among Borrowers’ Advocates.” More on the policy change via IHE. Here’s the very short press release from the Department of Education.
Via The New York Times: “The Accusations Against Navient.” Navient is the country’s largest student loan provider.
“Researchers say removal of an IRS tool for financial aid applicants may have slowed FAFSA submissions, while college aid groups warn that affected students could already be losing out on aid,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
“A bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate would open up Pell Grants to low-income students who earn college credits while still enrolled in high school,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
“ESSA’s Flexible Accountability Measures Give PE Teachers (and Entrepreneurs) Hope,” says Edsurge. Well, thank goodness that entrepreneurs are hopeful.
“Special Ed School Vouchers and the Burden of a ‘Simple Fix’” by The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein.
Via The New York Times: “Arizona Frees Money for Private Schools, Buoyed by Trump’s Voucher Push.”
Via Boing Boing: “California’s charter schools: hundreds of millions of tax dollars for wasteful, redundant, low-quality education.”
Via FOX 59: “State lawmakers say virtual pre-school will be part of pre-K bill.” State lawmakers in Indiana, that is.
Via The Washington Post: Governor Scott “Walker wants Wisconsin to be first state to stop dictating how much time kids should go to school.”
Via Raw Story: “White House solicits Sesame Street characters for Easter Egg Roll four days after bid to end PBS funding.” No one knew the White House Easter Egg Roll could be so complicated.
Via Wired: “The New FCC Chairman’s Plan to Undermine Net Neutrality.”
Via The New York Times: “New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming’.”
Via Buzzfeed: “California Shows The Rest Of The Country How To Boost Kindergarten Vaccination Rates.”Immigration and Education
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Evolving Visa and Border Regime.”Education in the Courts
Via The New York Times: “Rolling Stone Settles Lawsuit Over Debunked Campus Rape Article.”
Via the AP: “Michigan courts can have no role in admission decisions at faith-based schools, a lawyer told the state Supreme Court on Thursday in a case that tests whether a family can sue a Roman Catholic school over their daughter’s rejection.”Testing, Testing…
Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “The list of test-optional colleges and universities keeps growing – despite College Board’s latest jab.”“Free College”
Via The New York Times: “New York’s Free-Tuition Program Will Help Traditional, but Not Typical, Students.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As New York Embraces a Free-Tuition Plan, Private Colleges Fear the Consequences.”The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
ProPublica looks at the Dream Center Foundation’s acquisition of the Education Management Corporation.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “South Carolina State University is the latest historically black institution to align with the University of Phoenix to expand its online education offerings.”
Sante Fe University of Art and Design will close at the end of the 2017–2018 school year.
Via Edsurge: “Tech Needs More Than Coders. This Bootcamp Will Train Sales Chops (and Even Pay For It).” The bootcamp in question: Sales Bootcamp.
“Common (and Avoidable) Legal Pitfalls for Coding Bootcamps and Alternative Education Providers,” according to three lawyers writing for Edsurge.Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
Via the Coursera blog: “New mobile features: Transcripts, notes, and reminders.”
It’s lovely to see the big innovation from the MOOC startups in 2017 involves the learning management system.Meanwhile on Campus…
Via The New York Times: “Sexual Abuse at Choate Went On for Decades, School Acknowledges.”
Via NPR: “On The Navajo Nation, Special Ed Students Await Water That Doesn’t Stink.”
Via The New York Times: “PTA Gift for Someone Else’s Child? A Touchy Subject in California.”
Via NPR: “Where Corporal Punishment Is Still Used In Schools, Its Roots Run Deep.”
“Is college worth the cost?” asks PBS.
Via NPR: “White Supremacists Trying To Recruit On College Campuses.”Accreditation and Certification
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Open E-Credentials Will Transform Higher Education.” “These developments suggest that open e-credentials in 2017 are indeed as inevitable as e-commerce was in 1997.” LOL, okay.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A changing economy and professionalization is driving an increase in education requirements for child-care workers, but there are concerns about mandating higher degrees for a field that traditionally doesn’t pay well.”
“Should High School Students Need A Foreign Language To Graduate?” asks NPR.Go, School Sports Team!
“LeBron James has emerged as an American education leader,” according to The Plain Dealer’s Phillip Morris.
Via The Sun News: “CCU cheerleaders were paid up to $1,500 for dates, according to investigation.” That’s Coastal Carolina University.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA Moving to Stop Two-a-Day Football Practices.”
Via The Atlantic: “How School Start Times Affect High-School Athletics.”From the HR Department
Graduate students at American University have voted to unionize.Contests and Awards
The winners of this year’s Harold W McGraw Jr Prize in Education: Dr. Christine Cunningham, Founder and Director of Engineering is Elementary (EiE) at the Museum of Science; Dr. Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia College; and Chris Anderson, TED “curator.”
The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes include Harvard University’s Matthew Desmond for his book Evicted and the Salt Lake Tribune’s staff for its reporting on sexual assault at BYU.Upgrades and Downgrades
“Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or Washing Machine?” asks the Clayton Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher. Historian Jonathan Rees, author of Refrigeration Nation, has a wonderful response to this silly “disruptive innovation” mantra, noting how history gets rewritten to support certain ed-tech narratives.
I love this headline from Campus Technology, which echoes the wise words of Bill and Ted from their excellent adventure: “Ed Tech Changes … and Stays the Same.”
Via Nieman Lab: “ This ‘Wikipedia for fact-checking’ by students makes more room for context and origins of claims online.”
Facebook gets in the “literacy” business. Not really. It’s still in the entertainment and advertising business. “Facebook’s News Literacy Advice Is Harmful to News Literacy,” says Mike Caulfield.
Via Desmos: “The Desmos Geometry Tool.”
Via CMX: “ How Edcamp Scaled Up 1,500 Community Events Connecting Educators All Over the World.”
Pearson and Chegg are partnering for textbook rentals.
“Ed access to VR growing as low-cost options expand,” says Education Dive. Folks really really really really want VR to be “a thing,” don’t they.
“Why Fixing the Pipeline Alone Won’t End Edtech’s Diversity Problem,” says Edsurge.
In other STEM news, Pornhub awards a “women in tech” scholarship. Because “Pornhub cares.”
“What Would Happen If Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?” asks Edsurge. More racial and sexual discrimination? More dismantling of public institutions in the name of John Galt?
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Cost That Holds Back Ed-Tech Innovation.” Spoiler alert: humans.
Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Growing Pains Begin to Emerge in Open-Textbook Movement.”Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF
Via The Guardian: “The automated university: bots and drones amid the dreaming spires.”
“Mixing Automation and a Human Touch, New Software Helps Keep Students ‘On Task’,” says Edsurge.
“AI Learns Gender and Racial Biases from Language” says Jeremy Hsu in IEEE Spectrum. But I’m sure keeping students “on task” as in the Edsurge story above is a totally progressive and unbiased initiative.
Via Edsurge: “CSUEB Partners with Cognii to Offer Chatbot Services for Students.”Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
College Ave has raised $30 million in Series D funding from Comcast Ventures and Leading Edge Ventures. The private student loan company has raised $50 million total, but I’m told “fintech” doesn’t “count” as ed-tech so let’s just ignore this trend, right?
The Omidyar Network has invested $850,000 in the “future of tech” research organization Data & Society.
TakeLessons has acquired digital sheet music company Chromatik.Venture/Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform
“Who is the Walton Family Foundation Funding?” asks Diane Ravitch.Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
Via the EFF: “Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy.”
And spying on children at home. Via TNW: “Amazon‘s new dashboard gives parents eyes on their kids’ browsers.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Where Every Student Is a Potential Data Point.”
Via Vocativ: “This Teen’s Story Is Your Worst ‘Predictive Policing’ Nightmare.”
Speaking of predictive policing… Via Edsurge: “This Mathematician Brought Big Data to Advising. Then Deeper Questions Emerged.” The story praises the work of Tristan Denley and his course recommendation tool Degree Compass.
Via Education Week: “Algorithmic Bias a Rising Concern for Ed-Tech Field, RAND Researchers Say.”
“Structural Justice in Student Analytics, or, the Silence of the Bunnies” by Jeffrey Alan Johnson.
“Big Data Alone Won’t Help Students,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Other stories in its “big data” series“: ”Big Data for Student Success Still Limited to Early Adopters.“ ”Big Hopes, Scant Evidence.")
Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Keeping Up With the Growing Threat to Data Security.”
Via Times Higher Education: “The Australian Approach to Improving Ph.D. Completion Rates.” Spoiler alert: “tracking the performance of those who supervise doctoral students.” Metrics, not humanity. Never humanity.Data and “Research”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Value, Number of Education Deals Plummet Over Most Recent Year.”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “K–12 Schools Could Save Billions by Sharing Ed-Tech Prices, Report Says.” The report is from the Technology for Education Consortium. (I’ve written about the growing trend of companies and organizations selling procurement consulting services.)
Via The Conversation: “ Who owns the world? Tracing half the corporate giants’ shares to 30 owners.”
Jeb Bush’s ed-reform org ExcelinEd releases a data visualization tool based on school ratings data, Edsurge reports.
Via MindShift: “Delay Kindergarten? Some Research Says, Enroll Anyway.”
“For every $1 spent on SEL, there’s an $11 return,” says Education Dive, summarizing some Penn State and Robert Wood Foundation research into three bullet points.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study suggests female professors outperform men in terms of service – to their possible professional detriment.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Compensation survey from AAUP says faculty salaries are up slightly year over year, but institutional budgets continue to be balanced ‘on the backs’ of adjuncts and out-of-state students.”
“Roughly two-thirds of undergraduates are paying more for college than is recommended by a common benchmark for affordability,” according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and New America.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study Examines Loan Aversion by Population.”
RealClearEducation makes “The Case for Income Share Agreements.”
“An update on the staggering mass of student loan debt” by Bryan Alexander.
“Has Underemployment Among College Graduates Gone Up?” asks Matt Bruenig.
Via Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog: “University CS graduation surpasses its 2003 peak, with poor diversity.”
Via NPR: “Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School.”
A report from the Movement Advancement Project: “Segregation and Stigma: Transgender Youth and School Facilities.”
“The Current State of Educational Blogging 2016,” according to Edublogs’ Sue Waters.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ithaka S+R and OCLC Research launch project to examine how universities and their libraries are changing.”
Via the ANOVA: “Study of the Week: Computers in the Home.”
Via Vox: “A new study finds political polarization is increasing most among those who use the internet least.”
Icon credits: The Noun Project
Trump says the Secretary of Education is “highly respected.” Certainly this week’s news really really underscores how much:
“What is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doing with the rapper Pitbull in Miami?” asks The Washington Post.
Also via The Washington Post: “ The cost of Betsy DeVos’s security detail – nearly $8 million over nearly 8 months.”
“Betsy DeVos isn’t listening to parents,” according to an op-ed in USA Today. Pretty sure “meet with Pitbull” and “spend millions on protection services from the Federal Marshals” are not on anyone’s list of education priorities.
“2 Education Dept. Picks Raise Fears on Civil Rights Enforcement,” The New York Times reports: “A lawyer who represented Florida State University in an explosive sexual assault case and another lawyer who during the 2016 presidential campaign accused Hillary Clinton of enabling sexual predators have been chosen for key roles in the Department of Education, raising fears that the agency could pull back from enforcing civil rights in schools and on college campuses.”
Via The Wall Street Journal: “Education Department Restores Pell Grant Eligibility for Students Whose Colleges Closed.” That is, shuttered for-profits like ITT Tech.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Congressional Republicans and the Trump White House appear poised to bring back year-round Pell Grant eligibility, which the Obama administration and Congress nixed in 2012 over cost concerns.”
Via NPR: “Education Department Casts Doubts On Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”
The New York Times’ Editorial Board weighs in on the Trump administration’s recent policy shift on student debt: “The Wrong Move on Student Loans.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education will end four experimental initiatives launched under the Obama administration granting participating institutions a waiver from certain statutes concerning federal student aid. Those initiatives, known as experimental sites, included a program popular with colleges allowing them to limit the unsubsidized loans a student could take out.”
Via The Atlantic: “The FAFSA’s Midterm Grade.”
In other financial aid news – via Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy: “Hackers Had Access To Tax Data For Up To 100,000 FAFSA Users.”
Via Edsurge: “What Federal Education Budget Cuts Mean for Edtech.” (No mention of the FAFSA tool, which is a good reminder than when Edsurge writes about ed-tech they really only mean what corporations can sell to schools.)
Via the US News & World Report: “Melania Trump, Jordan’s Queen Tour Girls-Only Charter School.” (I think this is FLOTUS’s first appearance in the Hack Education Weekly News since the inauguration. Congrats, FLOTUS.)
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Law Nixing Broadband Privacy Protections Stirs K–12 Fears.”
Via The New York Times: “Trump Completes Repeal of Online Privacy Protections From Obama Era.”Immigration and Education
Via NPR: “Travel Ban’s ‘Chilling Effect’ Could Cost Universities Hundreds Of Millions.”
Via Bloomberg: “Trump Cracks Down on H–1B Visa Program That Feeds Silicon Valley.”
Via NPR: “Deported Students Find Challenges At School In Tijuana.”Education in the Courts
Via NPR: “Judge Approves $25 Million Settlement Of Trump University Lawsuit.”
The New York Times on pending legal cases involving trans students: “A Transgender Student Won Her Battle. Now It’s War.”
Having dropped its appeal of the FTC ruling, “Amazon will refund millions of unauthorized in-app purchases made by kids,” Techcrunch reports.
Via The New York Times: “U.K. Court Upholds Fine for Dad Who Took Child From School for Disney Trip.”Testing, Testing…
Via The NY Daily News: “Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy High School is sitting out the city’s SAT School Day on Wednesday because the test doesn’t include the optional essay portion, a Success spokeswoman said.”“Free College”
Via Inside Higher Ed: Bernie “Sanders Keeps Focus on Free College.”The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
Via The LA Times: “Westech College’s abrupt closure raises questions about training options.”
Via Edsurge: “Student Results From Coding Bootcamp Coalition: 92% On-Time Graduation Rate, $70K Salary.” The results are self-reported based on a survey administered by a private student loan company which offers loans to coding bootcamp enrollees, but I’m sure it’s all on the up-and-up.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Coding Boot Camps Come Into the Fold With Campus Partnerships.”
Via the Santa Fe Reporter: “Planned sale of Santa Fe University of Art and Design is scrapped as school stops enrolling new students.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “With a federal government that now appears sympathetic to for-profit colleges, city officials in Milwaukee seek to block institutions that violate Obama-era regulations.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “In the wake of federal criticism of its accreditation standards, the American Bar Association sanctions another for-profit law school.” That’d be Arizona Summit Law School.
More on Pell Grant eligibility for for-profit students in the education politics section above. And the Trump University fraud case has been settled – more in the courts section above.Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
Via the Coursera blog: “Coursera now offers free trials for most Specializations.”
There’s some Udacity news in the “business of ed-tech” section below.Meanwhile on Campus…
This is the stamp. On his wrist. pic.twitter.com/I0OCK8VeBa— TECHNOprah (@juanyfbaby) April 1, 2017
Via The Washington Post: “At U-Va., a ‘watch list’ flags VIP applicants for special handling.”
Via The New York Times: “The Ivy League Sweep: Still Rare, but You’re More Likely to Hear About It.”
Via the BBC: “News that a high school student wrote nothing but #BlackLivesMatter on his personal statement in an application to California’s Stanford University – and got in – has been raising some eyebrows.”
Via ANOVA (FdB’s new blog): “Success Academy Charter Schools accepted $550,000 from pro-Trump billionaires.”
Upper East Side moms talking about how Montessori empowers children to express their individuality and creativity pic.twitter.com/Hcb8ECy1IK— Jonathan Libov (@libovness) April 2, 2017
Via The Atlantic: “The Alt-Right Curriculum.”
Via Ars Technica: “Libraries have become a broadband lifeline to the cloud for students.”
Bryan Alexander on “Still more American university cuts and mergers.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Canadian government this week announced that it will provide 117.6 million Canadian dollars (about $87 million) to support universities in recruiting 25 top researchers from outside the country (including Canadian expatriates) to work at Canadian universities.”
Via The New York Times: “Florida Prepares to Apologize for Horrors at Boys’ School.” That’s at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, where decades of young boys – mostly African-Americans – suffered from abuse and neglect.
Via eCampus News: “MIT BLOSSOMS enters first-of-its-kind partnership with charter school.”
“Have Silicon Valley Teachers Using Technology Daily Altered Their Classroom Practice?” asks Stanford University’s Larry Cuban.
Via The New York Times: “Digital Detox at Liberty University.”Accreditation, Certification, and Graduation Requirements
Via The Washington Monthly: “ A Well-Intended Bad Idea: Mayor Emanuel’s Plan for Chicago High Schools.” Honestly, Emanuel gets too much credit in that headline. It’s simply a bad idea. “Public high-school students would have to show a job or college acceptance to get a diploma,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Here’s a hate-read for you: “Your College Degree is Worthless.” Penned by a guy with multiple degrees who’s running an “apprentice at a startup” startup.
Via Campus Technology: “ASU Students Earn Credits for Spending a Semester in Silicon Valley.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Media Attention at Morehouse College Will Trigger Investigation by Accreditor.”
“Do Preschool Teachers Really Need to Be College Graduates?” asks The New York Times.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Accreditor Proposes Ban on Paying Recruiters of International Students.”Go, School Sports Team!
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NCAA Puts North Carolina Back Into Mix After Repeal of ‘Bathroom Bill’.”
Via CBS Sports: “Oregon’s run to 2017 Final Four has disturbing backdrop that can’t be overlooked.”
There was some other basketball news, but I think I missed it.From the HR Department
“Jerks and the Start-Ups They Ruin” by Dan Lyons.
Via Education Week: “California’s Top Superintendent Leaves for Ed-Tech Startup AltSchool.” Actually AltSchool hired more than one exec: Devin Vodicka (from Vista Unified School District in San Diego), Sam Franklin (from Pittsburgh Public Schools), Ben Kornell (from Envision Learning Partners), Colleen Broderick (from ReSchool), and Laura Hughes Modi (from AirBnB). The latter because someone had to go and shred the “Uber for Education” mantra bullshit, perhaps.
Via NPR: “Kansas Student Newspaper’s Fact Check Results In New Principal’s Resignation.”
“Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Hiring Personalized-Learning Engineers,” says Education Week. Oh yay. “Learning engineers.” Thanks to everyone who promoted that bullshit phrase.
“Richard Culatta Named New Chief Executive Officer of ISTE,” Education Week reports. Culatta was the former head of the Office of Education Technology under President Obama.
Via The Register Guard: “UO cutting 31 jobs, including 21 instructors from its largest college.” That’s the University of Oregon.The Business of Job Training
Via Udacity’s blog: “‘Valuable Skills’ and What This Means For The Future Of Learning.”Upgrades and Downgrades
Via Bloomberg: “Student Debt Giant Navient to Borrowers: You’re on Your Own.”
“Google adds fact-check findings to search and news results,” says The Verge, adding “But it won’t do much about the fake news problem.”
And it’s perfect really. Ad-based sites like Google screw up information and knowledge online. And then more money pours into other technology companies that promise to fix “news literacy.”
Via The New York Times: “A Toy for Toddlers Doubles as Code Bootcamp.” Get them started on for-profit STEM education early, amirite.
“It’s Important for Us to Be Critical of STEM Education Efforts,” says The Pacific Standard. Indeed.
“Coding for What?” [asks Stirling University’s Ben Williamson](Coding for What?).
“Herding Blind Cats’: How Do You Lead a Class Full of Students Wearing VR Headsets?” asks Edsurge.
“Virtual Reality Could Transform Education as We Know It,” insists Education Week. Oh. I’m. Sure.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Manifold, a hybrid publishing platform created by the U of Minnesota Press and CUNY’s Graduate Center, launches in beta form with features supporting experimental scholarly work.”
Via NPR: “How Two Georgia Tech Students Came Up With The Common App For Internships.”Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF
Via The New York Times: “Learning to Think Like a Computer.”
Via Edsurge, always ready to repeat the rather ludicrous claims Big Blue makes about its AI brand: “IBM Watson’s Chief Architect Talks Democratizing AI, Starting With Fifth Graders.”
Via Campus Technology: “Report: AI and Cognitive Systems Spending to Hit $12.5 Billion Worldwide This Year.”
“Robots Are Changing The World,” says edX, which hopes to sell you on some classes on robots.Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
Remember MOOCs? My, how they’ve pivoted. Via Reuters: “Udacity Self-Driving Taxi Spin-Off Voyage Takes Aim at Uber.”
Blackbaud has acquired AcademicWorks.
Vitalsource has acquired Verba.
According to Crunchbase, Donorschoose.org has received a $5 million grant from the PNC Financial Services Group.
According to Edsurge, “Google, Lemann Foundation Invest $6.4M to Deliver Lessons to Brazilian Teachers’ Phones.”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson Share Prices Tumble on Worries About Online Ed. Prospects.”Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
Via Edsurge: “Panorama Offers New Platform to Help Teachers Track Student’s SEL Growth.” Among the “social emotional” signals, the company tracks: grit and growth mindset, for which students get a score between 1 to 5. Sounds totally legit.
Via Motherboard: “Phony VPN Services Are Cashing in on America’s War on Privacy.”
“Major internet providers say will not sell customer browsing histories,” Reuters tells us, but let’s not be naive here.
More on privacy legislation (or the end-of-privacy legislation) and federal financial aid privacy screw-ups in the politics section above.Data and “Research”
Via investment analyst firm CB Insights: “High Marks: Ed Tech Deals Tick Up In Q1’17.” Here are my calculations on VC funding from the same time period, for what it’s worth.
Via Chalkbeat: “‘Harlem diaspora’ sends local children to 176 different public schools, report finds.”
Via The Pacific Standard: “The Lifelong Effects of Music and Arts Classes.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds library directors are moving forward with big reorganizations plans, but they also may be struggling to communicate those plans to administrators and faculty members.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The readability of scientific abstracts is declining, according to the preliminary results of a major study.”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Brookings Institution Researchers Find Many Countries Lack High-Quality Education Data.”
“More Data on International Applications” via Inside Higher Ed.
Via The New York Times: “Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness.”
“Number of people who owe over $100,000 in student debt has quadrupled in 10 years,” according to MarketWatch.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal Reserve Bank of New York study suggests student loans don’t play a major role in limiting borrowers’ ability to buy a home later.”
Daniel Willingham points to “New studies show the cost of student laptop use in lecture classes.”
Via Education Week: “Implementation Woes Undermine Ambitious K–12 Ed-Tech Efforts, Study Finds.”
Via Edsurge: “Survey Ranks 10 Key Trends for K–12 Tech Leaders.” The survey in question: “The fifth annual K–12 IT Leadership Survey conducted by the Consortium for School Networking.”
“Who’s on the List of Most Popular Edtech Organizations and Jobs?” asks Edsurge, which counts those “most popular edtech organizations and jobs” based on those who pay to have their stuff advertised on Edsurge.
Questionable data about coding bootcamps in the “future of for-profit higher ed” section above.
Icon credits: The Noun Project