December 15, 2019 - January 5, 2020

Happy New Year!

Every new year feels like stepping into the future.  And of course that's what we do every day.

A host of excellent reading over these past few weeks.  The feature articles, however, are atypical for this newsletter; I don't typically include posts about failures, scandals, or other similar disasters, as these kinds of reports and news aren't typically usable, and the usefulness of news is a key principle for how I decide what to circulate.  But Audrey Watters' post on the 100 worst ed-tech debacles offers an extraordinarily multi-faceted and persuasive argument for skepticism about technology in schools.

This is nicely complemented and then juxtaposed by Dan Meyer's blog about how technology hasn't helped math instruction as much as it could, but then outlines how it can, in fact, enhance the work of math teachers.

Enjoy these and others this week!

Peter Nilsson
King's Academy


“100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles Of The Decade” (2010-2019) Hack Education
“For the past ten years, I have written a lengthy year-end series, documenting some of the dominant narratives and trends in education technology. I think it is worthwhile, as the decade draws to a close, to review those stories and to see how much (or how little) things have changed.”

Dan Meyer: How Tech Can Help Math Instruction EdSurge
“Computers are great at storing, delivering and rewinding explanations, but that isn’t what math education needs. Math education needs visualizations that provoke students' wonder mathematically. It needs a creative palette that enables students to express their mathematical ideas more fully. It needs to connect ideas and people together so that students and teachers can learn from each other’s mathematical creativity... Computers are great at the right tasks too: visualization, creation, and connection. Let’s put them to work.”



College Students Describe Why They Vape New York Times


The Mandela Effect: Remembering Something That Didn’t Happen Quartz


What Drives Our Curricular Offerings, Via Cursive & Coding Larry Cuban


A Helpful Exploration Of Cultural Appropriation James Mendez Hodes


“How To Be Healthy, In Just 48 Words” The New York Times


52 Year Old SEAL Veteran Enrolls As Freshman At Yale, Offers Reflections Medium


“How Have Teachers Taught?” - No, Really: What Has Teaching Looked LIke? Larry Cuban


The Shortcomings Of “Centrist Bias” The New York Times
“The abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, labor rights, the New Deal, civil rights for black Americans, Reagan’s laissez-faire revolution and same-sex marriage all started outside the boundaries of what either party favored. “The most consequential history,” Harris wrote, “is usually not driven by the center.””

A Discussion Of The NYT 1619 Project, About Slavery In America The Atlantic

“The Cultural Canon Is Better Than Ever” The New York Times


College Publishes Tongue-In-Cheek List Of Words To Ban Inside Higher Ed.
“The most nominated word or phrase for 2020 was quid pro quo.”


“The Habits Of Highly Effective Leaders” [Infographic] Visual Capitalist


How AP Testing Has Shifted Over The Years Washington Post
“In the first year of the program… the English exams included a variety of writing tasks, each designed to train students to engage with information in different ways. The hope was to simultaneously strengthen and diversify students’ skill sets as readers, writers and independent thinkers.”


How Writing And Reading Stories Helps Us Understand Ourselves And Others LinkedIn Blog
“In a study we conducted with Yale University, we found that students are able to maintain writing tasks for longer and their writing and speaking fluency dramatically improve when they learn how to tell stories from their own lived experience.”

Reflection On What Makes A Good Writing Assignment Inside Higher Ed.


What Makes For Psychologically Safe Lockdown Drills? EdWeek


Nicholas Carr Reflects On TikTok Rough Type
“The company doesn’t need to build exhaustive data profiles of its users as, say, Facebook does. It just watches what you watch, and how you watch it, and then feeds you whatever video has the highest calculated probability of tickling your fancy. You feel the frisson of discovery, but behind the scenes it’s just a machine pumping out widgets. “TikTok deals in the illusion, at least, of revelation,” New York Times critic Amanda Hess writes. Not to mention the illusion, at least, of egalitarianism, of communalism, of joy. “When I tap the heart on some high school kid’s weird video, I feel a flicker of pride, as if I am supporting him in some way. But all I am really doing is demanding more.””


“Use LEGO To Teach Basic Math Concepts” Adafruit

YouTube Science Vlogs Are Getting Pretty Sensational (And Technical) YouTube

The Current State Of Cyborg Technology Quartz

On Taking An Unplugged Approach To Teaching Computer Science EdSurge


Extraordinary NYT Investigation Into Smartphone Location Tracking New York Times
“Each piece of information in this file represents the precise location of a single smartphone over a period of several months in 2016 and 2017. The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so. The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.”

“Campus Edtech Has Shifted Focus From Tech To Ed” EdSurge
“Already, educators and students are asking good, hard questions. Why do you need those particular data? Who else will see them? What are you going to do with the analysis? How will we know that the analysis is reliable and useful? And how well can you demonstrate that the expense of the product, and the risks and compromises taken with student data privacy, will yield benefits for the students?”

Is Screen Time Bad?  It’s Complicated, Of Course. New York Times

2020 Calendar Of Ed Tech Conferences EdSurge

Students Reflect On Living For A Period Of Time Without Cell Phones MIT Technology Review


Variable Font Fun: Play With This Adjustable Typeface. David Jonathan Ross


What Is Monoculture In The Digital Age? Will It Survive The Algorithm? Vox

On (Unsuccessful) Efforts By One District To Prevent Summer Slide Daily Gazette

On Having Good Conversations  Quartz