Reform: Why EdTech Gives Me The Willies
My concerns about edtech aren't so much that someone might make money -- that's already happening in education and everywhere else, and has been for years. It's a big endeavor, this public education thing, and many of us -- including teachers -- are making all or part of a living off it. So some folks are getting rich? Secondary concern.
Even the personal politics of some of those positioned to take advantage of ed tech -- who include not only the so-called "bad guys" like Gates and Murdoch but also (don't forget!) supposed relatively "good guys" like Amazon and Apple and the College Board -- doesn't bother me a ton. Everyone's got a view, and generally thinks he or she is right. You're no different; you just don't agree with them.
What really bothers me -- gives me the willies, actually -- is that the current reform movement (leaders, funders, organizations) may already be turning its relatively small but essential energies away from the success and tough lessons of the last 5-10 years (which include the limits of charter school expansion, value-added, and ending LIFO) towards the new, sexy edtech stuff like MOOCs, tablets, blended learning, big data, and augmented learning -- thereby passing by (again) the really deep and transformative problems facing education (teacher preparation and support, for example, or early literacy) that need everyone's undivided attention.
New ideas and approaches are great, but often don't end up being as transformative as they sound in the early stages and can distract folks from deeper, tougher, more critical endeavors. If you're going to do edtech, for example, why not do universal access? Image CCFlickr