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EdSurge On Air

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A weekly podcast, chock-full of the week’s top news stories, commentary and announcements from the edtech world. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an educator, or an investor, there’s something for everyone “on the air.”

A weekly podcast, chock-full of the week’s top news stories, commentary and announcements from the edtech world. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an educator, or an investor, there’s something for everyone “on the air.”
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Burlingame, CA


A weekly podcast, chock-full of the week’s top news stories, commentary and announcements from the edtech world. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an educator, or an investor, there’s something for everyone “on the air.”






From Advocating to Letting Your Nerd Flag Fly, Educators Are Grateful For Lessons From Students

When all the stuffing, sauces, hams, turkeys, and pies are out of the oven, there is often a moment of peace during the holiday season where families sit around the dinner table and remember what they are grateful for. This year, we gathered with a community of educators during EdSurge’s Tech Leader Circle at the MakerDepot in Totowa, New Jersey to pause and have a similar moment of reflection. For this EdSurge OnAir holiday special, we cut through the noise of the 3D printers to ask...

Duration: 00:11:17

Who Controls AI in Higher Ed, And Why It Matters

It’s a pivotal time for artificial intelligence in higher education. More instructors are experimenting with adaptive-learning systems in their classrooms. College advising systems are trying to use predictive analytics to increase student retention. And the infusion of algorithms is leading to questions—ethical questions and practical questions and philosophical questions—about how far higher education should go in bringing in artificial intelligence, and who decides what the algorithms...

Duration: 00:59:51

Looking to Bring ‘Civil Discourse’ to Education Debates, Ex Superintendent Turns Editor-and-Chief

By the time John Deasy resigned his post as superintendent of the L.A. school district, he had become a polarizing figure. In an article in The New York Times covering his resignation, Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot charter schools, put it this way: "The bitterness that had developed between Mr. Deasy and his critics impeded healthy discussion." Barr went on to ask “can we actually move forward without the extremes dominating the debate?” This year Mr. Deasy is moving forward. And he’s...

Duration: 00:22:55

When Teaching Large Classes, Professors Shouldn’t Try To Put On a Show

Large classes pose tough challenges for instructors and colleges. After all, how do you craft a meaningful experience for 250 people (or more)? Rachel Davenport, a senior lecturer at Texas State University, has taught so many large classes that she jokes she has trouble readjusting to a small seminar room. She has been recognized with several awards for hear teaching, and students regularly sing her praises (she was named “Best Professor at Texas State University” in 2013 by readers of...

Duration: 00:23:32

Pick Your Battles: Edtech Leaders Share Strategies for Engaging in Political Discourse

Silicon Valley tech giants have made their stance clear on a number of political and social issues this year. Recently, Microsoft president Brad Smith went so far as to offer to pay legal fees for any employee who faces deportation after President Trump announced the end to the deferred action for childhood arrival program, better known as DACA. Teachers’ unions have also planted their flag both by condemning white nationalists in Charlottesville and the decision to end DACA. However,...

Duration: 00:27:15

Once Reviled in Education, Wikipedia Now Embraced By Many Professors

A decade ago professors complained of a growing “epidemic” in education: Wikipedia. Students were citing it in papers, while educators largely laughed it off as inaccurate and saw their students as lazy, or worse. As one writing instructor posted to an e-mail list in 2005: “Am I being a stick-in-the-mud for for being horrified by students’ use of this source?” How things have changed. Today, a growing number of professors have embraced Wikipedia as a teaching tool. They’re still not asking...

Duration: 00:21:57

Facebook and Fake News: Esther Wojcicki On Teaching Digital Journalism in High School

At times 2017 has seemed like a new era for reporting, where newsrooms have had to question and reevaluate their purpose for existing. For the mainstream media, technology has been both a friend and an enemy. So how do we prepare today’s high school journalists (and tomorrow’s mainstream reporters) for such an era? Our guest today: educator, journalist and author of the book "Moonshots in Education," Esther Wojcicki, who most of her students call Woj, has some ideas. Esther has been...

Duration: 00:23:52

In PreparedU, A College President Argues for Mixing Liberal Arts And Workplace Readiness

The generation of students attending college today just aren’t that impressed by traditional markers of authority—and they’re not coming to campus to gaze up at wise leaders on a pedestal (well, at least according to surveys). And that’s one reason the president of Bentley University, Gloria Cordes Larson, invites students to call her by her first name. It’s a move that President Larson -- I mean, Gloria -- sees as part of the university’s push to make higher education more of a hybrid...

Duration: 00:19:07

What Will It Take to Push the K-12 Maker Movement to Be More Inclusive?

It’s not solely about having a “makerspace” anymore. These days, schools are trying to figure out how to bring making into every facet of the school day, with mobile kits, clubs and more. And when it comes to incorporating making into everyday curriculum, Cicely Day and Knikole Taylor are experts. Cicely Day works in Oakland, California at Burckhalter Elementary School as an instructional teacher leader, where she helps support teachers and students in ELA/math and in the computer lab. Two...

Duration: 00:23:22

MIT's Mitch Resnick on What 'Toy Story' Gets Wrong About the Future of Play

If you’ve ever seen the Toy Story movies, you may remember the neighbor kid, Sid. His room is presented in horror-movie fashion, with dim lighting and discordant music, and the toys are all in pieces, as Sid dismantles them and remakes them in his own crazy way. To Mitch Resnick, an MIT Media Lab professor and early pioneer of the maker movement for kids, this Hollywood’s portrayal is problematic, and part of a larger trend toward overly regimenting education these days. “I worry about the...

Duration: 00:26:38

Podcast Extra: Personalized Learning’s Unknowns: Silicon Schools’ Five-Year Journey

Five years ago, a former high school principal named Brian Greenberg joined forces with an heir to the retail giant Gap, John Fisher, to start a fund to help scale promising charter schools. This week the group, called Silicon Schools Fund, released a report reflecting on its efforts so far, which have supported 31 schools, 24 of which were brand new, with a total of $50 million. The bad news: They admit there isn’t yet enough hard evidence that personalized learning really works. The good...

Duration: 00:27:45

Questioning the Core Assumptions of Personalized Learning with Math Blogger Dan Meyer

A few weeks ago, while perusing Twitter for news stories, a few folks on the EdSurge team came across a Tweet by math blogger, TED talker, and former teacher Dan Meyer. He had recently read an EdSurge article regarding struggles that had taken place during a Fulton County Schools’ personalized learning initiative in Atlanta, and in response, Meyer Tweeted, “Can you send me a calendar invite to the meeting where we question the core assumptions of personalized learning?” Though the...

Duration: 00:42:20

Do the Technophobes and Technophiles Both Need a ‘New Education’?

Sometimes it's hard to imagine change—especially when it comes to a 150-year-old system, such as higher education in the United States. But much of the system we see and experience today was designed, and perhaps it can be again. At least, that's what professor Cathy Davidson writes in her latest book, “The New Education.” As director of the futures initiative at CUNY's Graduate Center, Davidson studies and thinks a lot about cultural history and technology. In the book, she outlines...

Duration: 00:32:46

Can This MIT Student Entrepreneurship Program Bridge the Israeli-Palestinian Divide?

Ideological and political conflicts exist across the world, and often appear oversimplified and binary: conservative versus liberal, left versus right, the 99 versus 1 percent. Yet the reality is often much more complicated. And for children born in the wake of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, growing up in the world of ideological tension has been a way of life. While Middle Eastern entrepreneurs have tried to encourage peace and conversation between Israel and...

Duration: 00:16:25

A Data Scientist’s Warning About ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’

These days algorithms have taken on an almost godlike power—they’re up in the (data) clouds, watching everything, passing judgment and leaving us mere mortals with no way to appeal or to even know when these mathematical deities have intervened. That’s the argument made by Cathy O'Neil in her book “Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.” If algorithms are gods, she’s one of the high priests, as a data scientist and mathematician. These days...

Duration: 00:28:00

With 3D Technology, Special Education Students Can Focus on Content—Not Access

Neal McKenzie says teachers of visually impaired students “have been makers for a long time.” The assistive technology specialist has designed dozens of objects to help his students access content, including an award-winning device to teach Braille. In this special edition EdSurge On Air podcast, EdSurge's own Michael Winters reads McKenzie's article aloud, in which he offers tips for special-ed teachers to incorporate 3D design into curriculum, along with his favorite maker resources.

Duration: 00:07:26

Why Late Adopters Are Skeptical of Edtech (and How to Get Them on Board)

There are plenty of “innovators” and “early adopters” of education technology out there, from educators who make the rounds on the ISTE and SXSWedu conference circuits to consultants and entrepreneurs who push for adoption of certain tools or practices. But what about those who are more skeptical? The “technology adoption life cycle,” inspired by the work of American communication theorist and sociologist Everett Rogers, argues that 50% of adopters fall into the “late adopter” or “laggard”...

Duration: 00:29:43

Lessons From Flipped Classrooms and Flipped Failures

Robert Talbert, a math professor at Grand Valley State University, talks about his new book on flipped learning—a method catching on these days in college classrooms. He describes it as a new philosophy of teaching. Unlike the lecture model, in which students first encountering new material in the classroom, in the flipped model the students’ first encounter with the material happens outside of class, usually in the form of video lectures. And class time is used for more interactive...

Duration: 00:22:28

From the Mouths of Virtual School Students—Personalized and Flexible, or Over-Hyped and Isolating?

Virtual schools—a fiercely debated topic. Some, like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the American Legislative Exchange Council, are in favor. Others, including researchers like Columbia University professor Aaron Pallas, have pushed back. In fact, last January, Pallas called out DeVos for presenting misleading graduation rates quoted from K12 Inc. while presenting her case for virtual school expansion. But politicians and researchers aside, what do the students who attend virtual...

Duration: 00:24:44

What If MOOCs Really Do Revolutionize Education? This Popular Online Professor Thinks They Will

If you’ve ever zoned out during a lecture, of if your students are prone to distraction as you click through your PowerPoint deck, that’s partly because we’re hard-wired not to focus intently for longer than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Our bodies, after all, were evolved to master survival in nature, rather than staring at glowing bullet points on a screen. That’s the argument made by Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University, who spends a lot of time these...

Duration: 00:25:55

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