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So Skymall is filing for bankruptcy. And perhaps there are some lessons there for folks in ed-tech who gleefully tout the hundreds of “innovative products” (code for “ridiculous crap”) that you can start using in your classroom today.

This week, on Hack Education, I looked at the marketing for Art Instruction, Inc, (founded in 1914) whose “Draw Me” ads beckoned people to take correspondence courses on commercial art “for pleasure and profit.” It’s an appeal that echoes those of MOOCs, I argue, particularly those offering “high tech skills.” How is this appeal gendered and raced? Who is envisioned as the maker, the user, the builder, the artist?

Who is envisioned as the model student? Writing in Model View Culture,Julia Nguyen observes, “In computer science classrooms across high schools and universities, minorities are excluded and exit early in the pipeline. Along with the pressure to keep up with our ‘exceptional’ peers, we face the pressure of being a model minority or a success story.”

What’s the future of higher education? Mills Kelly looks at the effect free community college might have on history departments: in three parts. 1, 2, 3. “ASU is the ‘New American University’ – It’s Terrifying,” says John Warner. It is indeed.

But at least we can agree on this Fortune headline: “Everybody Hates Pearson.”

Some thoughts on the future of tech: Jill Lepore in The New Yorker on the Internet Archive. Vauhini Vara in The New Yorker on Google Glass. Jim Groom on “How Automobiles, Super Highways, and Containerization helped me understand the future of the Web.” Ben Werdmüller on “Censorship and Silos.” Lilly Irani on “Justice for ‘Data Janitors’.”

Interested in the history of the future of tech? Or the future of the history of tech? Tune in foranother Federated Wiki “Happening” – this one on teaching machines (co-facilitated by Mike Caulfield and me.)

Down with Richard Scarry’s BusyTown. Down with this stupid sickness that has me missing Educon this weekend. Three cheers for the Radical Brownies.

Yours in struggle,

~Audrey

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Audrey Watters


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