Data mining can improve our schools. Will Congress allow it?

In the past, as innovative efforts to use data to improve education began to take shape, those without a clear understanding of the benefits of data mining in education have stopped progress in its tracks, often because of misguided privacy fears. Now, bills introduced in the House and Senate could pave the way for more innovative uses of education data – but the bills simultaneously include provisions that restrict the potential for data-driven improvements to educational outcomes.

Why Consumer Technologies Cloud Our Thinking About Higher Education

We have witnessed the technology based disruption of many of the information industries that feel connected to our own postsecondary ecosystem. Music, news, entertainment, banking, and publishing have all been transformed by the digital revolution. So why has higher education been so resistant to the positive forces of technology evolution?

Productivity, growth and intangible capital: a short history lesson

Earlier this year, Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, gave a fascinating speech on "Growing, fast and slow." In it he succinctly sums up the history of economic growth. As he notes, "If the history of growth were a 24-hour clock, 99% would have come in the last 20 seconds." Given that economic growth is a very new phenomenon, he goes on to look at where growth comes from. Specifically, he outlines the difference between the Neo-Classical exogenous growth model (where innovation is an outside random factor - "manna from heaven") and the "New Growth Theory" endogenous growth model (where innovation is a function of internal factors).

7 Common Mistakes About Open Online Education

Higher order learning is an activity that cannot be scaled. Foundational knowledge may be appropriate for a MOOC (or a textbook, or even a really well-designed educational video game), but advanced learning works best with an educator. The skills that are most valuable for both personal growth and for employment are those best practiced in the context of a relationship with an educator.

STEM, Social Skills, Creativity and Success

What skills are important to success in the modern world? Among all the innate skills that you possess and the training and education you’ve received over your life, what do you believe has been most important to your success? And what skills or training have you missed out on that caused you to fall short of where you could have been – or would like to have been?

Cybersecurity, the singularity and the rise of the silicon based life form

The singularity, a term coined by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge and popularized by futurist Ray Kurzweil, strikes fear into some of those familiar with artificial intelligence. Simply put, The singularity will come to pass once artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence. Those that fear the singularity worry that we will create an artificial life form to do our bidding, which will, in an ironic twist, rise up and enslave us.

Does Anyone Really Want Innovation?

The Uber situation demonstrates the lengths to which people will go to protect their interests when “undesirable” innovation comes calling. If minor adjustments to the existing business model don’t work, you can expect fearmongering, calls for government intervention (usually, and ironically, in the name of customer service and safety) and lawsuits. In an imperfect world, only about half of the work of innovation involves creating a new product, service or business model—the other half is dealing with all the sour grapes.

Digital Skills Urgently Needed to Bridge Digital Literacy Gap

Digital technology has changed our world for the better, but the innovation that helps some rise also threatens to leave millions behind. As technology transforms our economy at a blinding pace, more and more people are being locked out of a job market increasingly dominated by the demand for computer skills.

Of mud pies, muscle and science education

What really prepares the young for a life in science? This week a joint Nature and Scientific American special on STEM education attacks that question on a number of fronts. In Books and Arts, design practitioners Stephen Kellert and Günter Beltzig argue that young children need the complexity of natural environments and intelligently designed playspaces to learn the joys of discovery, teamwork and materials nous necessary for a life at the bench.

Apple and IBM have big data plans for education

The Student Achievement App is a dynamic teaching tool that harnesses data analytics to provide educators with “actionable intelligence on a per-student basis”. The idea is to give educators deep insight into student learning outcomes, enabling better learning. The solution is under rapid development and will be available worldwide.

What Will You Give Up to Make Room For Innovation?

At the heart of every great innovation is a great compromise: in order to start something new, we have to stop something old. Think of it as a deal you make with yourself -- the things you'll give up in order to make room for future growth.

The Next Education Revolution

The rise of digital learning technologies will nudge us towards the exact same thing in our universities. We already see the outlines of this and we will see this ever more as higher education figures out how to best incorporate particular technologies to make the educational process more efficient and effective.

Why Today’s Innovations Are Stifling Economic Growth

In recent years, “efficiency innovations” have been actively pursued by corporations, thus creating a productivity imbalance due to a lack of investment in “market-creating innovations”. On one hand, Efficiency gains have lead to 60+ year highs in corporate profit margins. On the other hand, we have seen the U.S. labor force participation rate languish at 38 year lows.

Pluto and pentaquarks boost non-profit science

Critics of the U.S. space agency’s funding weren’t in evidence on Tuesday, but there are people who want research funded by the private sector rather than taxpayers. It’s true that the relatively open-ended efforts at, say, Google – perhaps the nearest current equivalent of the famed Bell Laboratories in their heyday – offer some analogous potential rewards. The Silicon Valley giant spent $10 billion on research and development in 2014. Yet government-funded science goes beyond what companies generally can do.

Technology’s time in education

There are a number of emerging trends in education that research says are necessary to truly transform education. Perhaps the most important is differentiated learning that reaches every student where they are, or allows them to reach the highest level of which they are capable. In addition to new instructional strategies that allow for students to learn more independently at different levels, one-to-one technology holds great promise in allowing each student to work at the level that fits them best.


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