IBM, Pearson and the Cognitive Infrastructure of Education

The world’s largest edu-business, Pearson, partnered with one of the world’s largest computing companies, IBM, at the end of October 2016 to develop new approaches to education in the “cognitive era.” Their partnership was anticipated earlier in the year when both organizations produced reports about the future trajectories of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence for personalizing learning. I wrote a piece highlighting the key claims of both at the time, and have previously published some articles tracing both Pearson’s interests in big data and IBM’s development of cognitive systems for learning. The announcement of their partnership

Lesson Ideas for Mobile Learning

I knew that I had to talk with Shelly Sanchez Terrell again when I learned through the tweetvine that she had a new book out about mobile learning (Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones, and BYOT). Six years ago, my interview with and blog post about Terrell’s netweaving turned out to be a useful resource when I sought to explain to educators the value and how-to of personal learning networks. She’s a teacher who teaches teachers. She’s taught in more than 20 countries! She’s currently adjunct professor At Alamo Community

Language, Gaming and Possibilities

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with game designer Kathryn Hymes about language, agency, and world building. As one half of the gaming company Thorny Games (with Hakan Seyalioglu), Kathryn is currently running a Kickstarter for a tabletop roleplaying game, Dialect, a game that encourages players to create a new culture and its language and — over time — imagine how the language gradually dies. Possibilities of Gaming In looking at Dialect, I am particularly interested in how the flexibility of gaming allows players to move beyond traditional assumptions of what games can be and

DOI Finds Open Access Research

One of the best things to come out of Open Access Week was the oaDOI tool by Impactstory. If you are unfamiliar with the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system, it provides a unique identifier for published works, one that operates as a persistent link to those works. Using this identifier, researchers can search for the work in question using just the DOI by adding “” to the front of it. While the DOI system is great, when you search for a research article using its DOI, you typically are pointed to the publisher’s’ version of the

The Importance of Working ‘Open’ in Education

Is working “open” the binary opposite of “closed” ways of working? Could it be that it’s as simple as flicking some kind of switch for your organisation or institution to begin embracing open working practices? Matt Thompson, a former colleague at Mozilla, doesn’t think so. Building on a post he wrote five years ago entitled simply “How to work open,” Matt has recently encouraged us to start small — using the metaphor of a dimmer switch to explain his point. Another metaphor we might want to use is of an elevator, as Bryan Mathers has used

Watchworthy Wednesday: Closing the Homework Gap

Franny Millen was in the 7th grade four years ago when she realized that many of her classmates couldn’t do their homework because they didn’t have a computer or internet access at home. To her, that was simply unfair and she and her family started a nonprofit organization, Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D), to help her peers. “As educators, we recognize that we don’t have digital equity in our community but to Franny, it was just not fair,” Valerie Truesdale, chief technology officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, recalled. “Some students could extend learning beyond

Schooling the Platform Society

Social media platforms have become key parts of everyday life. The use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Spotify and so on has become so widespread that some commentators have begun to speak of an emerging “platform society” and of “platform capitalism.” At the same time, we are seeing the development of new platforms for use in schools. What might be the impact on education of the emergence of a platform society and platform capitalism? The sociologists of social media Jose van Dijck and Thomas Poell have argued that “over the past decade, social media platforms have penetrated deeply

Teachers Paying Teachers for Lesson Plans

Kacey Potter, 8th grade English teacher in Rice Virginia, has earned more than $150,000 over the past five years by selling her curriculum to other teachers via Teachers Pay Teachers — lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, activities, tests, thematic unit plans, worksheets, mini-courses. Facebook All About Me Back to School Activity is $1.50. An entire 7th-, 8th-  or 9th- grade curriculum is $145. “I started really getting into tech and teaching when our school first started using interactive whiteboards and I was the only teacher who could figure out how to use them. That snowballed into my blogging

Stretch Your Mind: Code

One of the most publicly prominent elements of the current interest in math and science education has been the adage that everyone should learn to code. When arguing for universal coding literacy, promoters often frame the benefits of coding as directly practical — a higher paying job, entry into an important industry, etc. In his thoughtful essay, Basel Farag explains how the direct connection between learning to program and earning a profit is separated by a few question marks. As Farag puts it: We live in an ultra-competitive world, with people turning to all sorts of