Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great "Learning 2.0" Strand Brainstorm

Like the Library 2.011 and GlobalEdCon conferences, I'm planning on holding a (free) worldwide virtual Future of Education: Learning 2.0 conference January 23 - 27, 2012. When you look at the brainstorm list below for conference strands, you are probably going to react as I have: "Wow, that seems really ambitious!" However, inspired by my FutureofEducation.com interview series and and consistently amazing guests, it seems like we're ready for this kind of bold event. I'm somewhat stunned by the power and potential of these events to bring together people and ideas from around the world, and I think the time is now to talk on a larger scale.

You are going to find several gaps below that largely reflect my own lack of experience in some categories. You may find other places where you disagree with my idea, or wording, or categorization (which is why I'm posting this discussion!) What would you add? What would you take away? What would you alter? I'm posting this same discussion on Google+, and feel free to answer here or there (at Google+, there's more opportunity for back-and-forth with others).

ALSO: Let me know what individuals and organizations would you want to make sure I reached out to for this event. Who would you want to make sure was participating? Who would make good partners or sponsors?

So, here's my tentative Learning 2.0 conference strand brainstorm. I've purposely left out the library and global education categories because of the other two conference. A call for proposals will go out November 15th, with rolling acceptances based on submission dates through January 10th, and applications for the international advisory board will be open at the same time (be sure to join FutureofEducation.com to stay informed).

  • Classroom 2.0
    • Web 2.0 and Social media in the classroom (Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, Podcasting, etc.)
    • 1:1 Programs: laptops, netbooks, iPads, and tablets
    • "Flipped" learning
    • Rethinking Homeworl
  • School 2.0
    • Education Reform
    • The role of business in education
    • Social media and shifts in narrative power / grassroots education change
    • Changes in school governance models
    • The impact of computer technology on administration and planning
    • Testing and assessment
    • Democratic education movements: freedom, control, and the role of schools
    • School architecture
    • Entrepreneurship for education / commercial ed tech
    • Disruptive innovation
  • Digital Learning
    • The role of social networking in education
    • Digital Portfolios
    • Program or Be Programmed (programming)
    • 21st century skills / Digital Literacies
    • The downsides of Digital
  • Teacher / Faculty 2.0
    • Personal Learning Networks
    • Social Professional Development
    • Social networking
    • Peer-generated PD
  • Student 2.0
    • Personalized / individualized learning
    • Student-directed Learning / Hacking Education / DIY
    • Student Learning Networks
    • Passion-based learning
    • Participatory learning
    • Informal learning
    • Personal Learning Plans / Learning styles
    • Authentic Learning / Apprenticeships
    • Student-generated content
    • Personal Web Presences / Personal "Branding"
  • Distance / Online Learning
    • Learning Management Systems
  • Virtual / Immersive Environments
    • Second Life
    • Virtual Reality
  • Gaming in Education
    • Games and learning
  • Pedagogy
    • The history of learning ideas
    • Reawakening alternative pedagogies
    • Great voices in education
    • The impact of technology on pedagogy
    • Progressivism, Constructivism, Constructionism, etc.
  • Mobile Learning
    • Handheld / Tablet
  • Open Learning
    • Open Education Resources
    • Open Source Software in Ed
    • Creative Commons
    • Open PD
    • Digital Textbooks
  • University / College / Higher Ed 2.0
  • Brain Research
    • Cognitive/Brain Tools (Howard Rheingold)
    • Deliberate Practice
    • Exercise and Learning
  • Alternative Education and Assessment Models
    • Homeschooling
    • Unschooling
    • Open Badges Project
  • Additional
    • The Future of Books and Reading
    • Math 2.0

October 31 - Ed Tech News, Our Weekly Podcast, and the Hack Education Roundup!

Welcome to week three of this new weekly blog post / email, including the round-up of the week's news and podcast with Audrey Watters. This is way, way too much fun. We hope you enjoy it!

ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • The Library 2.011 worldwide virtual conference is this Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 - 4, all online, all free. As of today, we have 5,000 registrations for the conference from 151 countries!  Amazing!  The conference schedule is also now online, with all 160+ sessions, and an individual hour-by-hour schedule calendar for each of 36 different time zones--and the live links to the session rooms will go up later today and tomorrow. Be sure to register by joining the site at the link above.
  • The 2011 Global Education Conference is also fast approaching: November 14 - 18. In it's second year, this amazing five-day, 24-hour-a-day event helps educators and students connect with each other and with global education programs all over the world. The call for presentations was been extended until today, October 31, so get your proposals in quickly if you want to present, or join the website to register to participate.
EVENTS
THE WEEKLY ED TECH PODCAST WITH AUDREY WATTERS

Blogger Audrey Watters (Hack Education) sits down with me (virtually) each week to discuss the ed tech news of the week and drill down on stories that have caught her eye (and attracted her writing talent). Audrey is a writer for the NPR education technology blog MindShift, for the data section of O’Reilly Radar, and for the Edutopia blog.

Here's the direct link to our third podcast: http://audio.edtechlive.com/cr20/WattersHargadon2011-10-29.mp3. The podcast feed link is http://feeds.feedburner.com/edtechlive/hackeducation

HACK EDUCATION POSTS LAST WEEK

And here, in full, is the Hack Education weekly roundup, also available directly at Hack Education.  

#OccupyEDU and Generation Debt

I've been struck by the prominence of education issues in the Occupy Wall Street movement. A sampling of stories and sites: Occupy Education. Occupy College. Occupy Scholarly Communications. Occupy the Laboratory. Occupy Librarianship. "Generation Debt at the Barricades." "How Does Occupy Wall Street Speak to a Broken Education System?"

President Obama introduced a plan this week to help students struggling to repay their student loans. Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt to be the number 2 source of household debt (only behind the mortgage). Obama's plan will accelerate the relief from a law recently passed by Congress, reducing the maximum required payment on student loans from 15% of discretionary income annually to 10%. He will put it into effect in 2012, instead of 2014. And the new plan would have the remaining debt forgiven after 20 years instead of 25. (For more info -- maybe -- see the Department of Education press release.)

The Obama Administration also announced its support of a new program, conjunction with the Young Entrepreneur Council, to create a new startup incubator program and investment company: Gen Y Capital Partners. Not only will the program help fund those entrepreneurs under age 35, it will also tap into the new student debt adjustment program that the President unveiled.

Politics and Policies

Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed into law the revisions to the infamous Senate Bill 54, a law that would have effectively banned any private teacher-student interaction on social media sites. The new law doesn't contain these restrictions, but rather turns the decisions over social media policies to individual districts.

Accolades

Congratulations to the 2012 TED Fellows. A shout-out to the makers, artists, engineers, educators: DIY neuroscientist Greg Gage, Skillshare co-founder Michael Karnjanaprakorn, founder of 3D printing company Makerbot Bre Pettis, and Ayah Bdeir, artist, engineer and founder of littleBits (who I covered in a recent story on MindShift

Launches

The Royal Society has opened its archives -- over 60,000 peer-reviewed research articles, including a very famous experiment about an electrical kite.

Symtext launched its "liquid textbook" platform this week. It's a browser-based app that offers social reading, highlighting and sharing (and sharing just within classes as opposed to generally "public"). The notes sync across platforms. Currently the startup supports content from over a dozen academic publishers, including Wiley and McGraw-Hill.

New York's Betaworks unveiled findings, another new social reading, sharing, and discovery platform. The tool lets you share and comment on clips from the Kindle and from the Web and follow along with what others are reading.

Classes, Conferences, and Events

I ended my Startup Weekend EDU travel streak with a trip to DC. i've got write-up on Hack Education and on Mindshift. Even cooler? CodeNow, one of the startups that participated in the weekend, has a write-up on the White House blog.

Updates, Upgrades, and Pivots

Google announced that 15 million people now use Google Apps for Education. The company also made Google Plus available to its Apps for Education users, but only to its higher education customers as the 18-and-older age limit on G+ remains.

LearnBoost continues to roll out new languages thanks to its users crowdsourcing the translation efforts of the online gradebook. It's now available in Urdu, Romanian, and Vietnamese (in addition to Spanish, Dutch, and French).

The animation-making tool Xtranormal (known for some hilarious and often NSFW videos about Android versus iPhone), has launched a new Xtranormal for Educators platform. It features the easy-to-use tools for video production, combines it with a secure environment for classroom usage, for just $10 a month.

The human-powered search engine Mahalo announced a round of layoffs this week. The company has changed its focus several times over the past few years, most recently to focus on creating educational videos. Mahalo is shifting again, this time to concentrate on educational iOS apps, Techcrunch reports.

Disney-owned kids' virtual world Club Penguin has rolled out some new chat boxes that take advantage of a predictive engine, reports AllThingsD. It's the first change to the Club Penguin chat in about six years. The virtual world only lets kids use certain stock phrases, but by incorporating predictive text, the chat will work a bit like Google Instant, with autocompleting the phrases it thinks kids want to use.

Research and Data

EDUCAUSE 2011 was cause for a number of research-related announcements, including the release of the 2011 Campus Computing Project. Among its findings, more colleges are going mobile -- more than half of public universities and half of private ones have mobile apps. Universities' adoption of cloud computing has been slower. Just 4.4% of campuses say they've moved from on-premise to cloud solutions.

The Educause Center for Applied Research also released survey data about how college students use Facebook. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Nine out of 10 college students say they use Facebook for social purposes, like writing status updates and posting pictures. And the majority, 58 percent, say they feel comfortable using it to connect with other students to discuss homework assignments and exams. One out of four students even went so far as to say they think Facebook is “valuable” or “extremely valuable” to their academic success."

The cost of college is increasing. Again. The College Board has released the latest figures, finding that in-state tuition at four-year colleges is up 8.3%. It's up 4.5% at private colleges and up 3.2% at for-profit universities.

With all the talk about "data-driven education," it's still remarkably difficult to get schools to share data -- due to issues of privacy and perception. That in turn makes it difficult to have large datasets about student issues. But 6 institutions have federated their databases, creating a dataset that includes over 640,000 anonymized student records and over 3 million course level records, focusing on 33 common variables. The institutions represent public/private, two-year/four-year, and publicly-funded and proprietary institutions

Common Sense Media released a report this week on the amount of "screen time" that children are experiencing. No big surprise, the amount of time is up, with new devices like iPads joining what remains the dominant screen, the television. The report introduced a new term -- "the app gap" -- a growing divide between lower-income and higher-income children's access to and usage of apps. I looked more closely at this issue in a story for Edutopia.

Kathy Schrock has created a list of Android apps that target Bloom's revised taxonomy. Bloomin' Android is a companion site to an earlier project where she listed how fit into the taxonomy.

Funding

Codecademy, a Web-based site with JavaScript lessons, raised $2.5 million in investment this week. I respond harshly.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last Call for 2011 Global Education Conference Proposals!

Excitement is really building for the worldwide 2011 Global Education Conference (November 14 - 18), and this is a quick reminder that proposals for session presentations are due by the end of the day this Monday, October 31st. Submit HERE.

(To register to attend the conference, which is online and free, just join the network at http://www.globaledcon.com.)

We started accepting proposals this past week, and they are being approved in the order submitted. If your proposal is accepted, you then choose a time slot from the available times to present. This is to allow you to choose a day and time to present that are convenient to you. Potential presenters should also join the presenters group on the website to receive email announcements specific to presenters.

Awesome keynote session are starting to be announced, and the conference schedule is filling with a variety of general sessions (you can see them in your own time zone HERE). And there are badges, a poster, and press releases available on the Press and Promotional page of the network!

See you online!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Library 2.011 Worldwide Conference November 2-4

We’re counting down the days until the inaugural (and free) Library 2.011 Worldwide Virtual Conference begins on Wednesday, November 2nd. More than 4,000 information professionals from 149 countries have signed up to join the global conversation on the current and future state of libraries. The groundbreaking event will be a whirlwind of information, with 160 presentations scheduled over two days!

The schedule of all sessions, in customized schedule pages for each of the world's 36 time zones, is now available at the Sessions and Schedule page. Presentations will cover a variety of pertinent subject strands that affect the LIS industry and the changing roles of libraries and librarians in our digital world.  All sessions will also be recorded for later viewing. Keynote addresses will be scheduled over the course of the two-day conference, and the speakers include:
  • Dr. Sandra Hirsh (USA)
  • Dr. Lennart Bjoerneborn (Denmark)
  • Dr. Michael Stephens (USA)
  • Dr. Christine Bruce (Australia)
  • Ms. Ellen Tise (South Africa)
  • Mr. Stephen Abram (Canada)

To register for the conference, join the conference website at http://www.Library2011.com. The conference welcome will start at 6:30 a.m. US-PDT on Wednesday, November 2nd, followed by the opening keynote by Library 2.011 Co-Chair Dr. Sandra Hirsh, professor and director of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at San José State University. The conference will conclude with a final conference gathering at 9:00 p.m. US-PDT on Thursday, November 3 (November 4, in some parts of the world). All conference sessions are being held in Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate), and can be accessed live from any personal computer following instructions on the Sessions and Schedule page.

Participants, presenters, and volunteers are encouraged to share your excitement for this global event. The conference Twitter hashtag is "#lib2011" and to download a variety of badges, please visit: http://www.library20.com/page/press-promotional. Those interested in volunteering will find information on the Volunteer Page, and potential sponsors still have time to sign up by contacting me directly.

As a reminder, the conference will be held entirely online, is FREE to attend, and will be recorded. For more information, please visit: http://www.library20.com.

See you online!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Live Interview Tuesday October 25th - Mike Marriner from Roadtrip Nation

Join me Tuesday, October 25th, for another live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Mike Marriner co-founder of Roadtrip Nation. "Roadtrip Nation began in 2001 as an idea Mike, Nathan, Brian and Amanda, four friends fresh out of college, formed when they were not sure what to do with their lives. Initially, the scope of the plan was relatively small – climb aboard an old RV, paint it green, and traverse the country with the purpose of interviewing people who inspired them by living lives that centered around what was meaningful to them. Along the way, the four realized that the conversations that they were having on the road could not remain within the confines of their own RV, but held relevancy that could be shared with a world that was losing the know-how of living lives that pulse on personal passion rather than someone else’s expectations." Roadtrip Nation now helps students take education out of classrooms and into the real world by encouraging them to find what they love, gather a team to interview people that inspire them in order to learn from their stories, and then to share these experiences with others.

Date: Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-10-25.1742.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and a portable .mp3 audio recording is at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/roadtripnation.mp3.

The Roadtrip Manifesto (click to enlarge):



Mike Marriner is RoadTrip Nation's Founder / Director of Strategic Partnerships.  From his website bio:

How are you different than you were four years ago?
I fly on planes instead of driving in motor homes. But I still love it all.

How did you come to work at Roadtrip Nation?
That's complicated, is it really work?

I aspire to...
inspire people.

Miles on your odometer?
32 (Magic Johnson's number, YES).

Best conversation you've had while in a vehicle?
With my wife in Nepal.

What is your favorite place in the world and why?
Nepal – the people and the mountains.

October 24 - Ed Tech News, Our Weekly Podcast, and the Hack Education Roundup!

Welcome to week two of this new weekly blog post / email, including the round-up of the week's news and podcast with Audrey Watters.  We did try to keep the podcast a little shorter this week--although it wasn't easy--to much to talk about, and too fun!

ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • The South by Southwest Edu (SXSWedu) session proposals are now online for community comment (what they call the PanelPicker):  http://panelpicker.sxswedu.com. Commenting closes in four days, and while the comments are only a portion of the selection process, it's fun to see the sessions and to let your voice be heard. The system is a little weird, since you can't see all of the proposals in one area (they are categorized into primary, secondary, and tertiary blocks based on arbitrary ordering of session submissions by one individual), but here are direct links to panel proposals I made: "School 2.0: Teachers and the Future of Education" (the importance of teacher voice in education discussions, "Hack Your Education" (thinking about self-directed learning--Audrey's in this proposal), and "Technology, Pedagogy, and the Silver Bullet" (addressing the myopia of some ed tech business ventures). I'm also a proposed panelist for "Education2.0 - Social Media Drives Student Success" being hosted by Jennifer Openshaw.
  • The Library 2.011 worldwide virtual conference starts in just over a week! November 2 - 4, all online, all free. The conference schedule is now online, with all 160+ sessions, and an individual hour-by-hour schedule calendar for all 36 time zones. No matter where you are in the world you can see the schedule in your own time.
  • The 2011 Global Education Conference is also fast approaching: November 14 - 18. In it's second year, this amazing five-day, 24-hour-a-day event helps educators and students connect with each other and with global education programs all over the world. The call for presentations has been extended until October 31, so get your proposals in!
EVENTS
THE WEEKLY ED TECH PODCAST WITH AUDREY WATTERS

Blogger Audrey Watters (Hack Education) sits down with me (virtually) each week to discuss the ed tech news of the week and drill down on stories that have caught her eye (and attracted her writing talent). Audrey is a writer for the NPR education technology blog MindShift, for the data section of O’Reilly Radar, and for the Edutopia blog.

Our second podcast is "in the can," and here's the direct link: http://audio.edtechlive.com/cr20/WattersHargadon2011-10-21.mp3. The podcast feed link is http://feeds.feedburner.com/edtechlive/hackeducation

HACK EDUCATION POSTS LAST WEEK

And here, in full, is the Hack Education weekly roundup, also available directly at Hack Education.  

Politics and Policies

This week marks the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Department of Education Organization Act, the law signed by President Jimmy Carter that created the Department of Education. GOOD's Liz Dwyer has a great post asking a question that's on a lot of people's minds: do we still need a Department of Education?

The Senate Education Committee began work this week sifting through the 800-some-odd-page reauthorization for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The last revision to the law gave us No Child Left Behind. Senators on the Education Committee and their staff are now tasked with marking up the legislation with various changes and amendments. Oh, what will they give us this time?!

Meanwhile, the Senate did vote on Tuesday to block an Obama administration proposal that would have limited the amount of potatoes served in school lunches. Yes, I know it's not technology news, but somehow it's indicative enough of other trends that I'm including it here.

Launches


BioCurious, a hackerspace for biotech, officially opened its doors this week with a new location in Sunnyvale, California. Members will have access to lab and office space, as well as a slew of lab equipment. No need to be a "professional scientist" in order to join.

Microsoft announced that it's working with Sesame Street and other children's television programs to build interactive programming that utilizes the Kinect and XBox360. The future of television? Another big step for gesture-based learning?

A new online degree program will launch in January at the Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. What makes the Achieve Degree unique is that it's the first-of-its-kind program aimed at helping those with developmental disabilities obtain their bachelor's degrees. The degree requires the traditional 120 credit hours, but features small classes, extra supports, accommodation for different learning styles, and a modified course schedule to meet the students' needs.

Purdue University launched a new app for its students this week. Jetpack will allow them to download their course materials -- handouts, readings, videos, links, audio -- directly to their phones. Once downloaded, students will be able to access the "packs," even when they're offline. There's an iOS app available via iTunes (link), and the school says it has plans to open up the platform to others to create their own packs beginning next summer.

The presentation software SlideRocket announced SlideRocket EDU this week, making its tools available to students and teachers via the Google Apps Marketplace.

The online study tool StudyBlue has launched a new Facebook app called "Friends with Brainefits." The app lets student pick a particular topic -- from the ACT to AP tests -- and posts key terms to the student's Facebook wall for friends to comment on. The idea is these comments will help the student remember what the term means. (Hopefully, that's what students remember and not the rude or snarky comments that friends may leave as pseudo-definitions!)

Updates and Upgrades


Google announced a change to the way it will sell its new Chromebooks. Rather than solely offering these Chrome-OS netbooks via subscription, schools will now be able to buy them up front, a move that Google says will work better with schools' annual budget cycles. The new costs: $449 for the WiFi version and $519 for the 3G version. Then, during years 2 and 3 of the contract, schools will pay $5 per month per Chromebook for support.

Learning management system giant Blackboard announced this week that it plans to add a "share" button to its site, so that professors will be able to make their course materials available beyond the walled garden of the LMS. The company is also lifting some of its "per-seat" licensing fees so that those not enrolled in classes aren't charged for accessing the material. I've already reached the limitations of the number of times I can use an image of Admiral Akhbar in an LMS-related story, but you can read more of my thoughts about the announcement here.

Khan Academy announced this week that it has added the first new faculty members beyond just Sal Khan himself. In order to start expanding Khan Academy's offerings into the humanities, the organization will be working with Smarthistory, whose openly-licensed, multimedia art history "textbook" was a recent successful Kickstarter project. Khan told the attendees at Web 2.0 this week that the number of unique visitors to the webiste is up over 300% from last year, up to about 3.5 million per month.

Google unveiled a much-needed facelift for Google Presentations, its would-be PowerPoint substitute. It comes a lot closer to being just that now, with the addition of animations and transitions, as well as better collaborative features.

Professional social networking site LinkedIn added a new feature this week, LinkedIn Classmates. The tool isn't just meant to help connect you with those who graduated from your alma mater, but also tries to offer insights about the career trajectories and trends among graduates.

Classes, Conferences, and Competitions


EDUCAUSE, the non-profit organization that focuses on higher education and IT, is holding its annual conference in Philadelphia this week.

Startup Weekend EDU had its first official event as part of the newly launched education vertical. Held in San Francisco, the winner of the 54-hour-long, "build an ed-tech startup in a weekend" event was Alumn.us, an alumni network for public high schools and community colleges. Startup Weekend EDU is off to Washington DC next, adamant about its mission to help launch thousands of education startups.

Florida Virtual School, an online middle and high school, has added several new courses to its offerings. These include Guitar 1, AP Art History, AP Human Geography, French 1, Sociology, Journalism and Advanced Algebra. Free to Florida public school students, the school also has a for-profit arm, selling these online classes to students outside the state.

Google is holding its second annual Google Code-in competition. Like last year's contest, Google Code-in offers 13 to 17 year olds the chance to work on open source software projects. The contest starts November 21, and you can find out more details about participating here.

The Panel Picker is available for this year's SXSWedu conference. It's your chance to vote on the panels you'd like to see at the event. SXSWedu is also adding a new program this year, LAUNCHedu, where ed-tech startups will have a chance to pitch in front of educators (and a panel of judges).

Microsoft is kicking off its tenth annual Imagine Cup competition this year. The Imagine Cup is a competition that asks college students to work on technology solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems (poverty, disease, environmental destruction, and so on). Registration for the contest opened this week, as did the application process for its new Imagine Cup Grant Program.

Disasters


Sesame Street had its YouTube channel hacked this week. And badly. All the videos were pulled from the channel and replaced with pornography. No one has claimed responsibility for the hack, not surprisingly, because it's hardly a brag-worthy deed.

Donations


The estate of Roald Dahl has donated four of Dahl's most beloved books -- Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- to Worldreader, which means they'll be available as part of the e-reader literacy program in sub-Saharan Africa. The non-profit organization has a collection of more than 56,000 books which it's delivered on Kindles, to some 600 students in Ghana and Kenya.

Research and Data


The American Academy of Pediatrics has long suggested that parents limit the amount of television their young children watch. And this week, the AAP released a new report, this time with more data, to back up those recommendations. Ars Technica has a good write-up of the research.

A newly released report from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce looks at the future of STEM-related jobs. Among the findings, 65% of those with Bachelors Degrees in STEM areas earn more than those with degrees in non-STEM areas (and oftentimes more than those with PhDs in non-STEM areas. It also found that STEM jobs will be 5% of all jobs by 2018, although demand for the skills is growing rapidly outside those occupations seen as traditionally STEM-related. (See PDF for more details.)

Recently, I wrote a story for MindShift, asking whether or not cursive should remain a part of the curriculum. Those looking for a good reason why it should can take solace in the research of Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis van Ahn. Van Ahn is the inventor of the term CAPTCHA, the process by which online forms attempt to verify that the person filling them out is human, not machine. Algorithms are actually getting better at cracking CAPTCHAs. But van Ahn's latest research, reports The Economist, suggests that the ability to read cursive writing and decipher frilly lettering, remains beyond the reach of computers. So apparently reading and writing cursive is something that makes us human.

Speaking at the Web 2.0 summit this week, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor revealed that, contrary to what many people say, most people have actually changed their privacy settings on the site. He specifically noted that younger, more active users were the most savvy about limiting who could view their profiles and posts.

The Freakonomics podcast takes a look at the recent spate of teacher-cheating scandals. Definitely worth a listen.

Financials


Test prep and social learning platform Grockit announced that it has raised $7 million in its latest round of funding. The company also said that it's struck a deal with Georgetown University to make its services available to students and alumni. And Grockit also launched Grockit Answers, an incredibly cool new tool that lets you turn YouTube and Vimeo videos into real-time (or at least, time-coded with the video) Q&A discussions.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that an investment firm run by Jonathan Grayer, the former CEO of Kaplan, has acquired Learning House, a company that helps colleges develop online degree programs.

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has acquired the children's app making company Inquisitive Minds, reports The Next Web, for $13 million. Inquisitive Minds is responsible for Zoodles, a series of products and services to keep kids safe online.

The Apollo Group, the parent organization of the University of Phoenix, released its quarterly earnings results this week. Revenue for the company's fourth quarter totalled $1122 million, a 10.9% decreases from the fourth quarter of 2010. That's due in part to a decrease in enrollment at the University of Phoenix, which is down almost 20% compared to the same time last year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ed Tech News, a New Podcast, and the Hack Education Roundup!

This new weekly blog post / email is replacing the regular email I have sent out for the last couple of years for the now-defunct Host-Your-Own-Webinar program (I still have hopes of resurrecting that near-to-my-heart program, and when that happens we'll wrap it into this weekly missive). There is lots of fun below, and especially don't miss the first weekly recorded podcast with Audrey Watters!

ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • The Library 2.011 worldwide virtual conference is almost here! November 2 - 4, all online, all free. The conference schedule is now online, with all 160+ sessions, and an individual hour-by-hour schedule calendar for all 36 time zones. No matter where you are in the world you can see the schedule in your own time (OK, to say I'm a little proud of this achievement is something of an understatement, especially given the MANY daylight savings shifts between now and the conference!).  We have attendees signed up from 133 countries! Huge thanks to the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science, the founding sponsor of the conference.
  • The 2011 Global Education Conference is also fast approaching: November 14 - 18. In it's second year, this amazing five-day, 24-hour-a-day event helps educators and students connect with each other and with global education programs all over the world. The call for presentations has been extended until October 31, and the event is highly inclusive so that we have real global participation. Last year we had presentations from 62 countries.
EVENTS
THE NEW WEEKLY ED TECH PODCAST WITH AUDREY WATTERS

Blogger Audrey Watters, whose Hack Education posts and her weekly roundup have become some of my favorite reading, is going to be sitting down with me (virtually) each week to discuss the ed tech news of the week and drill down on stories that have caught her eye (and attracted her writing talent). Audrey is a writer for the NPR education technology blog MindShift, for the data section of O’Reilly Radar, and for the Edutopia blog.

We've actually recorded our first podcast, and if you have half as much fun listening to it as we did recording it, it will be a huge success! Because I'm in a world of hurt with Feedburner and Delicious this week, I can't promise how soon this how will be in my podcast feed, but here's a direct link:  http://audio.edtechlive.com/cr20/2011-10-14.mp3. Do listen! Audrey is incredibly knowledgeable, and I think you're going to find listening to her will become a priority each week.
UPDATE:  Here's a podcast feed link - http://feeds.feedburner.com/edtechlive/hackeducation

HACK EDUCATION POSTS LAST WEEK

And here, in full, is the Hack Education weekly roundup, also available directly at Hack Education.  

Politics and Policies

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced Connect to Compete, a new non-profit initiative that brings private industry and the non-profit sector together to help expand broadband adoption and promote digital literacy. The initiative aims to help boost education, health and employment in disadvantaged communities in the U.S. and aims to address some of the obstacles to broadband adoption -- in terms of cost, access, relevance, and digital literacy.

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB547, a piece of legislation that would have changed the way in which the state handled school accountability. Although the bill would have shifted emphasis away from standardized testing, Brown blasted the reform: “SB547 nowhere mentions good character or love of learning. It does allude to student excitement and creativity, but does not take these qualities seriously because they can’t be placed in a data stream. Lost in the bill’s turgid mandates is any recognition that quality is fundamentally different from quantity.”

Governor Brown signed into legislation the California "Dream Act," allowing illegal immigrants who graduated from high school in the state to apply to its public universities as residents and to receive state financial aid for college.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, the head of the Senate's education committee, submitted a bill this week to revise No Child Left Behind. Among the bill's provisions is the return of control to the states over devising their own systems for how to hold schools accountable for student achievement. The bill will be a massive revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ETAN has already issued an alert that the proposed legislation does not contain language about the "Achievement Through Technology and Innovation Act."

Inside Higher Ed reports that the University of California lecturers' union has stated that it will use its collective bargaining power to block the university system's expansion of online course offerings unless the "move to distance education is done in a fair and just way for our members."

Ethics and Legalities

The New York Times continues its investigation of education giant Pearson and ethics concerns surrounding lavish trips that the company's foundation has sponsored for state education officials.

Last year, the National Federation of the Blind filed a complaint against Penn State, charging that the school's adoption of Google Apps for Education was discriminatory. Google has worked to address many of the accessibility issues, and The Chronicle of HIgher Education reports that the issue was resolved "without any admission of wrongdoing."

Launches

Rated JPG reports that beloved toy-maker LEGO is building its own social network. Called CUUSOO, the site allows users to publish and share their designs. And while the site -- which is currently in beta -- lets users follow interesting designers, there's also a Kickstarter element here. If users receive enough interest in their designs, they can earn a small commission on sales of the design.

Responding to President Obama's call to train 100,000 teachers in STEM subjects in the next 10 years, Google and 80 other organizations have founded 100Kin10. Its mission: "to reverse the United States’ decades-long decline in STEM subjects, to ensure that all children have the basic STEM literacy to be full participants in our economy and democracy and to enable U.S. students to address the most pressing national and global challenges."

Valve, the company behind the video game hit Portal, is working on an educational game. If you haven't played Portal, you might shrug this off as yet another video game company trying to capitalize on the gaming-in-education craze. If you've played Portal (and you should try it, I promise), you're likely to nod with approval, recognizing the game's potential to teach about physics and critical thinking. For more information on the initiative, visit Learnwithportals.com.

The Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons have launched a new website, LMRI.net to provide information about the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative. It's an effort to create a common language for metadata for educational content, which in turn should ease both its publishing and the discovery.

Pearson announced this week that it plans to release a free learning management system aimed at the higher education market. Although the education giant currently only holds about 1% of the LMS market at the higher ed level, it clearly hopes that offering a free service will help woo schools away from some of the incumbent players in the space.

Updates and Upgrades

Apple released its latest iOS this week. iOS 5 contains a number of new features, including better notifications, wireless syncing, and Twitter integration. But the release caused quite a few hiccups: Web traffic made the upgrade difficult for a lot of customers. And apps like Kno and Stanzafailed to work. While Kno has fixed its issues, it appears as though Stanza, a popular e-reader app, will remain in the app graveyard.

In order to help address some of the frustrations teachers and students face with school filters blocking YouTube, Google has launched a pilot program that will allow schools to redirect all educational content to YouTube.com/education. The program will also block all YouTube comments and make sure that any videos that show up as "related" are also educational.

Google also launched YouTube Space Lab this week, a special channel that, in cooperation with Lenovo, Space Adventures, NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will provide space-related video content as well as provide an opportunity for students to design experiments to be conducted in space.

Yale University announced this week that its alumni would gain free access to JSTOR, an online archive of scholarly journals.

The International Digital Publishing Forum announced the approval of the revisions to the EPUB standard. Based on HTML5, EPUB 3 adds support for audio, video and interactivity (via JavaScript), as well as global language support, typing and layout enhancements and MathML, among other features.

Online gradebook LearnBoost added another new feature this week: lesson plan share. As the name suggests, this will allow teachers to share lesson plans with fellow teachers, administrators and students. Lesson plans can be shared via LearnBoost, but also via Twitter or Facebook and can be embedded on websites and/or blogs.

Research and Data

Rey Junco continues to publish interesting research on how Facebook is impacting students' academic performance. Among his latest findings: "Time spent on Facebook was negatively related to overall college GPA. The average time students spent on Facebook was 106 minutes per day. Each increase of 93 minutes beyond the mean decreased GPA by .12 points in the model. Therefore, I conclude that although this was a significant finding, the real-world impact of the relationship between time spent on Facebook and grades is negligible at best."

A study by the NPD Group released this week finds that 91% of kids ages 2 to 17 play games. But this isn't simply kids playing hopscotch or tag, of course. This includes video games, mobile games and the like. According to the report, 38% of kids in this age range are playing mobile games, up from 8% in 2009. And the biggest growth among gamers was in the 2 to 5 age range.

E-book provider Overdrive reports that e-book checkouts from libraries are up over 200% from last year.

Adam Duran, a participant in a two-month long summer program at the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center in Stanford, has developed a touchscreen Braille writer for tablets. Not a reader. A wirter. As the Stanford News describes it, the tool works like such: "They did not create virtual keys that the fingertips must find; they made keys that find the fingertips. The user simply touches eight fingertips to the glass, and the keys orient themselves to the fingers. If the user becomes disoriented, a reset is as easy as lifting all eight fingers off the glass and putting them down again.

Contests, Classes and Conferences

The Digital Media and Learning Competition is extending its deadline for Stage 1 of its "Badges for Lifelong Learning" competition. The new deadline is now November 14.

This weekend is another Startup Weekend EDU in San Francisco. Once again, Grockit is hosting the event.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that James Madison University will begin offering credit to online students who complete a 16-week introductory conversational Spanish course. What makes this newsworthy? That class is produced by language learning software maker Rosetta Stone.

Funding, Hiring, and Acquiring

Despite bad news last week about delays to Pottermore, the new online community for Harry Potter fans and the only place where you'll be able to buy Harry Potter e-books, the site scored a coup this week: Charlie Redmayne, the Chief Digital Officer for HarperCollins, announced that he is leaving the company to join Pottermore as CEO.

Lots of funding news this week: Stickery, a mobile gaming app, announced that it has raised $500,000 in seed funding from Google Ventures and 500Startups. Kiwi Crate, a new subscription service for hands-on kids' activities, announced this week that it has raised $2 million. Online video portal Udemy announced that it has raised $3 million

Adaptive learning company Knewton announced a massive round of fundraising: $33 million. While initially focusing on test prep, Knewton has recently expanded into universities, where its adaptive learning platform is used in some remedial classes, helping tailor coursework for students in math. The company says it plans to expand to the K-12 grades as well and hopes to open up its platform so that educational publishers can take advantage of the platform. Among its investors in this round: Pearson.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Renaissance Learning has rebuffed a takeover offer by Plato Learning, even though that offer is some $41 million higher than the offer it has accepted from the European private-equity firm Permira.

The investment firm NewSchools Venture Fund has released an Ed Tech Map, a "visual representation of ventures currently operating in the education technology market."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Live Interview Thursday October 20th - Mark Surman from Mozilla on Open Badges

Join me Thursday, October 20th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation. We'll be talking about Mozilla's Open Badges project, the issues around recognizing skills and achievements that happen outside of traditional learning institutions, and the HASTAC Badges Competition: Badges For Lifelong Learning.

Date: Thursday, October 20th, 2011
UPDATED Time: 6pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern / 1am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-10-20.1615.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and a portable .mp3 audio recording is at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/marksurman.mp3.

Mark Surman is in the business of connecting things: people, ideas, everything. A community technology activist for almost 20 years, Mark is currently the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, with a focus on inventing new ways to promote openness and opportunity on the Internet. On the side, Mark convenes conversations about 'open everything' in his home town of Toronto and around the world.

Before joining Mozilla, Mark was an open philanthropy fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa, he invented new ways to apply open source thinking to social innovation. Earlier, he was the founding director of telecentre.org, a $26 million effort to network community technology activists in countries around the world. Mark has also served as president of the Commons Group, Director of Content and Community at Web Networks and senior advisor to the Volunteer @ction Online grants program team. Mark’s first real job was training social activists to make their own documentaries in the early 1990s.

From the Open Badges Website: Learning today happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it's often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements that happen outside of school. Mozilla's Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web -- through a shared infrastructure that's free and open to all. The result: helping learners everywhere display 21st century skills, unlock career and educational opportunities, and level up in their life and work. Learn more.

The Digital Media and Learning Competition focuses on building digital badges for lifelong learning. The Competition is designed to encourage individuals and organizations to create digital tools that support, identify, recognize, measure, and account for new skills, competencies, knowledge, and achievements for 21st century learners wherever and whenever learning takes place.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Special Library 2.0 Interview Today with David Loertscher, Plus Other Live Sessions from WLMA

Join me today, Friday, October 14th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with David Loertscher, who will be coming in live from the Washington Library Media Association (WLMA) 2011 conference to visit with us. We'll be talking about the changing role of Librarians in the networked world, how technology is impacting teaching and learning, and what a Virtual Learning Commons is.

Additionally, check out other free live-streamed sessions from WLMA today and tomorrow at http://www.wlma.org/webinars--including Richard Bryne and Joyce Valenza!

Date: Friday, October 14th, 2011
Time: 1:45pm Pacific / 4:45pm Eastern / 8:45pm GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-10-14.1044.M.1F955EA48F2E094F071C6C70C81A2F.vcr&sid=2008350 and a portable .mp3 audio is availble at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/loertscher.mp3.

David V. Loertscher has degrees from the University of Utah, the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He has been a school library media specialist in Nevada and Idaho at both the elementary and secondary school levels. He has taught at Purdue University, The University of Arkansas, The University of Oklahoma, and is presently a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. He served as head of the editorial department at Libraries Unlimited for ten years and is President of Hi Willow Research & Publishing (distributed by LMC Source at www.lmcsource.com). He has been a president of the American Association of School Librarian

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Live Interview Thursday October 13th - Gina Bianchini on Mightybell

Join me Thursday, October 13th, for another live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Gina Bianchini, co-founder and former CEO of Ning, and now creator of the new Web-based service Mightybell. Mightybell is based on the idea that "success comes from thinking big, but acting incrementally," and so the platform allows you to create and share an "experience." An experience is an organized series of step-by-step “actions” users can follow--however, in true Gina B. style, participants in a Mightybell experience are not alone and they become a community, able to comment, communicate, and support each other at every step. Now, if you're beginning to see the connection to education (social learning!), you're going to really enjoy this conversation with Gina as we explore Mightybell, her plans for the service, and its possible uses in the education world. If you want to explore Mightybell in advance, you can join over 650 fellow "travelers" in the experience I created called "Teacher 2.0: Using the Web for Your Personal and Professional Growth."

Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-10-13.1657.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and a portable .mp3 audio recording is at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/ginab2011.mp3.

From Wikipedia: Gina Bianchini was CEO of Ning, which she co-founded with Marc Andreessen. Since leaving Ning in March 2010, she has been an executive in residence at the Andreesen Horowitz venture firm.

Bianchini re-emerged in September of 2011 as head of a privately-funded Palo Alto start-up called MightyBell, which is offering a social networking app designed for creators of "experiences" to offer step-by-step directions to those who might want to accomplish goals such as running marathons or going on survival expeditions.

Prior to Ning, Bianchini was co-founder and president of Harmonic Communications which was acquired by Dentsu. She has also held positions at CKS Group and Goldman Sachs.

Bianchini holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.B.A from Stanford Business School.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I consulted for Ning in 2007-2008, and visibly represented the product in the education market during that time.

Live Interview Tuesday October 11th - Timothy Wilson on Psychological Change

Join me Tuesday, October 11th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Timothy D. Wilson on his new book, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change. The book is not only a fascinating look at the inner workings of personal change (often with regard to self-perceptions in an academic environment), but it is also a clarion call to actually test and measure the results of social change programs--programs which often receive significant financial and cultural support while not actually producing the results they promise, and sometimes even making things worse. We'll talk with Professor Wilson about his book, his experiences in education, and what the implications of his work might be as we think about the current education reform movements.

Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-10-11.1654.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and a portable .mp3 audio recording is at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/redirect.mp3.

From Wikipedia:  "Timothy D. Wilson is the Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and a researcher of self-knowledge and affective forecasting.

"Wilson has published a trade book, Strangers to Ourselves and co-authored Social Psychology an introductory textbook on social psychology. The textbook has been translated into Italian, Polish, Chinese, German, Russian, and Serbian, and Strangers to Ourselves has been translated into Dutch and Japanese, with Chinese and German editions forthcoming.

"Wilson is best known for his research on self-knowledge, including affective forecasting. Along with Richard Nisbett, Wilson authored one of Psychology's most cited papers 'Telling more than we can know - Verbal reports on mental processes' that demonstrated the difficulty humans have in introspecting on their own mental processes (Psychological Review, 1977, cited 2731 times as of May 22, 2007 according to ISI Web of Knowledge). His longtime collaborator is Daniel Gilbert of Harvard University.

"His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. In 2001 he received an All-University Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Virginia. In 2009, he was named as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, Deirdre Smith. He has two children, Christopher and Leigh."

Publisher Description:  "What if there were a magic pill that could make you happier, turn you into a better parent, solve a number of your teenager's behavior problems, reduce racial prejudice, and close the achievement gap in education? Well, there is no such magic pill-but there is a new scientifically based approach called story editing that can accomplish all of this. It works by redirecting the stories we tell about ourselves and the world around us, with subtle prompts, in ways that lead to lasting change. In Redirect, world-renowned psychologist Timothy Wilson shows how story-editing works and how you can use it in your everyday life.

"The other surprising news is that many existing approaches-from the multi-billion dollar self-help industry to programs that discourage drug use and drinking-don't work at all. In fact, some even have the opposite effect. Most programs are not adequately tested, many do not work, and some even do harm. For example, there are programs that have inadvertently made people unhappy, raised the crime rate, increased teen pregnancy, and even hastened people's deaths-in part by failing to redirect people's stories in healthy ways.

"In short, Wilson shows us what works, what doesn't, and why. Fascinating, groundbreaking, and practical, Redirect demonstrates the remarkable power small changes can have on the ways we see ourselves and the world around us, and how we can use this in our everyday lives. In the words of David G. Myers, 'With wit and wisdom, Wilson shows us how to spare ourselves worthless (or worse) interventions, think smarter, and live well.'"

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Live Interview Tuesday October 4th - A Children's Education Bill of Rights

Join me Tuesday, October 4th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Peter W. Cookson, Jr., on his book Sacred Trust: A Children's Education Bill of Rights. Peter will discuss his "proposed education bill of rights for American students, including ideas on how to restructure the United States Department of Education for greater equality and improved academic achievement for all learners."

Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2011-10-04.1736.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and a portable .mp3 audio recording is at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/cookson.mp3.

From Peter's Website:  Peter Cookson’s knowledge of schools and children’s learning needs comes from a lifetime of teaching, researching, and working to improve the quality of education for all children. His first job after college was as a case worker for the New York City Department of Social Services. His days were spent visiting the homes of the city’s most disadvantaged citizens. It is to these families, especially the children, that he owes a life’s commitment to the cause of educational justice.

Peter went on to teach social studies at a large rural public school and history and Latin at a private day school. He returned to NYU to receive a Ph.D. in the Sociology of Education and continued on with a post-graduate certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an M.A. from the Yale Divinity School.

He has taught and held leadership positions at several leading colleges and universities, including Teachers College, Columbia University, where he currently teaches the Sociology of Urban Education. He also currently works with schools around the country as the founder of a Washington, D.C. based consulting firm, Ideas without Borders.

Throughout his career he has written, lectured, debated, and researched extensively on the democratic importance of equality of educational opportunity, 21st century learning, and educational innovation. Some of his works include Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools, co-authored with Caroline Hodges Persell (1985); School Choice and the Struggle for the Soul of American Education (1994); Expect Miracles: Charter Schools and the Politics of Hope and Despair, co-authored with Kristina Berger (2002); and his latest book, Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights (2011). He is completing another book to be published in 2012, The Great Unequalizer: Class and American Education.

Peter’s wife, Susan, worked for many years as a family therapist and is now a professional artist. They have two children and four grandchildren.

From the Website:  Education sociologist and policy expert Peter Cookson boldly describes an actual education bill of rights for American students that will ensure greater equity and improved academic achievement for all. He presents a national blueprint of action that has been endorsed by major political, economic, and educational leaders.
Cookson explains that “a children’s education bill of rights provides a framework for consensus and constructive action that can build bridges of hope and understanding over the chasms of misunderstanding and mistrust that divide us.”
The book asserts that all children have the fundamental right to:
  • a neighborhood public school or a public school of choice that is funded for excellence
  • physical and emotional health and safety
  • have his or her heritage, background, and religious differences honored, incorporated in study, and celebrated in the culture of the school
  • develop individual learning styles and strategies to the greatest extent possible
  • an excellent and dedicated teacher
  • a school leader with vision and educational expertise
  • a curriculum based on relevance, depth, and flexibility
  • have access to the most powerful educational technologies
  • fair, relevant, and learner-based evaluations
  • complete high school
Included are examples from a wide range of public and private schools in rural, urban, and suburban areas that illustrate problems and solutions. Through vivid storytelling and relevant research, Cookson provides specific and innovative steps for creating a concrete action plan that will lead to just, equitable, and first-class schools.
The book includes a Foreword by Rudy Crew, Former Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Former Chancellor, New York City Board of Education.