Tag Archives: TWIEtR

TWIEtR: Horizons, Gartner, Code.org

The week in edtech reports (or, abbreviated, “TWIEtR”) brought new analysis and research on the future of higher education, the effectiveness of Hours of Code, and the death of smartphone operating systems.

All summarized here from my Twitter feed, @FrankCatalano. (See the “Subscribe” box in the left column nav to get these by email.)

Top of the stack of reports was the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition.

NMC’s work has always simultaneously fascinated and frustrated me. It’s fascinating, because it uses a modified Delphi method to get experts to take a look at various time horizons, going out as far as five years, and estimate which technologies will gain widespread adoption in education.

It frustrates because the contents of the reports are released in dribs and drabs before the final is issued, and NMC provides no official scorecard of how their expert panels’ past predictions turned out. At least the 2017 higher ed report has a nifty chart showing which technologies have appeared as topics since 2012.

There have been lots of anecdotes (and hype) about the Hour of Code. But does it really change students’ perceptions about computer science?

Now an actual scientific study says yes. The report, issued by Code.org (the nonprofit behind the Hour of Code), has the daunting title of, “The Hour of Code: Impact on Attitudes Towards and Self-Efficacy with Computer Science.”

But its clear conclusion is that students gain more positive attitudes about compsci: “In other words, after just one Hour of Code activity, students report liking computer science more and report feeling that they are better able to learn computer science and are better at computer science than their peers.”

Strikingly, the increase is greatest among middle- and high-school girls with no earlier experience with computer science.

More implications for edtech developers in a mobile-first world (and districts thinking through student and teacher devices on their networks): If you’re working on apps for new smartphones, only Android and iOS really matter.

While this news from Gartner sort of confirms the obvious from a US-centric perspective, it’s eye-opening from a global perspective. Sorry, Windows Mobile and Blackberry.

And one more thing:

Geez, Intel. I realize the Maker movement is the hot, sexy trend in project-based K-12 education, and kudos to you for getting behind it. But no more high-school science fair sponsorships, after two decades?

This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy when it comes to STEM education (yeah, I’ve written about it). You don’t get the technology part without the science part. There’s a reason Thomas Dolby and Bill Nye exclaim: “Science!”

TWIEtR: EdNET, SETDA, Pew

This Week in Edtech Reports (yes, that’s where “TWIEtR” comes from), some hardware info, an online evaluation guide, and an all-encompassing report on algorithms that goes way beyond education technology.

For those new to this exercise, including me, TWIEtR is where I coalesce my recent tweets about edtech analysis and reports so they don’t scroll away. You can also automatically get these posts by email by filling out the brief ‘Subscribe’ form on the left.

Every year this decade, MDR has issued an EdNET Insight “State of the K-12 Market” report — for a subscription fee. The 2016-17 report is a bit different. This year, it’s a series of individual reports, but each still requires payment to view: the new, 124-page K-12 Market: Educational Technology Trends is roughly $1,500.

However, it does have a wealth of useful information based on detailed surveys of school district technology and curriculum leaders. (Personal disclaimer: I helped analyze the data and write those reports for several years, so can attest to their depth.)

You can get an interesting view, though, by simply checking out the announcements about the content, including a news release and earlier article.  Most telling is the fact that school districts don’t seem to be relying on one kind of computing device for students, splitting purchases between laptops, Chromebooks (arguably a kind of laptop without local storage), and tablets. Plus, budgets for hardware and software seem to be recovering.

Still, the most widely used edtech in districts? Regular projectors (73%) and the oft-maligned interactive whiteboards (64%).

Not strictly a report, but SETDA’s new From Print to Digital: Guide to Quality Instructional Materials is a useful resource. The State Educational Technology Directors Association has come up with this online toolkit to help districts and states with a process to review and choose digital (and analog) curriculum materials.

Pew Research Center takes a very broad view of our tech-centric lives with its new report, Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age.  While this fascinating report isn’t strictly about education technology (and only mentions “education” in passing, though it does quote edtech luminary Justin Reich of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab), it’s directly applicable because one of the darlings of edtech is computer- and algorithm-based “personalized learning.”

Pew has developed a thought-provoking report that’s worth a scan, or careful read, depending on your interest.

And one more thing:

I love art, both fine and pop. When I used to commute to Manhattan from Seattle for work, I’d take time at least once a month to wander the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art to see new exhibitions or just visit old art friends.

Now the Met has released 375,000 artwork images with an open license for use and re-use, a boon for educators and art lovers everywhere. It’s done so in partnership with Creative Commons for the open licensing, and is encouraging easier distribution through Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, Pinterest, and more.

Art is good for the soul, and the Met’s move is good for art.

TWIEtR: inBloom, BETT, M&As

Let’s start by getting the TWIEtR acronym in the headline out of the way. It stands for, “This Week in Edtech Reports.”

Every day I scour the web for interesting reports and fact-based analysis about what’s happening in education technology. And, on Twitter, I’ve tended to tweet reports that provide a larger perspective or highlight a sweep of trends.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate anecdotes or pure opinion. Both have their place (and I’ve written lots of columns and commentary). But neither are as useful for reference.

Yet my tweets have the lifespan of a fruit fly. So I’m hoping these weekly round-ups will coalesce what I found interesting, with the caveat that what I find interesting also tends to include industry-focused reports, and may stray to where edtech intersects consumer and other kinds of technology.

As a one-time and long-time journalist and industry analyst, I’m hoping you’ll find these pointers useful, too. I’ll provide brief commentary from time to time.

This is an experiment and I hope to replicate it weekly. If you’d like to not have to check back to see if I have, go ahead and use the “Subscribe” box on the left. I promise you’ll only get blog posts.

It’s rare that an edtech startup gets a detailed post-mortem. But inBloom, which began life as the Shared Learning Collaborative (and which I explained early in its life on MindShift nearly five years ago), gets a useful and thoughtful deep-dive from Data & Society in a report called “The Legacy of inBloom.”

Adding further perspective are four accompanying essays from long-time data privacy experts and observers, such as Bill Fitzgerald, Olga Garcia-Kaplan, and Brenda Leong.

The abrupt implosion of the well-intentioned initiative deserves this kind of analysis, especially as proper handling of, and communication about, student data has become an even larger topic since inBloom died in 2014. Cautionary tales have value.

There have been a number of good analyses and reports about how investor interest in edtech startups flagged in 2016. Now Berkery Noyes Investment Bankers weighs in with a slim “Education Mergers and Acquisitions Trends Report” sporting some stunning statistics about last years’ education merger and acquisition activity.

From K-12 to adult, the news was not great, especially if you compare slightly down deal volume to nose-diving dollar value. As many except the biggest cheerleaders in the industry have said, if you’re an edu startup looking to cash out, better focus on building a profitable business first … or instead (always my preference).

One of the best industry analyst firms in edtech (if not the best) is Futuresource.  And one of the biggest edtech trade shows (okay, the biggest) is BETT in London.

Futuresource’s analysts scoured BETT and developed a free 43-page  “BETT 2017 Show Report” for download, in which each “page” has a text-heavy PowerPoint slide’s worth of content. Annoyingly, there’s a form in front of it (and no summary). But hey, it’s free. And a nice piece if you can’t afford to go across the pond every year to attend.

Trivia: BETT, originally an acronym for the British Educational Technology and Trade show, actually prefers to be called “Bett” now and has booted the meaning behind the acronym. But when it comes to calling it that, I bet few do.

And one more thing:

It looks like EdSurge, once my column home, has completed its transition to being more about edtech resources and information than news. It’s actually been a gradual shift, but the new home page suddenly puts paid services front-and-center. News is clearly secondary.

I’m not surprised. Journalism these days is a hard business and the bills need to be paid, especially if investors are involved. Something’s gotta underwrite the coverage if there are no subscriptions and few ads.

But if you, like me, want to avoid the sea of promotion the EdSurge home page has become, you can get right to the stories at this link. I’ve been promised by those in the know that news coverage will still continue, even if it’s not quite as immediately visible.