Technology is transforming education.
It’s a big statement, and we’ve heard big statements before. Remember Apple computers? Or how educational television would be the future of learning?
But this time, things look different. Technology really may change the way teachers teach and children learn. The digital revolution, fueled by billions in private and public investment, is full of promise. The promise of making kids better learners by letting them direct their own learning, of making teachers better teachers by giving them more and better information about their students, of bringing down costs, and of getting more kids across the college finish line with less student debt.
Simply put, educational technology is the New Right Answer.
Or so its proponents would have us believe.
But for all the promise of online courses, flipped classrooms, personalized learning, tablets, laptops, apps, MOOCs and the rest of it, there’s an equal amount of peril. The peril of having kids, who already spend seven hours a day with electronic media, spend even more time in front of a screen. The peril of taking teachers out of the center of the class, and into the role of technology advisors directing kids to the best app. The peril of letting the feedback loop created by collecting data on everything students do, determine their futures.
This will be our territory. All of it and more. Over the next year, the LearningCurve team will explore the expanding role of educational technology from preschool through college. We will take you into the digital classroom, and the hotbeds of EdTech innovation. We will ask the big questions about whether all this technology is actually making kids any smarter, or better prepared for the workforce of the 21st century. We will follow the money as it pours into the classroom.
We will bring these stories to you over the air and online. We will get behind the numbers that tell the deeper story . We will keep you up to date with a podcast and newsletter. We will let you test your knowledge with our daily quiz.
And we want to hear from you as we do it. Parents. Teachers. Students. Comment on our stories. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Humor us with your Tumblr posts. Join us in Google chats with experts. Tell us what you like and what drives you nuts about learning and teaching today. Join us in an ongoing conversation about one of the most important issues of the day. The education of the next generation.
My drill instructor's name was Gunnery Sgt. Holtry, United States Marine Corps. That wasn't his given name, of course.
It was Jerry. Jerry W., to be more specific.
But lord help any of us if we ever were caught referring to him as anything but Gunnery Sgt. Holtry, United States Marine Corps.
That's him, by the way, fourth from the right in the picture above, just about the time I was in Officer Candidate School down in Pensacola, Florida.
It only lasted 14 weeks, but it's kind of telling that that's still how I remember him, almost 30 years on.
Why am I telling you this? Well, a couple of reasons, not necessarily connected but all of a piece somehow.
Item 1: On Tuesday, President Obama laid out his timeline for leaving Afghanistan. The official combat mission ends this year, 4,500 or so troops in-country by the end of next year, and by the end of 2016 what the White House calls "a normal embassy presence." According to the website icasualties.org, 2,322 Americans have died there since 2001.
Item 2: CNN anchor Jake Tapper's Twitter timeline this past weekend was, in honor of Memorial Day, a steady stream of remembrances of America's war dead. Makes you think.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 27, 2014
Item 3: This past week or so having been, in addition to Memorial Day, graduation week at a lot of colleges, this commencement address by Adm. William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, stuck.
That's it. That's all I've got today. No Marketplace angle. No business, no economics.
I never served in combat. Not even close. But for some reason, Memorial Day this year hit me harder than usual.
A crackdown by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents on drug smugglers is causing trouble for private pilots. Pilots say they are sometimes enduring hours of questioning by police searching for drugs.
In professional sports, it's the players who get all the attention. But commentator Frank Deford says referees, who so often go unnoticed, bring their own style and artistry to their craft.
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The co-founders of Cowgirl Creamery were among the first American cheesemakers to be recognized by the prestigious French cheese guild. So they know a thing or two about storing and using old cheese.
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As Myanmar has opened up its political system, it has unleashed long suppressed tensions. The Rohingya Muslims have been hard hit, with many driven from their homes and now confined to camps.