SoapBox for Ed Tech Coaches
In this episode, Ricky goes over the ed tech news of the week and talks about using SoapBox to share quick and easy videos in the weekly Featured Segment.
Ed Tech News RunDown
FlipGrid is Now Free
A Story from GeekWire explains that Microsoft bought an ed tech company and promptly made the video discussion tool free to schools. The company they acquired is called Flipgrid which allows teachers to create a visual grid with one or more topics and allows the students to respond with short videos using a browser, tablet, smartphone, or a chromebook. Those who use Flipgrid already shouldn’t see any major changes as Microsoft is keeping the same branding and current team. The one major change they are making though is eliminating paid subscriptions. Those who already have a subscriptions will be given a prorated refund which, I’m sure will be welcome news to any educator or school with paid plans. Those of you who are big G-Suite fans that have Chromebooks apparently don’t need to worry either as Microsoft says it will continue to have FlipGrid work with multiple platforms including ChromeOS. I was chatting on Reddit with some people this afternoon and learned that, unfortunately, FlipGrid uses flash so although it is free that certainly could be an issue for some. Hopefully Microsoft will help remedy the the flash issue as one redditor put it, “It’s 2018 and won’t download flash.”
Ed Tech Magazine reports on a survey showing that how to deal with data is still not something everyone in higher ed agrees on. They nearly all agree that they want to adopt data-driven programs but university leadership is having trouble agreeing on the goals of such programs. And if that wasn’t enough, departments within universities don’t seem all that eager or even willing to share data either. The article does offer some tips from experts in the field… building relationships across data silos and cleaning up data are the two main tips. If you want to see the results of the survey we will put a link up on edtechweeklyshow.com. Data analytics is certainly something all institutions are dealing with and forming a strategy is imperative to have any hopes of using the data in a beneficial way. 61% of institutions already have some form of data-driven initiative and all but 1% of the remaining have a plan to start one. You think that 1% might change their mind after seeing the results of this survey? This should help them figure it out.
Ed Tech and Equity
Another Ed Tech Magazine article explains how technology could be the key for boosting classroom equity. Issues with classroom equity have left some students behind because of a variety of factors including geography, race, gender, and economics. They explain that creating an online ecosystem, like using Canvas or other learning management systems, can level the playing field for students who may miss more time from school for various reasons. Having access to materials away from school is important but addressing access to internet is also something that has to be done to properly deal with equity. They also mention that data analytics can help address the needs of your district or school population. They have a few links in the article that could be helpful if you want to start an equity plan for your school or district… edtechweeklyshow.com for the links. My only statement would be to be very careful trying to create fixes with technology without a) making sure there is data that proves said technology works, and b) making sure students have access to these resources from home. If you just add the software but some students don’t have access then it won’t be a real solution. It seems like a major oversight that they leave out access here.
Rant Against Ed Tech
An opinion piece from Inside Higher Ed takes a pretty aggressive stance against the technology being used in education today. It is an extended rant that would make even the best ranters proud so I recommend you read it and see what you agree with or what makes you angry. She talks about how sometimes students need to be left alone… referencing the way software is now tracking facial expressions and keystrokes to learn more about students. Her assertion here is that not every emotion a student experiences during the day should be tracked as an important piece of data. She also rants on just how little evidence there is that ed tech even works at all. Another great rant is how she doesn’t think that rewarding reading with a game, as some apps do, is a great idea… after all reading should be something people are passionate about, not something they do to play a game… after all, wouldn’t that destroy curiosity? And finally she rants on how tracking an emotion with data points rather than a teacher observing and interacting with a student is just plain stupid. All of these things together make her want to scream and she she thinks ed tech must be resisted and rejected.… there is a lot in here to react to.
Featured Resource: SoapBox
Check out Episode 78 Where we talk more about successful A.I.
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