DEN Trend Report: 9/20/17

Looking to learn more about what’s trending in education?!? Here’s a recap of this week’s news. Let us know what you think about this week’s news in the comments below.

Six Strategies for Virtual Field Trips
(School Library Journal) By Joyce Valenza

As a school librarian, I always thought of the notion of collection as expansive. Collections might include any of the experiences we discover, as well as any of the people we meet who might enhance learning for our communities.

Among those experiences are virtual field trips. Opportunities now abound for connections to curriculum and student interests. And easier strategies for video conferencing, combined with new types of interactions, make virtual field trips even more affordable and engaging. You don’t risk weather conditions or losing any wandering kiddos who can’t find their way back to the bus. You can ignore issues of distance relating to both space and time. And these escapes from daily classroom routine can result in very sticky learning.


The History of the Future of Learning Objects and Intelligent Machines
(EdTech Update) By Audrey Watters

This talk was delivered at MIT for Justin Reich’s Comparative Media Studies class “Learning, Media, and Technology.” The full slide deck is available here.

Thank you for inviting me to speak to your class today. I’m really honored to be here at the beginning of the semester, as I’m not-so-secretly hoping this gives me a great deal of power and influence to sow some seeds of skepticism about the promises you all often hear – perhaps not in this class, to be fair, as in your other classes, in the media, in the world at large – about education technology.

Those promises can be pretty amazing, no doubt: that schools haven’t changed in hundreds if not thousands of years and that education technology is now poised to “revolutionize” and “disrupt”; that today, thanks to the ubiquity of computers and the Internet (that there is“ubiquity” is rarely interrogated) we can “democratize,” “unbundle,” and/or “streamline” the system; that learning will as a result be better, cheaper, faster.

Those have always been the promises. Promises largely unfulfilled.

Administrators must determine which STEM programs are right for their district
(Education Dive) By Amelia Harper

Dive Brief:

  • In an era of decreasing budgets and increasing expectations, school districts need to ask themselves a number of questions as they consider the implementation of new STEM programs and initiatives, Judy Zimny, the vice president of the National Institute for STEM Education, advises in an article for District Administration.
  • Administrators need to consider how the initiative is likely to impact students, teachers, the budget and future growth of the district.
  • Though the short-term goals of STEM programs are increased knowledge and access to resources, the long-term goal should be to provide a springboard into future college and career opportunities.


Why we need to change the teacher vs. tech narrative
(eSchool News) By Thomas Arnet

The future of learning technology is not replacing teachers, but amplifying their ability to meet the learning needs of their students.

A recent chart from Bloomberg on the future of artificial intelligence and employment lends evidence to a point I have been making for years: teachers will not be replaced by machines.

A study of 36,000 students just backed Bill Gates’ favorite style of education
(Business Insider – Tech Insider) By Chris Weller

Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has said repeatedly that one of his favorite ways of teaching kids is by letting them guide their own education, typically with laptops or tablets, and moving the teacher more into the role of coach.

The style is known as “personalized learning,” and a study involving 36,000 students just upheld it as a major driver of improvement in reading and math skills.

Since personalized learning has had scant formal evidence showing its success as a teaching method, the new study also adds some empirical support that Gates and many other techies have been on the right track in their endorsements.


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