How Do We Make Edtech More Effective? (Hint: It Has Nothing to Do With Technology)
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What Happens to Student Data Privacy When Chinese Firms Acquire U.S. Edtech Companies?
Between the creation of a social rating system and street cameras with facial recognition capabilities, technology reports coming out of China have raised serious concerns for privacy advocates. These concerns are only heightened as Chinese investors turn their attention to the United States education technology space acquiring companies with millions of public school users.
A particularly notable deal this year centers on Edmodo, a cross between a social networking platform and a learning management system for schools that boasts having upwards of 90 million users. Net Dragon, a Chinese gaming company that is building a significant education division, bought Edmodo for a combination of cash and equity valued at $137.5 million earlier this month.
Edmodo began shifting to an advertising model last year, after years of struggling to generate revenue. This has left critics wondering why the Chinese firm chose to acquire Edmodo at such a price, some have gone as far as to call the move a data grab.
as data becomes a tool that governments such as Russia and China could use to influence voting systems or induce citizens into espionage, more legislators are turning their attention to the acquisitions of early-stage technology startups.
NetDragon officials, however, say they have no interest in these types of activities. Their main goal in acquiring United States edtech companies lies in building profitability, says Pep So, NetDragon’s Director of Corporate Development.
In 2015, the firm acquired the education technology platform, Promethean, a company that creates interactive displays for schools. NetDragon executives say that the Edmodo acquisition rounds out their education product portfolio—meaning the company will have tools for supporting multiple aspects of learning including; preparation, instructional delivery, homework, assignment grading, communication with parents students and teachers and a content marketplace.
NetDragon’s monetization plan for Edmodo focuses on building out content that gets sold via its platform. Similar to tools like TeachersPayTeachers, So hopes to see users putting up content on the platform’s marketplace, some free and others for a fee (including some virtual reality content), so that the community can buy, sell and review available educational tools.
As far as data privacy is concerned, So notes that NetDragon is still learning what it can and cannot do. He noted that the company will comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal regulation created in order to protect the privacy of children online, but says that the rules and regulations surrounding the law are confusing for all actors involved.
Historically, Chinese companies have faced trust and branding issues when moving into the United States market, and the reverse is also true for U.S. companies seeking to expand overseas. Companies have also struggled to learn the rules, regulations and operational procedures in place in other countries.
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Dr. Christopher Emdin Strikes US Education, Edtech and ‘Frenemies’ at SXSWedu
When a student is brilliant on the street corner but falling asleep in class, something is wrong with the schooling system.
Emdin labeled financially-driven education entrepreneurs as “enemies.” And he took on the nonprofit leaders, policymakers and edtech do-gooders he believes have “good intentions but enemy executions,” dubbing them “frenemies.”
Magna Teaching with Technology Conference,
October 5, 2018, St. Louis, MO
- Thriving Minds: What’s Working, What’s Not, and What’s Next in Teaching with Technology
Michelle D. Miller, director, First Year Learning Initiative, professor of psychological sciences, Northern Arizona University
Educational technology has survived its early challenges—but is it thriving yet?
take a look at some outstanding examples of what evidence-based, engaging, technologically-enhanced teaching can look like in practice. We will then consider approaches, resources, and techniques that could help us push past some of the biggest challenges faced by our movement. These approaches include making students our allies in the fight against distraction and disengagement; explicitly considering cognitive principles when developing, incorporating and evaluating new technologies; and nurturing faculty and instructional designers as an important—perhaps the most important—source of truly useful, truly innovative ideas for teaching and learning with technology.
- What Role does/should the 3T’s of Technique, Tools, and Time Play in Modern Educational Practices?
Dave Yearwood, professor, University of North Dakota
What use are discussions about tools without some understanding about the techniques needed to maximize a tool’s effectiveness in multiple settings? What teaching and learning opportunities can educators and students take advantage of when technological tools are leveraged with proven practices to gain knowledge and understanding about what is possible? Furthermore, what factors should be considered regarding the efficient use of time in task achievement and task completion of identified learning goals in face-to-face and online settings? Tools, Technique, and Time, the 3 triplets of ePedagogy cannot be looked at in isolation. An examination of the 3t’s will be conducted with the intent of revealing through examples how the triplets can be applied/used in a complimentary fashion to help faculty and students achieve their collective identified educational objectives—increased learning and understanding with targeted applications.
- Educators as Designers and the Architecting of Learning
Remi Kalir, assistant professor of information and learning technologies, University of Colorado Denver
design and create learning environments, learning opportunities, and learning technologies.
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Edtech playground: Helping teachers choose better tools
By Nicole Krueger Leadership
A virtual reality headset can take students on an immersive journey to another world. But no matter how cool it is, if that $3,000 piece of equipment enters a classroom and doesn’t provide any real instructional value, it can quickly become a very expensive paperweight.
Most schools don’t do edtech procurement really well yet. Sometimes we buy products that end up in closets because they don’t fit the instructional needs of students, and we end up not being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Located in the district’s central office, where hundreds of teachers and staff members stop by each week for professional development, the playground offers a creative space that encourages teachers to explore new tools that have been vetted and approved by the district’s tech department.
In the United States, K-12 schools spend more than $13 billion a year on edtech — often without any idea whether it will make a difference in learning outcomes.
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