Things That Edtech Makes Better (and Worse)

Education technology in the twenty first century has made some remarkable progress. The ubiquity of software tools with cloud-based computing, the significant drop in price of powerful computing devices, and the explosion of easily accessible content represent more significant quantum leaps than say the VHS did over 16mm film. This new edtech is beginning to […]

16 Things to Consider When Going Google One to One

1. Ask Why? There are millions of connected educators around the world who would be delighted to answer that question for you. You must answer it for your own education context. Best not to try doing so alone. Which leads to… 2. Engage a Diverse Array of Stakeholders from the Beginning. Moving teachers and students to […]

Diligent Use of Cycles of Inquiry Makes Huge Impact

Some of you are aware that in August of 2012 I began working with the Hapara team as lead educator. Since that time, all of my creative efforts have gone into that work. Only recently have I begun to blog again; still mostly within the context of my work at Hapara. I plan to re-post here […]

Common Core Assessment 20x More Expensive? What Can Edtech Do?

The forthcoming Common Core (CC) Assessments are the next generation of standardized tests in the US, and will meet the testing frequency requirements of the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act also known as No Child Left Behind unless congress should act to change this, which is most unlikely. Forty six […]

So Much Data Yet Still So Little Meaning

I had a mentor early in my career, also named Jack, who was a very well respected and well liked business owner. I worked at his company in the summers of my high school and college years as a delivery boy. Jack took me under his wing and would entertain my questions about the systems […]

What would Maria Montessori Say About Edtech?

What would Maria Montessori say about the use of the edtech available to us as we approach the year 2013? Heaven forbid any actual Montessori educators should read this post. My summaries of Montessori ideas and structures most certainly do not do justice to the wonderful body of work Maria Montessori left behind, nor do […]

Too Much Screen Time in a Blended Learning Class?

The mid-July issue of Newsweek, linked below, was sitting on the coffee table at the Tahoe cabin of a friend of mine this past weekend. My interest was piqued by the cover image so, despite the fact that it was dated, I picked it up. The author of the feature article, Is the Web Driving […]

What Arne Duncan Said to Me Last Week

On Wednesday of last week, several members of the US Department of Education kicked off their Back to School Bus Tour at the high school where I teach science in Redwood City, California. The visit was an edtech themed visit, and spotlighted a panel discussion that included edtech pop stars Sal Khan of the Khan […]

Blended Learning in the Traditional Classroom

It’s not about the hardware. No laptop, tablet, lapdock, or webtop is going to change education by virtue of its screen resolution, haptic capabilities or processor speed. However, a proliferation of free, cloud-based, high quality, curated curricular materials (videos in particular) just might. Sal Khan is not the harbinger of a revolution in education because […]

Blended Learning at Harvard

Harvard Computer Science Professor and former Dean of Harvard College, Harry Lewis, has written an article in this month’s Harvard Magazine about his experience blending a preliminary computer science course entitled, Discrete Mathematics. While reading his first person account of this pilot course, I kept nodding my head in agreement as he recounted both the […]

So This is Democracy – Edcamp, the Unconference

It is easy for a middle-class, Washington outsider to become skeptical about our political system that, by some metrics, operates more like a polarized plutocracy than a socialistic democracy. However, in the same week, three members of a Russian girl punk band got two years in prison for playing protest songs in the face of […]

Questions at the Beginning

Motivating questions have been used by master teachers probably for as long as humans have inhabited their neocortex. An inspiring question targets the background, interests, and capabilities of a student. Such a question can be a launching pad for discussion, inquiry, and a starting place for a learning trajectory. This summer, I have the privilege […]

Build Your Edtech Dream in a Weekend – RemixEd

You’ve been talking about it for years. If only there were an application that graded all of your essays, delivered personalized, daily emails to all of your students, and then prepared your coffee for you just the way you like it. Now is your chance! In less than two weeks, dozens of hardcore developers (that’s […]

Support the Odyssey Initiative

The glut of bad press about American schools and educators makes me want to point one of these speech jammers at the next person I hear use the words ‘broken’ and ‘schools’ in the same sentence. The antidote to that is the Odyssey Initiative, a project headed up by Brooklyn teacher and former Wall Street hack, […]

Whither the Test When Information is Ubiquitous?

The recent attention given to the New Media Consortium Horizon Report for k12 has me thinking of the future again. I had a free couple of hours on Saturday morning when I woke up early with a gentle summer hangover and decided to pick up Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future. In the first chapter, […]

Summer of Video

Is there a difference between watching Sal Khan on the internet and having him teach you face to face? According to Sal’s cousins there is. In his TED appearance, Sal reveals that his cousins told him they prefer his internet videos to his in-person tutoring. The reason they prefer their virtual cousin to the real […]

Last Saturday My Son Found His People at the Maker Faire

Last Saturday my seven year old son found his people at the Maker Faire. It started on the train ride from the Menlo Park station. Normally the 9:34am train heading North on a Saturday is about as busy as the vomit circumscribed dive bars that dot its rails in each of the peninsula towns on […]

Why “Just How Small is the Atom” Has the Most Views on Ted-Ed..

..and why we should be concerned. Love. That’s what I felt when I first landed on TED’s new site for educators and students, Ted-Ed. From the hosts of the 18 minute talks that have inspired some of the most interesting lunchtime discussions in my classroom over the last few years, comes a site brimming with equally […]

Translating Krug’s Usability to Edtech

I am half way through reading Steve Krug’s, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” First published in 2000, “Don’t Make Me Think” is a practical guide for web designers, providing advice congruent with the title. I approached the book curious if web design principles from 2000 translated to design appropriate […]

An Early Foray into Blended Learning

This is a little embarrassing. The link below will take you to a video of me, circa 2003, pimpin’ it for HMH. It is a promotional video for their adaptive software program, Destination Math. Figured I’d better post it before someone else does. Growth through humility. video link..