...people who have had children know that there is truly a different right way to parent for each child. People truly are different. This lesson is essential, and our modern testing system forgets about it.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
What a backwards bicycle can teach us about learning… Fascinating. Hat tip: Will Richardson
A History Class Using Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) - Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
A few years ago, there was much hype about BYOD. At the time, I had dismissed BYOD for a number of reasons. First, there were the technical difficulties (bandwidth issues and managing different platforms). Second, there were pedagogical constraints that … Continue reading →
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Some of these kids get depressed and anxious. They worry that their lack of attention and interest will result in dire life consequences. They believe authorities’ admonitions that if they do poorly in school, they will be “flipping burgers for the rest of their lives.” It is increasingly routine for doctors to medicate these anxious and depressed kids with antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs.
Other inattentive kids are unworried. They don’t take seriously either their schooling or admonitions from authorities, and they feel justified in resisting coercion. Their rebellion is routinely labeled by mental health professionals as “acting out,” and they are diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. Their parents often attempt punishments, which rarely work to break these kids’ resistance. Parents become frustrated and resentful that their child is causing them stress. Their child feels this parental frustration and resentment, and often experiences it as their parents not liking them. And so these kids stop liking their parents, stop caring about their parents’ feelings, and seek peers whom they believe do like them, even if these peers are engaged in criminal behaviors."
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Monday, April 27, 2015
Lessons Learned from a Chalkboard: Slow and Steady Technology Integration (Bradley Emerling) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
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Think your world view is fixed? Learn another language and you’ll think differently - Network Front | The Guardian
New research says that a German speaker and an English speaker perceive the world in different ways – thanks to the grammatical toolkit they’re using
Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost, and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the language they are operating in.
In the past 15 years there has been an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with the majority of the evidence pointing to the tangible advantages of using more than one language. Going back and forth between languages appears to be a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible.
When judging risk, bilinguals also tend to make more rational, economic decisions in a second languageContinue reading...
Here’s an unusual case where scholarly research is producing a clear conclusion: online instruction at community colleges isn’t working. Yet policymakers are continuing to fund programs to expand online courses at these schools, which primarily serve low-income minority students, and community college administrators are planning to offer more and more of them. The latest salvo […]
The post Five studies find online courses are not working well at community colleges appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
A Camden, N.J., charter school encouraged each one of its seniors to send a lot of college applications, and by a lot, we are talking about A LOT — an average of more than 45 per student. One student sent out more than 70. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in this article that administrators at LEAP Academy […]
Saturday, April 25, 2015
The Néw York Times has barely covered the historic parent Opt Out movement. Before the testing began, it ran a story about parents who decided not to opt out for fear their children would suffer. When the opt out was making news across the nation, given the huge numbers, the Times did not deign to […]
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Less IS more.
They believe it. They live by it. "
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Friday, April 24, 2015
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Sarah Blaine is a mother, former teacher and full-time practicing attorney in New Jersey who writes at her own parentingthecore blog. In the last she was written a number of pieces documenting her own evolution into education activism, including one published last year titled, “You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong,” and another […]
Thursday, April 23, 2015
There is a shift away from teaching classic literature in the schools, according to a report by the Brown Center.
Parents and other interested parties in New Jersey skirmished with state education officials in March over the Pearson testing company monitoring students’ social media posts regarding Common Core-aligned PARCC testing. Pearson contacted the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) over a Twitter post the company found objectionable. NJDOE then contacted the school district of the student who posted the tweet, and the student removed the post. Parents came forward to say they have concerns over student privacy and free speech rights of students regarding educational testing companies such as Pearson.
Creativity can seem like an abstract concept, but having a definition can give a learner the power to practice it on a regular basis.
During Choose Privacy Week the American Library Association invites librarians and library users to engage in a conversation about protecting and defending reader privacy rights and how to acquire the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to address the widespread surveillance and data mining that collects information about users’ communications, reading and web surfing habits.
In a statement released this morning, American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young said unequivocally of S.1035:
“Nothing is more basic to democracy and librarianship than intellectual freedom. And, nothing is more hostile to that freedom than the knowledge that the government can compel a library—without a traditional judicial search warrant—to report on the reading and Internet records of library patrons, students, researchers and entrepreneurs. That is what Section 215 did in 2001 and what it still does today.
Monday, April 20, 2015
One of the biggest challenges to those of us who oppose privatization, school closings, high-stakes testing, and the rest of the failed ideas mistakenly called “reform” have a big job to do. We must educate the public. The public hears the word “reform,” and they think it means progress and improvement. They don’t know it […]
I can't believe how many examples you send to me of parents and teachers talking about self-directed learning. Here's the issue: It is pretty much uncontested that the best type of learning for kids is self-directed learning. The problem with self-directed learning is that the more restricted the environment, the less self-directed a child is. Self-directed learning is...
Audrey Beardsley, a professor at Arizona State University, recently visited parents, educators, students, and state leaders in New Mexico. There she learned that the state had adopted gag orders for teachers, forbidding them from discussing or expressing an opinion about the state tests (PARCC). She writes: Under the “leadership” of Hanna Skandera […]
This post first appeared in January 2015 on Educating Modern Learners
Another week, another story of parents under investigation for letting their kids play outside without supervision.
Ten year-old Rafi and six-year-old Dvora Meitiv had been allowed by their parents to walk around their Silver Springs, Maryland neighborhood. But recently, as they walked the two blocks to a nearby park, someone called the police and Child Protective Services.
I'd argue that this cultural shift is partially about fear, but it's also tied to a growing surveillance culture. Thanks in part to the ubiquity of technology, we are constantly watched and watching. And thanks to social media, we often feel compelled to share our corrections and condemnations in turn.
As Swarthmore professor Timothy Burke observes, "The problem with a lot of our ubiquitous surveillance is precisely not that it is overtly hateful and hating. Instead, what makes so much of it easy to pursue is that it presents itself as a kindness." And that so-called "kindness" is probably partially what's at play when someone calls the police because they see a child alone. The repercussions, of course, are so incredibly damaging to the families involved.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
More from Bloomberg:
Student debt now comprises 45 percent of federally owned financial assets. Of course, that doesn’t include assets owned by the Federal Reserve, and it doesn’t include real assets like land. Still, it’s a startling figure.
This trend worries me. Why? Because when the government owns student loans, it has every incentive not to fix the country’s student-debt problem.
Consider the sheer size of the revenue that the government earns from student-loan interest payments. In 2013, it was $51 billion -- almost 2 percent of total federal revenue for that year. That’s more than two-thirds of the lifetime cost of the entire F-22 fighter jet program!
Jesse Hagopian, Seattle teacher leader, reports on the chaos that accompanied the introduction of the Smarter Balanced assessment in Seattle. “Before the testing season began, educators in Seattle knew that because of the lack of proper preparations, IT support, technological upgrades, and training – and due to the outlandish number of tests administered this year […]
Friday, April 17, 2015
The following is an attempt to share some of my objections to Common Core in a coherent fashion. These are my views on a controversial topic. An old friend I hold in high esteem asked me to share my thoughts with him. If you disagree, that’s fine. Frankly, I spent a lot of time I […]
.... Furthermore, in listing the authorized knowledge that, as Freire puts it, students must consume, memorize or bank in order to be successful, it privileges the librarian’s carefully built up “expert” researcher model over the student’s tentative meaning making process, even though it’s through reflection and self-experience that we become what we are.
.... A better solution, however, would be to look to the inspirational work of Buffy Hamilton, who helps students create their own LibGuides. This focus on developing personal learning environments engages students in today’s rich information landscapes, as well as situating them as active participants in broader conversations about research and inquiry. Of course, LibGuides are not the only tool that can help accomplish this, with the social bookmarking tool Diigo, a wiki or even class blogs forming alternative options. As Rosen and Smale point out, the use of open digital platforms such as these explicitly work against the banking model of education.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
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Boles decides to use the term self-directed learning instead of unschooling. He sees it as a “positive term that symbolizes freedom, choice, and embracing learning wherever you may find it.” This book presents his personal story, research and case studies of other self-directed learners, and positive tips to increase our abilities to teach ourselves. I think the book is quite valuable to adults, in particular. The big question about self-directed learning that many unschooling parents and teachers struggle with is, “What is my role if children learn on their own?” This book provides you with many great stories, tips, and examples of what self-directed learning is and isn’t, and why consensual learning is vital and works for all sorts of situations and ages.
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The ‘most powerful’ classroom innovation — by the $1 million teaching prize winner - The Washington Post
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"The principal motivation for this revolution in family and community life might seem to be greed, but this surface appearance conceals philosophical visions approaching religious exaltation in intensity — that effective early indoctrination of all children would lead to an orderly scientific society, one controlled by the best people, now freed from the obsolete straitjacket of democratic traditions and historic American libertarian attitudes.
"From the beginning, there was purpose behind forced schooling, purpose which had nothing to do with what parents, kids, or communities wanted. Instead, this grand purpose was forged out of what a highly centralized corporate economy and system of finance bent on internationalizing itself was thought to need; that, and what a strong, centralized political state needed, too. School was looked upon from the first decade of the twentieth century as a branch of industry and a tool of governance.
"For a considerable time, probably provoked by a climate of official anger and contempt directed against immigrants in the greatest displacement of people in history, social managers of schooling were remarkably candid about what they were doing. In a speech he gave before businessmen prior to the First World War, Woodrow Wilson made this unabashed disclosure:
"'We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.'
"By 1917, the major administrative jobs in American schooling were under the control of a group referred to in the press of that day as 'the Education Trust.' The first meeting of this trust included representatives of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the National Education Association. The chief end, wrote Benjamin Kidd, the British evolutionist, in 1918, was to 'impose on the young the ideal of subordination.'"
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"The failure to account for our most needy students should be of grave concern to all who desire equality from our education system, and indeed from our society. The “end of college” futurists presuppose that all students will equally benefit from increased access to online learning nodes and the self-paced credentialing they promise. I suspect the opposite will occur: if this world comes to be, those conditions will end up exacerbating rather than mitigating inequality, as the most well-off and the most advantaged students — the ones who have had years of encouragement and support, years of positive reinforcement to buffer their motivation, and yes, the interested hand of a parent to help work through that online module — distance themselves further from those who need the most support. To date, we don’t have any reason to believe that the kind of attentive teaching that correlates with student achievement gains can be replicated in a virtual setting, to say nothing of the gaping disparities in Internet access observable along lines of race and class.
"If we have learned anything from the decades of research in both K-12 and higher education, it’s that student success depends above all else on the support of great educators and mentors. We know, for example, that it is not course-taking, class size, or a particular curriculum that has the biggest impact on student achievement, but rather one’s exposure to an effective teacher....
"The fact is that the vast majority of our nation’s would-be college graduates are funneled into under-resourced technical schools, community colleges, and lower-tier public universities where they languish, unsupported and unlikely to graduate. Depending on the institution, up to 60 percent of these students entering for the first time do not graduate within six years. Will a freer, more open marketplace for digital credentials change those odds? Will it dissolve the cruel fate of geography and its stratifying effects on those born into impoverished zip codes, where too many public schools, despite their efforts, can only offer a slippery ladder with which to clamber into the middle class?"
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
John Deasy’s ill-fated commitment to buy an iPad for every student and staff member (he called the program a civil rights issue) loaded with Pearson software for $1.3 billion is finished. The district is canceling the program and demanding a multi-million dollar refund. “Los Angeles Unified told Apple Inc. this week that it will not […]
The 2015 K12 Online Conference organizer team is pleased to announce the theme for this year’s conference: Virtually Unstoppable. Please consider submitting your session ideas via our call for proposals. Since 2006, K12 Online has offered unique, free, entirely volunteer-powered opportunities for educators worldwide to share and learn together about innovative ways to use technology tools to enhance teaching and learning at all levels. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE 2015 CALL FOR PROPOSALS! (due May 31) The theme for the 2015 conference is “Virtually Unstoppable.” The conference will begin with a pre-conference keynote on Monday, October 12th. The next two weeks, starting on October 19th, 40 presentations will be published in four different strands, with four presentations posted per day. Presentations must be a single media file of twenty minutes or less (but not too much less) in length and meet other requirements specified in the online call for […]
California's multi-million dollar online education flop is another blow for MOOCs - The Hechinger Report
“There is no business model for MOOCs that makes sense,” said I. Elaine Allen, a professor at Babson College and co-director of its Babson Survey Research Group, which tracks online education. “They have not been shown to bring more students to a school, and they have incredible attrition.”
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015
"I explored both this framing of school as “skills” and the push towards new forms of certification in my year-end series on the top ed-tech trends of 2014; the acquisition of Lynda.com by LinkedIn bolsters both of these. Even before this deal, the company had been inching towards this vision, making it easier for people to add certifications from MOOCs to their profiles for example."
"‘Education entrepreneurs’, because they have no respect for education professionals, are doomed to reinventing the wheel. The truth is that even with the tremendous financial and political support their movement secured; the results have been mixed at best and as far as improving education practices they are abysmal failures."
Monday, April 13, 2015
Concurrent with my entering the class room the bi-partisan No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was adopted. It soon became clear that education for working and middle class students was becoming more skills oriented with lessened creativity and minimal independent thought. The new education reform was based on standards and accountability for standardized testing results. This new theory of good pedagogy ignored the advice educators like Dewey and Herbart and adopted what Alfie Kohn mockingly dubbed the “longer stronger meaner” theory of education. This kind of pedagogy diminishes thought and creativity. It implies that thinking is for the children of wealthy people in private schools who are the natural leaders of society. The other students have utilitarian purposes but thinking undermines that value. It is all driven by an ancient and evil ideology that posits it is OK to use lesser human beings for the purposes of social elites.
El Puente founder, Frances Lucerna, has a similar observation:
“In the public schools now it’s basically all about standardized testing, and mechanical literacy. This is resulting in dumbing down, watering down, the experience that young people have in school. It is equivalent to telling students that they are not to go deep within themselves and think in complex ways about things, but that they need to go back to memorizing and stuffing their heads with knowledge that has nothing to do with their experience and their world. This is not by accident: there is a reason that this is happening, why it’s happening in public schools and not in private schools and other places. This is an education for followers, not for leaders. And that’s why I think a movement for change has to arise, and the arts are fundamental in this.” (Muses Go to School, Page 58)
In 1973 David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission produced “The Crisis of Democracy” a report in which they indicate that too much education for common people is a threat to democracy. On page 115 on the report they conclude, “The vulnerability of democratic government in the United States thus comes not primarily from external threats, though such threats are real, nor from internal subversion from the left or the right, although both possibilities could exist, but rather from the internal dynamics of democracy itself in a highly educated, mobilized, and participant society.” In other words, don’t teach common people to think, to have philosophy, or develop their own ideas – the elites of society will take care of that. It is not in the interest of the upper class to have too much education – too much democracy.
“…the devilish nature of authority fears the awakening of the people. To those in power who forget to serve the people and instead exploit them, wielding authority for self-serving ends, the presence of individuals who discern their true insidious nature and are determined to take a stand against them is a hindrance and inconvenience. That’s why the powerful do everything they can to crush them.” (July 2014, Living Buddhism)
Another struggle for rights that shines eternally in history is the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson penned these famous lines:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
In our country, over the past more than two centuries there have been many advances in human rights, but the ugly side of human nature that wants to use others for personal purposes has not been conquered. It has merely transformed to forms which use less obvious and possibly more insidious methodology.
In the 1930’s the philosopher historian Arnold Toynbee observed in his masterpiece, A Study of History, “The bread of universal education is no sooner cast upon the waters than a shoal of sharks arises from the depths and devours the children’s bread under the educator’s very eyes.” In his deep study of more than three-thousand years of human history, Toynbee saw this pattern repeat.
Toynbee also saw a pattern that gave him pause about the future of our civilization. He wrote:
“We must ask whether, as we look back over the ground we have traversed, we can discern any master tendency at work, and we do in fact unmistakably decry a tendency towards standardization and uniformity: a tendency which is correlative and opposite of the tendency towards differentiation and diversity which we have found to be the mark of the growth stage of civilizations.” (A study of History page 555)
As I read the words of great men of character and think about my own observations, I am convinced this is a time of opportunity and peril. We must fight against the arrogance of elitism which looks down on common people as mere pawns and considers their own good fortune a matter of birth right or superiority....
A witch’s brew of arrogance, greed and elitism is poisoning public education in America.
- That it's OK for the majority of students to leave high school believing they are not good learners;
- That it is OK to believe anything less than in the inherent worth and value of every child;
- That schooling as it now exists is about increasing individual learning capability and not actually about enforcing compliance and conformance;
- That politicians, the elite, and business-people should have more influence over education than local parents, teachers, and the students themselves;
- That students are not capable of directing their own learning, and that this isn't the ultimate goal of education.
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"History consists of some very nice stories.Telling them to children makes very little sense unless it sparks a discussion of how you can know what is true and how you can find out what is true. But, of course, in school, history just leads to a test with questions like:
Who did Lee surrender to at Appomattox?"
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"The researchers concluded that when students see a direct connection between what they are learning and their own interests and goals, they are likely to be more motivated.... Among the more successful programs are ones that incorporate community service into the curriculum, offer project-based learning and encourage students to be more independent thinkers. CEP researchers also concluded that when students are motivated, they demonstrate a better grasp of the subject matter, have higher self-esteem and are more likely to graduate."
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"An appropriate curriculum for young children is one that includes the focus on supporting children’s in-born intellectual dispositions, their natural inclinations. An appropriate curriculum in the early years then is one that includes the encouragement and motivation of the children to seek mastery of basic academic skills,e.g. beginning writing skills, in the service of their intellectual pursuits. Extensive experience of involving preschool and kindergarten children in in-depth investigation projects has clearly supported the assumption that the children come to appreciate the usefulness of a range of basic academic skills related to literacy and mathematics as they strive to share their findings from their investigations with classmates and others. It is useful to assume that all the basic intellectual skills and dispositions are in-born in all children, though, granted, stronger in some individuals than in others…like everything else."
My conclusion (SH): you've just described a healthy family environment, not a school...
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"The broader issue is hidden within plain sight: This growing struggle over the future of American education may be proxy for the future of our democratic republic."
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Saturday, April 11, 2015
“Little by little, the subversive features of the computer were eroded away. Instead of cutting across and challenging the very idea of subject boundaries, the computer now defined a new subject; instead of changing the emphasis from impersonal curriculum to excited live exploration by students, the computer was now used to reinforce School’s ways. What had started as a subversive instrument of change was neutralized by the system and converted into an instrument of consolidation.” – Seymour Papert, The Children’s Machine
Friday, April 10, 2015
April 8, 2015
There’s a wonderful line in Michel Foucault’s 1975 masterwork, Discipline and Punish, in which the author asks, “Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?”
Posted on April 9, 2015 by Bernard Bull
While this is far too simplistic, amid my visits to various current and emerging models of schooling, I’ve come to loosely categorize types of schools. One factor that seems to be among the more telling has to do with the role of questions in the schools. Are they encouraged? Are they celebrated? Who asks the most questions? How do the questions shape and inform everything else that happens? What types of questions do people ask? Do questions evoke excitement or anxiety? As I look at learning organizations from the perspective of questions, I’ve consistently noticed four traits that tend to have a huge impact on the extent to which learners are deeply engaged in inquiry, even getting lost in the explorations, and taking ownership for much of their learner. I’ll frame those four traits in the form of four questions
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Dear Jayne, I am glad to hear that you were able to avoid the problems with Common Core testing experienced by other Florida schools. Testing is stressful enough without technology glitches. New York will begin its third year of 3-8 Common Core testing next week. Last spring, the parents of 60,000 New York students refused […]
The post As testing begins, parental opposition to Common Core ramps up appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
And yet the dominant narrative – the gospel, if you will – about education and, increasingly education technology, is that it absolutely is “the fix.”
Education technology will close the achievement gap; education technology will close the opportunity gap. Education technology will revolutionize; education technology will democratize. Or so we are told. That's the big message at this week's ASU-GSV Summit, where education technology investors and entrepreneurs and politicians have gathered (registration: $2995) to talk about "equity." (Equity and civil rights, that is; not equity as investing in exchange for stock options and a seat on the Board of Directors, I should be clear. Although I'm guessing most of the conversations there were actually about the latter.)
Have you thought about dropping out of college? Maybe you’ve daydreamed about traveling the world, writing a book, or starting a business. Or maybe you don’t know what you want to do… you just know you aren’t happy where you are. But you can’t just leave. How will I support myself? What will my parents […]
The post 5 Signs You Should Drop Out Of College appeared first on UnCollege.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The school board of the Katy, Texas, Independent School District voted unanimously to eliminate high-stakes testing. This is a bold and dramatic step in a state that inflicted the “miracle” of high-stakes testing on the nation. Up until now, Pearson and its stable of lobbyists have called the shots. The Katy school board has bravely […]
Meet Sydney Smoot, a 9-year-old fourth grader in Hernando County, Florida, who has more confidence that many adults. Smoot wrote (with help from her mom) and powerfully delivered (all by herself) a speech about Florida’s new standardized test, the FSA, or Florida Standards Assessment that drew loud applause from the audience. As you can guess, […]
Monday, April 6, 2015
Answer Sheet ‘Opting Haven out of the state-mandated tests is our family’s act of civil disobedience’
Findings suggest many teachers enroll, learner intentions matter, and cost boosts completion rates
North Star celebrates self-directed learning in its local community with an annual award that goes to a publicly nominated person who did not complete high school (though they may hold a GED) and who “lives as a model of successful self-directed learning . . ."
Sunday, April 5, 2015
And too often, we focus simply on technologies related to the computer and the Internet. Broadcast has long history of usage in the classroom; and radio, film, and television have been seen as appropriate, if not innovative technological interventions in teaching and learning. In part, it’s because broadcast offers a way to deliver lessons and lectures at scale, but also, broadcast is readily viewed as analogous to what educators already do (or what people think educators do): that is, perform a script in front of students. And the better the production value of the performance supposedly, the better the learning....