Interesting Reads This Week

Navigating sticky wickets

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Trying to understand and see the way forward in EdTech can be tricky, and it is best done as part of a team. Constantly learning new approaches also really helps, as does approaching it in a lighthearted way and seeing absurdity for what it is. Hopefully this week’s Interesting Reads will help.

Betting on bad technology

One of the things I love to read is the history of science and technology, particularly histories of individual technologies. Partly this is because I love reading history, but I also find that exploring the histories of technology teaches us a lot about EdTech. How to understand it, assess its impact and better plan for its deployment. Granted, most histories of technology only ever teaches us two things.

  • We overestimate EdTech impact in the short term and underestimate it in the long term.

  • How a technology will be used is not obvious out of the gate and its usage will change over time.

I also love reading about failure, as I think it’s an underestimated skill (and one in which I excel), that is critical to progress (I am less good at this part). So, you can imagine my excitement this week when I came across a small piece by Ben Evens looking at technologies that ultimately worked and those that didn’t, and figuring out the difference between the two.

When things don’t work, we need to ask about what would need to change for it to work. Sometimes the answer involves the invention of other supporting technologies or big organizational and cultural changes.

To this, I would add for EdTech in particular that we need first to acknowledge that it isn’t working, that it is maybe just a toy (ahem, million-dollar+ video walls, I am looking at you. I alone am looking at you because you don’t work as intended), and that often seems to be a tough hump for EdTech to get over.


I am stretching the definition of “interesting” here a bit, but honestly it is just a matter of time until we change the name of this weekly missive from Interesting Reads to Information that is Equal Parts Depressing and Enraging on an Otherwise Chill Saturday.

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