Scientists Seek Genetic Data to Personalize Education


Researchers have begun to propose using genetic data from students to personalize education. Bringing genetics into education is highly controversial. It raises significant concerns about biological discrimination and rekindles long debates about eugenics and the genetic inheritance of intelligence. Current proposals to personalize learning by enabling “educational organisations to create tailor-made curriculum programmes based on a pupil’s DNA profile” demand very close and critical attention. The potential of “the new geneism” to reproduce “dangerous ideas about the genetic heritability of intelligence” has already raised concerns. Scientists may be seeking new technologies to personalize teaching and learning

Parenting in the Age of Screen Time


Setting screen time rules isn’t simple, but Anya Kamenetz’ new book, “The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life,” aims to help parents moderate technology in their children’s lives. Kamenetz, an expert on education and technology, spoke with Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, in the first in a series of online conversations and podcasts, featuring books and research that aim to help educators, scholars, parents and technology makers make sense of learning in the digital age.  Many parents, Kamenetz

Wearable Real-time Brainwave Training in the Classroom


Earlier this year, I began to detect a growing interest in the idea that “neurotechnologies” such as brain-scanners and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) could be applied in education. A new field of “ed-neurotech,” I wrote, seemed to be emerging as part of a wider “neurotechnology revolution.” Ed-neurotech brings together educational technology development with aspects of educational neuroscience to monitor students through neural data. Some new developments suggest “neurofeedback learning” software might be used to train the brain, “neurostimulators” might improve cognition, or that “neuro-adaptive” software could be used to enhance personalized education. Students’ neural information and brainwaves

Examining Elite Data Power


The concept of “big data” has been the subject of considerable hype and speculation in recent years. So much so that the dominant technologies and technical practices that generate big data — data analytics, algorithms and machine learning — are now commonly described as “artificial intelligence” instead. As a result, Ian Bogost argues, there has been “an explosion of supposed-AI in media, industry and technology.” Despite emerging punctures in the big data and AI hype bubbles, it remains hard to dispute that digitally produced, collected and analysed forms of data have been vested with certain powers

Learning from Brain-machine Interfaces


“Neurotechnology” is a broad field of technical research and development focused on the human brain. It includes advanced brain imaging but also new and emerging “brain stimulator” systems that may have the capacity to influence neural activity. The possibilities of neurotechnology have begun to attract educational interest, raising significant concerns about how young people’s mental states may be manipulated by brain-machine interfaces. The Neurotechnology Revolution The human brain has become the focus of intense interest across scientific, technical R&D, governmental, and commercial domains in recent years. Neuroscientific research into the brain itself has advanced significantly with the

Watchworthy Wednesday: How AI Will Transform Medical Practice


Armed with reams of data, a patient’s father convinced Dr. Anthony C. Chang, his daughter’s pediatric cardiologist, to proceed with her surgery. “A data scientist, the father of one of my congenital heart defect patients, really wanted to give me more data than we typically get so he tabulated the pulse oximetry readings on his daughter and plotted it out for me and convinced me that we needed to push ahead with surgery,” Chang said. The chief intelligence and innovation officer and medical director of the Heart Failure Program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC),

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

Watchworthy Wednesday: 15 DML Speakers Ignite, Enlighten


Fifteen inspiring speakers took the stage Oct. 6 and 7 during the 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference at the University of California, Irvine. With 20 slides and 5 minutes each, they delivered some powerful talks, enlightening conference-goers about the DML projects that fuel their passions. The following are excerpts from the speakers and videos of their full Ignite presentations. Fresh Rap From Prof Ross “Well, this is a story about how my teaching got flipped, turned upside down…. In So California, born and raised, watching TV is how I spent most of my days,

Watchworthy Wednesday: UCI Opens eSports Arena


Now that the University of California, Irvine has opened the first eSports arena of its kind at a public college, student-gamers soon will be doing battle against the enemy Lexus in “League of Legends” tournaments under big screens to cheering fans. The new 3,500-square-foot arena is outfitted with 80 custom gaming PCs, luxurious ergonomic chairs and a webcasting studio that will broadcast matches. Home to UCI’s elite new “League of Legends” team, the arena also will host summer camps and other special events, and is available to anyone who wants to play for recreation for about