Semi-automated Luxury Parenting


The toy company Mattel recently announced a wi-fi speaker-based voice assistant for children. Known as Aristotle, the toddler-proof alternative to Google Home or Amazon Echo is planned for launch this summer. Designed to live in the child’s bedroom, Aristotle can answer children’s questions and act as a “smart baby monitor,” but it also has sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence capacities to augment and automate the complex task of parenting. Is this just a helpful gadget for family life, or a sign of a new kind of AI nanny state where smart systems will be performing

What World of Warcraft Teaches About Misinformation


A recent study from Stanford University cited that 82 percent of middle schoolers can’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored news” and a real news story. The authors of the study cited that students need to be better trained in information literacy and use better information seeking strategies to solve this problem. This is a reasonable strategy but runs into issues with implementation. Teaching information literacy, the process of determining the quality and source of information, has been an emphasis of the American Association of School Librarians for decades. However, teaching of information literacy in school has declined as

How Well are we Preparing Students for the Future of Work?


As a former history teacher, it makes me laugh and cry that so many prominent figures in education (especially education technology) have such a poor understanding of the history of their subject. Many, for example, assume that the school summer vacation was due to children helping get the crops in. Not so. Similarly, the factory origin myth of compulsory education is almost entirely made-up. We’re fond of post hoc explanations that allow us to quickly get onto the point we really want to make. If we sidestep Ivan Illich’s (fairly compelling) arguments that we should be

The DigitalLearningification of Museums


This past October, I had the pleasure of presenting in Irvine, California at the new home for the Digital Media and Learning Conference on digital learning at museums. With my colleagues Eve Gaus of The Field Museum and Rik Panganiban of the California Academy of Sciences, we tried to identify the leading trends we’ve seen emerging in recent years, given our different vantage points as advocates for digital learning in our respective museums. Playfully titled “The DigitalLearningification of Informal Learning Centers: Lessons from Three Museums,” we tried to make the case that museums are unique and

Practicing the Principles of Connected Learning


I’ve met and profiled active contributors for years, but Kevin Hodgson has to be one of the most active co-learners I’ve encountered. He was part of my Twitter personal learning network, but I began to understand how much energy he puts into sharing his knowledge and imagination when we participated in Connected Courses, “a collaborative community of faculty in higher education developing networked, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.” We had a plan, but part of that plan was what I call “co-learning” — we knew that

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