Education Technology and the Year of Wishful Thinking

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Dec 11, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This is the first of Audrey Watters's series on trends in education for 2016 and it's pretty good, even if I disagree with the main metaphor. She depicts 2016 as "a terrible, terrible year" because of the celebrity deaths, bad election results, war and killings. My own observation is that it's business as usual with a bit of a demographic kick as the post-war baby boom reaches its inevitable conclusion. But her observations about the danger of quackery in ed tech are spot on, and she lists a number of 'trends' as indicators: chatbots, blockchain, Pokemon Go, 3D printing and wearables. If your pundit gushed about one of more of these this year, there's a good chance they're a quack. Not because they're failures. But because they're fads, and quacks jump on fads (trying to be the 'first' and make a name for themselves, as Dean Groom pointed out earlier this week.

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