Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) newsletter #93

Welcome to TL;DR Newsletter #93. TL;DR is a weekly synthesis of things you need to know about the intersection between education, technology, and literacy. Feel free to share this with someone that you believe would benefit. Please subscribe to this newsletter if you haven’t already.

In this week’s episode we connect with the silence within us.

This week I posted the following:

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This animated short shares a day in the life of Copi, and his son Paste. Copi is trying to teach Paste the “right way,” but what is exactly is the “correct path”?


The rise of educational technology as a sociocultural and ideological phenomenon

A piece by George Veletsianos and Rolin Moe on the shift in thinking about edtech as a potential “silver bullet” to cure all of what ails education.

Veletsianos and Moe examine trends in the field to make sense of changes in pricing, strategy, and outcomes of this area. The piece provides three key takeaways:

  • The rise of edtech is part of a larger shift in political thought, from favoring government oversight to asserting free-market principles, as well as a response to the increasing costs of higher education.
  • Technocentric view that technology can solve these challenges combines with a vision of education as a product that can be packaged, automated, and delivered to students.
  • Unless greater collaborative efforts take place between edtech developers and greater academic community, as well as more informed deep understandings of how learning and teaching actually occur, any efforts to make edtech education’s silver bullet are doomed to fail.

EFF releases spying on students ed tech report

This week I was discussing with a colleague possible research that would examine skills and practices as youth create and share content on YouTube. I indicated a couple of possible research angles, but suggested the thing that has me worried are the privacy & security concerns.

The very next day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released results from a survey that reveals gaps in protections for K-12 students as they use devices and the cloud. Specifically, they address 8 key themes:

  • Lack of transparency
  • Investigative burden
  • Data collection and use
  • Lack of standard privacy precautions
  • Barriers to opt-out
  • Shortcomings of “privacy by policy”
  • Inadequate technology and privacy training for teachers
  • Digital literacy for students

The science of effective learning spaces

This week we also finished an update for one of our “technology infused classrooms” here on campus. You can watch a brief tour I gave of the classroom using Facebook Live.

This post from Edutopia shares many of the points we tried to address in the renovation of our learning lab. We did not hit all of the elements listed in this piece, but we were pretty close. I wish the building allowed for more natural light sources. I’m investigating some greenery, even artificial plants to give the room some “life.” I also wanted our learning lab to have movable tables for more interaction in the room. I guess the rolling chairs will do.

How do your learning spaces stack up?

Facebook’s news literacy advice is harmful to news literacy

This week Facebook started rolling out some guidance on media literacy in people’s feeds around the globe. As Mike Caulfield points out, much of the guidance they provide is just bad advice.

Much of the guidance Facebook provides is based on the same “checklist” methodology used in our schools as we ask students to evaluate online information. As I have pointed out in the past, these checklist systems fail for a number of reasons.

Caulfield indicates four reasons why this advice from Facebook fails:

  • It takes too long
  • It deals with surface features
  • It targets fake news but not slanted claims
  • It doesn’t use the network

If you really want to develop media and information critical literacies, get off the page. Search the web to get more information. Develop your healthy skepticism as you read “laterally” online.

Having just one black teacher can keep black kids in school

This post from Anya Kamenetz on NPR Ed discusses the importance of role models in our classrooms. Specifically, she cites some recent research that explains some of the long term impacts of same-race teachers.

The “role model effect” seems quite pronounced as it helps support learning and positive connections for marginalized students.


An hour of running may add 7 hours to your life

We have often heard about the positive physical and psychological effects of exercise in our daily routines.

Any aerobic activity, especially running, may have more pronounced effects on your well being. It may add years to your life.


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) #93

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