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MSPnet Blog: “The year in review, as seen by…”

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posted January 8, 2018 – by Brian Drayton

I am taking a short break from my Social-Emotional Learning series, to bring to your attention several year-end lists which you might find provocative, informative, or both. In any case, I can attest that following even a portion of the links embedded in some of these will provide hours of fun.
If you have comments on anything you find, or your own list of year-end links, comments, or hopes, add them here!

1. Hackeducation.  Audrey Watters has once again written a series of in-depth essays on top stories in educational technology.  If you have not yet read her blog, you are in for a treat — here is the latest one, on the business of ed tech “trends.”  She has in the past talked about the self-creating nature of “trends,” as in her 2016 piece entitled “The best way to predict the future is to issue a press release.”  Her topics this year include the business of ed tech;  brains, behavior and social-emotional learning; robots and education, robots and the job market, skills training and the future of work;  for-profit higher ed; platforms; free speech and ed tech; and more.  These essays come out over the course of weeks, and you can easily spend days reading them and the many many links to stories and studies that are embedded in each essay.  And there’s more, as she always has a separate page of supplemental material, revealing the staggering amount of searching, reading, reflecting, choosing and writing that goes into what actually appears in her essays and weekly updates.

2. Nancy Bailey’s education website.  Bailey didn’t  quite create a”best of” or “year in review,” but rather a list of “101 (And MORE) Wishes For Students in 2018—In 5 Words or Less.”  (Here’s the link).  I include it here, because the wishes (including the additions made by commenters) represent reflections from and upon current events in education and society, from the point of view of teacher, student, parent.

3. Curmudgucation.  First, check out Peter Greene’s ICYMI (In case you missed it) year-end review edition. He writes, “Ring in the new year with the best of the things you might have missed this year (or just forgotten about). I have slanted this collection toward pieces outside the blogosphere, because you should be reading and sharing my blogroll.”

Second, check out his “What to watch in 2018.”  The topics range from “What does ESSA really mean?” to “Have we seen the worst of the teacher pipeline problem?” to “As always, will anyone address the fundamental issues involved in the ed debates?”  These are not so much “best of” or “year in review” items, as abiding questions, put briefly and with attitude, as in the latter case:

So much of the debating misses the underlying points. For instance, the debates about public schools versus corporate, privatized education are not about which methods are best for meeting the country’s educational goals– they are about what the country’s education al goals should be. And the focus on “college and career readiness” has not been about how to best fulfill education’s promise, but about changing– lessening– what that promise should be. And much of the ed reform movement is inextricably bound up in a belief that democracy sucks and we should get rid of it.    But coverage never looks at those foundational issues. Or as I often put it when I am waggling my fist at the computer screen where someone has suggested, vis-à-vis the ed debates, “Aren’t we all after the same thing?”– no, no we’re not. But we never talk about that.

4. Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.  Larry Ferlazzo, high school teacher and indefatigable resource finder and question asker, posted “A look back:  2017’s best posts from this blog.”  Ferlazzo’s posts cover a very wide range of topics, from A Look Back: New Study Finds VAM Is Biased Against Teachers Of “At Risk” Students,  to A Look Back: Here’s A Reflection Exercise I Did With My Student Teacher,   to   A Look Back: “What ‘Scarcity’ Does To The Mind & Why Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough” .   I am always humbled when I come across Larry’s posts, either on his site(s) or aggregated as part of NEPC’s “blog post of the day” section.

The nice thing about all these blogs is that each blogger draws on many others, and it’s encouraging sometimes to follow unwonted links, just to get a sense of the large community of committed, inquisitive, collaborative educators out there.  Enjoy!

P.S.  In the replies, help your colleagues by posting links to your own favorite edublogs, or “year in review” posts!

NOTE:  Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author alone, and not necessarily those of MSPnet, TERC, or the National Science Foundation.