Hack Education Weekly News
14 September 2018 | 7:30 pm

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. In the meantime, it also depresses the hell out of me.

(National) Education Politics


“Can Federal ‘School Safety’ Funds Be Used for Surveillance Tech?” asks Edsurge, narrowly avoiding having this story in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section by adding this sentence after its question: “Congress Is Looking Into It.”

Via The New York Times: “Education Dept. Reopens Rutgers Case Charging Discrimination Against Jewish Students.”

An op-ed in The Hechinger Report: “Betsy DeVos’ slippery slope of religion, ethnicity and race.”

An op-ed in Edsurge: “With the Fox in the Henhouse, Betsy DeVos’s Ed Department Is Hurting Low-Income College Students.”

Via Education Week: “DeVos’ Trip to South America Focuses on Workforce Prep.”

There’s more about Betsy DeVos and her policies in the courts section and in the financial aid section below.

A public service announcement from the FBI: “Education Technologies: Data Collection and Unsecured Systems Could Pose Risks to Students.” More on this from Education Week’s Ben Herold.

Via The Verge: “Juul has 60 days to prove it can keep its e-cigs away from kids, FDA warns.”

Via The New York Times: “Australian Politicians Threaten Schoolgirl Over National Anthem Protest.” She’s 9. They’re assholes.

(State and Local) Education Politics


There’s more about the teachers’ strike in Tacoma, Washington in the “labor and management” section below.

Via Chalkbeat: “New York bans the use of federal, state money to buy guns for schools.”

Via Education Week: “ECOT Looms Over Ohio Gubernatorial Candidates’ Education Plans.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school.

The New York Times Magazine has a long and thoughtful piece by Sara Mosle on school reforms in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Education in the Courts


Via Politico: “Judge rules DeVos delay of Obama-era student loan rulesunlawful’.”

Via NEA Today: “NEA, CTA Sue DeVos Over Rollback of Protections for Online Students.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “ITT Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Lenders, Department of Education.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Oregon grand jury has declined to indict two police officers at Portland State University who shot and killed a man this summer.”

Immigration and Education


This is evil. Via The New York Times: “Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever.”

Via ProPublica: “Here’s What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated From Their Parents and Sent to Chicago.”

Via The Washington Post: “Trump slams Jealous’s plan for free community college for ‘dreamers’.” That’s Maryland candidate for governor Ben Jealous.

“Free College”


“Don’t Dismiss the Value of Free-College Programs. They Do Help Low-Income Studentsby Sara Goldrick-Rab and Michelle Miller-Adams.

“America Wakes Up From Its Dream of Free Collegeby The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.

The Business and Politics of Financial Aid


Via The AP: “The Trump administration is granting only partial loan forgiveness to the vast majority of students approved for help because of fraud by for-profit colleges, according to preliminary Education Department data obtained by The Associated Press.”

There’s more about the Trump Administration’s attempts to delay implementing regulations regarding loan forgiveness up in the “courts” section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via Inside Higher Ed: the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges “places each college of the for-profit Center for Excellence in Higher Education on probation, finding misrepresentations to students and – at one campus – discriminatory attitudes toward students.”

There’s more for-profit higher ed news in the courts section above.

Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)


Via Class Central: “Monetizing A MOOC Platform.”

Also via Class Central: “First Look at edX’s Paywall Experiments.”

Via Campus Technology: “Coursera’s CEO on the Evolving Meaning of ‘MOOC’.”

There’s more ECOT news – there’s always more ECOT news – in the “state and local politics” section above. There’s also more legal news regarding online education in the “courts” section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…


It has now been at least five years since Clayton Christensen started predicting that half of colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. He’s still at it. Via CNBC: “Harvard Business School professor: Half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.” “No, Half of All Colleges Will Not Go Bankrupt,” Derek Newton responds in Forbes.

Via The Atlantic: “The Moral Catastrophe at Michigan State.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Women Say A School For Troubled Teens Punished Girls For Being Gay.” That is the River View Christian Academy.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Arizona psychologist is under scrutiny for taking money from an organization founded to support research in eugenics.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Another controversial policy proposal in Wisconsin would eliminate all programs with fewer than five majors annually, on average, if ‘remediation’ didn’t work. Faculty leaders see attempt to turn system into a ‘widget factory.’”

“Many College Courses Are Either Overloaded or Underfilled,” writes Jeffrey Young in Edsurge. “That May Be Hurting Retention.”

Via The Atlantic: “Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations.”

Via Chalkbeat: “‘Kicked out’: Newark charter school purges students in possible violation of state rules.” The school in question: Marion P. Thomas Charter School.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Nebraska Wondered Whether Conservative Students Were Being Silenced. Here’s What It Found Out.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “A new challenge for colleges: opioid-addicted students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue pilot program restricts access to sites such as Netflix and Hulu in specific lecture halls.”

To everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence – teachers and students and staff and families alike: you’re in my thoughts. Stay safe.

Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)


This, via AJC.com, is quite terrifying: “Blanks to be fired during school’s active shooter drill.”

Via The Washington Post: “A sleeping student wouldn’t wake up in class. So an officer pulled out her Taser.”

There’s more gun-related news in the “state and local politics” and “courts” sections above.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


There’s more accreditation news in the “for-profit higher ed” section above.

Testing


“What If a DNA Test Could Show How to Teach a Student With Dyslexia?” asks Education Week.

“What Personality Tests Really Deliver” by Louis Menand in The New Yorker.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “ACT Announces Retest Over Glitches.”

Labor and Management


Teachers are on the cover of Time Magazine, this time making a very different case than that infamous cover of Michelle Rhee holding a broom. The featured article: “13 Stories of Life on a Teacher’s Salary.”

Via The New York Times Magazine: “The Second Shift: What Teachers Are Doing to Pay Their Bills.”

Teachers in Tacoma, Washington have been on strike this week, but The Seattle Times reports that “Tacoma teachers reach deal with district; schools could open Monday.”

Via The News Tribune: “Attention Tacoma Public Schools: When teacher Anne Hawkins quits, you’re doing something wrong.”

Former Department of Education official Yuanxia Ding has joined the student loan provider Skills Fund as its “chief impact officer.”

Contests and Awards


Via the BBC: “Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has been awarded a Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars.” Her male collaborators won the Nobel back in 1974 for her work.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Would the Education Dept.’s New Title IX Rules Really Save Colleges Money?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(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 Atlantic: “What Kids’ Backpacks Say About Them.” Perhaps their parents have money (or not)?

Via Education Week: “Instagram and Teens: What Do You Need to Know?” Well, you probably need to know more than what Facebook / Instagram has revealed in its new parents’ guide.

Techcrunch with the press releases and product announcements: Via Techcrunch: “YouTube Kids adds a whitelisting parental control feature, plus a new experience for tweens.” Via Techcrunch: “Kano’s latest computer kit for kids doubles down on touch.” Via Techcrunch: “LittleBits intros three kits to explore music, space and more.” Via Techcrunch: “Sphero launches Bolt, as education moves front and center.”

Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein continues to write about the OPM market: “Extension Engine and OPM Market Transparency.”

And from Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Blackboard Learn Ultra in 2018: Is it ready and does it matter?” (Also from Hill: “Timeline of e-Literate Coverage of Blackboard Learn Ultra.”)

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


Probably my favorite “robots are the future of education” story in a good, long while. Via Buzzfeed: “Students Are Using Bots To Crash Games Of Kahoot At School.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


Jeff Bezos posted a note on Twitter, outlining his plans to launch a $2 billion fund to build a chain of preschools and to support organizations that work with homeless families. Everyone, it seemed, had a story: The New York Times, Techcrunch, Chalkbeat, The Verge, Ed Week’s Market Brief, Edsurge, etc etc etc. Historian Diane Ravitch says we should “wait and see how the Bezos philanthropy plays out,” but I think we know enough from the history of Amazon’s labor practices and the history of tech billionaires’ education philanthropy to weigh in. So I took a brief break from book research to rage-type my thoughts.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded,” The New York Times reports. And what is he going to do? Education philanthropy of fucking course.

Via The Guardian: “Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education.”

Via Techcrunch: “Interview with Priscilla Chan: Her super-donor origin story.”

Ben Williamson summarizes some of the recent news (certainly not all of it “philanthropical”) about tech billionaires’ education initiatives: “The tech elite is making a power-grab for public education.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education


Perlego has raised $4.8 million from Alex Chesterman, ADV, Simon Franks, and Peter Hinssen. The textbook company has raised $6 million total.

Carnegie Learning has acquired Mondo Publishing.

WeWork has acquired the office management startup Teem. OK, this isn’t necessarily ed-tech related, but as WeWork is attempting to be in the education business (with its acquisition of the Flatiron School, for example) perhaps we will see if and how the real-estate-company-disguised-as-a-co-working-space pivots to software sales.

Edsurge’s Tony Wan on “When Education CEOs and Bigwig Financiers Go ‘Back to School’” – that is, on the BMO Capital conference in NYC.

Also by Wan: “Companies Are Bought, Not Sold: M&A Advice From 3 Edtech CEOs Who Survived the Process.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


This story by Doug Levin is really important as it challenges some of the popular narratives about “student hacking.”

Via The New York Times: “How Game Apps That Captivate Kids Have Been Collecting Their Data.”

Via Education Week: “Data-Privacy Questions From Parents That Schools Should Be Ready to Answer.”

Via Edsurge: “The Unintentional Ways Schools Might Be Violating FERPA, and How They Can Stay Vigilant.”

Also via Edsurge: “Tear Down That Wall? Why Data Walls May Cause More Harm Than Good.”

There’s more surveillance news in the federal education section up top.

Research, “Research,” and Reports


Via Inside Higher Ed: “George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health defended its study on Hurricane Maria-related mortality rates in Puerto Rico on Thursday after President Trump falsely said on Twitter that an estimated death toll of around 3,000 was manufactured by Democrats who wanted to make him look bad.”

Via The New York Times: “Asbestos in a Crayon, Benzene in a Marker: A School Supply Study’s Toxic Results.”

Via Edsurge: “Polls Reveal What Teachers and Parents Want From School Data.” The polls in question: from the Data Quality Campaign.

Edsurge on a new report from Common Sense Media: “Teens Know Social Media Is Manipulative. But They Just Can’t Get Enough.” More on the report via Education Week.

Inside Higher Ed on a new Woodrow Wilson Center report on China’s influence in US higher ed.

Teaching Tolerance has released its latest report on “Hate at School.”

“Number of International Private Schools Surges Again, Up 6 Percent Over Last Year,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief, citing a report from ISC Research.

Via The Chronicle of Education: “How a Famous Academic Job-Market Study Got It All Wrong – and Why It Still Matters.”

Why aren’t kids being taught to read?asks Emily Hanford in APM Reports.

Sound the education prediction klaxon. Someone get Clayton Christensen on the phone. STAT. “College students predicted to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025,” says The Hechinger Report.

Icon credits: The Noun Project


'It's Like Amazon, But for Preschool'
13 September 2018 | 9:30 pm

A year ago, the richest man in the world asked Twitter for suggestions on how he should most efficiently and charitably spend his wealth. And today, Jeff Bezos unveiled a few details about his plans – other than funding space travel, that is. His new philanthropic effort, The Day 1 Fund, will finance two initiatives: the Families Fund will work with existing organizations to address homelessness and hunger; and the Academies fund “will launch an operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.”

“We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon,” Bezos wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “Most important among these will be genuine intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

The child will be the customer.

Bezos then went on to cite a phrase that is so often misquoted and misattributed in those shiny, happy motivational PowerPoint slides – you know the ones – that people like to post to social media: “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” W. B. Yeats never said this, for the record, but words get so easily twisted, history so easily co-opted.

The assurance that “the child will be the customer” underscores the belief – shared by many in and out of education reform and education technology – that education is simply a transaction: an individual’s decision-making in a “marketplace of ideas.” (There is no community, no public responsibility, no larger civic impulse for early childhood education here. It’s all about private schools offering private, individual benefits.)

This idea that “the child will be the customer” is, of course, also a nod to “personalized learning” as well, as is the invocation of a “Montessori-inspired” model. As the customer, the child will be tracked and analyzed, her preferences noted so as to make better recommendations to up-sell her on the most suitable products. And if nothing else, Montessori education in the United States is full of product recommendations.

There’s another piece to all this, not mentioned in Bezos’s note about building a chain of preschools that “use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon”: Amazon’s own labor practices. The online retail giant is a notoriously terrible place to work – the pay, particularly in the warehouses, is so low that many employees receive government assistance. The working conditions are dangerous and dehumanizing. “Amazon has patented a system that would put workers in a cage, on top of a robot,” read the headline in last week’s Seattle Times. And it’s not so great for the white collar workers either. “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk,” one employee in books marketing told The New York Times back in 2015.

The majority of the early childhood educators in the US are already very poorly paid; many preschools have incredibly high turnover rates. As research has demonstrated that preschool has a lasting positive effect on children’s educational attainment, there have been efforts to “raise the standards,” demanding for example that preschools be staffed by more qualified teachers. But that demand for more training and certification hasn’t brought with it better pay or benefits. The median pay for preschool teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is less than $30,000 a year. Even those with Bachelor’s degrees earn only about $14.70 an hour, about half of the average wages for all those with the same level of education.

This is a field in which a third of employees already qualify for government assistance. And now Jeff Bezos, a man whose own workers also rely on these same anti-poverty programs, wants to step in – not as a taxpayer, oh no, but as a philanthropist. Honestly, he could have a more positive impact here by just giving those workers a raise. (Or, you know, by paying taxes.)

Bezos is not alone in eyeing the early education “market,” which has received quite a bit of attention from ed-tech investors in recent years. So far this year, three companies have raised venture capital to help people run preschools and childcare facilities in their homes: Wonderschool, WeeCare, and Procare Software. Last year, VCs poured millions into similar sorts of companies, including Tinkergarten, Sawyer, and Kinedu. Investors in these startups include some of the “big money” names in Silicon Valley: Omidyar Network, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Andreessen Horowitz, among others. (One of these companies, WeeCare, says it’s also planning to train and license childcare providers, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the micro-certificate, online education, nanodegree folks also jump on this bandwagon. “Uber for Education” or something.)

Ostensibly, there’s no shortage of potential “customers” for these private preschool software startups – the demand for childcare is high, and many families live in what the Center for American Progress has called “child care deserts,” that is places where there are no options for affordable, high-quality early childhood education.

But are private preschool chains really the path we want to pursue, particularly if we believe that access to excellent early childhood education is so incredibly crucial? Can the gig economy and the algorithm ever provide high quality preschool? For all the flaws in the public school system, it’s important to remember: there is no accountability in billionaires’ educational philanthropy.

And, as W. B. Yeats famously never said, charity is no substitute for justice.


Hack Education Weekly News
7 September 2018 | 7:15 pm

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the mammoth review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. I’ve probably missed a few of those stories this week as I am on vacation. But look how dutiful I am, still writing this list of shitty things that keep happening despite all the warnings I give.

(National) Education Politics


US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is one of the various administration officials who insists she is not the author of anonymous op-ed in the The New York Times criticizing President Trump. But come on. No one actually thought it was her, right?

Via Vanity Fair: “‘I’m Tired of America Wasting Our Blood and Treasure’: The Strange Ascent of Betsy DeVos and Erik Prince.”

Speaking of terrible people with too much power, there’s this gem from Mediaite: “Clarence Thomas’ Wife Hired Ex-TPUSA Staffer Known For Saying ‘I Hate Blacks’.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Scholars Describe ‘Incalculable Loss’ as Museum in Brazil Goes Up in Flames.”

NPR asks, “Whatever Happened To… The Millennials Who Started A School For Boko Haram Escapees?”

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via The New York Times: “California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law.”

Chalkbeat with some news from Chicago: “What Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to not seek re-election means for schools.”

Chalkbeat with some news from NYC: Schools chancellor RichardCarranza is ready to approve an integration plan for Brooklyn middle schools. Here’s a guide to the potential changes.”

And Chalkbeat with the NYC data: “Find out what your New York City school spends per student.”

Are your school’s employees armed?asks the Argus Leader. “For some S.D. parents, the answer is unclear.” (S.D. is South Dakota.)

Via Chalkbeat: “Chicago Schoolsbackground checks send many teachers into limbo just as school sets to open.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “China Protest Over Cash-Strapped City’s School Plan Turns Violent.” The city in question: Leiyang. The plan: forcing some students to attend private schools.

Via NPR: “Catholic Schools And Parents Grapple With Whether To Address Abuse Report.”

Edsurge writes about “How Crowdfunding Is Matching Teacher Requests to District Tech Policies.” Personally, I’d say we should rethink how taxes support schools and how democratic practices support policies rather than being guided by these private entities and their evangelists.

Immigration and Education


Via The Texas Tribune: “Texas won’t pay to educate migrant kids in shelters. Now two charter schools are scrambling.” (The schools are located inside shelters.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Judge Keeps DACA in Place.”

Via ProPublica: “As Months Pass in Chicago Shelters, Immigrant Children Contemplate Escape, Even Suicide.”

“Free College”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Reports: Free College Programs Don’t Benefit Low-Income Students.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via Edsurge: “Purdue Global Drops Requirement That Professors Sign Nondisclosure Agreements.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission has reached agreements to shut down several copycat military websites that targeted people looking to join the armed services and then used their personal information to market for-profit colleges, the commission announced Thursday.”

A working paper from NBER on for-profit higher ed, by Charlie Eaton, Sabrina Howell, and Constantine Yannelis: “When Investor Incentives and Consumer Interests Diverge: Private Equity in Higher Education.”

There’s another NBER working paper in the “labor and management” section above. And there’s more research on the effects of attending a for-profit college on one’s future earnings down in the “research” section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Elon Musk’s secretive LA private school doesn’t just teach spelling and math -- it also asks students ethics and critical thinking puzzles you usually don’t see elsewhere,” says Business Insider. I bet you didn’t know that ethics and critical thinking are not taught anywhere else but in an elite private school founded by a guy who likes LSD and science fiction. Apparently this curriculum comes from ClassDojo, which screams something about “ethics,” I reckon.

Edsurge writes about e-scooters, one of the “hot new trends” out of Silicon Valley, and how these companies are defying the rules of college campuses in order to build up a new customer base there.

“Today’s College Students Aren’t Who You Think They Are,” says NPR.

Via Buzzfeed: “Most Fraternities Are Banning Hard Alcohol In Response To A Series Of Drinking-Related Deaths.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New Jersey 2-Year Colleges Pursue Merger.” That is, Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Also via Chalkbeat: “Newark charter school faces firestorm after kicking out students for dress code violations.”

Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)


Via The New York Times: “Wander the Halls, Say Hello: A New Approach to School Safety.”

There’s a story about surveillance, school shootings, and suicide prevention in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.

Testing


The New York Times on the SHSAT: “The Test That Changed Their Lives.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The SAT Mess That’s Not Going Away.”

From the Khan Academy blog: “School district reports test scores rise with mastery learning on Khan Academy.”

Speaking of test prep, there’s more news from Princeton Review down in the “labor and management” section below.

Go, School Sports Team!


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “College of the Ozarks Drops Nike for Using Colin Kaepernick in Ad Campaign.”

Labor and Management


Via The Guardian: “How I survive: American teachers and their second jobs – a photo essay.” See also: how a small number of young white women teachers make money as Instagram stars. Story above.

Edsurge has a new guide on the ed-tech job market, with articles including “Diversity in Hiring Doesn’t Start With Hiring” and “Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Your Edtech Job Hunt.” Not clear who’s sponsoring this narrative…

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Is having a chief diversity officer linked to significant gains in faculty diversity? Not really, says a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

“What Is Missing From Our Curricula?” asks Edsurgework-based learning, apparently. Honestly, I would have gone with “anti-racist history and literature” or “civics,” but that’s me.

Oh. My. God. Speaking of Edsurge, spot the misinformation and disinformation and invented history in this article on coding bootcamps.

Via EdWeek Market Brief: “Princeton Review Weathers Layoffs, Changes in Test-Prep Market.”

Nope.

The Business of Job Training (and Educational Employee Benefits)


Via The New York Times: “The Hot College Gig: Online Brand Promoter.”

Via e-Literate: “Expansion of OPM-Derivative Model: Disney covers online degrees for hourly employees through Guild Education.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Could Monitoring Students on Social Media Stop the Next School Shooting?asks The New York Times.

Do Corporate-Style NDAs Have a Place in Higher Ed?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

College students say they want a degree for a job. Are they getting what they want?asks Jeffrey Selingo.

Is NYTimes Correct That College Students Don’t Read Books?asks Joshua Kim.

(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 Buzzfeed: “Teachers Are Moonlighting As Instagram Influencers To Make Ends Meet.” I have many thoughts on this, and if I wasn’t on vacation right now, you would hear an earful. There’s a related story on teachers’ second jobs – none of whom are raking in $200K a year like these Instagram stars, mind you – down in the “labor and management” section below.

Speaking of Instagram, The Verge says that “Instagram launches a new parent portal to help them talk to their kids about online life.” I hope parents have fun talking about their teachers’ online lives on Insta.

It’s time for the back-to-school articles touting this-and-that ed-tech trends. Via Edsurge: “10 Inspired Tech Trends Every Teacher Should Know About.” Via the Getting Smart blog: “What Do Broad EdTech Trends Mean for Your School District?”

“What is Blockchain and How Can it be Used in Education?” asks MDR Education. Let me tell you (although this doesn’t seem to be what the article says): it’s a hype machine baked with a hot molten core of alt-right ideology and anti-Semitism. How can it be used? Well, by con artists, I reckon, it can be used quite deftly for any number of techno-magical things.

Hearables are hear to stay in learning – podcasts, learning, language learning, tutoring, spaced-practice and cheating in exams!” according to Donald Clark.

Via Techcrunch: “Amazon launches kid-friendly FreeTime service in Spanish.” “Kid-friendly.”

How Do We Know If Technology Is the Solution or the Problem?asks Edsurge. Related, from IHE’s Joshua Kim: “What If Digital Is Antithetical to Learning?” JFC. “I am part of the resistance inside the ed-tech industry” or something like that.

A dispatch from Techcrunch’s “Disrupt SF” conference: e-cigarette maker “Juul says it will use technology to help you quit e-cigarettes, too.” LOL. Please tell me there’s a “mindfulness” curriculum component too.

Via Pacific Standard: “The Future of Podcasting Is Educational.”

Via Publishers Weekly: “Penguin Random House Changes Library E-book Lending Terms.”

The Prof Hacker blog is leaving its current URL at The Chronicle of Higher Education and will be indie once again.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction


Kadho debuts Kidsense A.I., offline speech-recognition tech that understand kids,” Techcrunch claims.

Via Wired: “This Hyper-Real Robot Will Cry and Bleed on Med Students.”

Via Edsurge: “Applying Artificial Intelligence to the Search for EdTech: An SRI-EdSurge Collaboration.”

Donald Clark makes the case for chatbots in education being a “gamechanger in learning.” I mean, we’re well into Year 50 of chatbots in education, so I’m sure the game will be changed any day now.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform


Via Chalkbeat: “Mark Zuckerberg’s education giving so far has topped $300 million. Here’s a list of where it’s going.” (I will update my list of CZI investments accordingly.)

Via Inside Philanthropy: “‘Local Context.’ The New Gates K–12 Strategy is Coming Into Sharper Focus.” I’m sure it’s a good strategy this time.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education


I’m not sure I’ll include this investment in my monthly calculations of ed-tech funding, since I’m not sure how educational this really is. But it’s fairly close to being framed as such, so here it is: Roblox, “which allows kids to create 3D worlds and games” per Techcrunch, has raised $150 million in Series F funding from Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Greylock Partners, Tiger Global Management, Meritech Capital Partners, and Altos Ventures. The company has raised $251.6 million total.

I’m also never sure whether or not to include investment in private schools in my ed-tech calculations. Regardless, Sanyu Education just raised $250 million for its private chain of kindergartens from Legend Holdings.

MasterClass has raised $80 million from IVP, Javelin Ventures, NEA, Advancit Capital, Atomico, and Evolution Media. The company, which offers online courses “taught” by celebrities, has raised $136.4 million total.

Makeblock has raised $44 million from CICC ALPHA, Yuexiu Industrial Investment Fund, GX Capital, and Everest Capital. The educational robotics company has raised $79.9 million total.

Open Assessment Technologies has raised an undisclosed amount of money from ACT, whose CEO tells Edsurge “Besides just being an assessment company, we’re also becoming a learning and navigation company.” Oh.

Carnegie Learning has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the private equity firm CIP Capital. It will merge with New Mountain Learning, already owned by CIP Capital, but keep the Carnegie Learning brand name, because brand name.

VitalSource has acquired Acrobatiq.

Via Reuters: “Brazilian learning systems company Arco Platform should raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq expected in September, one source with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security


Well, let’s all be sure to look forward to IBM’s work on “personalizing education” with this story from The Intercept in mind: “IBM Used NYPD Surveillance Footage to Develop Technology That Lets Police Search by Skin Color.”

There’s a story about surveillance, school shootings, and suicide prevention in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above.

Via The Register: “Victoria’s educational apps-for-students let creeps contact kids.” That’s the Victorian Department of Education in Australia.

Research, “Research,” and Reports


Via funding.hackeducation.com: “The Business of Ed-Tech: August 2018 Funding Data.”

There’s more “research” on free college up in the “free college” section above. There’s more “research” on how Khan Academy improves test scores up in the “testing” section above. There’s more research on for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Attending a for-profit college widens the earnings gap between rich and poor students, new research finds. Enrolling at a selective college does the opposite.”

Via Edsurge: “Report: ‘Colleges Need to Better Inform Students of Tradeoffs Between Working and Learning’.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Marijuana Use Still High Among College Students.”

Via the ACLU: “Federal Data Shows Public Schools Nationwide Are a Hotbed of Racial Injustice.” A hotbed of racial injustice, surveillance technologies, e-cigarettes and accompanying mindfulness curriculum, and e-scooters. God bless ed-tech.

Icon credits: The Noun Project



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