Hour of Code
In this episode… the Hour of Code is happening this week, 11 ed tech things that won’t happen by 2020, Zuckerberg is betting ed tech can bring equity to education, and why are ed tech companies not solving teacher evaluation problems?
Listen to the Show:
11 Ed Tech Things that Won’t Happen by 2020 –
Inside Higher Ed informs us of the 11 EdTech advances that will not happen by 2020. Besides feeling like I’m being manipulated by Ed Tech journalists…it basically feels like a list of things Joshua Kim, the author, want to have happen by 2020. Like maybe he is hoping people will read this and make it happen. There are a couple of things he mentions that I am a huge fan of, however, most of all item number 2 on his list… A Portfolio system that everyone uses. Basically a way to keep digital creations for students and teachers that can be easily accessible throughout the years no matter what grade or school they are at. I know that this is something that students and teachers need to have especially as the world becomes increasingly more digital.
Ed Tech and Teacher Evaluations-
A TechCunch article explains that Ed Tech businesses should be focusing resources on a teacher evaluation system. This is always a very sensitive subject in the education world because evaluating teachers is very complex and anxiety inducing. I think there is a clear reason that ed tech companies are not focusing on an evaluation solution… it is difficult to please district, administrations, and teachers with one solution. If it could easily be done and money could be made, they would be doing it already…not sure “lack of focus” is to blame. From a teacher’s perspective, it is difficult to get behind an evaluation system that either doesn’t include external student data, like previous grades, behavior, and other factors or doesn’t explain well how they are using that data. The district I worked for used an evaluation method that used variables and calculations that could not be explained by the people who trained us on it. To me the reason is it is simply a very difficult thing for anyone to do.
Zuckerberg’s Plan to Bring Equity to Education
An NPR article tells us how Mark Zuckerberg is betting on tech and its ability to improve educational equity. As most of you already are aware, Zuckerberg announced that he is planning to give away something like 95% of his wealth away in his lifetime. One of his main areas of focus is in personalized learning. The article mentions that although personalized learning can help students bridge achievement gaps, it and other strategies have done little to close the divides in education and often has created more divides for those that don’t have access to computers or the internet. The article also mentions the fact that even giving technology and access to underperforming students is not the biggest problem that has to be solved. As we have talked about numerous times, there is no magic bullet. Throwing money at a problem isn’t going to solve it by itself but I think someone like Zuckerberg investing money and time in this can definitely be the start of something good as long as there is substance behind the technology provided.
Hour of Code
Ed Tech Magazine gives some details on the Hour of Code, which about 180,000 schools are participating in. The Hour of Code is something that has been growing exponentially the past few years and is really all about getting people to get some hands on coding experience. It’s happening right now… One of the cool features this year is a tutorial that is MineCraft themed. Smart to play into the juggernaut that is MineCraft. 180,000 schools seems like a lot but I know in my district there were very few schools participating last year and I hope that number is going up as well. I really can’t see one negative in having your students participating in this and you should as well. It’s fun and it may spark interest and further investigation into a subject that is undoubtedly becoming more integral part of our daily lives… even if we aren’t programmers.