The New York Times has launched a full on war on education technology—except for when it’s in their own benefit. Yesterday it was Michael Winerup’s hit piece on Pearson. He’s never written a responsible education story—and this was no exception. I appreciate the support the Pearson Foundation provides to the Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). I don’t think it has anything to do with testing contracts.
Today another Richtel—a name now synonymous for edtech hit pieces. Taking lessons from the tabloid Sun, Matt finds a sympathetic and photogenic teacher who doesn’t like computers and he generalizes to “open revolt.” I don’t know about Matt but I’ve been invited by Idaho legislators to speak about the future of personal digital learning and I must have missed the revolt.
Instead, Idaho has been an innovator. Idaho Digital has been a leader in online learning for a decade. Boise State has the most forward leaning Department of Education that I know of. Superintendent Luna, also chair of the state chiefs organization, advanced a great edreform agenda and has been courageous about improving access to learning options and technology for low income students in his state.
“There appears to be a political story here as well, but the confusion/fear/distrust about how technology can/will change teaching and learning is the real issue,” said Julie Evans of Project Tomorrow.
I’m sure Ann (Matt’s heroine) is a great teacher. What Tom Luna and I are interested in is leveraging her talent not replacing it. We want more socratic dialog, not less. We want more engagement, more time, and more student success. We want students to be prepared to succeed in college and careers. The Digital Learning Now framework outlines policies that will extend the reach of great teachers, give students access to more options, and ultimately will boost college/career ready graduation rates.
The New York Times owns and markets a learning management system called Epsilen. I know they’ve wined and dined state chiefs while marketing their product (you won’t find that in the About section). While tiny, Epsilen did have a small jump in traffic last month so perhaps their strategy is working.
Ironically, while Richtel rages, other parts of the paper are promoting 5 Ways to Flip Your Classroom with the NYTimes and Death Knell to the Lecture by a Stanford prof. I cancelled my subscription to the Times. It was the paper of record but it’s just another pandering tabloid.
Disclosure: Pearson is an investor in Learn Capital where Tom is a partner.