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A weekly podcast about how education is changing. Join host Jeff Young and other EdSurge reporters as they sit down with educators, innovators and scholars for frank and in-depth conversations.
2 days ago
How Shakespeare Can Help Us Rethink Education
What is the purpose of education? It's a question that William Shakespeare raises in his comedy "Love's Labour's Lost. And the playwright's own training—in rhetoric, craftsmanship and conversation—reveals the answer. That's the premise of a new book by Scott Newstok, an English professor at Rhodes College.
Feb 23, 2021
More Students Are Using Chegg to Cheat During the Pandemic. Is the Company Doing Enough to Stop It?
Over the past year the pandemic has dramatically altered college teaching, and one side-effect seems to be a rise in exam cheating. In some cases, students are using homework help sites, including Chegg, to get answers during exams. The company has taken steps to respond, but critics say more change is needed. And some say it’s professors who need to change their testing strategies.
Feb 16, 2021
A Social-Emotional Learning Expert Explains Why ‘Unity’ Is So Elusive
In his Inaugural Address, Joe Biden spoke at length about unity, calling on Americans to “listen to one another, see one another, hear one another and show respect to one another.” But what would it really take to do that? Mylien Duong, a clinical psychologist and social-emotional learning research scientist, explains why listening and empathy are so complex and elusive.
Feb 9, 2021
Is It Still Teaching When the Professor Is Dead?
An online course at Concordia University is being taught by a legend of Canadian art -- well, by video lectures he recorded years ago. But a student in the course said he was surprised to find that even though the professor died in 2019, he's still listed as the teacher on the syllabus. What can we learn from this unusual moment in online teaching?
Feb 2, 2021
How the Race Between Vaccinations and COVID Variants Affects School Reopening
With COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out across the country, there's hope that more schools in the U.S. will soon go back to in-person learning. But there is also a sense of added urgency. But new strains of the coronavirus are emerging, bring a new sense of concern. Asaf Bitton, a physician, public health researcher, and executive director of Ariadne Labs, talks about how soon he sees a chance for kids to have "just a regular boring school day" again.
Jan 26, 2021
Teachers Are Going Viral on TikTok. Is That a Good Thing?
Teachers are becoming stars these days on TikTok, that social media platform for sharing short videos. Some of them say the platform serves as a kind of virtual teaching lounge during COVID. But is it a good thing for the teaching profession that classroom instructors are part of a site known for dance crazes, jokes and other irreverent content?
Jan 19, 2021
Lessons from Students and Professors Who Podcasted Their Campus Lives During the Fall Semester
Last semester was historic: the first full term under the shadow of COVID-19, and nobody really knew what to expect or how well various teaching adaptations would work. So what are some lessons from the fall semester? We talked with the professors and students who participated in our Pandemic Campus Diaries podcast series in the fall for their takeaways.
Jan 12, 2021
Are Colleges Partly to Blame for the Riot at the Capitol?
This week we talk with a history professor who thinks that not only can colleges do more to encourage civic education that could prevent future crises like the mob storming the U.S. Capitol last week, but that higher education is partly to blame for last week’s events.
Jan 6, 2021
EdSurge Podcast’s Top Moments of 2020
On this episode we’re going to revisit some of the most memorable moments from our podcast in 2020 -- and some bonus material that we wanted to get on but just didn’t quite fit.
Dec 29, 2020
How to Redesign Our Educational System for Lifelong Learning
The disruptions in the job market caused by COVID-19 mean colleges and employers will need to rethink the relationship between the workplace and the classroom. That’s according to Michelle Weise, who makes the case in her new book, Long Life Learning.
Dec 22, 2020
How the Brain ‘Grasps’ New Concepts
Forgetting is a feature, not a bug. That's one of the surprising truths about how the brain works in the new book "Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn." We talk with the book's co-author, Sanjay Sarma, a professor and the vice president for open learning at MIT.
Dec 15, 2020
Online or In Person: Which Choice Aced the Pandemic Semester? Campus Diaries Ep. 8
Some colleges were committed to doing as much in-person teaching and activities as possible this semester, even during this health crisis. While other colleges decided early on to focus attention online and pretty much shutter campus for now. For our series finale of the Pandemic Campus Diaries series, we ask: which decision was the right one for students and professors?
Dec 8, 2020
A Conversation With #EduColor's José Vilson About Inclusive Teaching
How can educators make their teaching more inclusive? For perspective and advice, we recently talked with José Vilson, co-founder and executive director of #EduColor, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to issues of race and social justice in education and author of “This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education."
Dec 1, 2020
How to Save Public Higher Ed. New Book Makes Case For Rethinking the Value of Colleges
This week's guest, John Warner, has just released a timely book with fresh arguments on how to frame this larger question of who should pay for higher education -- and even how we should think about college’s place in American life. The book is called “Sustainable. Resilient. Free.: The Future of Public Higher Education.”
Nov 24, 2020
‘No-Excuses’ and ‘Progressive’ Schools Are Training New Teachers Very Differently About Race
Residencies are the new trend in teacher education. What are they teaching about race? Victoria Thiesen-Homer, a postdoctoral research fellow at Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation, embedded herself in a no-excuses and a progressive residency school for her new book, “Learning to Connect: Relationships, Race, and Teacher Education."
Nov 17, 2020
What Lessons Have Emerged From the Pandemic Semester? Campus Diaries Ep. 7
This stressful and disrupted semester is leading professors to rethink how they teach, and helping students learn about themselves. But are there things that will stick even after the health emergency ends? Hear views from six campuses on the latest installment of our Pandemic Campus Diaries series.
Nov 10, 2020
Child Abuse Is Harder to Spot During the Pandemic. What Can Educators Do?
Other than their parents and caregivers, children spend more time with their teachers and school staff than with almost any other adults. So when something is wrong or seems off, educators are often the first to notice. As a result, educators end up detecting a significant number of child-abuse cases each year. But with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, these situations where trouble might be noticed have disappeared overnight. To get a sense of where this issue stands seven months into the pandemic, EdSurge connected with Bart Klika, chief research and strategy officer at Prevent Child Abuse America
Nov 3, 2020
High Stakes, High Anxiety This Election Day. Pandemic Campus Diaries Ep. 6
Today is Election Day in the U.S. And for this installment of our Pandemic Campus Diaries series, we are focusing on how the election and social unrest have been playing out on campuses during this pandemic semester. Students seem to be voting this election season like never before. But some professors are struggling to hold productive discussions of political issues in this polarized time.
Oct 27, 2020
Students Are Distracted. What Can Educators Do About It?
Students these days are distracted. Devices and social-media notifications constantly beckon, and in this time of COVID-19 and widespread remote instruction, the distractions have multiplied. So what are educators to do? EdSurge connected with James Lang, author of the new book "Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It."
Oct 20, 2020
Who Is Missing From College? Pandemic Campus Diaries Ep. 5
This week we’re focusing on who is disappearing from higher education due to the pandemic, and what professors are doing to try to keep students going in these challenging times. It's kind of a mystery story because it's incredibly difficult to determine who is missing when the people involved don't even see each other in the real world, and everyone is so focused on their own socially isolated bubbles.
Oct 13, 2020
Young People Don’t Always Show Up to Vote. Here’s How Education Can Help.
Research shows young citizens are motivated to vote. But they don’t always make it to the polls. Why not? To find out, we interviewed Sunshine Hillygus, political scientist and co-author of the new book “Making Young Voters.” She shares surprising insights about what kind of K-12 and higher education actually influences youth voting behavior. Hint: It’s not civics class.
Oct 6, 2020
No Study Groups and Cheating Concerns. Are Students Learning? Pandemic Campus Diaries, Ep. 4
What is studying like this semester when teaching is strained by safety measures like plexiglass barriers and masks in classrooms and online classes taught by so many professors who are new to the format and clearly struggling to figure out what works. Are students learning?
Sep 29, 2020
The Unusual Lengths School Bands Are Going to Keep Practices Safe, and Why It Matters
Scientists around the country have been teaming up with band educators to test what is and isn’t safe when it comes to music education, and what kind of protective gear or PPE works. We talk to a musician who has worked in so-called clean rooms to measure just what particles come out of various musical instruments.
Sep 22, 2020
During a Pandemic, Can College Be … Fun? Campus Diaries, Ep. 3
Getting the balance between safety and openness right is a continuous challenge during the pandemic. And much has clearly been lost in terms of social interaction this fall. Can colleges find a way to stay open and offer meaningful extracurricular activities?
Sep 15, 2020
Is Learning on Zoom the Same as In Person? Not to Your Brain
At this point the Zoom call has almost come to define learning and working in the age of COVID-19. A few months ago, people began realizing that all these video calls were making them tired—exhausted even—more so than a day of in-person class or all-day meetings. The phenomena even has a name: Zoom fatigue. And it’s backed by some pretty interesting brain science.
Sep 8, 2020
Is This College? Pandemic Campus Diaries, Ep. 2
Classes are back in session at colleges around the country. Well something like college classes are happening. But in this fall semester like no other, with a pandemic reshaping so many facets of our lives, can colleges pull off effective teaching that’s also safe? And if they can, does it feel like college?
Sep 1, 2020
Howard Gardner on His Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and Lessons for COVID-19 Era
Howard Gardner has made a long and influential career exploring the mind and how to think about it. This month Gardner came out with a different kind of book, one where he looks inward. It’s a memoir called A Synthesizing Mind. He argues that we need to encourage more synthesizing thinkers in this challenging moment of polarization and pandemic.
Aug 25, 2020
How Do You Prepare for a Pandemic Semester? Campus Diaries, Ep. 1
We’re doing something different on the podcast this week, and throughout this semester. We’ve enlisted professors and students at 6 colleges, and we’ve asked them to share audio diaries of college life in this unprecedented time. On this first installment of the series: Why this is not just about inconveniences of plexiglass barriers in classrooms and masked teaching. The stakes for this semester are high, and so are tensions.
Aug 18, 2020
Now That the Pandemic Hit, Will Employers Keep Giving Tuition Benefits?
Large employers like Walmart and Chipotle are spending more time, money and effort investing in training programs to prepare workers for what they see as the jobs of the future—at least they were before COVID-19 hit. On this week’s podcast, we hear from Rachel Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Guild Education, a company working to set up these education programs.
Aug 11, 2020
First-Year Teachers Reflect on the Pandemic
First-year teachers already face many challenges. The job is unpredictable, and for newcomers, that can be intimidating. Over the summer, EdSurge interview teachers whose first years were interrupted by COVID-19 last spring. On today’s podcast, we hear from three of the teachers we spoke to about the highs, the lows and the lessons learned from their first year teaching—face-to-face and from a distance.
Aug 4, 2020
New Challenges for College Retention in the COVID-19 Era
On this episode we look at what colleges can do to keep students on track even during the health and economic crisis of the global pandemic. We recorded this conversation live at the LearningMan virtual conference hosted by Arizona State University last month.
Jul 28, 2020
Why It’s So Hard to Lower the Cost of Textbooks
The college textbook publishing industry is offering colleges a new kind of deal: Order digital course materials in bulk at a discounted rate, then pass the savings on to students, who are automatically billed for subscriptions to online versions of their textbooks. These arrangements, often called “inclusive access” programs, tend to stir up controversy—and sometimes even lawsuits—when colleges adopt them. On this episode of the EdSurge Podcast, we examine why that is.
Jul 21, 2020
Longtime Educator Jamaal Bowman Is Headed to Congress. Here’s His Take on Reopening Schools
Jamaal Bowman started his career as an elementary school teacher. Then he became a high school guidance counselor and dean of students. After that, he founded his own public middle school in the Bronx and served as its principal for 10 years. In what has been called a stunning upset, the progressive Bowman defeated a 16-term incumbent in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the heels of his victory, Bowman spoke with EdSurge about the perspective he hopes to bring to Congress, what it will take to reopen schools safely and the role of educators in addressing systemic racism in America.
Jul 14, 2020
Should Instructors Rethink Final Exams? Some Profs Try 'Epic Finales'
When the pandemic hit, the traditional final exam just didn't seem to fit the moment for one physics professor. So she decided on a community-service project instead, and says it has made a more lasting impact on students than any blue book would have. She's one of several educators replacing final exams with "epic finales." (One even involved trained chickens.)
Jul 7, 2020
Fighting Misinformation in the Age of COVID-19
Information literacy has long been hard to teach—let’s face it, the landscape of online platforms changes so fast these days. And during this COVID-19 pandemic, it can seem harder than ever to sort out reliable information from falsehood, rumor and conspiracy. This week we're talking to two experts working to help educators and others sharpen their info literacy and critical thinking skills.
Jun 30, 2020
Do Selective Colleges Favor the Rich and Work Against the American Dream?
A new book, The Merit Myth, argues that selective colleges have become places that block social mobility, and instead “fast-track the elite to ever higher status.” One of its authors, Anthony Carnevale, makes the case for why higher education needs to be more accessible.
Jun 23, 2020
A First-Gen College Student Talks Fauxmencement, Loan Debt and Advice for Educators
Zipporah Osei is a first-generation college student who wants to fill in knowledge gaps about navigating colleges for others like her. So she started an email newsletter called First Gen. The project can help educators and school and college leaders get a clearer picture of what the college experience is like for those who have no family experience with higher education.
Jun 16, 2020
What a Forgotten Instructional Fad From the ‘70s Reveals About Teaching
In the 1960s and '70s, an experimental form of teaching made a big splash at colleges. It was called PSI, or the Personalized System of Instruction. And it's largely forgotten, says Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, author of a new book on the history of college teaching in America. Here's what today's colleges can learn from the fad.
Jun 9, 2020
Reading, Writing and .. AI Literacy? Conrad Wolfram Wants to ‘Fix’ Math Education
The coronavirus pandemic is the latest example of why math literacy is key to daily life, as people struggle to understand health statistics and attempts to "flatten the curve." Our guest this week, Conrad Wolfram, says that the education system has done a terrible job preparing us to live in a world where number crunching is more important than ever. He has a new book out this week called The Math Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age. In it, he proposed a new way for schools to think about math education, and what even needs to be taught and why.
Jun 2, 2020
Parents Are Getting More involved During Remote Learning. Is That a Good Thing?
Parenting is a tough job in the best of circumstances. And if you’re anything like me, it’s been even harder in the age of COVID-19, with the new role of helping students go through their online classes. Now that we’re more involved, are we doing it right? Are we too permissive or too helicoptering? In short, what does that ideal balance of parental involvement actually look like?
May 26, 2020
A Professor Known for Viral Videos Gives Advice for Teaching Online
Micheal Wesch is a rare professor who is a celebrity on YouTube. He’s made education videos that have gotten more than 10 million views, and Wired magazine once gave him an award for his innovative viral videos. He is also an award-winning classroom teacher. But he hates being on camera, and was initially reluctant to teach online. These days he's sharing his tips to help other professors work to better connect with students remotely.
May 19, 2020
Did Students Learn As Much During Remote Online Instruction?
As this chaotic and unexpected semester comes to a close, we wanted to know how well this online teaching went, and what it felt like from the instructor point of view. Was it as good? Did the students seem to learn as much? So for this week's podcast, we talk with two college professors who debrief about how the partially remote semester went.
May 12, 2020
Why Students Want Tuition Refunds Over Shift to Online Teaching
Should colleges be giving students a partial refund on tuition since their campuses were forced to shift teaching online for the COVID-19 pandemic? Students around the country say yes because they say that online is not as good as what they signed up for. But is college just like any other service, like dry cleaning or going to a restaurant? What are students paying for, and what are colleges really selling?
May 5, 2020
Researcher Behind ‘10,000-Hour Rule’ Says Good Teaching Matters, Not Just Practice
You've probably heard of the "10,000-hour rule" popularized by author Malcolm Gladwell, which says that it takes that much practice to gain mastery of a complex subject area. The professor who Gladwell cites as the basis of that rule, Anders Ericsson, says things are a bit more complicated than the popular author explained.
Apr 28, 2020
How YouTube Star John Green Thinks About His Educational Videos
In this time of pandemic, when schools and colleges have shifted teaching online to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, more and more teachers find themselves making videos for their students, and more students are turning to educational videos online. So for this week’s podcast, we decided to reach out to one of the masters of making educational videos, John Green, for his advice and thoughts on education during this unprecedented time.
Apr 21, 2020
Studying While Financially Stressed During COVID-19
Today we’re talking to two students facing financial challenges, as part of our series about how COVID-19 is impacting education. One is an undergrad struggling to balance his studies and a precarious financial situation at home, and the other is a grad student with six-figure debt with a surprisingly upbeat view of his situation.
Apr 16, 2020
What a Global 'Corona Diaries' Project Reveals About Education During The Pandemic
There's a new global effort called Corona Diaries. This simple but elegant website invites visitors to record a short audio clip answering one of three prompts: How was your day? How has your life changed? Or What’s troubling you right now? Even though people could talk about any aspect of their lives during COVID-19, a large percentage of the clips come from either parents struggling to homeschool their kids while schools are closed, or educators trying to make sense of this time.
Apr 14, 2020
One Teacher’s Year Inside the World’s Largest Library
The largest library in the world is the U.S. Library of Congress, and each year it invites one teacher to serve as a Teacher in Residence. This year that's Jen Reidel, and she's been at the Library of Congress researching, writing and seeking out primary sources that K-12 teachers across the country could use in their classroom lessons. Here's what she's learned.
Apr 7, 2020
When 7 Family Members Continue Their Studies While Sheltered In Place
One house in Massachusetts is suddenly brimming with remote learning. With seven family members all trying to keep their studies going while their schools or colleges are closed, it's an accidental experiment about how different students are reacting to emergency remote instruction.
Apr 2, 2020
The Future of K-12 School Post-Coronavirus
Today we’re looking at what K-12 schools could look like after social distancing is over and people reassess what they want from our school systems. To do that we talked with Simon Rodberg, who has been the principal of a charter school in DC, and is the author of a forthcoming book from ACSD called "What If I’m Wrong? and Other Key Questions for Decisive School Leadership."
Mar 31, 2020
How a Preschool for At-Risk Children Is Prioritizing Mental Health During COVID-19 Closures
Last fall, EdSurge wrote about a specialized preschool program in Ohio for kids who have experienced severe trauma. These are kids who depend on wraparound services such as meals, transportation and mental health services. So when the coronavirus hit and Ohio's governor closed schools, this program had to scramble to come up with a plan: How would they ensure their kids got fed? Would they have to stop counseling sessions? Would the TIP kids slip further behind?
Mar 26, 2020
Bonus Episode: Scenes From College Classes Forced Online by COVID-19
With college campuses across the country shut-down due to COVID-19, teaching has suddenly moved online. For many students and instructors, this is the first time they've done online learning. So how is it going? We talked with students and professors to hear what their experiences look and feel like so far.
Mar 23, 2020
‘Let Yourself Off the Hook’: Advice for Teachers and Parents During COVID-19
The new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to set in this week, as schools across the country have closed and shifted to online learning. This week on the podcast, EdSurge spoke with Christine Elgersma, a senior editor of social media and learning resources at the nonprofit Common Sense Media. As both a parent and a former teacher, Elgersma understands just how much is being asked of educators and families right now. She offers some actionable advice for teachers and parents looking to better support their children—and themselves.
Mar 17, 2020
How Librarians Continue Their Work Digitally Even as Coronavirus Closes Libraries
We’ve been doing a lot of coverage this month of schools and colleges closing and shifting online to try to finish out their semesters amid this pandemic. And of course, libraries that are being forced to shut their doors are trying to shift online too. To get a sense of what the widespread closure of libraries could mean, and hear some creative ways libraries are reaching out digitally, I connected yesterday with Jessamyn West, an educational technologist who runs the librarian.net blog and is author of "Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide."
Mar 11, 2020
Bonus Episode: Coronavirus Has Led to a Rush of Online Teaching. How Can Professors Manage?
Every day, a new batch of colleges announces that in-person classes are closed and teaching will shift online to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. So EdSurge asked our teaching advice columnist, Bonni Stachowiak, to offer a quick primer for teaching online. We also talk to her about a debate that has been going on among long-time online teaching experts about whether it’s a good or a bad thing for online learning that there’s this crisis forcing so many to try this mode of instruction.
Mar 10, 2020
How Education is Becoming the Front Lines for Debating the Role of Algorithms
Even though SXSWedu was cancelled, we pressed on with our planned session—recorded remotely rather than in person. We talk to researchers and students confronting how algorithms are being applied in educational settings.
Mar 4, 2020
Bonus Episode: Healing the Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis
On this bonus episode of the EdSurge Podcast we’re talking about the youngest victims of the opioid crisis. They’re preschoolers whose parents or caregivers misuse pain killers, or have moved on to addictions to heroin or other street drugs as a result. One expert called these kids “America’s lost children.” Of course educators haven’t given up on these kids. But teaching them brings unique challenges. EdSurge reporter Emily Tate talks about one program making a difference.
Mar 3, 2020
What Does Inclusive Teaching Look Like?
How can teachers keep any racial or cultural bias they might have out of their classrooms, and make sure every student feels equally valued? To tackle that big question, we talked to Justin Reich, the host of a new podcast about teaching that comes out of MIT. The podcast is called TeachLab, about the art and craft of teaching, and its first season is devoted to becoming a more equitable teacher.
Feb 25, 2020
Dave Eggers on Finding Creative Refuge From the ‘Lunacy’ of Technology
Dave Eggers is best known for his best-selling books, including The Circle and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. But he's also an education advocate, having helped start a series of unusual writing centers around the country. For this week's podcast, we talked with Eggers about his thoughts on the growing use of technology in the classroom, and what he sees as a need for "refuge" from the digital.
Feb 18, 2020
How ‘Dialogue’ Can Create Empathy in a Divided Classroom
In many classrooms these days, student discussion can grow so heated that passion threatens to overwhelm productive conversation. And in today’s highly polarized atmosphere, when a comment taken out of context can go viral on social media, the consequences of an out-of-control conversation can be severe. But there’s another option. This week on the podcast, we’re learning about “dialogue,” a type of mediated discussion that may help students and educators tackle touchy topics more productively.
Feb 11, 2020
Why Talking About ‘Screen Time’ Is the Wrong Conversation
Today we’re diving into this issue of screen time, with a guest who for years has tracked research about the impact of screen media on children and young people. She’s Lisa Guernsey, director of the Teaching, Learning, and Tech program at New America. She says she has a better way to think about regulating tech, including a model of how educators and librarians can become better mentors for students and parents.
Feb 4, 2020
A Case For Educational Innovation Without ‘Disruption’
There’s a budding field called the science of teaching and learning, where scholars are figuring out what works when it comes to educating students. But there’s a challenge -- of getting those findings to folks at the front of the classroom, you know, to make sure no one is reading their PowerPoints aloud, or using techniques that don’t connect with students. A new book focuses on how to move these “science of teaching” findings into actual teaching.
Jan 28, 2020
Students Today Are Learning All The Time. Can Schools Keep Up?
Not so long ago, students did most of their learning at school, and maybe while doing homework or during trips to the museum. Now, learning—like the internet—is everywhere thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and chromebooks. Julie Evans, the CEO of education nonprofit Project Tomorrow, spends a lot of time measuring how young people learn and interact with others. As it turns out, what students say they want from their school experience, or about learning in general, can be rather illuminating for those charged with teaching them.
Jan 21, 2020
How Stretching to Pay for College Is Altering Middle Class Life
In an usual study on student debt, NYU anthropologist Caitlin Zaloom sat down with more than 160 people—students and parents—and got them to open up their financial books and talk about the toll of paying for college. We talked with Zaloom about what surprised her most from her research, what she thinks should be done, and how she has changed her thinking about saving for college for her own young children.
Jan 14, 2020
Can Teaching 'Hope' Revive Democracy?
A new book argues that hope is something that can be taught, and that it is the key to countering today's heightened polarization and cynicism. We sat down with the author, Sarah Stitzlein, a professor of education at the University of Cincinnati, to hear how her own attempts to teach hope have made an impact, and her advice on how to approach the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Jan 7, 2020
When a Homecoming Video Raises Questions About Campus Diversity
A two-minute video made by students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison was meant to promote school spirit and campus unity during homecoming festivities a couple months ago. But some students had a very different reaction as they watched scene after scene of students working and playing around campus, where almost every one of the students shown was white. It's a telling example of issues going on around the country when it comes diversity on campuses—and the struggle to create a climate where diverse populations feel at home on campuses.
Dec 31, 2019
Encore Episode: How Far Parents Will Go to Save on College
Parents are giving up custody of their kids to get need-based college financial aid. That was a headline in August in ProPublica Illinois, and it got people talking once again about the madness around college admissions. In comments on the ProPublica article and in other online forums, though, plenty of people chimed in expressing sympathy for these Chicago-area parents, calling their move a clever solution to an overwhelming challenge facing their children. To these commenters, the real problem is the high cost of college and what they see as unfair rules around how much parents are expected to contribute.
Dec 24, 2019
Teaching Students How to Live a Good Life
When people think of education, they often picture content knowledge in subjects like reading, writing or arithmetic. But there’s a growing interest in bigger questions—like whether schools, colleges or job-training programs teach the social and emotional skills people need to make it in today’s complex world. For our final podcast of the year, we get philosophical, looking at ideas of what a good life looks like.
Dec 17, 2019
Why Music Education Is More Than Learning How to Play
If you were fortunate enough to have music education in school, what were those classes like? Musicians and music educators alike say that learning music is so much more than just playing an instrument, or learning about your favorite artists. It’s a window into other disciplines and life skills, and teaches you how to learn and get along.
Dec 10, 2019
A Podcast for Every Discipline? The Rise of Educational Audio
It's well-known that podcasting is huge these days. But you might not realize how many educational podcasts are out there. By educational, we mean shows that promise to teach listeners some super-focused topic, like a specific period of history or an academic discipline. Today we’re digging into this growing subculture of educational podcasting, and look at how educators are using these podcasts in formal classes, in ways that make a unique contribution to their teaching.
Dec 3, 2019
When College Becomes a Benefit of Employment
These days working at a fast-food restaurant or other service-industry job often comes with a new benefit—a college education. Well, more employers, including big-names like Starbucks and McDonalds, are offering tuition-assistance to workers, or even letting them take courses for free. This is part two of our two-part series asking how well these education-as-a-benefit programs work? And who do they work for?
Nov 26, 2019
How Algorithms are Changing Low-Wage Work
A growing number of fast-food restaurants have added free or heavily-subsidized college education options for their workers. But how well do these new benefits work in practice? And what kinds of people do they best serve? In the first of a two-part series, we look at how tech is changing low-wage work—and what one author sees as obstacles to these new education-as-a-benefit programs.
Nov 19, 2019
Many Frustrated Teachers Say It’s Not Burnout—It’s Demoralization
A few years ago, after more two decades in the classroom, Chrissy Romano-Arribito began to experience something that may sound familiar to a lot of teachers: burnout. Or not burnout, exactly, but demoralization. Experts like Bowdoin College education chair Doris Santoro, author of the book “Demoralized,” note that as systemic pressure, such as top-down initiatives or punitive evaluation systems, crowd out teacher autonomy, they feel they can no longer tap into what “makes their work morally good.”
Nov 12, 2019
The Latest Innovation in Student Retention at Colleges: 'Food Scholarships'
College kids have a reputation for seeking out free food, and that's why any student organizer knows that ordering pizza is a good way to lure folks to a meeting. But for many students, hunger is a more serious problem. Many campus leaders are trying new ways to address the problem of 'food insecurity' on campus—which can impact professors as well as students.
Nov 5, 2019
What Happened to the '$100 Laptop' Project?
Back in 2005, one of the biggest stories in tech was a push by a group of MIT professors to build a $100 laptop and give them to children in schools around the world. It was presented as a feel-good story that no one could object to. The story of how these laptops grew into a cultural phenomenon, what their educational impact was, and of what happened to them after they faded from public discussion, is the subject of a new book by Morgan Ames, an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley.
Oct 29, 2019
Speed Demons: How Quantum Computing Could Change Education
Computing experts love speed races, and there’s an ongoing battle to build the fastest computer on earth. Usually the overall trend follows what’s known as Moore’s Law, with the speed of the fastest computer doubling every 14 months or so. But last week saw the announcement of a new kind of speed record. A team of scientists from Google said they used a quantum computer to solve a problem in less than four minutes that would have taken a traditional supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. What could quantum computing mean for education?
Oct 22, 2019
An Astronaut’s Guide to Culturally Responsive Teaching
In 1995, NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris became the first African American to perform a spacewalk, and he has spent more than 18 days in space. Today, he's the CEO of NMSI, the National Math and Science Initiative, which runs programs designed to boost the number of STEM teachers. We talked with Dr. Harris about his mission to bring in culturally responsive teaching in STEM, and we asked what it's like to go to space (and what space food really tastes like.)
Oct 15, 2019
A ’Golden Age’ of Teaching and Learning at Colleges?
Researchers are making new discoveries these days about how people learn, and some of those findings are making their way onto campus, in the form of new teaching practices. That has Matthew Rascoff, associate vice provost for digital education and innovation at Duke University, excited about the possibility to make wide-scale improvements in how colleges teach.
Oct 8, 2019
The Internet Can Be a Force for Good. Here’s How.
What does it mean to be a good citizen? That question is complicated by today's digital environment, since today's kids—and adults too—live in both online and offline worlds. EdSurge sat down with one of the foremost experts on helping navigate these issues: Marialice Curran, founder and executive director of the Digital Citizenship Institute. Curran suggests some simple things anyone can do to be a better citizen, both on and offline.
Oct 1, 2019
Can a Sitcom Teach Philosophy? Meet a Scholar Advising 'The Good Place'
Today we’re talking about teaching using popular culture, and we’re focusing on a quirky TV comedy called The Good Place. The show is led by Michael Schur, who previously wrote for The Office and Parks and Recreation. But there’s an unusual person in the writer’s room of The Good Place—an academic philosopher from Clemson University, professor Todd May—one of our guests today. But can a network sitcom accurately teach concepts like existentialism and the works of Plato and Kant? And how much should colleges use pop culture in their courses?
Sep 24, 2019
The Challenge of Teaching News Literacy
This week on the podcast we’re talking about news literacy, and the challenge of teaching students to navigate the relentless flow of information they get through social media and websites and YouTube and ... podcasts. Our guest, Peter Adams, has years of experience working with students like Luquin, first as a classroom teacher, then as a college instructor, and currently as senior vice president for education at the News Literacy Project.
Sep 19, 2019
Bonus Episode: How Choosing College is Like Buying a Milkshake
What happens when a popular theory of market research used by fast-food restaurants (to do things like improve their milkshakes) is applied to the process of choosing a college? We talked to Michael Horn, co-author of a new book that does just that. But does it make sense to bring a theory from dollar-menu items to higher education?
Sep 17, 2019
The Fight to Preserve African-American History
For this week’s podcast, we’re looking at the role that African-American scholars and teachers have played in preserving the history of slavery and its aftermath, which in so many ways is still not widely known and appreciated. We talk with scholars who helped mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in what would become America. Episode page: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-09-17-the-fight-to-preserve-and-teach-african-american-history
Sep 10, 2019
A Bored Student Hacked His School's Systems. Will the Edtech Industry Pay Attention?
This week we’re talking about cybersecurity at schools—and how secure—or in some cases how vulnerable—the tech systems in school systems are. At the center of our story: Bill Demirkapi, who managed to bust into two key student information systems of his high school, then tried to tell the edtech companies to get them to fix their software—with mixed results. Episode page: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-09-10-a-bored-student-hacked-his-school-s-systems-will-the-edtech-industry-pay-attention
Sep 3, 2019
Satirical Takes on Higher Ed and Why They Matter
What is your favorite satirical take on higher education? Maybe Jane Smiley’s "Moo." Or Don DeLillo’s "White Noise"? Or it could be Rodney Dangerfield’s "Back to School." Let’s face it, there almost endless works of fiction poking fun at academic life. As the summer ends and we head into the fall semester, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate this rich tradition of parody of academic life, and look at what these works say about the big challenges facing higher education today. For this episode, we talk to three different writing professors with something to say about satire. One is the author of an acclaimed academic satire. Another did an unusual work of satire on Twitter to call attention to the plight of adjuncts. And the third has a suggestion for the academic satire that he wishes someone out there would write. Episode page: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-09-03-satirical-takes-on-higher-ed-and-why-they-matter Julie Schumacher's recommended works of campus satire:…
Aug 27, 2019
Forget the Scientific Method — Why We May Be Teaching Science All Wrong
What if teaching the scientific method in schools is giving students the wrong idea about how rigorous work is done by scientists? That’s the unusual hypothesis being made by John Rudolph, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of “How We Teach Science: What's Changed, and Why It Matters.” We sat down with Rudolph to talk about the fascinating history of teaching the subject in the U.S., and why we’re still searching for the right approach. Episode page: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-08-27-should-schools-teach-the-scientific-method-new-book-says-maybe-not
Aug 20, 2019
The New Jim Code? Race and Discriminatory Design
People have a tendency to treat technology and big data as neutral, sterile and immune to mortal failings. Yet the digital tools we use at schools, jobs and home don’t simply fall from the sky—humans produce them. And that means human biases can and do slip right into the algorithms. We talked with Ruha Benjamin, associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of new book “Race After Technology.” She points out that some people’s fantasies are other people’s nightmares.
Aug 13, 2019
Can Anyone Be an Inventor? Why MIT’s Invention Education Officer Says Yes
When you hear the word “inventor,” you might think of household names like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, or the Wright brothers. But today, there are plenty of young inventors whose names you’ve never heard of—not yet, anyway. These are middle and high school students who have developed solutions to major economic and social challenges, ranging from health care and transportation to agriculture and the environment. Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer at the Lemelson-MIT program, thinks all students—no matter their GPAs or ZIP codes or learning challenges—can be inventors.
Aug 6, 2019
Mixed Reactions to the Latest College Admissions Scandal
Parents are giving up custody of their kids to get need-based college financial aid. That was a headline last week in ProPublica Illinois, and it got people talking once again about the madness around college admissions. In comments on the ProPublica article and in other online forums, though, plenty of people chimed in expressing sympathy for these Chicago-area parents, calling their move a clever solution to an overwhelming challenge facing their children. To these commenters, the real problem is the high cost of college and what they see as unfair rules around how much parents are expected to contribute.
Jul 30, 2019
How to Bring ‘Mastery Learning’ to the Classroom
One of the most popular topics these days in education is mastery learning—the idea that the pace of a class should match what each student is ready to learn, as a way to ensure they’re really grasping material. But it can be hard to show educators what mastery learning looks like in practice. Cara Johnson has extensive experience both teaching and helping others using the approach. She talked with EdSurge about how she reaches parents and skeptical students—and shares her best tips for a successful mastery classroom.
Jul 23, 2019
What 6 Million Syllabi Reveal About Higher Education
What if you could map every book and article assigned in college courses around the world and see which authors are making the most impact? A project run out of Columbia University is working to do just that. It’s called the Open Syllabus Project, and this month its leaders released a new version of their tool that analyzes assignment lists from more than six million syllabi. But there could be unintended consequences.
Jul 17, 2019
Bonus Episode: When an Online Teaching Job Becomes a Window into Child Abuse
Online tutoring is big business—especially for a growing number of companies that connect native English-speaking teachers with children in China for live video lessons. These services can work really well as second jobs teachers in the U.S., who can wake up early and get in a couple of hours of tutoring before going to their classroom jobs. But some teachers say they’ve wound up facing unexpected encounters, as they’ve witnessed parents engage in harsh physical discipline on screen that some describe as abusive. So what do you do when you’ve seen something like this? And what should the companies who run these tutoring services do? Read the full story at http://bit.ly/tutoringconcerns
Jul 16, 2019
Sal Khan: Test Prep Is ’the Last Thing We Want to Be’
For most of us, hearing something just once isn’t nearly enough to commit it to memory. But with today’s crowded curriculum, sometimes one explanation is all kids get. Ten years ago, Sal Khan set out to change that with his Khan Academy videos, which let kids replay lessons as many times as they want. EdSurge sat down with Khan to discuss his vision for reinventing schools, his recent focus on testing and what he thinks about the recent stumbles of AltSchool, a nearby network of tech-driven independent schools.
Jul 9, 2019
What Impact Investing Means in Education
“Impact investing” is a term that has become increasingly trendy. And one of the largest higher-ed foundations—The Lumina Foundation—is getting in the game. John Duong, managing director of Lumina Impact Ventures, explains how venture capital supports its mission to drive better postsecondary outcomes, and why “impact-washing” (a spin on whitewashing) is increasingly becoming a concern.
Jul 2, 2019
Meet Anthony Johnson: Teacher of the Year. Rebel ‘Mayor.’ High School Drop-Out.
This week’s podcast features an unlikely education leader. His name is Anthony Johnson, and the title of his book explains the unlikely part: it’s called High School Dropout to Teacher of the Year. Johnson’s story is about second chances and falling in love, the surprising parallels between his work as a correctional officer and his work as an educator and what it means to reinvent the system that failed him. Listen here.
Jun 25, 2019
Higher Ed Has Become an 'Entrepreneurial and Philanthropic Wild West’
Plenty of groups these days are trying to reinvent college. There are entrepreneurs and foundations rushing to try to offer higher education in new shapes, sizes, formats and price points. Meanwhile at colleges, researchers and innovators are diving into learning science and experimenting with new teaching methods as well. But those groups don’t always talk to each other, or even know about each other are working on. This week on the podcast we talk with Mitchell Stevens, a Stanford University sociology professor who wants to create more 'connective tissue' among these disparate groups.
Jun 18, 2019
What It’s Like Navigating the Strictest Student Privacy Law in the Country
In Louisiana, educators have to worry about privacy when it comes to technology. The state has perhaps the most restrictive data-privacy law in the country when it comes to education, where violators can be punished by up to six months in prison or $10,000 in fines. EdSurge sat down with Kim Nesmith, director of data governance, privacy, and edtech for the Louisiana Department of Education, to talk about the strictest student data privacy law in the country—and what it takes to help Louisiana educators face their fears and offer technology services to students and families in spite of that law (and with a healthy awareness of privacy).
Jun 11, 2019
Can Work Be Dignified in an Automated World?
“Someone should create a Center for Social Solutions, identify a handful of challenges and try to work on them over the next decade.” That directive guided professor, historian and author Earl Lewis to start just such a center at the University of Michigan. EdSurge sat down with Lewis to talk about how the center is using research to tackle some of the biggest challenges our world faces today.
Jun 4, 2019
Transgender Students Are Still at Risk, But Schools Can Help
At a time when more than 7 in 10 transgender students face bullying or harassment over their gender identity, some advocates are trying to buck the troubling trend and create more inclusive environments for students. Advocates Becca Mui and Vanessa Ford share their thoughts on gender-neutral bathrooms, tackling bullying and how every school can prioritize safety for all students.
May 30, 2019
Bonus Episode: No Difference Between Public and For-Profit Higher Ed?
"I no longer think there's a huge difference between for-profit and public higher education," Tweeted George Siemens, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington and a longtime observer of tech in higher education. "Sit in enough faculty meetings, meet with enough leadership, and it becomes clear that it's all about money." The argument got some pushback from others who disagreed, so we reached out to Siemens and others in the conversation to hear them out.
May 28, 2019
Inside a Student’s Hunt for His Own Learning Data
It's hard for students, professors or even journalists to get a glimpse of just how much data colleges collect on students these days as they go about their coursework. That didn’t stop Bryan Short, who was a student at the University of British Columbia in 2016 when he got curious to know what information the learning management system at his university had collected on him and how it was being used. And what he found—that is, once he got a hold of it—left him feeling pretty uneasy.
May 21, 2019
Better Representation in Artificial Intelligence Starts Early
Artificial intelligence is changing things—or, the people who are building the algorithms and technologies behind artificial intelligence are. And one of the challenges with bias in Artificial Intelligence tends to come down to who has access to these careers in the first place, and that's the area that Tess Posner, CEO of the nonprofit AI4All, is trying to address. EdSurge sat down with Posner, who told us about how her organization works with diverse youth to introduce them to AI fields and careers.
May 14, 2019
How Goddard's New President Hopes to Save the Struggling Experimental College
Bernard Bull has long been a champion of experimental higher ed models. And one of his biggest inspirations throughout his career has been a tiny college in Vermont called Goddard College. And one day Bull got offered a dream job as president of Goddard. But there was one catch. As he went through the interview process, he found out the famed college is broke, and in danger of closing. We asked Bull how he hopes to turn things around.
May 7, 2019
Why Social-Emotional Learning Is Suddenly in the Spotlight
In the last few years, terms like “whole child” and “social-emotional learning” have become buzzwords. But behind the buzzwords are programs, often led and managed by schools, that take into account all the different things a child needs to be able to learn and grow, even if those things reach outside the traditional roles of a school. EdSurge sat down with Christina Cipriano, the director of research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a research scientist at the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine.
Apr 30, 2019
Adult Students Have Moved Into the Mainstream. How Can Colleges Adjust?
Hollywood comedies like last year's Life of the Party portray adult students as fish out of water in higher education. But the reality is that these students are in the majority these days, often taking online programs or new offerings designed to serve them. We talk with Marie Cini, president of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, a group working to support programs for these so-called nontraditional students, the real-life versions of the character played by Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party.
Apr 23, 2019
Teachable Moments Part 4: What We Learn When We Teach
Teaching isn’t a simple one-way exchange. Often there are lessons to be learned from the very act of teaching, whether it’s an instructor finding new ways to reach—or not reach—students, to watching students grow before your eyes to discovering what makes collaborative learning so successful. Those are some of the examples educators shared with us on this week’s podcast.
Apr 16, 2019
The Fast-Changing and Competitive World of Grad Degrees
There’s a boom in the number of grad degrees and certificates being awarded these days, especially as more colleges have moved to offer degrees online. And these degrees are now offered in different shapes and sizes, and in some cases at the faction of the price of in-person degrees. To help understand this shifting landscape, EdSurge sat down with Sean Gallagher, who has written a book on the future of university credentials, and runs a center at Northeastern University that tracks this area.
Apr 11, 2019
EXTRA: Is The SAT Secure? What the College Board Is Doing to Respond to the Admissions Scandal
The college admissions scandal, which the FBI codenamed Varsity Blues, has raised questions about the fairness and validity of the admissions process as a whole, and specifically about whether the SAT is as secure as it should be. EdSurge sat down with Jeremy Singer, president of the College Board, the group that administers the SAT, to ask how the group is responding, and what it felt like to get the call that the test had been gamed in this way.
Apr 9, 2019
Teachable Moments Part 3: Reaching Students Through Technology
It’s easy to think of the ways that technology can make humans feel alienated or alone. But technology has also brought people—and teachers and students—together in new ways that have inspired learning. This is the third episode of a four part series about why teachers teach called “Teachable Moments.” We'll hear directly from educators who attended the EdSurge Fusion conference last fall about the challenges they face, and what brings them joy in teaching.
Apr 2, 2019
Why Students Can’t Write — And Why Tech is Part of the Problem
Writing is more important than ever, but today’s students are lousy at it. And John Warner, an author, book columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and longtime writing instructor, has some ideas about why that is, and how to fix it. EdSurge talked with Warner recently about his sometimes surprising ideas about the crisis in writing instruction, including why he thinks FitBits are part of the problem.
Mar 26, 2019
Teachable Moments Part 2: Teaching In and Out of the Classroom
It’s often said that teaching and learning doesn’t always take place in the classroom. And the same is true for educators, whose teaching philosophies can be shaped by lessons that come from being a parent or coach, traveling abroad, or advancing into a new role. That was the case for four teachers featured on episode two of our four-part series on why teachers teach.
Mar 19, 2019
Working to Bring Diversity to Tech is a ‘Trek for a Lifetime’
Maria Klawe is on a mission to bring more diversity to tech, and she's made progress as president of Harvey Mudd College, which is known as a powerhouse in engineering and computer science. But she isn’t declaring victory. In fact, she is the first to say she hasn’t done enough to make sure computer science is welcoming to all groups, including people of color. Here's why—and why she says the effort may never end.
Mar 12, 2019
Teachable Moments Part 1: Seeing Students Differently
When students struggle, so do educators. That’s why this week on the podcast, we hear from four educators who remember a time when they faced difficulty with an issue or a student, but overcame that struggle to find a positive outcome. This episode is the first of a four-part series we’re launching in partnership with Listenwise about why teachers teach, called Teachable Moments.
Mar 8, 2019
Why Elementary Schools Should Teach Kids to Play Poker
Maria Konnikova doesn’t buy the 10,000 hour rule—that theory popularized by Malcolm Gladwell that it takes at least 10,000 hours of serious practice to become a world-class expert at an activity. She believes she’s found a way to short-circuit it, and it involves marshmallows and poker. We sat down Konnikova, a bestselling author and contributing writer for The New Yorker, this week at SXSW EDU.
Mar 5, 2019
The Evolving Role of Race in Children’s Lit, From ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘The Hate U Give’
Many children grow up looking up to and learning from the characters they read about in books. But what about the kids who can’t find any characters that look like them? This week on the podcast, Ebony Thomas, a children’s literature researcher and critic, describes her own experiences with this, and explains why there are still so few protagonists of color in children’s books today.
Feb 26, 2019
Much Ado About MOOCs: Where Are We in the Evolution of Online Courses?
Much has changed since 2012 or, as the New York Times dubbed, the “Year of the MOOC.” Where are these online course providers today—and how are universities responding? At this month’s EdSurge meetup, experts weighed in on the state of MOOCs in 2018. One thorny issue: Confusion over different micro-credentials and what they exactly signal to employers. Here’s what else they had to say.
Feb 19, 2019
The Science of Empathy: What Researchers Want Teachers to Know
There’s a lot we don’t know about how the brain works. But scientists are finding out more everyday—like how empathy can affect learning and student outcomes. This weekend, EdSurge caught up with John Medina, an affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Here’s why the molecular biologist says teachers should be “the cognitive neuroscientists of learning.”
Feb 12, 2019
Can Online Education Lower Costs and Improve Quality?
Inspired by the breakout podcast Serial, a few years ago two digital learning leaders at the University of Central Florida created their own podcast—focused on online learning instead of true crime. It’s called the Teaching Online Podcast, or TOPcast, and co-host Thomas Cavanagh says he is driven by his quest to figure out one of the grand challenges of higher education: how to use technology to raise the quality of instruction while lowering costs. Not everyone thinks that’s possible, of course, and even Cavanagh, vice provost for digital learning at the University of Central Florida, admits that edtech can spark plenty of new ethical challenges along the way. Each month, he and co-host Kelvin Thompson executive director of the Center for Distributed Learning at UCF, give their analysis of trends in online learning over a cup of fancy coffee—and these days their fans often send them beans to brew and fuel the show. EdSurge connected with Cavanagh (online of course) to talk…
Feb 5, 2019
Is Teaching an Art or a Science? New Book Takes a Fresh Look at ‘How Humans Learn.’
Just how do humans learn? And can science unlock secrets of the learning process that can help teachers and professors be more effective in their classrooms? One of the latest people to tackle those questions is Josh Eyler, in a new book called How Humans Learn. But as Eyler warns readers at the outset, he’s not a scientist himself, but a humanist with a PhD in Medieval studies. And it turns out that is what makes the book such an interesting and unusual take on what is becoming a hot topic. Eyler certainly spends a lot of time thinking about teaching these days, since his day job is now the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice University. And while his book offers plenty of practical tips, it doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. By offering a guided tour of a variety of theories on the question of human learning, he may just cause you to rethink what teaching even is. We talked with Eyler about what surprised him most as he dove into the topic, and what he…
Jan 29, 2019
The Professor Who Quit His Tenured Job to Make Podcasts and Lecture Videos
Listen to the EdSurge On Air podcast? We want to hear from you! Fill out this five-minute survey, and you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/edsurgepodcast What’s life like after quitting a tenured job as a professor to become a freelance educator, making video courses and podcasts for a living? That’s one question we had for Kevin deLaplante, who did just that when he left Iowa State University in 2015 to focus on running his Argument Ninja Podcast and teaching courses on his online Critical Thinker Academy, both aimed at bringing concepts from his scholarship to a popular audience. One area he’s exploring these days is the rise of tribalism in U.S. politics and culture, and how it’s leading to polarization that is making it hard for us to talk to each other. He’s arguing for a new kind of “tribal literacy,” so we can better understand how humans are hard-wired to be drawn to certain tribal behaviors that, in too large a dose, can…
Jan 23, 2019
How Much Artificial Intelligence Should There Be in the Classroom?
Should we build robot teachers, or even robot teaching assistants? And if so, what’s the right mix of man and machine in the classroom? To get a fresh perspective on that question, this episode we take you to China, where a couple of us from EdSurge recently traveled for a reporting trip. One of the events we peeked in on was a two-day conference about artificial intelligence in education organized by a company called Squirrel AI. It’s vision felt unusually utopian. The company’s co-founder, Derek Li, said during a keynote that replacing some teaching functions with AI-powered software would supercharge the country’s education system. Speaking to a crowd of some 2,000 attendees, he said, quote, “If our children are educated by AI teachers, then their potential can be fully realized.” He mentioned that he himself has two young sons, twins, who he says are very different from each other, and he believes that having AI-driven tutors or instructors will help them each get th…
Jan 15, 2019
As OER Grows Up, Advocates Stress More Than Just Low Cost
Open educational resources hit a turning point in 2018. For the first time ever, the federal government put forward funds to support initiatives around open educational resources, and recent studies show that faculty attitudes towards using and adapting these openly-licensed learning materials are steadily improving. But, fans of OER are increasingly facing a problem. While OER started off as free online textbooks, it still costs money to produce these materials, and professors often need guidance finding which ones are high quality. So OER advocates are realizing they need to change their pitch. While cost is still a big part of the draw, people are increasingly talking about student success and pointing to the fact that when these textbooks are open and unlicensed online, that lets professors customize them and mix and match them in new ways and improve the quality of the education. This week on the EdSurge On Air podcast, we're diving into how the OER movement is changing, and we…
Jan 8, 2019
How To Keep Kids From Being Mean Online
Author, speaker and school consultant Ana Homayoun works with teenagers on organization, time management and overall wellness. And as tech and social media have accelerated over the years, her job has increasingly involved keeping up with the ways young people use social media, and advising parents, teachers and even tech companies about what they need to know. Homayoun’s latest book is about what she’s learned over the years on this topic, and it’s called “Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World.” EdSurge sat down with her to learn more about what’s happening in this space, and how parents and educators can make sense of the digital and social media world that’s happening all around us.
Jan 1, 2019
How to Move From Digital Substitution to ‘Deeper Learning’
Replacing VHS tapes with YouTube clips is probably not the ideal version of moving a classroom into the 21st century. While that type of digital substitution may tick the boxes of education technology frameworks like SAMR, it doesn’t always provide an opportunity for deep thinking and real-world learning. So how do teachers actually create meaningful work and allow students real agency in a 21st century classroom? EdSurge talked with Scott McLeod, associate professor of education leadership at the University of Colorado in Denver. He’s the author of “Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning,” which explores how his “four shifts” protocol can help educators test whether their practices and pedagogies support the goals of learning in the digital age.
Dec 26, 2018
This Administrator Helped Shape Tech at Colleges For More Than 40 Years. Here’s His Outlook.
To get to Marty Ringle’s office at Reed College, you have to climb to the top floor of the Educational Technology Center building and get buzzed past a locked door that says “This is a Secure Area.” It felt like I was making a pilgrimage to the digital equivalent of a wise old master on the top of some mountain. And in some ways that’s not too far off. You see, Marty Ringle has been working in educational technology for more than 40 years, and he’s seen it all—the birth of the PC and and their early use at colleges, the building out of the internet, which started at colleges, and the arrival of smartphones. In fact, he was personal friends with Steve Jobs, and he heard one of the early pitches for what would become the first iPod. I made the trip recently to seek out Ringle’s perspective. After all, while tech has brought plenty of changes, not all of them have been positive. Sure it’s nice to take an Uber, but there are plenty of ways that online networks have also b…
Dec 18, 2018
How Can School Leaders Personalize Learning? New Book Offers a Guide.
Personalized learning has been an education buzzword for several years. A recent survey of by the state education technology directors association, or SETDA, put personalized learning at the top of the list of state priorities. But how do school leaders really do personalized learning? A new book offers something like a step-by-step manual. It’s called Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Change, written by two long-time school innovators, Cathy Sanford and by our guest today, Shawn Rubin. Rubin spent 10 years in the classroom, and he has been the Chief Education officer at the HIghlander Institute since 2011, and has led personalized learning efforts in Rhode Island schools. He designed the Highlander Institute’s “Fuse” program, which trains educators to lead personalized learning in schools and districts. His new book offers a five-step framework to help school leaders and teacher teams design and implement blended and personalized learning initiatives base…
Dec 11, 2018
How This Famed Chinese Venture Capitalist Thinks AI Will Reshape Teaching
Artificial intelligence promises to have a dramatic—and yes, disruptive—effect on education and over jobs during the next decade. And here’s a second big trend—the role of China and Chinese companies, particularly those building products or services laced with the machine learning algorithms that we call “AI.” If you wanted to get a glimpse into what these twin forces mean for the world—and for education and learning—there's perhaps no better expert than Kai-Fu Lee. Dr. Lee has done it all: He’s been an enormously influential researcher, driving forward work on AI. Originally from Taiwan, he came the US at age 11 and went on to earn degrees from Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University. He then went on to have pivotal roles at Apple, Microsoft and Google, serving as president of Google China. He started a venture capital firm in 2009 based in Beijing called Sinoventures. He’s written eight top-selling books in China and has more than 50 million followers…
Dec 4, 2018
What Teaching to the Whole Child Looks Like in Action
It’s one of the biggest buzzwords in education today: the whole child. Basically, it’s the idea that educating students is about more than what’s said in class. Factors like nutrition, home life and out-of-school relationships can all play a huge role in how kids learn—and it’s something more schools are starting to pay attention to. The theory behind whole child is one thing. How it gets put into practice is something else entirely. That’s something Jonathan Raymond had to learn on the job. Raymond is former superintendent of Sacramento City Unified and author of “Wildflowers: A School Superintendent's Challenge to America.” This week, we hear from Raymond about what teaching to the whole child looks like in action.
Nov 27, 2018
In China, a Generation Raised by 'Tiger Mothers' Seeks a Softer Approach
For Nancy Xu, childhood revolved around her studies. That meant early-morning bus rides to school, loads of after-school classes, and by high school, spending 12 hours a day on coursework. Xu grew up in northwestern China, and the reason for all that studying was a high-stakes test called the Gaokao, a nationwide college-entrance exam. In many cases, this one ultracompetitive test determines what kind of job the student will be able to pursue as an adult. For Xu, all that studying paid off. She wound up earning a slot at a prestigious university in Shanghai, where she now lives and runs an education consulting company called Cevolution. The system worked for her. But now, Xu and many others are questioning whether the style of parenting that stresses such rigorous and constant study is the best preparation for the world after college. In fact, Xu says attitudes toward education are changing in China. The phrase ‘Tiger Mothers’ has been used to refer to parents who monitor childr…
Nov 20, 2018
New Book Looks for 'Timeless' Approach to Rethinking Schools
The key to reforming schools is imagination. Think bringing the spirit of shows like The Jetsons or Star Trek to school design, throwing out all preconceptions and imagining what a new kind of school could be like designed for today’s needs. That’s the argument made in a new book, Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Are Changing Schools. EdSurge’s CEO and co-founder, Betsy Corcoran, recently sat down with two of the book’s co-authors, Pam Moran, and Ira Socal, to better understand their argument, and ask what practical advice they have for teachers and administrators looking to transform schools.
Nov 13, 2018
Rethinking the First Two Years of Higher Education
The first two years of college are often treated like something you just have to get through—and almost like a commodity. Even the term “general education,” as the curriculum is called at that point, feels, well, generic. Jennifer Schubert wants to rethink the first two years. She’s come up with a new model of a two-year college that puts less of an emphasis on academic disciplines and more on they kinds of skills students will need whether they continue their studies or go straight into the job market. She calls it Alder College, though so far it’s just an idea, as its still in the planning phase. Schubert speaks the language of both higher education and business. She’s been a professor at a traditional college, as well as a consultant and business strategist. But these days she’s getting schooled in just how hard it is to start a college from scratch. EdSurge sat down with Schubert recently to talk about her idea, and about her struggle to get her college off the gro…
Nov 6, 2018
Has ‘Shift’ Happened? Revisiting a Viral Video From 2008
About 10 years ago, a short video called Shift Happens went viral, providing a wake-up call to educators that their students would enter a very different world once they left the classroom and entered the workforce. The video presented a series of surprising statistics set to music. More than a quarter of a million people have watched the eight-and-a-half-minute video, and one of the video’s creators estimates millions more have viewed four follow-up videos. It marked a bit of a cultural moment. So we decided it would be interesting to follow up with one of those creators, Scott McLeod, to ask what he would change about the video today, and what he would include if he released a new version based on where we are in 2018. McLeod, an associate professor of education leadership at the University of Colorado in Denver, said things haven’t gone exactly as he hoped when releasing that video ten years ago.
Oct 30, 2018
Is Open Content Enough? Where OER Advocates Say the Movement Must Go Next
Open educational resources have been around for more than a decade, and the sheer number of these materials—in the form of textbooks, courses, videos, software and other public-domain resources—are increasingly available online. . But as more open materials become accessible, advocates for open education still see room for improvement. This week on the EdSurge On Air podcast, we hear from Jess Mitchell, a senior manager of research and design at the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, and Kent McGuire, director of the Education Program at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who both keynoted the OpenEd conference in New York earlier this month and shared ideas on where the open movement is headed.
Oct 23, 2018
How Do You Prepare Students for Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet?
There is a lot of talk these days about robots replacing humans in the workforce, but those conversations remain largely abstract. For students in school today, however, the issue is urgent, research shows. What if the job they aspire to today is no longer an option when it comes time to graduate? How can they train for jobs that don’t even exist yet? On the other side of that equation are educators, who often draw from their own learning experiences in K-12 and higher education to inform their instruction. What responsibility do they have in preparing today’s students for a future none of them can really envision? EdSurge recently sat down with Karen Cator, the CEO of Digital Promise, to get her take. Cator is a former director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology who has been championing digital learning since long before the term “digital learning” was being thrown around—back when she was still a classroom teacher in Alaska. Of all th…
Oct 16, 2018
How to Bring Innovation to Campus Without Cheapening Education
Do you want fries with that education? That question is one that many professors fear is essentially coming to colleges, as higher-ed leaders adopt practices from businesses in an attempt to rethink their operations. There’s even a growing body of scholarly work that outlines a critique against the corporatization of college—arguing that even when reforms are well-intentioned, they are making campuses more like burger franchises than centers of learning and research. So how can colleges try new teaching practices, or data-driven experiments, or other new approaches without sacrificing their core values? That was the topic of our latest installment of EdSurge Live, an online town hall about big issues facing edtech. For this week’s podcast, we’re bringing you highlights of that discussion, which took place a couple of weeks ago. As you’ll hear we invited one of those skeptical scholars, as well as an innovation leader from a college.
Oct 9, 2018
Cultural Anthropologist Mimi Ito: Good Intentions Don’t Always Mean Equitable Outcomes in Edtech
Imagine you’re an elementary school student. Your teacher has told your class to watch several streaming videos for a class project. You might want to watch some of the videos at home, but your family doesn’t have high-speed internet. That’s just one way technology in education can fail to serve some students. Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine who studies how young people use technology, says it’s not necessarily because the teachers or the people making edtech tools have bad intentions. She argues that understanding another person’s situation is tough if you don’t share that experience. EdSurge recently sat down with Ito at the Intentional Play Summit to get her thoughts on equity in edtech, creativity and how kids’ relationship to technology has changed over the years.
Oct 2, 2018
What Do Edtech and IKEA Have in Common? Persuasive Design.
Technology shapes the way we interact everyday. We FaceTime with family across the country, we send snaps to our friends to let them know where we are and what we're doing. But sometimes we fail to realize that the platforms and data that push us to interact, they don't always do it in objective ways. Our interactions are increasingly shaped by algorithms, and those codes are designed by some human. Those programmers literally write the script for the ways that tech will make us tick, for better or for worse. The practice of intentionally guiding user behavior is known as 'persuasive technology,' and it’s making its way into our phones, our homes, and our schools. This week on the EdSurge On Air podcast, we talk with three experts who study persuasive tech, behavior design, and the ways that algorithms behind technology and search engines can leave damaging effects on society and further exacerbate social inequalities.
Sep 25, 2018
Is Running a Company Like Leading a Classroom?
Entrepreneur Steve Blank has served as a founder, investor and even in the air force. But there’s another title he’s is known for: professor. Blank has earned a reputation among budding and veteran business leaders alike as the father of the Lean Startup movement, a business philosophy that popularized startup concepts like “pivoting” and “minimum viable product.” And he’s taught these ideas on business and innovation at Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia and New York Universities. His course on the “lean” methodologies, called Lean Launchpad, is offered at more than 75 schools around the world and was one of the earliest to appear on the online course platform Udacity. This week on the EdSurge On Air podcast, we talk to Steve about both his business and teaching careers, and how changes in the startup world are reflected in both the lean method and his courses. Listen below, or subscribe to the EdSurge On Air podcast on your favorite podc…
Sep 18, 2018
Can You Teach Good Writing? We Ask One of the Greats, John McPhee
John McPhee, a master of telling nonfiction stories, became a teacher by accident 43 years ago when Princeton University needed a last-minute replacement. He has steered the course ever since, each spring when he takes breaks from writing books or pieces for The New Yorker, and it has become legendary in journalism circles. The list of his alumni include some of today’s most well-known writers: David Remnick (now editor of The New Yorker), Eric Schlosser (author of Fast Food Nation), Tim Ferriss (author of the bestselling “4-Hour Workweek”), and so on. McPhee lays out his course in his latest book, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, and I was eager to talk to him about his craftsmanship as a teacher. To my surprise, though, he downplayed his impact in the classroom, and even suggested that you can’t really teach the kind of writing that he, in fact, teaches.
Sep 11, 2018
Who Does Online Learning Really Serve?
Online education has been touted as a way to increase access to education. But it’s increasingly unclear if online learning is living up to its promise for students, even as digital learning makes its way into more institutions’ offerings. The quality of online courses still varies drastically, and research shows there are major racial disparities in digital-learning outcomes. This has all left us asking: Who does online education really serve? To help answer that question, we recently brought two online learning experts to EdSurge Live, a monthly video-based town hall event, to talk about their work and research in online education, and what’s needed to better serve students in the digital space. Our guests were Michelle Pacansky-Brock, faculty mentor for the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative and @ONE (Online Network of Educators), and Di Xu an assistant professor at UC Irvine School of Education.
Sep 4, 2018
How A Podcast-Turned-Startup Is Trying to Get Non-Traditional Students Into Tech
Some of the earliest and largest coding bootcamp programs shut their doors for good last year. And it left many people wondering if these short term tech training programs are actually worth the investment (for investors and students alike). One person who’s remained optimistic about the shake ups in the industry is Ruben Harris. Harris is a CEO of Career Karma, which aims to help prospective students navigate the bootcamp market, and he also hosts his own podcast about breaking into the tech industry, called Breaking into Startups. We spoke to Harris recently about how his company is trying to shift the demographics of the coding bootcamp industry and what that looks like.
Aug 28, 2018
‘Prohibition Will Get You Nowhere’: Cory Doctorow’s Message to Schools and Educators
It’s not unheard of for an instructor to tee up a YouTube video for a lesson, only to have the content blocked by the school or district’s censorware. And while administrators might have good intentions when they decide to use censorware, censorship is often only effective for those who play by the rules. It’s one reason why writer and activist Cory Doctorow thinks schools and educators should rethink their approach to surveillance and censorship. In science fiction novels like “Little Brother,” he has explored the implications of mass surveillance, and on the popular blog Boing Boing, he has written on topics such as net neutrality, open access and user privacy. EdSurge recently sat down with Doctorow in San Jose, Calif. at Worldcon, a science fiction convention, to get his take on everything from surveillance in K-12 schools to open access publishing in higher education.
Aug 21, 2018
MOOCs are No Longer Massive. And They Serve Different Audiences Than First Imagined.
MOOCs have gone from a buzzword to a punchline, especially among professors who were skeptical of these “massive open online courses” in the first place. But what is their legacy on campuses? MOOCs started in around 2011 when a few Stanford professors put their courses online and made them available to anyone who wanted to take them. The crowds who showed up were, well, massive. We’re talking 160,000 people signing up to study advanced tech topics like data science. The New York Times later declared 2012 as the ‘year of the MOOC,’ and columnists said the virtual courses would bring a revolution. But in the rush of public interest that followed, skeptics wondered whether online courses could help fix the cost crisis of higher education. Was this the answer to one of the nation’s toughest problems? The answer, it turns out, is, no. Actually these days you don’t hear much about MOOCs at all. In the national press there’s almost a MOOC amnesia. It’s like it never happe…
Aug 14, 2018
The Secret Ingredient that Helps Schools, Educators and Students Learn
How good are schools at learning? Can they get better? As a culture, we worry a lot about student learning. But students don’t learn in a vacuum: Most are part of organizations (namely schools) that involve adults who also are engaged in learning, both individually and collectively. So what could help them learn? Here’s the one of the biggest quiet buzzwords in education: Networks. They can happen in any community—among educators, among schools or districts themselves and, of course, among students. And so emphasizing learning networks nudges educators to think about learning in different ways. Three recent books explore the power of learning networks. This past spring, EdSurge caught up with the authors at the Personalized Learning Summit sponsored by Education Elements. Ed Elements CEO Anthony Kim, who works with hundreds of educations throughout the US, wrote “The New School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools” with Alexis Gonzales-Black. As Ki…
Aug 7, 2018
What Students Want Colleges to Know About How They Learn
Even the best instructors may not be able to reach every student. And often that’s because there is a disconnect between what students expect from college teaching and what actually ends up happening in the classroom. In July, three members from EdSurge Independent, a student-run group that meets weekly to discuss ideas around higher education and technology, joined EdSurge Live to share what they wish faculty knew about students today, and propose ways to fuse instructional gaps. The guests are Angele Law, an MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management and a strategic summer associate at Boston Public Schools; Patrick Grady O'Malley, who's pursuing a master’s degree in digital humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and who holds a master’s in educational communications and technology from NYU; and Megan Simmons, an undergraduate at Barnard College in New York City, where she studies political science.
Jul 31, 2018
Apple’s Longtime Education VP Shares Frustrations With Slow Pace of Change
People love to try to figure out what Apple is up to and to guess their strategy—that’s true for its education strategy as well. But often there’s not much to go on beyond press releases and speculation. So when Apple’s longtime vice-president of education, John Couch, published a book this year with his thoughts on the future of education and accounts of his work at Apple, it opened a rare window into how the company’s views on education. The book is called Rewiring Education: How Technology Can Unlock Every Student's Potential. And yes, it does offer some anecdotes about how Steve Jobs thought about computers in education, including how he referred to computers as an “amplifier for intellect” the same way a bicycle amplifies the physical push of the rider. In the book, Couch writes that Jobs predicted this mental bicycle would “allow us to go beyond—to discover, create and innovate like never before.” But the book is also full of frustration—at what Couch se…
Jul 24, 2018
Why One Professor Says We Are ‘Automating Inequality’
Often the algorithms that shape our lives feel invisible, but every now and then you really notice them. Your credit card might get declined when you’re on vacation because a system decides the behavior seems suspicious. You might buy a quirky gift for your cousin, and then have ads for that product pop up everywhere you go online. In education, schools and colleges even use big data to nudge students to stay on track. As we create this data layer around us, there’s more and more chance for systems to misfire, or to be set up in a way that consistently disadvantages one group over another. That potential for systemic unfairness is the concern of this week’s podcast guest, Virginia Eubanks. She’s an associate professor of political science at SUNY Albany and a longtime advocate for underprivileged communities as well as an expert on tech. She’s the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, which The New York Times called “r…
Jul 17, 2018
This Accelerator Seeks To Scale Equity in Schools
Caroline Hill is a firecracker. She keynoted the Blended Learning Conference in Rhode Island and INACOL in Florida. At both events she asked educators to challenge their notions of the use of technology in the classrooms and their conversations around equity. She has been a DC educator for years, but is now embarking on a new venture, creating an accelerator with the goal of scaling equity. She hopes to combine the start-up mentality of the edtech world with social justice issues in a really unique way.
Jul 10, 2018
Venture Capitalist Argues For Cheaper And Faster Alternatives to College
Access to higher education is a big topic these days, but debates about how to expand access often assume a one-size-fits-all model of what college should be. A new book due out this fall argues for the creation of colleges of many shapes and sizes, including a new set of low-cost options that are hyper-focused on helping students who just can’t afford a four-year campus experience get a first job. The book is called A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College, and it is written by a venture capitalist making bets on which alternatives he thinks have the most promise. The author is Ryan Craig, Co-Founder and Managing Director of University Ventures, and in the book he acknowledges a key drawback to the vision he is outlining. Many of these new college alternatives will intentionally leave out general education, and extracurriculars—or time for pranks with roommates. Craig stresses that such full-service colleges will continue to survive for those who can afford them, but t…
Jul 3, 2018
Why Purdue Professors Continue to Protest Purdue’s Purchase of a For-Profit U.
If Purdue University’s purchase of the for-profit Kaplan University can be thought of as a wedding, there were plenty of people in the audience shouting objections throughout the ceremony. The loudest were Purdue professors, who argued that the pair were far too incompatible to unite. Among those professors is David Sanders, an associate professor of biological sciences at Purdue and past chair of the university’s Faculty Senate. He organized a petition against the merger, which created what is now called Purdue University Global. When the EdSurge On Air podcast featured an interview last week with Purdue Global’s chancellor, Betty Vandenbosch, Sanders wrote in offering to share the faculty side of the story. And though the knot is already tied, he and other professors at Purdue say they would still like to have a say in how this new institution operates.
Jun 26, 2018
What Happens When A Public University Buys a For-Profit Online One?
When leaders of Purdue University wanted to move into online education, they took the unusual step of buying an existing online university, a big one with 30,000 students. And here’s the most surprising part: that online school it bought, Kaplan University, was a for-profit business—part of a sector that’s been criticized for high costs and poor outcomes for students. The deal sparked vocal protests from Purdue professors, and hundreds of them signed petitions opposing the arrangement, calling it an unprecedented privatizing of public education. Purdue leaders, meanwhile, say that Kaplan has better outcomes than other for-profits and that it serves an important audience of adult students who aren’t able to go to a traditional campus. This month Purdue University Global held its first graduation under the new banner. But what exactly is different now at the online institution, and how does this whole thing work? To try to get some answers, EdSurge talked with Betty Vandenbosc…
Jun 19, 2018
You Know Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Now Meet Comedic Scientist Sophia Shrand.
There is an art to making science fun and entertaining. Bill Nye has done it, and so has Neil deGrasse Tyson. Maybe now it’s time for a woman? For this episode of the EdSurge On Air podcast, we’re joined Sophia Shrand, host of the comedic YouTube show, “Science with Sophie.” “Science with Sophie” mixes a bit of feminism with science, a difficult combination of things to put together in a comedic fashion. EdSurge talked with Shrand about her comedic history and how educators can learn from her work, making science entertaining.
Jun 12, 2018
Beyond Tuition: How Innovations in College Affordability Are (or Aren’t) Helping Students
The college affordability crisis is a familiar story to most Americans. A simplified version often goes that state funding for higher-ed institutions has decreased dramatically over the years, which has translated into massive tuition hikes for students and their families. Sandy Baum, a fellow in the Education Policy Program at the Urban Institute, watches the issue—and its proposed solutions—closely. The story usually gets encapsulated into examples of students trapped in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. And while this may be the case for some students, Baum notes that it’s not always the full picture. EdSurge talked with Baum about these issues—and about how innovative approaches are or aren’t helping solve the college affordability crisis.
Jun 5, 2018
The Problem With an 'Engineering Model' of Personalized Learning
In the education technology business, Larry Berger is considered—if not the smartest guy in the room, then certainly one of the wiser ones. With more than 20 years in the industry, Larry has seen the ups and downs, twists and turns. In 2000 he co-founded Wireless Generation, which pioneered the use of data, digital diagnostics and assessments to support students. It was bought in 2010 by News Corporation, which invested more than $1 billion into the company and rebranded it as Amplify. News Corp’s commitment proved to be a short-lived, however. The media giant sold Amplify to private investors five years later. Today, Larry Berger leads Amplify as its chief executive. The company is no longer as high-profile—or as big—as it once was. So what is Amplify today? What have the past years taught him, and where is the company going? EdSurge recently sat down with Berger for an update on what Amplify’s up to, along with his thoughts on how the curriculum business is evolving. He…
May 29, 2018
This Australian University Wants to Rethink the Student Experience
In Australia, there’s a university that was set up to focus on distance education called Deakin University. It started about 40 years ago -- before the internet really got going, so that meant sending lessons through the mail. These days, of course, distance education means online courses and its not a new idea anymore, but officials worry that if they’re not careful, they’ll just end up offering the same kind of education-by-mail ethos in a digital format. They’re trying to reboot their online efforts, in what they are calling a “cloud campus,” where educational experiences are designed to be digital first. And since they also have plenty of in-person students these days, they want to reinvent the campus experience as well, by trying to blend education into busy lives. For Deakin, that has meant developing their own personal assistant for students, a bit like Siri or Alexa, but that can remind you to do your homework. To find out more about what this university down und…
May 22, 2018
To Spark and Scale Innovation in District Schools, ‘Every Day Is Day One’
Running a lemonade stand may be the most entrepreneurial project that students get to experience. But increasingly, schools leaders want to take the spirit of these old-fashioned projects and create more—and more meaningful—opportunities for students and teachers alike to think creatively and build skills that will prepare them for future careers. In districts like Boston Public Schools, officials have set up new teams devoted to “innovation,” to rethink everything from professional development and instructional design to class schedules and school culture. These efforts are often lumped into one overused term: “innovation.” (But what does it really mean?) EdSurge recently sat down with Sujata Bhatt, managing partner of innovation at Boston Public Schools, to learn more about what exactly a district innovation job entails, and what it takes to get people to not only adopt an innovator's mindset, but also execute on new ideas.
May 15, 2018
Why the Lumina Foundation Is Betting Big on New Kinds of Credentials
A college degree isn’t the only path to meaningful work. In fact, these days it seems like there are more kinds of credentials than ever, some new ones even have trademarked names like Nanodegrees and MicroMasters. One leading force in reinventing the credential is the Lumina Foundation, one of the largest foundations focused on higher education. The group has an ambitious goal to increase the number of Americans with some kind of high-quality credential. But what counts as high-quality? And how can students and employers sort through all the new options. To get at those issues, EdSurge recently sat down with Courtney Brown, the Lumina Foundation’s vice president for strategic impact. She laid out the group’s vision for the future of credentials, and talked about what the cartoon The Jetsons says about the future of education and the workplace.
May 10, 2018
The Case For a ‘Networked' College
The campus of the future will be “networked,” argues Peter Smith, meaning that more and more academic-related services will be outsourced. That, in theory, will allow each campus to focus its energies on what it can do best and turn to outside companies and nonprofits for the rest. It’s a key claim in his new book, “Free-Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education,” due out next month, and it’s one that might unsettle college administrators accustomed to directly overseeing more campus services in-house. Smith has a unique perspective on innovation in education. He has led experimental colleges, including designing and launching the Community College of Vermont back in 1970, and becoming the founding president of California State University at Monterey Bay in 1994. He’s also been a force in politics, having served as a state senator in Vermont, Lieutenant Governor in that state, and then a U.S. Congressman. These days he…
May 8, 2018
‘They Demonize Us.’ Randi Weingarten Talks Tensions With 'Innovators’ (and Betsy DeVos)
The eruption of teacher strikes in states all over the country caught national headlines, adding to the already heated debate about the questionable state of affairs in public schools. But the strikes aren’t over, so what is the next step for these educators? The quick-fix plans put together by legislatures in states such as Arizona and West Virginia feel more like a band-aid put on an ailing illness than an actual change. Educators in these states note that the "war" has not been won. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the largest teachers union in the country, joins the EdSurge On Air podcast for a lively conversation on what comes next for teacher strikes, working (or not working) with Betsy DeVos, and why she takes offense from people who come in to ‘disrupt’ public education.
May 3, 2018
How Harvard Is Trying to Update the Extension School for the MOOC Age
You could call extension schools the original MOOCs. Universities first opened these offshoots more than 100 years ago, and at the time they were innovative—throwing open the campus gates by offering night classes without any admission requirements. Extension Schools were the original attempt by higher education to offer a low-cost version for the non-elite. Thanks to a recent push towards online courses, Harvard University’s Extension School now has more students than the rest of Harvard combined. Well, unless you count the students in MOOCs, those free online courses, which are offered through a different division of the university. Let’s face it, the number of different types of degrees you could get from Harvard is getting confusing, and the same could be said for many other universities as well. EdSurge recently sat down with the dean of Harvard’s Extension School, Hunt Lambert, to ask him to sort through all these offerings and give his vision of where his school is hea…
May 1, 2018
Why Competency-Based Education Stalled (But Isn’t Finished)
The phrase competency-based education is quite a mouthful, but it was all the rage a few years ago among college leaders looking to expand access to their programs. The idea can sound radical, since it often involves doing away with courses as we know them, to focus on having students prove they can master a series of skills or concepts one at a time. It’s safe to say that competency-based education hasn’t caught on as widely as its promoters hoped, and these days you don’t hear that much about it. In part that’s because some serious questions have been raised about the model. So what’s up with CBE, as it’s known? To try to find out, we talked with one of the pioneers of bringing the approach to a traditional university, Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, which a few years ago started a competency-based program called College for America. And LeBlanc has helped shape policy around CBE on a national level as well. In 2015 he spent a few months on…
Apr 24, 2018
How Facebook Can Improve Privacy By Talking More With Academics
Jennifer Golbeck, a professor at the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies, has been talking about the privacy risks of Facebook data for years. As the recent scandal involving the massive amount of Facebook data leaked to the political advertising company Cambridge Analytica has raised awareness of the issues—and brought calls for change. Golbeck has plenty of suggestions for the social media giant, and she hopes the company will turn more often to researchers and privacy experts to advise them on how to better protect users.
Apr 19, 2018
Angela Duckworth Says Grit Is Not Enough
Angela Duckworth’s research on encouraging “grit” in students has been hailed as groundbreaking, popularized in bestselling books and TED talks. It has also been called racist, and some have criticized the work for essentially blaming students for their circumstances. Duckworth has faced the backlash by practicing a bit of grit herself. Take her reaction when a PhD candidate emailed her explaining that he was doing his dissertation about how the grit narrative ignored systemic barriers that may keep some students from persisting, no matter their character. She offered to serve on the student’s dissertation committee, to gain a deeper understanding of his criticisms. EdSurge sat down with Duckworth this week just after her keynote at the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego, to talk about her work and what’s next for the nonprofit she created to translate her research into advice for teachers.
Apr 17, 2018
Why Demographic Changes Mean Tough Challenges Ahead for College Leaders
The financial crisis of 2008 was tough for the country, but the real impact will hit colleges in the year 2026. It turns out the fiscal anxieties coincided with a dramatic birth dearth—a reduction in the number of children born, which means that the number of kids hitting traditional college age will drop almost 15 percent around 2026. That could amount to a crisis for colleges, unless they start planning now. That’s the argument of Nathan Grawe, an economics professor at Carleton College. He’s author of a new book with a very straightforward title: Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. EdSurge recently sat down with Grawe, who described how this slow-moving storm raises existential questions for higher education.
Apr 10, 2018
Social-Emotional Learning May Be A Limited Solution for Reforming School Discipline
The United States Government Accountability Office recently released a report confirming decades of anecdotal research saying, among other things, that Black male students who account for 15.5 percent of all public school kids, represented about 39 percent of students suspended from school. That is an overrepresentation of about 23 percentage points. This report also found that students with disabilities were disproportionately disciplined in public schools. To change this trend, some educators are looking to implement social-emotional learning (SEL) practices such as restorative justice—where students repair harm done with community service or discussions—and daily greetings, where teachers build relationships with students by addressing them each morning. But researchers following school districts who have implemented such practices, note that SEL practices hold “limited promise” for changing trends in school discipline because notions inherent in much of the pedagogy don…
Apr 3, 2018
Computer Science Degrees and Technology’s Boom-and-Bust Cycle
In higher education, the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees follows boom-and-bust market trends in finance and technology—growing when times are good and plummeting when economies crash. And since 2010, computer science majors have again been on the incline, after a major drop off following the Dot-com bubble burst. But what have we learned from these patterns? And what can it tell us about the future? Mehran Sahami, professor and associate chair for education in the computer science department at Stanford University, has witnessed and tracked these patterns closely. He offers insights about the past and what students and educators interested in CS should consider going forward. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-04-02-computer-science-degrees-and-technology-s-boom-and-bust-cycle
Mar 27, 2018
Unpacking Why Some Educators See the Word ‘Equity’ As a Threat
How do you close achievement gaps when all your students don’t start with the same opportunities? It’s a question of equity, a goal that is generally assumed to be one most educators want to achieve. Yet, these days the issue seems more complicated, as political debates frame equity policies as in conflict with ideals of fairness and tradition. Last month at the Aspen Institute’s States Leading for Equity event, North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler, noted that in her community, this question of providing equal opportunities for all through schooling could be divisive. “There is a threat certain people, certain organizations, and certain communities feel when you start to talk about equity,” she said. This week on the EdSurge OnAir podcast, Baesler unpacks why some in her community feel threatened by the word, and she describes the challenges school leaders face in implementing reforms to promote equity in their communities. https://www.eds…
Mar 20, 2018
VR Could Bring a New Era of Immersive Learning
Some educators tout the immersive power of VR technology, pointing to examples like an app that simulates what it was like to walk on either side of Germany’s Berlin Wall in the 1980s. But what does it mean to teach in an immersive format? What can this technology do that couldn't be done before? And how might it change a professor's approach to teaching, or should it? This month we sat down with two guests—Maya Georgieva, director of digital learning at The New School in New York City, and Rob Kadel, assistant director of research at Georgia Tech Center for 21st Century Universities—for a live video townhall, streamed from the SXSW EDU conference in Austin. It was part of our video town hall series called EdSurge LIVE. More than 100 people tuned in, with questions such as how to make VR accessible for students with disabilities and how to avoid motion sickness when using the technology.
Mar 13, 2018
What Schools Could Be—and What Education Investors Get Wrong
Does this sound familiar? An Ivy League-educated philanthropist, who built his wealth from a career in technology, decides to champion education as his next cause—under the belief that today’s schools are not adequately preparing the next generation for the future. We’re not talking about Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Rather, meet Ted Dintersmith, who has spent nearly 20 years as a partner at Charles River Ventures, an early-stage investment firm. These days, he’s no longer spending time in company boardrooms, but rather in schools and classrooms.
Mar 6, 2018
Why Professors Doubt Education Research
Lauren Herckis, an anthropologist and research faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, has been exploring the culture of teaching at colleges and what makes professors try new teaching practices or, in some cases, resist them.
Feb 27, 2018
'A Deal With the Devil': NPR Reporter Anya Kamenetz On Teaching With 'Addictive Tech' Like Facebook
What does it mean to report on education technology from a student lens? How does the tech-health discussion impact teachers in the classroom? What are virtual school lobbyists doing to impact the national discussion on school choice and accountability? NPR reporter Anya Kamenetz, joins the EdSurge OnAir Podcast to discuss her new book, “The Art of Screentime: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life,” and offer listeners some answers to challenging questions about the ever-evolving education technology landscape.
Feb 20, 2018
The Rise of ‘Outsider Education’
In higher ed people often look to a few elite schools for big new ideas. But that might be changing. These days innovation seems just as likely to come from a state school, a small liberal arts college, or even some upstart from outside the traditional system. That’s the argument made by Bernard Bull, vice provost for curriculum and academic innovation at Concordia University Wisconsin. He’s also a blogger, and he runs a podcast of his own, called MoonshotEDU. He’s optimistic about what he sees as a greater diversity of models and teaching practices at colleges and universities. But he’s also concerned about other pressures he sees in edtech, that are pushing toward standardization as colleges experiment with big data and algorithms. EdSurge recently sat down with Bull after his keynote at the Educause Learning Initiative’s annual conference in New Orleans. We talked about what he sees as the most important new edtech trends and why it’s still important to read tech criti…
Feb 13, 2018
‘Marvel-ous Makers’ Bring Black Panther-Inspired Creations to the Classroom
Social media feeds are lighting up with hashtags such as #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe and #BlackPantherLive celebrating the release of a Hollywood adaptation of the groundbreaking comic series, Black Panther. Educators are also getting into the fandom, seizing on opportunities the film creates to teach students about empowerment, culture and even the importance of learning science and engineering. Netia McCray, is one of the educators using the Black Panther film as an educational opportunity. She is the founder of a non-profit called Mbadika, which means 'Ideas' in Kimbundu, a language spoken in the northern region of Angola. EdSurge talked with McCray about her new YouTube series where she's working with makers to teach students how to use design software and 3D printers to recreate artifacts from the Black Panther film. McCray also addressed the significance of showcasing this film during Black History Month, why the main actor chose to use an african accent and how a fictional fil…
Feb 9, 2018
Podcast Extra: Overcoming Barriers to STEM Education
How do we crack a problem that has existed for decades? Jobs in science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM) jobs are projected to grow 17 percent between 2014 and 2024; non-STEM jobs are expected to rise only 12 percent. Even so, minorities, women and people with disabilities are still severely underrepresented in STEM-related fields. And if innovation springs from looking at problems from a very different perspective, then coaxing people who bring diverse perspectives should become a national imperative. As part of Silicon Valley’s Commonwealth Club discussion series, EdSurge CEO and co-founder Betsy Corcoran spoke with three MacArthur Fellows actively involved in helping people from underrepresented populations enter and thrive in STEM careers. Deborah Bial, founder of the Posse Foundation, Jim Fruchterman, founder of Benetech and Dr. Manu Prakash, a physical biologist from Stanford University, bring powerful—and different—perspectives on how to over barriers so many…
1 hr 5 min
Feb 6, 2018
The Challenges Of Teaching In The Trump Era
College professors don’t often talk to each other about the intricacies of their teaching practices, and it often seems a mystery to scholars what goes on in other people’s courses. Bonni Stachowiak has created a forum to spread those stories and techniques with her long-running podcast, Teaching in Higher Ed. Stachowiak says she is still growing as a teacher herself, as director of teaching excellence and digital pedagogy at Vanguard University of Southern California, and her sense of curiosity comes through in her weekly conversations. EdSurge talked with Stachowiak about the biggest lessons she’s learned about teaching from those interviews, and the challenges of teaching in today’s highly partisan political environment.
Jan 30, 2018
An Education ‘Intrapreneur’ on the Difficulties Innovating a Conservative Industry
Larry Singer is a CEO, but not the smug type, who’s likely to engage you in a long-winded conversation about himself, while you sip on your drink and wait for someone more interesting to come along. Singer is different. Last week he pitched EdSurge a story about his nonprofit, Open Up Resources, but, after our conversation, we found a story about a struggling innovator. He, like many of our podcast listeners, is a person who wants to do well, but also do good. In this podcast, we talk about his crazy 30-year journey in education, which took him from Pearson to farming, to the nonprofit work he does now. We hope his story—and its imperfect ending—can motivate those of you who are on your career journeys to find work that makes you happy and taps into your passions. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-01-30-an-education-intrapreneur-on-the-difficulties-innovating-a-conservative-industry
Jan 23, 2018
The Evolving World of Microcredentials
Many colleges these days are experimenting with short-form online degrees to try to reach new audiences and offer new options, often at a lower cost. And new upstart providers are also getting into the mix, including coding bootcamps and startups like Udacity, which offers unaccredited nanodegrees. These trends raise a host of questions about the future of credentialing. To explore some of these questions, EdSurge recently held an hour-long video forum featuring two guests: Sean Gallagher, the founder and executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy and author of the book, The Future of University Credentials; and Nicola Soares, vice president and managing director for Kelly Educational Staffing at Kelly Services, who has her finger on the pulse of employment and hiring trends.
Jan 16, 2018
Ready Player One: Science Fiction’s Vision for The Future of Education
Humans living in abject poverty are warring over the few of resources they have left. There’s an energy crisis, and fossil fuels are in low supply. The weather has gone to extremes. This is the setting of Ernest Cline’s science-fiction novel, Ready Player One, where human civilization is in decline, and life in virtual reality beats any day in the real world. This page-turning novel (which is being turned into a film by Steven Spielberg) follows a geeky protagonist named Wade Watts as he undertakes a mission to win billions by finding an egg hidden inside a virtual video-game universe called the OASIS. Among the many rich themes explored in the story is education, painting a picture that could provide lessons for how teachers and school leaders design for education today. EdSurge sat down with two interesting educators who are working to merge ideas from science fiction novels with our reality: Amanda Licastro, an assistant professor of digital rhetoric at Stevenson University,…
Jan 9, 2018
Where the Football Field Is Now a Farm: What an ‘Urban Work College’ Looks Like
When Michael Sorrell took over as president of Paul Quinn College in 2007, the place was nearly broke and faced a possible loss of accreditation. Sorrell wasn’t interested in following the usual playbook for running a college, so he took unusual steps right from the start. He cut the football program, for instance, and turned the playing field into an urban farm. It's part of a model of a "modern work college," which mixes work-readiness with expanding minds, and at a price that more students could afford. EdSurge recently talked with Sorrell his model, and he shared the roundabout way that this college got into farming.
Jan 2, 2018
‘When’ Does Learning Happen Best? Dan Pink on the Secrets to Timing and Education
As the old adage goes, time is what we want most but what we use worst. So how do we use it more effectively? That’s the driving theme in the newest book from Dan Pink, the speechwriter, TV producer and acclaimed author of bestsellers “Drive” and “To Sell is Human.” His latest book, “When,” draws on research from psychology, biology and economics to explore how timing impacts every aspect of our lives—including of course, how we teach and learn. For instance, what’s the best time to take a test? Why do kids need more breaks? When the school day is so packed with back-to-back classes and activities, how can students, parents and educators make the best use of time? Pink recently talked with EdSurge about how his insights can help educators, and why everyone—kids and grownups alike—can thrive with less multitasking and more recess breaks.
Dec 26, 2017
Rebroadcast: What If MOOCs Really Do Revolutionize Education?
On this holiday week, we're rebroadcasting our most popular episode of 2017: Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University, spends a lot of time these days thinking about how people learn. She’s taught more students than just about anyone else on the planet, as one of the instructors of one of the most popular online courses ever, which has had two million registered students over the several times it’s been offered. The title of the course, is Learning How to Learn. EdSurge recently talked with Oakley about what she’s learned teaching all those online students. And she makes the case for why free online courses like hers—which are known as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs—might still lead to a revolution in higher education, even though the hype around them has died down.
Dec 19, 2017
The Evolution of the New York City Edtech Scene, Empowering Parents, Taxes and Policy
This year, Americans seem to be watching government processes closer than they have in the past. Every week, some policy maker, some legislative vote or confirmation hearing is trending on Twitter and Facebook. However, our guest today, Jeanne Allen, founder of the Center for Education Reform has been closely monitoring and evaluating education policy for over 30 years. She is no rookie. As a staunch education reformist, pushing the school choice movement forward, Allen is no friend to teachers unions and school board associations saying that they maintain the status quo, or change a little too slowly for her taste. But today, we'll talk about the changes that she is seeing in public schools, covering everything from taxes to policy and how those changes are impacting education technology. We'll also try to get her to give us a sneak peek about what she's expecting from New York City's big edtech conference this year.
Dec 12, 2017
How Teaching Using Mindfulness and Growth Mindset Can Backfire
Art Markman is an expert on what makes people tick. The psychology professor at UT Austin has also become a popular voice working to translate research from the lab into advice for a general audience. In his writings and podcasting, he’s tackled questions big and small, from commenting on the recent wave of mass shootings—to weighing in on why people like cat videos so much. And he’s full of surprising findings. Markman recently talked with EdSurge about how his insights can help educators. He might just change the way you think about things like growth mindset, comprehensive testing, and encouraging students to make mistakes.
Dec 5, 2017
An Assembly Line of Coding Students? Tough Questions for the Computer Science Movement
What does it really mean to prepare students for a future in coding careers? Clive Thompson, a freelance writer for Wired and The New York Times magazine, thinks the reality is not as rosy as many people think. In a popular Wired article titled, The Next Big Blue-Collar Job is Coding, Thompson criticizes pop culture and some writers, like himself, for overly romanticizing the notion of the ‘lone genius coder’—the Mark Zuckerbergs and Mr. Robots of the world—saying that’s not what every coder looks like and that's not what many coders will be. Thompson recently talked with EdSurge about the future of programming work in the United States and the realities students will face in their future job searches.
Nov 28, 2017
In a City Marked By Low Economic Mobility, One University Hopes to Build a ‘Tech Pipeline’
For Terik Tidwell, teaching kids to code is not about algorithms or apps—it’s about economic mobility. Tidwell is director of STEM innovation at Johnson C. Smith University, an historically-black college situated in the heart of Charlotte, NC. The city is marked by contradiction: On one hand, the place is booming, home to the headquarters of Bank of America and an emerging start-up scene. But a recent analysis scored Charlotte worst for economic mobility in a survey of the nation’s 50 largest cities, with pockets of concentrated poverty cut off from the rich opportunities just around the corner. Tidwell sees coding as a key bridge—a way to open kids’ eyes to a way of thinking, and a world of job opportunities. “We see a lot of students are not going into computer science—they don't know about computer science,” says Tidwell. “I had one student a year or so ago who gave me feedback. I said why didn't you think about computer science? She's like, ‘I never thought o…
Nov 21, 2017
From Advocating to Letting Your Nerd Flag Fly, Educators Are Grateful For Lessons From Students
When all the stuffing, sauces, hams, turkeys, and pies are out of the oven, there is often a moment of peace during the holiday season where families sit around the dinner table and remember what they are grateful for. This year, we gathered with a community of educators during EdSurge’s Tech Leader Circle at the MakerDepot in Totowa, New Jersey to pause and have a similar moment of reflection. For this EdSurge OnAir holiday special, we cut through the noise of the 3D printers to ask educators, “What is the one lesson their students taught them, that they are most grateful for?” From advocating for those in need to letting your nerd flag fly, it is no surprise that the lessons shared from these tech leaders will stay with them for many years to come.
Nov 14, 2017
Who Controls AI in Higher Ed, And Why It Matters
It’s a pivotal time for artificial intelligence in higher education. More instructors are experimenting with adaptive-learning systems in their classrooms. College advising systems are trying to use predictive analytics to increase student retention. And the infusion of algorithms is leading to questions—ethical questions and practical questions and philosophical questions—about how far higher education should go in bringing in artificial intelligence, and who decides what the algorithms should look like. To explore the issue, EdSurge invited a panel of experts to discuss their vision of the promises and perils of AI in education, in the first installment of our new series of video town halls called EdSurge Live. On this week's podcast, we bring you highlights from that discussion. We invited three guests: Candace Thille, an assistant professor of education at Stanford Graduate School of Education, Mark Milliron, co-founder and chief learning officer at Civitas Learning, and Ky…
Nov 7, 2017
Looking to Bring ‘Civil Discourse’ to Education Debates, Ex Superintendent Turns Editor-and-Chief
By the time John Deasy resigned his post as superintendent of the L.A. school district, he had become a polarizing figure. In an article in The New York Times covering his resignation, Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot charter schools, put it this way: "The bitterness that had developed between Mr. Deasy and his critics impeded healthy discussion." Barr went on to ask “can we actually move forward without the extremes dominating the debate?” This year Mr. Deasy is moving forward. And he’s trying to help lead a less bitter debate about education reform, as editor-in-chief of the new publication, The Line. It’s funded by Frontline, a software company for K-12 schools. The second Issue of The Line, released earlier this month, features some of education’s heavy-hitters: Including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, National Education Association president Lilly Garcia, and conservative think-tank writer, Rich Hess debating the polarizing topic of school choice. It has brought bo…
Oct 31, 2017
When Teaching Large Classes, Professors Shouldn’t Try To Put On a Show
Large classes pose tough challenges for instructors and colleges. After all, how do you craft a meaningful experience for 250 people (or more)? Rachel Davenport, a senior lecturer at Texas State University, has taught so many large classes that she jokes she has trouble readjusting to a small seminar room. She has been recognized with several awards for hear teaching, and students regularly sing her praises (she was named “Best Professor at Texas State University” in 2013 by readers of Study Break magazine.) EdSurge sat down with Davenport last week during the WCET conference in Denver to talk about her approach to teaching, and what technologies she’s tried—and ones she avoids.
Oct 24, 2017
Pick Your Battles: Edtech Leaders Share Strategies for Engaging in Political Discourse
Silicon Valley tech giants have made their stance clear on a number of political and social issues this year. Recently, Microsoft president Brad Smith went so far as to offer to pay legal fees for any employee who faces deportation after President Trump announced the end to the deferred action for childhood arrival program, better known as DACA. Teachers’ unions have also planted their flag both by condemning white nationalists in Charlottesville and the decision to end DACA. However, leaders in the education technology space seemed to be treading a bit more lightly as they begin to address new social and political issues effective their constituents. We were curious about the role edtech leaders play in such a tense political environment, so we reached out to some. To have this discussion, we talked to two edtech leaders who recently signed an open letter to president Trump denouncing the decision to end DACA: Jeffrey Collins, the vice president of communications and partnerships…
Oct 17, 2017
Once Reviled in Education, Wikipedia Now Embraced By Many Professors
A decade ago professors complained of a growing “epidemic” in education: Wikipedia. Students were citing it in papers, while educators largely laughed it off as inaccurate and saw their students as lazy, or worse. As one writing instructor posted to an e-mail list in 2005: “Am I being a stick-in-the-mud for for being horrified by students’ use of this source?” How things have changed. Today, a growing number of professors have embraced Wikipedia as a teaching tool. They’re still not asking students to cite it as a source. Instead, they task students with writing Wikipedia entries for homework, exposing the classwork to a global audience (and giving students an outside edit by an army of Wikipedia volunteers). There’s even a new peer-reviewed academic journal about using Wikipedia in higher education. One of the biggest proponents of the power of Wikipedia in the classroom is Robert Cummings, associate professor of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. H…
Oct 10, 2017
Facebook and Fake News: Esther Wojcicki On Teaching Digital Journalism in High School
At times 2017 has seemed like a new era for reporting, where newsrooms have had to question and reevaluate their purpose for existing. For the mainstream media, technology has been both a friend and an enemy. So how do we prepare today’s high school journalists (and tomorrow’s mainstream reporters) for such an era? Our guest today: educator, journalist and author of the book "Moonshots in Education," Esther Wojcicki, who most of her students call Woj, has some ideas. Esther has been teaching for more than 30 years and was an early adopter of edtech in her classroom. Today she's turned her classroom into a multi-million dollar media center. And she's one of the few educators with her own Wikipedia page. You might call her the hipster teacher since she embraced collaborative learning, flexible seating and student autonomy before it was trendy. This week I'll talk with Esther about the state of high school journalism, how technology is changing the game for journalists in the field…
Oct 3, 2017
In PreparedU, A College President Argues for Mixing Liberal Arts And Workplace Readiness
The generation of students attending college today just aren’t that impressed by traditional markers of authority—and they’re not coming to campus to gaze up at wise leaders on a pedestal (well, at least according to surveys). And that’s one reason the president of Bentley University, Gloria Cordes Larson, invites students to call her by her first name. It’s a move that President Larson -- I mean, Gloria -- sees as part of the university’s push to make higher education more of a hybrid experience between immersion in traditional liberal arts and a focus on practical skills and internships. Bentley is a bit unusual, in that it is an undergraduate institution focused on business. But Gloria Larson argues in a new book that all of higher education should embrace this mixture, and move past the notion that a college has to focus on either liberal arts or practical workplace preparation. The book is called PreparedU: How Innovative Colleges Drive Student Success. EdSurge recen…
Sep 26, 2017
What Will It Take to Push the K-12 Maker Movement to Be More Inclusive?
It’s not solely about having a “makerspace” anymore. These days, schools are trying to figure out how to bring making into every facet of the school day, with mobile kits, clubs and more. And when it comes to incorporating making into everyday curriculum, Cicely Day and Knikole Taylor are experts. Cicely Day works in Oakland, California at Burckhalter Elementary School as an instructional teacher leader, where she helps support teachers and students in ELA/math and in the computer lab. Two times zones over, Knikole Taylor is a blended learning specialist in a Dallas, Texas suburban school district, where she support Pre-K to 12th grade teachers and students with all things digital teaching and learning. But despite the work of on-the-ground educators like Day and Taylor, the maker movement in K-12 schools is far from perfect. What does it really take, for example, to diversify the communities of maker educators and mentors out there? And how does one respond to educators or crit…
Sep 19, 2017
MIT's Mitch Resnick on What 'Toy Story' Gets Wrong About the Future of Play
If you’ve ever seen the Toy Story movies, you may remember the neighbor kid, Sid. His room is presented in horror-movie fashion, with dim lighting and discordant music, and the toys are all in pieces, as Sid dismantles them and remakes them in his own crazy way. To Mitch Resnick, an MIT Media Lab professor and early pioneer of the maker movement for kids, this Hollywood’s portrayal is problematic, and part of a larger trend toward overly regimenting education these days. “I worry about the way the movie presents the inventor as sort of the dysfunctional character, and the bedroom with the toys that come alive on their own is the one that’s full of light and seen in a very positive light,” Resnick explains. Resnick argues that all kids—and even grownups—should approach life the way we all did in kindergarten, where learning happened through playfully rearranging the world around us. He makes that case in his new book “Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity thro…
Sep 13, 2017
Podcast Extra: Personalized Learning’s Unknowns: Silicon Schools’ Five-Year Journey
Five years ago, a former high school principal named Brian Greenberg joined forces with an heir to the retail giant Gap, John Fisher, to start a fund to help scale promising charter schools. This week the group, called Silicon Schools Fund, released a report reflecting on its efforts so far, which have supported 31 schools, 24 of which were brand new, with a total of $50 million. The bad news: They admit there isn’t yet enough hard evidence that personalized learning really works. The good news: There are plenty of positive signs, both when measuring students across standardized tests and when looking for signals of engagement. They suggest moving forward with what they call Urgent Patience. EdSurge’s CEO, Betsy Corcoran, sat down with Greenberg to talk about the report, along with his colleague Caitrin Wright. Here are highlights from their conversation.
Sep 12, 2017
Questioning the Core Assumptions of Personalized Learning with Math Blogger Dan Meyer
A few weeks ago, while perusing Twitter for news stories, a few folks on the EdSurge team came across a Tweet by math blogger, TED talker, and former teacher Dan Meyer. He had recently read an EdSurge article regarding struggles that had taken place during a Fulton County Schools’ personalized learning initiative in Atlanta, and in response, Meyer Tweeted, “Can you send me a calendar invite to the meeting where we question the core assumptions of personalized learning?” Though the “invitation” wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, EdSurge decided to take him up on the offer. Last week, Meyer join in on a very special Google On Air Hangout for a live discussion around exactly that topic—the “core assumptions” of personalized learning, where Meyer thinks PL helps or hurts classroom learning, and how technology fits into all of this.
Sep 5, 2017
Do the Technophobes and Technophiles Both Need a ‘New Education’?
Sometimes it's hard to imagine change—especially when it comes to a 150-year-old system, such as higher education in the United States. But much of the system we see and experience today was designed, and perhaps it can be again. At least, that's what professor Cathy Davidson writes in her latest book, “The New Education.” As director of the futures initiative at CUNY's Graduate Center, Davidson studies and thinks a lot about cultural history and technology. In the book, she outlines several ways that higher education as we know it was blueprinted and built. But even more, she argues for why an education overhaul should happen again, especially in the digital era. EdSurge spoke with Davidson about the book and why she thinks a revision in higher ed is necessary, and how that’s tied to the increasing presence of technology and automation in institutions—and changing economic demands.
Aug 29, 2017
Can This MIT Student Entrepreneurship Program Bridge the Israeli-Palestinian Divide?
Ideological and political conflicts exist across the world, and often appear oversimplified and binary: conservative versus liberal, left versus right, the 99 versus 1 percent. Yet the reality is often much more complicated. And for children born in the wake of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, growing up in the world of ideological tension has been a way of life. While Middle Eastern entrepreneurs have tried to encourage peace and conversation between Israel and Palestine through binational work, many organizations struggle to recruit from either country. However, one of these programs—Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (or MEET)—has used an education-first approach since 2004 to invest in bright young students. With programming support from MIT faculty and graduates, MEET brings together equal numbers of Israeli and Palestinian high school students each year to engage in coding and entrepreneurship training, and subsequently, cultivate cross-border relatio…
Aug 22, 2017
A Data Scientist’s Warning About ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’
These days algorithms have taken on an almost godlike power—they’re up in the (data) clouds, watching everything, passing judgment and leaving us mere mortals with no way to appeal or to even know when these mathematical deities have intervened. That’s the argument made by Cathy O'Neil in her book “Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.” If algorithms are gods, she’s one of the high priests, as a data scientist and mathematician. These days O'Neil is trying to challenge this divine narrative of Big Data and point out how fallible the mathematical frameworks around us are—whether in financial systems, in social networks or in education. As she writes, “many of these models encoded human prejudice, misunderstanding and bias into the software systems that increasingly manage our lives.” EdSurge connected with O'Neil to hear how her behind-the-scenes view of the 2008 financial crisis led her to try to push for tools tha…
Aug 15, 2017
With 3D Technology, Special Education Students Can Focus on Content—Not Access
Neal McKenzie says teachers of visually impaired students “have been makers for a long time.” The assistive technology specialist has designed dozens of objects to help his students access content, including an award-winning device to teach Braille. In this special edition EdSurge On Air podcast, EdSurge's own Michael Winters reads McKenzie's article aloud, in which he offers tips for special-ed teachers to incorporate 3D design into curriculum, along with his favorite maker resources.
Aug 15, 2017
Why Late Adopters Are Skeptical of Edtech (and How to Get Them on Board)
There are plenty of “innovators” and “early adopters” of education technology out there, from educators who make the rounds on the ISTE and SXSWedu conference circuits to consultants and entrepreneurs who push for adoption of certain tools or practices. But what about those who are more skeptical? The “technology adoption life cycle,” inspired by the work of American communication theorist and sociologist Everett Rogers, argues that 50% of adopters fall into the “late adopter” or “laggard” categories. Despite making up such a huge percentage, late adopters and laggards rarely get invited to be a part of the edtech conversation. What do they need that early adopters don’t—and is it necessarily a bad thing to be a late adopter? To find out, EdSurge invited Bret Harrison—a fifth grade teacher from King City Arts Magnet School in central California with 28 years of teaching experience—to hop on the EdSurge podcast. Harrison falls somewhere in between the late…
Aug 9, 2017
Lessons From Flipped Classrooms and Flipped Failures
Robert Talbert, a math professor at Grand Valley State University, talks about his new book on flipped learning—a method catching on these days in college classrooms. He describes it as a new philosophy of teaching. Unlike the lecture model, in which students first encountering new material in the classroom, in the flipped model the students’ first encounter with the material happens outside of class, usually in the form of video lectures. And class time is used for more interactive activities that encourage students to apply what they’re learning while the professor is there to step in and help if necessary. EdSurge sat down with Talbert to talk about his experiences, and why he thinks more research universities are taking teaching more seriously these days.
Aug 1, 2017
From the Mouths of Virtual School Students—Personalized and Flexible, or Over-Hyped and Isolating?
Virtual schools—a fiercely debated topic. Some, like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the American Legislative Exchange Council, are in favor. Others, including researchers like Columbia University professor Aaron Pallas, have pushed back. In fact, last January, Pallas called out DeVos for presenting misleading graduation rates quoted from K12 Inc. while presenting her case for virtual school expansion. But politicians and researchers aside, what do the students who attend virtual schools think? Are they pleased with their experiences, or wishing they could return to the brick-and-mortar, traditional schools where they started? This week, EdSurge sat down with Amanda Regan, a graduate of Virtual High School in Ontario, Canada, and Kiaha Raigoza, a product of California Virtual Academies and the Flex Program through the University of Wisconsin. Unlike the aforementioned researchers and politicians, both Regan and Raigoza experienced virtual schooling for themselves, and shared…
Jul 25, 2017
What If MOOCs Really Do Revolutionize Education? This Popular Online Professor Thinks They Will
If you’ve ever zoned out during a lecture, of if your students are prone to distraction as you click through your PowerPoint deck, that’s partly because we’re hard-wired not to focus intently for longer than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Our bodies, after all, were evolved to master survival in nature, rather than staring at glowing bullet points on a screen. That’s the argument made by Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University, who spends a lot of time these days thinking about how people learn. And she’s taught more students than just about anyone else on the planet, as one of the instructors of one of the most popular online courses ever, which has had two million registered students over the several times it’s been offered. The title of the course, is Learning How to Learn. EdSurge recently talked with Oakley about what she’s learned teaching all those online students. And she makes the case for why free online courses like hers—which ar…
Jul 18, 2017
Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani: Why An 'Hour of Code' Isn’t Enough
It’s no shock to anyone—there is a gender disparity problem in the computer science world. The computing industry’s rate of job creation in the United States may be three times that of other industries, but the number of females attaining computer science degrees is falling, as U.S. News reports: “In 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014, that number had dropped to 18 percent.” However, Reshma Saujani doesn’t think the issues merely lie in offering girls more opportunities to learn. Rather, it’s a problem of culture and consistency. “A girl doing an ‘hour of code’ is not going to have an epiphany that is going to convert her,” she tells EdSurge. Saujani, a former lawyer and the CEO/founder of Girls Who Code in 2012, has strong beliefs about how the political landscape will and should affect computer science education, as well as the biggest hurdles facing those hoping to adequately educate girls on coding. Luckily, EdSurge got the o…
Jul 11, 2017
How Childhood Has Changed (And How That Impacts Education)
It’s easy to forget that notions of childhood have changed radically over the years—and not all for the better, says Steven Mintz, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “Helicopter parenting” and habits around carefully guarding, protecting and scheduling kids have their downsides. The history of the American family and childhood is an area Mintz has long studied. And he keeps that perspective in mind as he works to keep college teaching practices up to date in his other role, as the executive director of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning. EdSurge sat down with Mintz a few months ago to talk about kids today, and about why he thinks higher education is going through a once-in-a-generational transformation to respond to how they’ve changed. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. We encourage you to listen to a complete version below, or on iTunes (or your favorite podcast app).
Jul 4, 2017
Tired Edtech Trends That Teachers Wish Would Retire: From the Floor of ISTE 2017
On the floor of the ISTE conference, it’s easy to meet educators and administrators from all over the country (and the world at large). You can discuss edtech implementation strategies, hear about favorite tools, and get to know those practices that teachers are excited to bring back to their students. But while EdSurge paced the ISTE floor on June 25-28 in San Antonio, Texas, we decided to ask a slightly different question: What edtech trends, products, and buzzwords do you wish would retire—for good? From “blended learning” to digital worksheets, here are a collection of comments from ten educators about their biggest edtech pet peeves.
Jun 27, 2017
Stop Calling College Teachers ‘Professors.’ Try ‘Cognitive Coaches,’ Says Goucher President.
One problem with college teaching is that professors see themselves as, well, professing— declaring what they know and believe. That’s not how good teaching works, argues Jose Bowen, president of Goucher College. The best teachers have more in common with fitness instructors, he argues. They motivate and guide their students to accomplish their goals. Years ago Bowen coined the term “teaching naked,” meaning teaching without technology like PowerPoint. His latest book, “Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes,” expands on his arguments and offers practical advice for instructors who want to rethink how they design their classes. EdSurge recently sat down with Bowen at his office at the liberal arts college just outside of Baltimore, where he argued that improving college teaching is key to helping improve the political climate facing the country.
Jun 26, 2017
Radiolab's Jad Abumrad On Creativity, Diversity, and the 'Humanities Crisis'
For those of you who listen frequently, you might be a little confused since normally, we put out only one episode of the EdSurge On Air podcast each week. But this week is special, because we’re coming to you live from the ISTE 2017 edtech conference in San Antonio Texas, where more than 21,000 educators, entrepreneurs and administrators have gathered to share the best in edtech practices and tools. To kick off the festivities, ISTE brought in Jad Abumrad to deliver the conference’s opening keynote. Jad’s got quite a set of accolades: He’s a radio host, a composer, a producer… the list goes on. He’s probably most famous for being a founder and cohost of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab. And when we heard that he would be going to ISTE, my EdSurge colleague Jen Curtis immediately got on the phone to arrange an interview with him. In a moment, you’ll hear Jen’s exclusive interview with Jad minutes before his ISTE keynote. What are his thoughts about the powe…
Jun 21, 2017
What Skills Do Google, Pinterest, and Twitter Employees Think Kids Need To Succeed?
In today’s day and age, Google, Twitter and Pinterest are three of the largest employers in the United States and internationally. But are students gaining the skills that one might need to eventually apply to one of those tech giants, if the students chose to do so? In fact, in the year 2017, what hard and soft skills should students be developing in order to succeed in the 21st century workplace? What about in the year 2020? 2050? Let’s stick with the “now,” for a moment. In a recent interview, EdSurge explored which skill sets lead to career success for students—but we didn’t talk to anyone in K-12 or higher education. In fact, we interviewed three individuals—Alexandrea Alphonso, Ryan Greenberg, and Trisha Quan—representing those aforementioned tech companies. While the thoughts and feelings of each of the folks we interviewed do not represent the opinions of their employers, each of these technology leaders offered their thoughts in this exclusive Q&A on equity a…
Jun 14, 2017
How Students Running ‘EdSurge Independent’ Say Colleges Should Change
Don’t even think of lecturing to these college students. The 14 students who just finished up the spring session of EdSurge Independent want something more active, and they want to have a voice as colleges rethink how they teach and support people on their campuses. EdSurge sat down with three of these students--Amanda Wahlstedt, Jared Silver and Rosie Foulger--to talk about how they viewed the buzzwords and experiments happening at their campuses, and also to get a sense of what they saw as the problems with education that need to be solved.
Jun 6, 2017
What Edu Reporters Read: Hechinger, EdWeek, & the Chronicle on Top Stories of 2017
From Apple, Google and Microsoft battling to take over the classroom, to random acts in both K-12 and higher education compromising the private information of millions of vulnerable students, 2017 has been no short of edtech news. But when it comes to the biggest stories of the year thus far, what are the writers themselves—education reporters—reading and thinking about? While at the Education Writers Association conference on May 31 to June 2 in Washington, D.C., EdSurge reporter Jenny Abamu spoke with a group of reporters focused on the education technology beat—Benjamin Herold of Education Week, Nichole Dobo of The Hechinger Report, and Goldie Blumenstyk from The Chronicle of Higher Education—to hear their thoughts on the biggest education technology stories of the year, what they’re working on right now, and whether the federal government is helping—or hurting—the integration of edtech nationwide.
May 31, 2017
Why Sara Goldrick-Rab Sees Income Share Agreements As ‘Dangerous’ Trend
Sara Goldrick-Rab's latest book is based on six years of studying how students struggle with paying for college. She argues that recent experiments in having students sign "income-share agreements," or ISAs, is part of a broader effort to drain public resources from higher education.
May 23, 2017
Clint Smith on the Power of Twitter and How We (Often) Fail to Teach About Inequality
There are few individuals out there who can list both “two-time TED speaker” and “doctoral student at Harvard University” on their resume. Clint Smith is one of those people—though when you ask him about his work, he doesn’t immediately voice those accolades. Rather, he talks about his writings, and the time he’s spent teaching poetry to incarcerated men in Massachusetts. There’s also something else he brings up—his beliefs, specifically his concerns that educators across the U.S. aren’t adequately teaching about the history of inequality and how it has come to manifest itself in this country. Smith is not one for silence (he delivered a TED talk about the “danger of silence” in 2014, in fact) and has used digital venues including Twitter to encourage others to speak up and recognize how history shapes the present. But what are Smith’s thoughts about the role that technology plays in the ways that students navigate the world, online and offline? And when it…
May 16, 2017
Why Donald Graham Sold Kaplan University to Purdue for $1
There are many unanswered questions about the unprecedented sale of Kaplan University, a for-profit institution with several online programs but falling enrollments, to Purdue University, one of the top public universities in the nation. To try to get some answers, EdSurge recently sat down with Donald Graham, chairman of Graham Holdings Company, the group that sold the 15-campus Kaplan University to Purdue (for just $1). (Editor’s note, Graham Holdings is an investor in EdSurge.) A look at some details of the deal revealed in an SEC filing suggest that Graham Holdings bears the bulk of the financial risk, and as one analyst notes, is potentially leaving money on the table. It hands off much of Kaplan University to Purdue in exchange for essentially a long-term business contract for Kaplan, Inc. (which remains in Graham Holdings). Under the agreement, Kaplan will provide technology, marketing, and other support services for the new campus of Purdue that will be formed from the form…
May 9, 2017
Does Tech Support Personalized Learning—or Distract Us From What’s Really Important?
“Personalized learning” is a term that is no stranger to interpretation—even to the point that writers have started to argue about whether it’s worth defining or not (just check out here and here.) But no matter how a school or district defines it, is it worth including technology in that definition—or does edtech merely distract educators from understanding and delivering on what students really need? In early March, three education research experts—Eileen Rudden of Boston’s LearnLaunch, Chris Liang-Vergara of Chicago’s LEAP Innovations, and Muhammed Chaudhry of the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley Education Foundation—joined EdSurge on a panel to discuss the very answer to this muddy and oftentimes challenging question. Check it out on this edition of the EdSurge podcast!
1 hr 4 min
May 2, 2017
Why Moodle’s Mastermind, Martin Dougiamas, Still Believes in Edtech After Two Decades
Before the “LMS” became an acronym and a hotly contested market of its own, Martin Dougiamas was writing code to share his “object oriented dynamic learning environment” across the web. That project would go on to become Moodle, one of the most widely-used learning management system across the world today. Just don’t let Dougiamas catch you calling his pet project of the past two decades an LMS. Those three letters make him wince—just a bit. “I prefer to say learning platform,” he says in this week’s EdSurge On Air podcast. “Sometimes we call it an LMS maker,” he adds. Moodle’s “flexible modularity” allows anyone to “build the perfect LMS.”
Apr 25, 2017
Do Students, Principals and Superintendents See Eye-to-Eye on Eliminating Grade Levels?
McComb School District down in McComb, Mississippi doesn’t just believe in the power of technology when it comes to personalized learning. In fact, for superintendent Dr. Cederick Ellis and Summit Elementary School principal Lakya Taylor-Washington, the bigger asset in going personalized comes down to removing arbitrary grade level assignments and creating “learning labs,” a style of competency-based learning that Summit has been experimenting with since 2015. At Summit, “scholars” are grouped by readiness and performance—not by traditional grade levels—and indicate evidence of mastery by completing projects at their own pace. In theory, the rollout and success of this instructional approach sounds feasible, but oftentimes, it’s the adults who explain how the program works—without the opinions or inputs of students. How about Summit students adjusting to the change? What do they like? What do they wish was different? In order to hear exactly how different stakeholde…
Apr 18, 2017
Reactions to a College Alternative: Debating the Merits of MissionU
A for-profit startup recently launched what it calls an alternative to traditional college, that takes only one year to complete, is advised closely by big-name employers, and that costs nothing at first, though students have to later pay back a portion of their incomes. What’s missing are the general-education curriculum. It’s called MissionU, and the reaction has been mixed, and passionate. Some academics have trashed it as a kind of employment service passing itself off as education. While others have praised it for trying to shake up the higher education system. For this week’s EdSurge On Air podcast, we decided to try something different. We put together a virtual panel discussion, inviting people with a variety of views on MissionU to face off—including its founder, and a critic. Our hope was to start a dialogue and get beyond misperceptions on both sides. That means that the episode is a bit longer than usual, but it gets pretty lively, and we hope you’ll listen throu…
Apr 6, 2017
Beware of the Word ‘Flexible’: Architect Danish Kurani on Designing 21st Century Schools
“Flexible.” It’s a word that often pops up in conversations about redesigning learning environments, relating to choices in furniture or movable walls. But according to Danish Kurani, redesigning 21st century classrooms goes much deeper than merely achieving flexibility—it involves going all the way back to considering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Kurani is a licensed architect who focuses his work on learning spaces, and currently teaches a “Learning Environments for Tomorrow” course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education every year. Having worked on locations ranging from Denver’s Columbine Elementary to SELNY, a psychotherapy clinic and adult learning center in New York, Kurani has seen and used a variety of tactics to implement learning design in pursuit of specific goals. This week, EdSurge sat down with him to hear about the most common design constraints, architecture gone wrong, and the work his firm recently conducted on the Code Next Lab in Oakland.
Apr 4, 2017
One University's Approach to Innovation: ‘You Have to Go Slow to Go Fast’
Southern New Hampshire University is known as a place trying new things, and one thing they hope to do is create a culture of change on campus. To do that, they've created a sandbox--an innovation lab called the Sandbox Collaborative. We sat down with the executive director of the sandbox, Michelle Weise, to get a tour of this unusual lab and hear why she thinks colleges need to change.
Mar 27, 2017
What Students With Learning Differences Really Want Us to Know: Q&A with Ben Gurewitz
A few weeks back, EdSurge traveled to SXSWedu to hear talks about technology and chat with educators and entrepreneurs. But while there, we met someone who spoke about how edtech could better serve students with learning differences in a manner we’d never heard before. In fact, that individual, Ben Gurewitz, is a student with learning differences himself. Gurewitz is a Bay Area native and currently a freshman at the University of California, Davis—but that represents only a small fraction of how he spends his time. As cofounder of the Diverse Learners Coalition and an active participant in Student Voice, Gurewitz seeks to use his own experiences with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and slow processing disorder as a platform to create change both inside education organizations and amongst the greater populations. Gurewitz came to the EdSurge offices in Burlingame, California to speak about his own learning experiences in K-12, where the education system is failing to reach students, and whe…
Mar 21, 2017
Why Students Living on Campus Take Online Courses
Students at the University of Central Florida are busy, and it’s not always with classes. They have sports to play, student organizations to run, even parties to go to. So to keep class schedules as flexible as possible, and to offer more sections without putting up new buildings, UCF leaders have turned to offering more online courses for students on campus. But are those students missing out? On this week’s EdSurge On Air podcast, we talked to Dale Whittaker, provost and executive vice president at the University of Central Florida. He’s currently leading another evolution in online teaching, as the institution moves into adaptive learning. They hope that the future of campus learning is for students teaming up to teach each other as they work through online exercises in campus coffee shops.
Mar 14, 2017
Dealing with a 'Culture of Fear'—Administrators on PD in the Age of Blended Learning
It’s pretty clear that very few people in education enjoy those typical sit-and-get professional development sessions. And when blended learning gets thrown into the mix, the situation gets even more complicated—what happens when educators seem afraid of products? Who should deliver PD, the administrators or the teachers? Talk to administrators, and they have some answers to these questions—as well as thoughts about what parts of PD should be left far, far behind. At the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit in Riverside, EdSurge’s own Michelle Spencer led a panel with Steve Kong (instructional services specialist for Riverside Unified School District), Stepan Mekhitarian (blended learning coordinator for Local District Northwest in Los Angeles USD), Brad Hellickson (student advisor for online learning in Corona Norco Unified) and Michelle Clavijo-Diaz (Global Education Solutions Product Line Manager, HP Inc.) to get their thoughts.
Mar 6, 2017
How One University Works to ‘Humanize’ Online Teaching
Cal State Channel Islands offers a two-week online training course for professors at the university called Humanizing Online Learning, with tips and strategies for forging personal connections with remote students. The course's creator and instructor, Michelle Pacansky-Brock, and the university's vice president for technology and innovation, Michael Berman, talk about the effort, and about how online education can involve a surprising amount of passion—and even some tears.
Feb 28, 2017
How Chicago's PilotED Schools Tackles Trauma, Civics Education, and "Student Identity"
Jacob Allen was the first-ever youth president for the NAACP in Wisconsin and a Teach for America corps member in Chicago. But it wasn’t either of those roles that landed him on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list this past January. Rather, it was his efforts to bring an important topic back into K-12 schools—the idea of a student’s self-identity. In 2013, Allen and his cofounder Marie Dandie created pilotED Schools, an afterschool program that has a three-tiered curriculum, specifically focusing on developing students in the realms of academic success, civic engagement and social identity. Over the last few years, pilotED has worked with more than 100 school students and families on Chicago’s South and West Sides. But pilotED isn’t just about helping existing schools anymore. Allen and Dandie will soon be launching the first pilotED brick-and-mortar school—a daunting but unique opportunity. EdSurge sat down with Allen last week to discover how his new school model is tackling th…
Feb 21, 2017
How One Coding School Hopes to Teach Thousands of Students, Without Professors
An unusual coding school called 42 opened a campus just outside of Silicon Valley last year. It's free -- for those who pass a month-long coding challenge -- and it focuses on peer-to-peer learning, meaning there are no professors. Brittany Bir, chief operating officer of 42 USA, explains how it works, and whether there are any lessons for traditional educational institutions.
Feb 15, 2017
How Middle Schoolers in Tennessee Are Gaining Access to Community College Courses
In Tennessee, the education system made headlines a few years back when the state announced the “Tennessee Promise”—an initiative granting thousands of high school students the opportunity to attend two years of free community college. After Governor Bill Haslam announced the scholarship program amongst a flurry of news, students immediately began applying to receive funds to put towards tuition at one of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institutions offering an associate’s degree program. (And now, adults can get in on the action, too.) But in order for the program to succeed, it wasn’t just about the community and technical colleges agreeing to be a part of the plan. School districts across the state began to see themselves as an integral piece of the equation. And one district in particular, the Putnam County School System in Cookeville, decided to push student ownership over higher education learning even further…
Feb 7, 2017
President of Achieving the Dream On How Colleges Wrestle With Their Data
As more colleges dive deeper into their own completion and retention data, they don't always like what they see. Karen Stout, president of Achieving the Dream, talks about how community colleges can face their own internal report cards, and take action.
Feb 1, 2017
Can Administrators Lead Innovation Without Blended Learning Experience?
A few years back, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) found itself in the news for the rollout of iPads districtwide, which some ilsteners out there might remember. Since then, what’s going on with technology in Southern California’s biggest public school district? Well, in one region—the local Northwest sector of the district—administrators, schools and teachers have been busy expanding efforts for blended learning implementation in collaboration with Stepan Mekhitarian. Mekhitarian is currently the Blended Learning Coordinator for that LAUSD sector, but that’s not the only education role on his resume. He’s been a math teacher, an administrator and conducted a doctoral research study on the skills and training needed to implement blended learning effectively and as such, he’s got advice for district admins on how to connect with all of those respective groups. Mekhitarian is the first to admit that it can be challenging for administrators to lead blended l…
Jan 24, 2017
Why U. of Michigan’s President Says Universities Should Work to Transform Teaching
Last year, the U. of Michigan launched a major campus-wide effort to encourage a culture of continual improvement in teaching. The university's president, Mark Schlissel, explains why, and weighs in on the MOOC craze, fake news, and the value of higher education.
Jan 17, 2017
The Three Lessons U.S. Schools Should Borrow from New Zealand
This week, we take you to Auckland. A few months back, our own Betsy Corcoran traveled to New Zealand, where she sat down with Pete Hall. Right now, Pete is the newest principal of the Taupaki School, but he also has a background in entrepreneurship and teaching. Back during this interview, he served as the Educator Engagement Lead for Network for Learning (N4L), and principal at Upper Harbour Primary School. Betsy spoke with Pete about New Zealand’s schools, and discovered a few unique facts--including the reality that standards aren’t the be-all, end-all of schooling in New Zealand. In fact, the schools place a huge emphasis on bringing the community into the running of programs like makerspaces, and offer students a sense of autonomy that you don’t always see in standards-obsessed systems. What can the U.S. borrow from New Zealand's schooling system?
Jan 10, 2017
Former EdTech Director for Obama Administration Sees Innovation Moving to the States
Donald Trump is about to take office, and one of the many places where change is coming will be the education department. To find out what that could mean, we checked in with Richard Culatta, who served as director of the education department’s Office of Educational Technology in the Obama Administration and is now Chief Innovation Officer for the state of Rhode Island.
Dec 21, 2016
What Does a 'Modern Classroom' Look Like—and What Should Educators Leave Behind?
The classroom. Since the 1950s, the setup of your average second, sixth or tenth grade classroom hasn’t changed all that much. Desks lined up, students facing forward, teacher up at the front giving a lecture. The same can be said for higher education oftentimes, as well. What gives? In early October, EdSurge hosted the Austin Tech for Schools Summit in Texas, and while there, heard a bit about what administrators and entrepreneurs are doing to actively create the “modern classroom.” How do educators redefine what classrooms look like? Blow up the design entirely? Bring in more project-based learning? In this podcast, you’ll hear from Superintendent Royce Avery and CTO Angela Matthews of Manor ISD, Director of Technology Erin Bown-Anderson of Austin ISD, assistant principal Kris Waugh of Ann Richards School, and Jon Phillips of DELL, who looks after worldwide education strategy. What will it take to propel the “modern classroom” forward?
Dec 2, 2016
Want to Teach Kids to Code? Why You Should Focus on the Teachers First
It’s here, it’s here! Once again, we’ve come upon that week in December when we celebrate all things programming. December 5 kicks off national Computer Science Week, and what better way to start the celebrations than with a perfectly-themed interview? Today, we’ve got Jeffrey Martin on the EdSurge podcast. The founder of an organization called "honorCode" recently won the $500,000 Global Change the World competition for nonprofit entrepreneurs as part of the Forbes Under 30 Summit held in Boston in October. HonorCode is a nonprofit that provides curriculum and training to schools to help prep teachers to educate K-12 kids on coding. That’s right people—it’s not just about the kids, you have to educate the adults, too!
Nov 15, 2016
“A Better Future is Possible”: IDEO’s Sandy Speicher on Design Thinking in Schools
Want to hear the full interview with Sandy? Check out the EdSurge On Air podcast. For those who are familiar with the global design firm IDEO, a few words might come to mind. Consulting. Design thinking. K-12 and higher education? Yes, IDEO has indeed carved out a space for itself in the education market. At the center of it? Sandy Speicher, the Executive Director of the Education practice and a designer by trade. She’s worked with organizations across the public, private, and social sectors. For example, recently, she and her team finished up a project with the San Francisco Unified School District centered around redefining the school lunch program. Recently, Speicher spoke with EdSurge about the genesis of the Education Studio at IDEO, the role that design thinking plays in improving K-12 education, and where she sees the biggest opportunities for growth and improvement in schools.
Oct 31, 2016
Jim Shelton of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on Personalized Learning
Jim Shelton, President of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), provided one of the keynotes this past Thursday at the iNACOL conference in San Antonio, Texas. Jim has played a number of roles in the edtech space—-he was most recently President & Chief Impact Officer of 2U, Inc. Previously, he was the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Program Director for Education at the Gates Foundation. So, it's safe to say he’s seen a lot in the education space. Is personalized learning the real key to solving equity issues? Shelton is optimistic, and spoke to the concept of unlocking human potential and promoting equity through transformative personalized learning.
Sep 29, 2016
EdSurge Extra: Minerva’s Jonathan Katzman on Making ‘the Best Seminar Possible’
If you could create a college from scratch today what would it look like? Minerva Schools at KGI has done just that, building an accredited, four-year undergraduate program that has an inaugural class in its sophomore year. Hear Jonathan Katzman, chief product officer at Minerva, explain how students use the latest video technology to actively learn from all around the world.
Sep 16, 2016
When Everyone Has Different Definitions of "Student Achievement"
Today, we’re actually bringing back an old favorite while we generate some new content for you. Back in 2015, in Davis California, we brought superintendents from across California together at an EdSurge event to chat about data and assessment, and how it gets best used in the classroom. How can we use data to make sure that we’re improving student achievement? How does one even define “student achievement”? We talked to Bryant Wong CTO, Summit Public Schools Devin Dillon CAO, Oakland USD Gregory Firn Superintendent in Residence & Director of Strategic Partnerships,, Dreambox Learning; and Alix Guerrier President/Co-Founder, LearnZillion, on a panel to answer these questions and more. We’ll get to that in a second, but first, the news.
Sep 7, 2016
EdSurge Extra: John Deasy on His LAUSD Superintendency, Mistakes, and Going Forward
Thirty-two. That’s how many years John Deasy has spent in education as a teacher, high school principal, and superintendent in four different districts across three states. Of all these roles, his stint at the Los Angeles Unified School District may be the most memorable—and controversial. As superintendent, he led one of the largest and most highly-critiqued 1:1 device deployments in the country—one that that led to a frenzy of media reporting, and a number of columnists from L.A.-based and national publications alike asking, “Where did it all go so wrong?” After leaving LAUSD in October 2014, Deasy joined the Broad Center as a Superintendent-in-Residence, where he’s been working to develop school district leaders from across the country. But now, he’s gearing up for the next chapter: creating an organization to address juvenile incarceration and, eventually, reduce juvenile recidivism by 50 percent. EdSurge caught up with Deasy to chat about the up’s and down’s o…
Sep 1, 2016
EdSurge Extra: Marco Molinaro Asks, ‘How Do We Maximize Learning?’
Many faculty see introductory science courses as "gateway" classes to weed out students. Not Marco Molinaro. The assistant vice provost at the University of California, Davis, is leading the school's efforts to overhaul these classes and make them more accessible to students. Hear how UC Davis is using adaptive-learning tools and active-learning techniques to improve pass rates in these notoriously tough classes.
Aug 28, 2016
Pitfalls and Triumphs—What I Learned From My Year in Edtech
Blake Montgomery, one-half of the EdSurge On Air podcast team, is bidding EdSurge adieu to take on a role as a Tech Reporter at Buzzfeed. But before he leaves, he's got some thoughts about what he's noticed from his year at EdSurge. Specifically, what is he optimistic about? What was his biggest scoop of the year? Why has he become distrustful of edtech company pitches? Catch all that and more in Blake's farewell EdSurge On Air podcast.
Aug 25, 2016
EdSurge Extra: Bridget Burns' Call to Edtech Entrepreneurs: 'Start With Empathy'
Bridget Burns sees plenty of "superheroes"—26-year-old Silicon Valley types with good intentions, yet little understanding, for how to change higher education. Burns is executive director of the University Innovation Alliance, a coalition of 11 public research universities focused on making quality college degrees accessible to a diverse body of students. The UIA serves 400,000 students, more than a quarter of whom receive Pell grants. In this recording from an EdSurge Meetup, Burns shares what she wishes product developers understood about the challenges higher-ed institutions face.
Aug 19, 2016
Megan Stewart, Unity's Head of Global Education
Unity is one of the most widely used game development engines, but what does that have to do with education? We sat down with Megan Stewart, Unity's Head of Global Education, at her new office to find out.
Aug 15, 2016
The '$1000 Pencil'—Why Edtech Companies Aren’t Pushing the Envelope
A few weeks back, EdSurge published a podcast interview with education consultant and commentator Alan November, and Director of Secondary Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Houston Independent School District Mike Dorsey, after chatting with the two education experts at ISTE. The interview got quite a number of listens, likely because November said that the edtech industry had created a “mess” at one point in the interview. However, November was only able to be with us for about ten minutes in that interview, so we really didn’t get a chance to delve into what he meant by “a mess.” Hence, EdSurge decided to enter back into that conversation with November, this time in a Q&A covering his thoughts on the “$1000 pencil,” whether Khan Academy is or is not pushing the envelope, and how any change in the classroom has to start with the teacher. How has the edtech industry created a “mess”—and more importantly, whose responsibility is it to clean up that mes…
Aug 7, 2016
What Data Privacy Laws Should Schools Watch Out for This Year?
Our guest today is Gretchen Shipley, a partner at the law firm Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost, who often works with schools on data privacy regulations. We interviewed her for a recent article on the student privacy issues of Pokemon Go, and at the end of our interview, she started talking about some new laws that could mean big problems for schools. Compliance complaints related to the Americans with Disabilities Act are on the rise. California Teachers' access to student devices has gotten much more complicated. We sat down with Shipley at our California Superintendents’ Summit to get a fuller picture of the biggest legal issues schools will face in the upcoming year.
Aug 1, 2016
EdSurge Extra: We Don’t Have Resources to Keep Up with Edtech--Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes Q&A
Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, knows what it takes to be a good teacher. In fact, she’s been in the game for twelve years, currently serving as a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut. But she also believes that not everyone is cut out for the profession, especially if they aren’t willing to change with the times—times that have brought an onslaught of new technologies and practices into the classroom. What does it mean, then, for the teaching profession to prepare for 2020? Last week, EdSurge had the opportunity to sit down with Hayes to hear about her thoughts on what the profession is missing, why there’s a dearth of minority educators in the field, and how her own district struggles with “antiquated ideas” about social media and the like.
Jul 29, 2016
Empathy, Technology, and How to Reduce School Suspensions by 50%
Technology can do a lot of things in the classroom, but can it help educators be more empathetic towards their students? This week on the EdSurge podcast, we talk to Dr. Jason Okonofua, a postdoc at Stanford University, about just that. Okonofua is interested in how the effects of one person’s stereotyping and another person’s threat reverberate and escalate over time. He currently researches this interest in the context of education and criminal justice, and recently completed a white paper hypothesizing that an empathetic mindset will eliminate school suspensions. According to his research findings, published in a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, training teachers to have more empathy towards their students lowers suspension numbers by 50%, an incredibly high number when you consider that Jason’s trainings only include one 45-minute online session in the fall, and a 25-minute online session in the winter. Why are they so successful? And empathy so…
Jul 22, 2016
Yuta Tonegawa and the Japanese Hour of Code
This week, we're talking to Yuta Tonegawa, founder of the Japanese equivalent of the Hour of Code. He's passionate about engaging young Japanese students with coding, but the barriers he faces are distinctly different obstacles that face his American counterpart, the Hour of Code.
Jul 17, 2016
What Does a Superintendent Look For in an Edtech Product?
The life of a district superintendent isn’t easy. You have to juggle a lot, from managing big of groups of administrators and teachers, to pushing a district forward. So, what is the hardest part of a superintendent's job, and is it related to technology? In a series of interviews that EdSurge conducted at the ISTE conference in late June, EdSurge podcasters Mary Jo Madda and Michael Winters had the opportunity to interview Dr. Greg Goins, superintendent of Frankfort Community Unit School District 168 in Illinois. The man has made some pretty strong movements with edtech in his district, and EdSurge wanted to get to know his methods. Does Goins think Smartboards are effective? What are the edtech products he’s tired of hearing about? Listen to this episode to find the answers to those questions and more.
Jul 10, 2016
Is Google Education Threatened By Amazon's Open Content Platform?
With Amazon making its first big education platform debut in years, we were wondering: how are other blue chip companies—Microsoft, Apple, Google—reacting to this news? While at ISTE, Mary Jo and former EdSurge podcaster Michael Winters hosted an in-person taping of the EdSurge On Air podcast with a live audience and two Google leaders, Jonathan Rochelle and Jaime Casap. Rochelle and Casap both have a long history with the Google for Education team. Casap is a Google Education evangelist, and Rochelle is a Google Education Product Manager, not to mention a co-founder of Google Drive. Between the two of them, they have more than 20 years of experience with the search company. We asked both Casap and Rochelle about their thoughts on Amazon Inspire, where Google Education plans to grow, and why conferences seem so homogenous. By the way, in each of our interviews, we decided to play a little game. Since edtech buzzwords drive us crazy, we had a secret word that the interviewees didn…
Jul 5, 2016
The Edtech Industry Has "Created a Mess"——Q&A with Mike Dorsey and Alan November
Alan November is a big-name educational consultant who was once a champion of technology in the classroom. But after EdSurge talked to him at ISTE, it seems that his message has slightly changed: technology isn’t having the impact we hoped for in schools. Expectations were high for edtech. People said it would solve every problem in education, and some venture capitalists agreed. Now, November says, we’re facing a more sober reality as we see what technology can and, more importantly, cannot do. EdSurge caught up briefly with November and Mike Dorsey, Director of Secondary Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Houston Independent School District, for this week's podcast.
Jun 30, 2016
EdSurge Extra: SNHU’s Paul LeBlanc Wants Higher Ed to Back Up Its Claims
Long before competency-based learning was trending, Southern New Hampshire University gave it a shot, largely driven by the vision of its president, Paul LeBlanc. Today SNHU is seen as a leader in closing the gap between what students learn and what the workforce wants. LeBlanc sat down with EdSurge CEO Betsy Corcoran and 1776 Partner Rusty Greiff to share his thoughts on “blowing up the delivery models” for higher ed.
Jun 25, 2016
Game Design 101--How University Students Are Getting a Crash Course in Collaboration
It’s not easy being a game designer in college—but it sure teaches lessons about collaboration and tough decision-making. At the College Gaming Competition at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), we talked to two game creators—one technical designer and one artist—about how their game came to be and what they’ve learned from it.
Jun 22, 2016
Savannah College's VR Multiplayer Robot Arena Wins E3 College Gaming Competition
Last week, I ventured down to LA for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, the biggest videogames convention in the country. I was in search of educational video games. I found assassins and Lil Wayne, but not a whole lot of educational games. LEGO made an appearance, as did Sid Meier’s Civilization, but for a multibillion dollar industry, there wasn’t much in the way of direct educational material. I did, however, find one thing: the College Gaming Competition. It’s a game design contest where university students submit their games to a panel of industry veterans for evaluations. The experts select six finalists and one winner. All the finalists receive the honor of exhibiting their games on the main floor of E3 alongside giants like Microsoft and Sony. To get a better look inside how the game came together, I interviewed both leaders of the Savannah College’s team. Their game is called Brobot Beatdown. It’s a virtual reality game where the player is…
Jun 17, 2016
EdSurge Extra: On the Floor of E3 with a Game Design Academy Founder
When should students specialize their learning? Does doing so narrow their futures or allow them to follow their passion to a strong portfolio? Peter Warburton, co-founder and production manager of Rizing Games, believes that kids who like video games should start building their own as early as 10. The reason? By the time they graduate from university, he argues, they’ll be near-professional quality video game makers. They’ll also have an impressive portfolio, as gaming is a heavily project-based pursuit. Rizing Games, a two-year game design academy attached to Cambridge Regional College, instructs 16 to 18-year-old British students on how to design games and run a gaming company as they train towards their A-level exams. It started in 2011 with 15 students in each class; it now takes 65. This year, Warburton took his second year students to E3, the gaming industry’s largest gathering, to present their games and see industry professionals at their best. We sat down with him ami…
Jun 11, 2016
Virtual Reality, Cultural Exchange and Empathy: An Interview with Global Nomads' Grace Lau
Virtual reality a technology of potential. So much potential, in fact, that in many ways it seems to be only potential. We’ve all seen pictures of rapt viewers in Oculus headsets or Google cardboard, but widespread distribution is still a distant prospect. In many cases, it's not clear why a teacher would use virtual reality in the classroom even if it seems like a fun addition. So today, we talked to a person using VR with a great deal of thought. Global Nomads is a nonprofit that facilitates virtual exchanges between students in the US and other countries, and it's about to launch a new VR initiative where students can digitally relocate. Grace Lau, the nonprofit's director of virtual reality,believes, as many do, in the power of VR to create empathy. Also, if you haven’t taken our survey (https://bit.ly/edsurgeonair) yet, we’d love it if you would.
Jun 5, 2016
How Does an Edtech Company Grow? A Look Inside EdSurge
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your edtech startup grow? In our very own homage to the Startup Podcast, we're examining EdSurge's recent expansion. We've doubled in size in the past year, and a lot of things are changing. How can we keep what was good about the past while remaining open to the possibilities of the future? We interviewed our VP of Sales, our CTO, the product manager of the EdSurge Index and one guy who does a bit of everything about what they've seen and what they're hoping for. Edited by Blake Montgomery.
May 31, 2016
Author Paul Tough on Whether Grit Can Be "Taught"
Here’s a four letter word that’s been in the news and education articles a fair amount over the past years. The word is “grit,” and it’s something that Paul Tough, the author of "How Children Succeed" and "Whatever It Takes," addresses in his most recent book, "Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why." Tough is a frequent commentator on school reform, low-income communities, parenting and politics, but in this particular book, he takes on the concept of “grit” and asks a crucial question: Is grit something that can be taught in the classroom? A few weeks ago, Paul Tough made his way to the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit in California, and EdSurge’s own Tony Wan got the chance to sit down with him to get the story behind the book, and what it’ll really take to help children succeed—whether grit can be taught, or not.
May 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: The Department Of Energy's Cybersecurity Technology at Maker Faire
THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY was out in force at Maker Faire Bay Area. The Department hopes to demystify the goings-on at its various national labs in the Bay Area by portraying its scientists as makers. Those scientists also hope to excite kids about the advanced technology they get to use. We spoke to three scientists about sensors, supercomputers and cybersecurity to learn more.
May 23, 2016
Edsurge Extra: The Department of Energy's Supercomputers at Maker Faire
THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY was out in force at Maker Faire Bay Area. The Department hopes to demystify the goings-on at its various national labs in the Bay Area by portraying its scientists as makers. Those scientists also hope to excite kids about the advanced technology they get to use. We spoke to three scientists about sensors, supercomputers and cybersecurity to learn more:
May 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: The Department of Energy's Sensor Technology at Maker Faire
THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY was out in force at Maker Faire Bay Area. The Department hopes to demystify the goings-on at its various national labs in the Bay Area by portraying its scientists as makers. Those scientists also hope to excite kids about the advanced technology they get to use. We spoke to three scientists about sensors, supercomputers and cybersecurity to learn more.
May 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: The Soldering Tent at Maker Faire
DEMOS APLENTY: One of the most crowded tents at Maker Faire was the “Learn to Solder” tent, which allowed young makers to learn what holds circuit boards together. Would-be makers were tasked with soldering a circuit that would allow a Makerbot pin to light up. We spoke to one volunteer in the tent to learn why it’s important for makers to learn how to solder.
May 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: The Baker Family at Maker Faire
“IT’S LIKE THE STATE FAIR FOR NERDS:” Many families return to Maker Faire year after year. We spoke to one family that’s been attending Maker Faire for many years to find out what keeps them coming back. Meet the Bakers from Menlo Atherton, CA:
May 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: Maker Movement Q&A with MIT's Mitch Resnick
Mitchel Resnick (or Mitch, for short) knows his making—from a lot of different angles. And he’s not too bought into the whole “electronics and gadgets” side of the maker movement. Resnick has been in this business for more than 30 years, and it’s safe to say that he’s seen the maker movement—and the state of STEM education, in general—go through its phases, its ups and downs. He’s currently the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, where he and his team have developed products familiar to many a science educator: the "programmable brick" technology that inspired the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit, and Scratch, an online computing environment for students to learn about computer science. Is making something that every school should be doing—and are all interpretations of “making” of equitable value? EdSurge sat down with Resnick in his office at the MIT Media Lab to learn more, and to find out…
May 22, 2016
How Will We Know What U.S. Education is Equitable? Interviews From NVSF Summit 2016
The question on everyone's mind at NewSchools Venture Fund's 2016 Summit: How will we know when education has become more equitable?We interviewed Dreambox CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson and Democrats for Education Reform President Shaver Jeffries for their takes on the most contested issue in education.
May 17, 2016
EdSurge Extra: EdSurge CEO Betsy Corcoran Interviews Edgenuity CEO Sari Factor
In addition to this week's regularly scheduled podcast programming, we're bringing you an exclusive conversation between executives. At the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, EdSurge's own CEO Betsy Corcoran interviewed Edgenuity CEO Sari Factor about Edgenuity's rapid expansion to 17,000 schools, Factor's definition of blended learning and what makes a good implementation. Edgenuity, formerly known as Education2020, was originally created, as Factor put it, for students who "couldn't be in the classroom, for one reason or another." Now, after five years of rapid growth, the company is expanding its products, services and focus this fall; tune in to hear more.
May 13, 2016
School Segregation is Everyone's Issue, with Hartford Schools' Enid Rey
Enid Rey is no stranger to controversy. A powerhouse and a lawyer by training, she's currently the head of the School Choice Department in Hartford, Connecticut's public school system. In a city like Hartford, where most people of socioeconomic background and race don’t mix neighborhoods, Rey’s job has been, at least recently, to market magnet schools to parents and students from both neighborhoods, encouraging them to integrate. Her responsibilities came to prominence when she was interviewed for the Peabody award-winning podcast "The Problem We All Live With," created by This American Life. When it comes to issues of equity and diversity, it’s everyone’s problem—like the title says, it’s a problem that we all live with. EdSurge had the opportunity to sit down with Rey at the recent NewSchools Venture Fund conference to hear how she proved innovative in her approach to segregation, and to ask what it really takes to turn efforts in one district into a viral movement.
May 6, 2016
What Do Students Think of Technology in the Classroom?
Every month or so, EdSurge hosts a summit to bring educators and edtech companies together (there might be one coming up near you). Sometimes, we're lucky enough to have students join us, and when we do, our student panel on edtech use is the highlight of the event. Educators, administrators and entrepreneurs alike love frank talk about what works for students and what's just annoying them. In Episode 61, we showcase a video made by the Youth Development Program, an after school program within Los Angeles Unified School District, where the students sound like us! They're interviewing each other about the Kids Marathon using their best newscaster voices. We also talked to a student journalist duoAt our Los Angeles summit about the craziest things they've done with technology and what their school would be like without it. Tune in!
May 1, 2016
Ted Mitchell and the Realities of Higher Ed Innovation
The Obama Administration recently admitted its work in higher education is far from done. Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell, the president’s No. 1 authority on higher education, said he’d give his team an “incomplete” grade. Why? Mitchell previously served as CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, president of the California State Board of Education and president of Occidental College. In his role with the federal government, he’s been been focused on improving college completion rates for first-generation, low-income students. Mitchell’s tenure will end this year when Obama leaves office. EdSurge recently had the chance to sit down with him to ask what kind of legacy the administration will leave in higher-ed innovation. Here’s our conversation.
Apr 25, 2016
White House Science Fair, Part 2: A Subway Trash Vacuum
This week, we spoke to two teams who scientific acumen brought them all the way to the White House for the nation's annual science fair. Second in our series is a team from Baruch College Campus High School in New York City that built a semi-automatic vacuum to ride on the back of subways to clean up trash.
Apr 25, 2016
White House Science Fair, Part 1: A Solar Car Charger
This week, we spoke to two teams who scientific acumen brought them all the way to the White House for the nation's annual science fair. First in our series is an automotive technology class from James Logan High School in Union, California that built a charging station for solar cars.
Apr 18, 2016
EdSurge Extra, Investor Spotlight: Brigette Lau of Social Capital
This week, the EdSurge On Air podcast features three "Extra" editions focusing on investors: how they choose what to invest it, where the money is flowing, what personalization in schools means to them, and more. On this episode, we speak to Brigette Lau of Social Capital. Brigette shares how her organization, Social Capital, measures and evaluates the health of the companies that she invests in, as well as the reality of free/freemium business models. Does she believe free products will work out in the long run?
Apr 18, 2016
EdSurge Extra, Investor Spotlight: Brian Dixon of Kapor Capital
This week, the EdSurge On Air podcast features three "Extra" editions focusing on investors: how they choose what to invest in, where the money is flowing, what personalization in schools means to them, and more. On this episode, we speak to Brian Dixon of Kapor Capital. Kapor Capital holds a significant role in the space of investing: they do about 20 investments per year, and the average investment size is anywhere from $100,000 to $250,00. Dixon gives an inside peek into how Kapor makes its decisions.
Apr 18, 2016
EdSurge Extra, Investor Spotlight: Jennifer Carolan of Reach Capital
This week, the EdSurge On Air podcast features three "Extra" editions focusing on investors: how they choose what to invest in, where the money is flowing, what personalization in schools means to them, and more. On this episode, we speak to Jennifer Carolan, a former educator who started a vertically-focused seed fund under New School Venture Fund as a non-profit back in early 2010, and has since made more than 15 investments. She talks impact investing, venture capital, and what efficacy really looks like in reality.
Apr 15, 2016
Inside Newark's New Initiative to Teach Residents How to Make Mobile Apps
On April 5th, the city of Newark and Gadget Software, a company that aims to teach people how to build mobile apps, launched a joint venture to make mobile app development classes available to the entire Newark community. Using community centers as classrooms, both the city and the company hope to interest young students and adults alike in mobile programming. The question is, how many residents will take the time to participate in a 10 week class outside of school or work? We interviewed Seth Wainer, CIO of the Newark Office of Information Technology, about his hopes for the program, the problems he aims to fix, and what this initiative will do that a $100 million investment in education couldn't.
Apr 11, 2016
What it Takes to Turn Around a Rural School
Technology can bring great benefit far outside the ecosystem of a city. Rural schools are often understaffed and underfunded, so digital courses can bring extra faculty in from afar, and inexpensive digital materials can provide much needed resources to students. That said, bringing technology infrastructure to a school far from a city is no easy task. However, one individual in particular knows a lot about how to run a rural school. Daisy Dyer Duerr is a former principal from Arkansas who’s now working with rural schools across the country on technology initiatives and training for teachers and administrators. She transformed her floundering Title I school without any technology into a top-performing school with cutting edge devices for its students. Check out the podcast to hear her story.
Apr 3, 2016
Can Technology Save the Teaching Profession? Q&A with Barnett Berry
There are few people who know teachers and the art of teaching as well as Barnett Berry. He’s the founder and CEO of the Center for Teaching Quality, a national nonprofit that advances a high-quality public education system for all students, driven by the bold ideas and expert practices of teachers. Barnett’s two books, Teaching 2030 and Teacherpreneurs, frame his bold vision for the teaching profession’s future. But is it too bold? Perhaps downright impossible? A few weeks ago, The Center for Teaching Quality put out a new paper commissioned by the Ford Foundation, all about the concept of “deeper learning.” Barnett stopped by EdSurge to share some of the papers’ findings, but we wanted more. Barnett and his team make the argument in the paper that if we want to achieve deeper learning in the classroom, we need to do a better job developing teacher leaders. But does that mean they have to leave the classroom to become administrators? And where does technology play a role…
Mar 26, 2016
Mindset Works' Eduardo Briceño: Run a Marathon to Solve the Right Problem
This week on the podcast, Betsy Corcoran interviews Eduardo Briceño, founder and CEO of Mindset Works, a company that takes university research and turns it into programs for schools. He's bullish on the growth mindset; that's what his company is named after. It's a concept that's becoming increasingly common in education debates today, and as it does, it becomes vulnerable to more misconceptions. We asked Eduardo to come and clarify somethings for us and talk about his own journey with the concept through the nine years Mindset Works has been around. Don't forget that you can subscribe to the podcast on all of your favorite podcast apps! To follow us on iTunes, just follow this linkinto iTunes and hit "subscribe"—if you have the podcast app on your phone, the show should automatically download the next time you open it. You can follow us on SoundCloud here or search for us on your favorite podcasting site.
Mar 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: 'Kid President' Creator Talks Student Voice, Video in the Classroom, and Beyonce
With all this talk about candidates for Election 2016, it can be easy to forget that there’s someone else that’s had quite an impact—from a presidential perspective. And no, we’re not talking about Barack Obama. About three years ago, a 9-year-old donned a suit, gave America a pep talk, and became a viral sensation with his fresh take on dancing, politics and joy. That young fellow is Kid President, the central character of a popular YouTube channel produced by SoulPancake. In real life, Kid President is Robby Novak, a current 6th grader from Tennessee whose brother-in-law, Brad Montague, created the concept of Kid President with Robby back in 2013. During the recent CUE conference in Palm Springs, CA, Montague gave the opening keynote on March 17th to an auditorium overflowing with teachers and administrators from up and down the West Coast. His theme? How to be “awesome”—specifically, how Robby’s worked to bring joy into people’s lives, and how some of that joy ge…
Mar 21, 2016
Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton on Whether Digital Books Will Replace Print
When the popular children’s television show "Reading Rainbow" graced TV sets across America in the 90s, host LeVar Burton took students through a world of literature and storytelling. Today, he’s back at with the Reading Rainbow app. Back in 2014, LeVar announced that he would be returning to the reading game. Since then, he claims that readers have enjoyed over 20 million books and videos about reading. We spoke with LeVar to see what’s next for the app, what he’s reading and what he’s learned about adults from reading so much children’s literature.
Mar 11, 2016
Data, Efficacy and Accountability with Former Principal Eric Sheninger at SXSWedu
On this week's podcast, Blake Montgomery has some lessons from his first SXSWedu and senior editor Mary Jo Madda interviews Eric Sheninger, a former principal of New Milford High School and current Senior Fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education. After overcoming serious skepticism of edtech, Sheninger was responsible for implementing highly effective technology programs at New Milford. He’s since moved on to helping other schools do the same at the International Center for Leadership in Education. He emphasizes efficacy, data and accountability. Stay tuned till the end to hear his one essential piece of advice for edtech companies. Enjoy!
Mar 6, 2016
The Price of Free
Sound the alarm! We’ve got a big, big dose of edtech trends for you, and we’re serving them up on a silver platter. On Wednesday, EdSurge launched the first round of our Edtech Trends 2016 report, sponsored by AT&T. Unlike those trend articles that pop up around December, when people share their guesses about what’ll be big in the new year, we talked to 20 administrators, 17 teachers, 24 companies, 16 investors, and 16 other edtech voices to figure out—what are people thinking and planning around right now? We have technically have eight trends in the report. However, for the sake of this podcast, we’re focusing on one big theme, and one that we hear about a lot. What’s the benefit of free products… vs. freemium? You know, those products where you get a part for free, but have to pay for other features? Listen in to find out.
Feb 28, 2016
Can Tech Curb Sexual Assault on College Campuses?
In Episode 51, we're bringing you the edtech news and a deep dive into sexual assault on college campuses, specifically technology’s role in reporting it. Increasingly, survivors of sexual assault and the federal government are demanding that universities provide more prevention, reporting options and counseling. Can tech create scalable and useful solutions even as some universities sweep accusations and convictions under the rug? We interviewed chief development officer of Sexual Health Innovations (SHI), a company that makes an online reporting tool for survivors of sexual assault in college, and a Stanford student involved with the company. You'll hear their thoughts on tech's current and future role in reporting the crime and the sharp criticisms they face.
Feb 19, 2016
Larry Cuban on Edtech and the Problem with Venture-Backed Companies
Larry Cuban—whose been a teacher, a superintendent, and more—is an academic whose thoughts and feelings about edtech are the ones we’re featuring on the EdSurge podcast today. Cuban’s writings have great impact and reach in the education. Every year, Rick Hess put out an “Edu-Scholar Public Influence ranking.” The metrics recognize university-based scholars in the U.S. who are contributing most substantially to public debates about education. And Larry Cuban, a former Stanford university professor, makes the top ten list every single year. Talking with him in person reveals a whole new light about who he is as a voice and as a teacher. In this interview, we hear his thoughts on venture-backed companies, technology in education, and more.
Feb 13, 2016
Is Personalized Learning a Waste of Time, or the Big Answer?
EdSurge has been all over the place these last few weeks— from the Educon conference in Philadelphia to Washington D.C. for Teach for America’s 25th anniversary Summit. And in each place, the conversations have been anything but boring. When it comes to big themes, one particular conversation caught our attention. Summit Public Schools CEO Diane Tavenner and founder of Deans for Impact Benjamin Riley went head to head on whether “personalized learning” is the answer to solving the achievement gap. We were there to catch a few sound bytes.
Feb 8, 2016
Our Adaptive Learning Meetup
The term on everyone's lips these days is “adaptive learning:" Proponents promise the technology has the ability to improve educational experiences in personal, efficient and scalable ways. It's unclear, though, what the inner workings of the technology look like. We called some of our expert friends and asked them to talk about how adaptive learning works in their fields, and they spoke at our recent meetup in San Francisco. We heard from EdSurge's president Tyler McNally about our recent research on adaptive learning and several others: Jennie Dougherty—Associate Director of Innovation, KIPP Bay Area Angela Estrella—Teacher, Instructional Coach and Parent James Harrell—Talent Development Manager, Oakland Unified School District Johann Larusson—Lead, Center for Digital Data, Analytics and Adaptive Learning, Pearson Elena Sanina—Senior Manager of Blended Learning, Aspire Public Schools Esther Tricoche—Associate Partner, New School Venture Fund Missed the meetup? Not to…
Jan 31, 2016
The News—January 23-30
We're bringing you the latest in edtech from the week of January 23-30: Pearson and Scholastic's dark and stormy night on the stock market, Coursera's new fees, your weekly Ka'Chings and more.
Jan 27, 2016
Famed Math Teacher Dan Meyer on the State of Math Education Today
What’s math got to do with it? Everything, says Dan Meyer, creator of the the popular blog dy/dan. Meyer is one of America’s most popular math educators—he has 43,400 followers on Twitter who are ready at any moment to talk about math—and he’s been through many transformations: Math teacher, math education researcher, now chief academic officer at Desmos. What's changed? What's stayed the same? Are math students in America always doomed? We spoke with him about the stories math can tell, types of instruction and the state of math education today. Tune in for that and the news on this week’s EdSurge On Air. We interviewed Dan about a lot of concepts, and we want your help filling in the details. We didn't have time to ask him about all the granular details of what makes a great math classroom—the tools, the tech, the pedagogy, etc—that make a great math classroom. Tweet us @EdSurge and Dan @ddmeyer to get the conversation started!
Jan 23, 2016
EdSurge Extra: An Interview With Samaira Mehta, the 8-Year-Old Creator of Coderbunnyz
Last week, we interviewed Beth Box, who wanted to reinvigorate waning student interest and boost her students' scores on state tests. This week, we wanted to continue the conversation about educational gams with another maker: An 8-year-old student. Samaira Mehta lives in Mountain View, California, where she goes to school and teaches workshops in coding. She's the creator of the board game Coderbunnyz, which teaches young kids about algorithms as they guide a rabbit down a path and around obstacles. Samaira made the game after spending a great night playing board games with her parents. They didn't want to play any more because she kept winning (or so she says), so she went to do some coding. She got to do her two favorite things in one night, and she wanted to share that excitement with other kids, especially her younger brother. He's four.
Jan 17, 2016
When Turning A Class Into a Game Is the Only Option
Beth Box is a lifelong resident of Okeechobee, Florida. She's also a 7th grade civics teacher at Yearling Middle School. She describes herself as "always in love with the Okeechobee school system." That's not common, nor is it still the case. Standardized testing has limited the freedom Beth used to feel in the classroom. She didn't feel like students could learn at their own pace, and they stopped caring because of it. Some students didn't even care when they got an F. Beth, facing a daunting civics test, took a big risk: She switched her instruction to mastery-based learning and made the whole class into a game. She named it Give Me Liberty, and her students have to find 35 documents—she teaches to 35 test standards—that were essential to the founding of the United States or else risk the whole country falling into a dystopian dictatorship. Tune in to see if they can save their country and improve their scores. This week on the podcast, we've got the news and the story of Beth…
Jan 10, 2016
A Q&A with Salman Khan: "I Hope That We're Always Experimental"
Salman Khan’s Lab School in Mountain View, CA, has slowly been gaining recognition—but is it really as innovative as people might imagine? EdSurge asked that very question last week. Khan had the idea to open a school long before he started his online platform Khan Academy, and after visiting the Lab School, we at EdSurge were curious about whether he wants to expand to other cities—but before engaging in a Q&A with the man himself, we took to Twitter to get an idea of what our podcast listeners would want to know. Questions came rolling in: Are students actually learning? Is this just an easy way for Khan Academy employees to try out new products on children? After all, the Lab School and Khan Academy are in the same building; the school’s on the first floor, and the nonprofit’s on the second. Check out EdSurge's podcast interview with Khan to see what we found out.
Dec 27, 2015
EdSurge Extra (r): How to Build a $1.5B Company
(rerun) What's the biggest edtech deal of 2015? That would, be LinkedIn's acquisition of Lynda.com. On April 9th, the two companies announced that Lynda.com and its 250,000 learning videos would be purchased for $1.5B. The week after the deal was announced, Lynda.com co-founders (and husband and wife) Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin stopped by EdSurge to chat with CEO Betsy Corcoran about their company's history.
Dec 23, 2015
'Twas the Night Before EdSurge
EdSurge had a pleasant surprise last night, so we wrote a poem about it. Merry Christmas!
Dec 21, 2015
The Future of the Maker Movement and Education
The Maker movement. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, this phrase refers to a recent trend towards, well… making things. AdWeek has a pretty solid definition, saying that the maker movement is an umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers. It’s a convergence of computer hackers and traditional artisans, and taps into American admiration for self-reliance and building. With the growth of makerspaces in school systems, the Maker movement has also been making its way into K-12 and other educational spaces across the world. Maker Faires across the country attracted an audience of 1.1 million people this year, and at the heart of the Maker movement, there are a few key players driving its growth. Dale Dougherty, Founder of MAKE Magazine and the creator of Maker Faires, is one of those people. And this week, we got some time to sit down with him and hear about what he predicts is next for making in education.
Dec 10, 2015
Shark Attack! EdSurge Runs a PD Shark Tank
This week on the podcast, we hear pitches from three brave companies, BloomBoard, edWeb and LessonCast. And when the pitches are done, it's time for our four educators sharks to attack, asking the tough questions of the entrepreneurs. If you'd like to come to our next event in January, you can sign up for information here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gUdEm_HokqpvSe0erYPrPYimI4q-XZ1sury0KaNRO2s/viewform
Dec 5, 2015
So You Want to Sell to a Superintendent...
Being a superintendent is anything but easy. Bureaucratic politics, having to work with multiple stakeholders, communicating a 1:1 plan to tens of thousands of students and teachers… heck, that’s not a job that just anyone can do. In fact, that might be why the average district superintendent in America doesn’t last longer than three years in the position. But when it comes to tenure, there’s one notable exception--and that’s Dallas Dance, the current superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. Dance is a relatively young superintendent in comparison to others--he’s currently in his 30s--and he’s been in the role for four years. But that’s not all--in September, Dance told board members that he wanted another four-year contract when his current contract ends June 30. Right now, the Baltimore community is wondering if the board will let him stick around--”Will Dallas Dance get a new deal?” reads one newspaper entry. Lucky for us, we got a chance to sit down…
Nov 25, 2015
EdSurge Extra - "Student Voice (Literally) - Two Student Podcasts"
We've been hearing all year about the wonderful things students are doing with podcasts. So this week on the show, we showcase a couple of them. First, three 5th graders from the Park School in Brookline, MA share with us an immigrant's journey from Uganda to the United States. Then, in a segment created especially for the EdSurge podcast, three high school students from Oxon Hill High School in Maryland debate whether technology should be used more or less in school.
Nov 23, 2015
The Big, Big Computer Science Gender Gap
Girls are underrepresented in computer science education and professions. According to the National Science Board’s “Science and Engineering Indicators for 2012,” women make up only 26% of Computer Science and Mathematical Science professionals in the United States. Believing that number begins with computer science education, we dove deep into the challenges girls face when learning and teaching computer science this week.
Nov 15, 2015
EdSurge Extra - "Steve Blank to Entrepreneurs: Passion Doesn't Guarantee Success"
Steve Blank is known by some as “The Startup Whisperer" -- the guy that entrepreneurs turn to when they have questions about how to start or energize their business. He is also a serial entrepreneur, professor and investor who is perhaps best known for his books Four Steps to the Epiphany and The Startup Owner's Manual. Last week Steve stopped by our studio to cast his experienced and critical eye on the business of edtech. In a wide-ranging chat with EdSurge CEO Betsy Corcoran, Steve talks about about the history of Silicon Valley, edtech’s commercialization problem, and whether entrepreneurship in edtech is really any different than regular tech.
Nov 10, 2015
What Stood Out at iNACOL?
This year's annual iNACOL symposium began and concluded this week in Orlando, Florida. The event featured over 180 sessions and workshops on everything from new school models to data privacy in blended learning to examining student outcomes. EdSurge's Senior Editor (and podcast co-host) Mary Jo Madda, and Director of R&D Christina Quattrocchi attended the conference, and stopped by the podcast studio to share their reflections on this year's conference. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-11-13-what-stood-out-at-inacol
Nov 5, 2015
Minecraft is Coming to a School Near You
Ever wonder about all the hype about using Minecraft in the Classroom? This week, we explore how real teachers from all over the US are using the popular game to enhance their students' learning. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-11-06-minecraft-is-coming-to-a-school-near-you
Oct 31, 2015
O Canada! Our Edtech Savvy Neighbour
This week on the podcast, we invite you on an international field trip to our northern neighbours. On our trip we’ll explore how edtech has changed in Canada over the past couple years; discuss how union-district relations mirror those in the US; and hear arguments for which country is the best place to start a new edtech company.
Oct 23, 2015
Do High-Income Communities Best Support Education Innovation?
Do high-income communities, which enjoy the resources and flexibility to experiment with bold ideas, offer the most ideal test-beds for innovation? Or do the most viable—and practical—ideas come from low-income neighborhoods where the challenges and needs are visible everyday? EdSurge welcome two entrepreneurs to the debate: Alejandro Gac-Artigas, the founder of Philadelphia-based Springboard Collaborative, which seeks to close the achievement gap and end summer reading loss by engaging parents and training teachers, and Max Ventilla, the mastermind and founder of AltSchool, a Bay Area-based network of “microschools” that currently charges more than $20,000 a year in tuition.
Oct 20, 2015
EdSurge Extra: "How the EdCamp Movement Went Viral" - Interview with Hadley Ferguson
It’s not every day that we receive visits from entrepreneurs or nonprofits leads who can site as viral of growth as the EdCamp movement. For those of you wondering if that the name for some educational type of summer camp, let me help you out. Edcamps, or “unconferences,” bring together teachers, tech experts, entrepreneurs, and anyone else interested in the education landscape, to talk about, well, whatever they want. They involve very little planning, and the schedule is entirely decided by participants only once they’ve showed up to an EdCamp. Sound a little unconventional? Well, this novelty has become, dare we say, a viral movement since the very first gathering back in May 2010. In fact, there have been more than 250 Edcamps around the world in the last year alone. The Executive Director of the EdCamp Foundation, Hadley Ferguson, stopped by the EdSurge Office on October 19 because we were curious to learn more about just what caused this viral growth. But we didn’t sto…
Oct 16, 2015
Whose Data Is It, Anyway? An EdSurge Debate on Privacy
Privacy. What a buzzword, but also a major point of contention for the past twelve months. Parents, companies, educators… everyone’s been jumping into the conversation on this topic. The proliferation of education technology has led to many questions about what, and how, student data is collected, analyzed and used. As student privacy and security concerns grow, how do we respond? Last week, EdSurge conducted a panel in partnership with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a global law firm that’s got its eye on the privacy debate. Panelists included Dan Carroll, co-founder of edtech company Clever, and Reach Capital partner Shauntel Poulson. EdSurge CEO Betsy Corcoran dove into how edtech leaders should address privacy issues while still advancing learning opportunities. Do companies need to yield to the demands and whims of privacy critics? Or can we all somehow reach a Kum-ba-ya understanding around the edtech campfire? Listen to the podcast to find out.
Oct 5, 2015
When Educators Break Up With Companies
Sometimes educators and edtech companies break up. Three educators discuss their experiences when relationships with companies end and share lessons for other educators as well as companies.
Oct 2, 2015
Bioprinting Enters the Classroom Makerspace
Not too long ago, it was pretty new that students could print their own papers in the classroom, or that teachers could spontaneously print materials for their classes. But these days, printing has gotten a little bit more advanced--and we're not just talking about 3D Printing. If one startup as its way, the average science classroom might soon be printing live cells. That’s right, live cells. This week, we talked to the two co-founders of SE3D Education, who are making a table-top, affordable 'bioprinter' that they hope will change the way we teach biology and other science subjects. And the big question on our mind is this: Should students be able to print living cells?
Sep 25, 2015
Selling to Schools vs. Selling to Consumers: A Guide
Seattle-based Lane Merrifield is an expert when it comes to selling to consumers--but he’s also becoming an expert on selling to schools, too. He’s the Club Penguin guy--remember that big massive multiplayer online game that was basically a virtual world for kids? Well, Club Penguin was acquired by Disney for $350M in 2007, and now, Lane’s in the edtech game with an assessment platform called FreshGrade. He’s got some good insights into the similarities and differences between selling to consumers and selling to districts, so we brought him on the podcast for your listening pleasure.
Sep 25, 2015
EdSurge Extra: "Don't Reform Education: Transform It" - Interview with Dr. Gisele Huff
On this EdSurge Extra, we chat with Dr. Gisele Huff of the Jaquelin Hume Foundation. Gisele talks with EdSurge CEO Betsy Corcoran about the differences between charity & philanthropy, technology's ability to transform education and her new project to give education its north star.
Sep 15, 2015
Why Students Are Saying '#IStandWithAhmed, Too'
One voice has been conspicuously absent from the discussion around #IStandWithAhmed: students. This week we chat with four K-12 students to hear their reactions to the plight of Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed.
Aug 31, 2015
Esther Wojcicki on Becoming a 'Moonshot' Educator and Innovator
Being a teacher superstar isn’t easy, especially when you’re driven by a vision to help out kids, but are a loner in your school in regards to the way you feel. Esther Wojcicki, an American journalist, educator, and vice chair of the Creative Commons board of directors, is a firm example of one of those superstars. From her journalism classroom at Palo Alto High School in California, she has gained a reputation for being one of the foremost thinkers on education and technology. But even Esther knows that working alone and striving alone aren't as effective as joining together, and as such, she recently published a book entitled "Moonshots in Education". The book covers digital and online learning in the classroom and what it takes to make a "moonshot," or those superstar examples of teachers and schools. She interviews quite a number of moonshots--and so we decided to talk to Esther, the moonshot herself, to go more in-depth on what truly make a successful blended environment.
Aug 30, 2015
Blended Learning Buzzword Bingo! An Interview with Michael Horn
Michael Horn has been a powerful force shaping the changes in education over the past decade. In an interview with senior editor Mary Jo Madda at our California Summit, he spoke about how he defines the nebulous term "blended learning," why teacher autonomy is critical to successful learning, and how blended learning today differs from collaboration techniques teachers have used in the past.
Aug 25, 2015
The Three Big Edtech Trends for the New School Year
There’s no question that the best part of hosting a podcast is speaking with the fascinating guests we have on the show. From newly minted edtech billionaires to students and teachers, podcasters get the chance to hear from people all over the country. So this week, we decided to go super meta and spoke with three of those edu-podcasters: Jeff Bradbury of "Teachercast", Jason Bodnar of "Principally Speaking", and Chris Nesi of "The House of #Edtech". We asked them what they’re hearing from their guests, and what they think will be the big trends of the upcoming school year. Check out their answers--do you agree?
Aug 10, 2015
What School Model Designers Can Learn from Food Trucks
We talk to companies all the time about how they test their products, fail quickly and learn. But what if schools did the same thing? That's exactly the concept behind the "Tiny Schools Project,” an initiative led by Matt Candler of the New Orleans-based nonprofit, 4.0 Schools.
Aug 5, 2015
EdSurge Extra: How to Level Up Your Professional Development and 'Pajama Learning'
A live recording of a focus panel from the EdSurge Davis Superintendents Summit. Panelists for this event included Barbara Nemko Superintendent, Napa COE; Jason Borgen Director of Innovation & Learning, Portola Valley School District; Michael Moody CEO, Insight Education Group; and Meera Vaidyanathan Vice President Content, TenMarks. Mike Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of CUE moderated the panel.
Aug 5, 2015
What Tech Companies Should Consider When Hiring New Blood
Last week, Forbes writer George Anders put out an article entitled, "That 'Useless' Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket." After reading the article, we here at EdSurge thought to ourselves... gee, what should edtech companies really consider when hiring new blood? To find out that answer and more (including whether or not Anders' feelings negate the relevance of tech training programs like Dev Bootcamp), we brought Anders into the EdSurge office to get his thoughts beyond the article. Listen up, CEOs and administrators--you might just want to hire that Romance Languages major.
Aug 4, 2015
EdSurge Extra: Using Data to Move the Needle on Student Achievement
A live recording of a focus panel from the EdSurge Davis Superintendents Summit. Panelists for this event included Bryant Wong CTO, Summit Public Schools; Devin Dillon CAO, Oakland USD; Gregory Firn Superintendent in Residence & Director of Strategic Partnerships, Dreambox Learning; and Alix Guerrier President/Co-Founder, LearnZillion. Mary Jo Madda, Senior Editor at EdSurge moderated the panel.
Aug 4, 2015
EdSurge Extra: How Project-Based Learning Improves Collaboration, Creativity & Critical Thinking
A live recording of a focus panel from the EdSurge Davis Superintendents Summit Panelists for this event included Cary Matsuoka Superintendent, Milpitas USD; Kyle Brumbaugh Director of Educational Innovation, Presentation HS; Steve Ritter Chief Product Architect, Carnegie Learning; and Michael Hageloh Director, Global Education, littleBits. Michelle Spencer, Summits Director at EdSurge facilitated the panel.
Aug 4, 2015
EdSurge Extra: Blended Learning and Flipping the Classroom--You’re Doing It Wrong
A live recording of our Keynote Panel from our Davis Superintendent Summit. Panelists: Richard Culatta, head of the Office of Educational Technology for the Department of Education; Michael Horn, co-founder of the Christensen Institute and author of the book "Blended;" and Esther Wojcicki, award-winning Journalism and English teacher at Palo Alto High School. This panel was moderated by EdSurge's CEO Betsy Corcoran
Jul 24, 2015
Amplify Your Voice: The Secrets of Rising Edtech Bloggers
Edtech blogs are writing about all aspects of life around schooling these days. But why is it important that they do so? And if you want to get started as an education blogger, what should you do? Our advice: Learn from the experts. We talk to blogger Paul France (http://paulemerich.com/) and EdSurge CEO (and long-time journalist) Betsy Corcoran to hear their tips.
Jul 16, 2015
EdSurge On Air Extra: How One Teachers' Union Feels About Educational Technology
More than 1.6 million teachers are members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second largest teachers' union in the country. But how does this organization feel about technology's role in the classroom? EdSurge got the insider's perspective and sat down with AFT vice president Mary Cathryn Ricker to chat edtech, charters and more on the EdSurge podcast in this special "EdSurge On Air Extra."