We have mentioned previously that educational technology may not necessarily be a good thing. We firmly believe that there are tremendous advantages to using technology in education, including increasing access through online tools, promoting personalization and agency through student ownership of blog sites, and promotion of student voice by providing options to share student work beyond a learning management system like BrightSpace or Moodle. On the other hand, there are certainly problems with some technologies being used to surveil students and teachers. The implication of these two ideas is that you cannot think well about educational technology without understanding both the promises and the perils of using digital technology in learning environments.
As you read the following articles, feel free to use hypothes.is to annotate and discuss with your colleagues.
These articles illustrate a typical cycle of start-ups in education technology. The first is from 2015, an article about a program called ‘Knewton’.
Our series is exploring innovation in education. Some version of this criticism has likely echoed since the rise of compulsory schooling during the Progressive era: Teachers tend to teach to the middle, leaving struggling students feeling lost and more advanced students bored. Everyone too often gets the same books, material, homework.
The second is from less than 5 years after the NPR article.
Knewton, once hailed as a “mind-reading robo tutor in the sky,” is no more, having been sold for parts to publisher John Wiley & Sons. As reported in the Chronicle, Wiley plans to use whatever scraps are left over as part of its low-cost digital courseware offerings.