Benjamin Herold Profile picture
Jun 13, 2018 18 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ I spent the past couple months trying to understand how and why #edtech companies are trying to measure, monitor, and mold students' feelings, mindsets, and ways of thinking. You know what that means...thread incoming.
2/ First, let's look at some of the companies & researchers doing this work.…
3/ Like @AlgebraNationFL. A team of academics, funded by an $8.9m @IESResearch grant, have used the online platform to anonymously collect the clicks and keystrokes of 200,000 Fla. students. The goal: teach the software to pinpoint when kids feel happy, bored, or engaged.
4/ And @PanoramaEd, which has raised $32m in VC. Each year, the company administers online surveys to ~7m students in 8,500 schools. That means a huge central database of kids' responses to questions about #grit, #growthmindset, emotion regulation, social awareness, and more...
5/...Panorama also feeds back to districts like @spokaneschools their own info, which is used to help make a variety of decisions. “As we get more & more information from kids, I think we’ll respond to each student better & better,” said Spokane's director of assessment.
6/ There are also newer companies, like San Francisco-based startup Emote, a recent graduate of the @ycombinator @imaginek12 accelerator. Here's a video explaining the Emote app, which allows school staff to record & share observations of students' feelings in real time.
7/ “I think this is a really exciting vision of what school can look like,” Emote CEO Julian Golder said. “There’s more interest than we can handle at this point.”
8/ And then there's a dizzying array of emerging @mursionlearn, which is starting to work with public schools to use its virtual reality simulations for things like helping autistic students develop social-emotional skills…
9/ Or the FOCI--a wearable that clips to the waistband, tracks your breathing, and tells when you're focused or stressed. The app is billed as a "focus-enhancing mind coach." A press release billed it as a cure for digital distractions in the classroom.
10/ And researchers like Sidney D'Mello & his team at the Emotive Computing Lab are doing cutting-edge work w/ eye-trackers, facial expression scanning, machine learning, and "intelligent tutors."…
11/ What does it all mean? @JIMSEDU of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is at the fore of efforts to make sense of this new landscape...…
12/ ...Shelton said kids' growth/learning encompasses physical, mental-health, identity, cognitive, social-emotional, & academic development.

“Unless you understand how they are relating to each other, it is very difficult to optimize any of them.”
13/ But Shelton and others also acknowledge it's an open question whether #edtech can reliably measure any #SEL issue explored in-depth in this must-read piece by my colleague @EvieBlad.…
14/ And critics like @jane_jrobbins of @approject take a broader view, raising concerns re: privacy & liberty.

“The idea of telling children that even their feelings are not private & that we’re going to constantly surveil them & analyze them, is just un-American,” she said.
15/ University of Stirling lecturer @BenPatrickWill also raised the specter of Facebook/Cambridge Analytica-style behavior modification, targeted at students
16/ Add it all up, and K-12 is walking a tightrope, ably summed up by Jeremy Taylor, the director of assessment at @caselorg...
17/ #SEL is really about building relationships & communities,” Taylor said. “We hope ed tech can support that, but we have to make sure things are done in a way that is responsible and not outpacing people’s comfort with what is happening in their schools,”
18/ fin

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More from @BenjaminBHerold

Sep 10, 2018
1/ Teen social media use is *skyrocketing,* per new nationally representative survey from @CommonSense. But the researchers behind the study say the sky isn't falling. Here's a thread with what you need to know (plus some .gifs.)…
2/ Just how dramatic is the growth in teen social media use?

Percent of teens who say they use social media more than once a day:

2012: 34%
2018: 70%
3/ All told, 81% of teens now say they use social media. 38% say they do so either "constantly" or "a few times an hour." More than 1/3 of teens post their own content to social media daily.
Read 12 tweets
Nov 13, 2017
1/ OK y'all, fair warning, I'm warming up for another thread on #personalizedlearning...
2/ For @EducationWeek’s new special report, we asked 3 dozen educators, experts, and critics to complete 2 simple statements: #PersonalizedLearning SHOULD __________ and SHOULDN’T _____________.…
3/ The responses were fascinating. And all over the map. I’ll highlight a bunch.
Read 16 tweets

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