Bookmarked Weary, old, a little broken, but not letting go of the dream: edtech in the 21st Century by Jon Dron (

Edtech is learning from that model, replicating it, amplifying it. ‘Content’ made of bite-size video lectures and pop quizzes, reinforced by adaptive models, vie for pole position in charts of online learning products. These are not the products of a diseased imagination. They are the products of one that has atrophied.

This is not what we intended. This is not what we imagined. This is not what we wanted. Sucked into a bigger machine, scaled up, our inventions turned against us. Willingly, half-wittedly, we became what we are not. We became parts in someone else’s machine.

Jon Dron reflects upon the current edtech conversations. He shares his thoughts on how to help the edtech community find its soul again:

We must make playgrounds, not production lines. We must embrace the logic of the poem, not the logic of the program. We must see one another in all our multifaceted strangeness, not just in our self-curated surfaces. We must celebrate and nurture the diversity, the eccentricities, the desires, the fears, the things that make us who we are, that make us more than we were, together and as individuals. The things we do not and, often, cannot measure.

Dron’s list of dot-points are a useful provocation. I feel it also fits within the wider discussion of the small web.

Replied to The physics of social spaces are not like the physics of physical spaces by Jon Dron (

It’s very challenging to design a digital space that is both richly supportive of human social needs and easy to use. The Landing is definitely not the solution, but the underlying idea – that people are richly faceted social beings who interact and present themselves differently to different people at different times – still makes sense to me. As the conversation between Jesse and Stephen shows, there is a need for support for that more than ever.

Jon, this is one of the things that I wonder about in regards to domain of one’s own, what happens when everything is available in the form of a social exhaust. I guess that is the intent behind the discussion around private posts.
With an eye towards reforming assessment practices, Jon Dron compiles a list of principles associated with assessment:

  • The primary purpose of assessment is to help the learner to improve their learning. All assessment should be formative.
  • Assessment without feedback (teacher, peer, machine, self) is judgement, not assessment, pointless.
  • Ideally, feedback should be direct and immediate or, at least, as prompt as possible.
  • Feedback should only ever relate to what has been done, never the doer.
  • No criticism should ever be made without also at least outlining steps that might be taken to improve on it.
  • Grades (with some very rare minor exceptions where the grade is intrinsic to the activity, such as some gaming scenarios or, arguably, objective single-answer quizzes with T/F answers) are not feedback.
  • Assessment should never ever be used to reward or punish particular prior learning behaviours (e.g. use of exams to encourage revision, grades as goals, marks for participation, etc) .
  • Students should be able to choose how, when and on what they are assessed.
  • Where possible, students should participate in the assessment of themselves and others.
  • Assessment should help the teacher to understand the needs, interests, skills, and gaps in knowledge of their students, and should be used to help to improve teaching.
  • Assessment is a way to show learners that we care about their learning.

He elaborates on these further in regards to credentials and objective quizzes. Dron believes that students should have autonomy when it comes to assessment and the best model for this is the creation of a portfolio of evidence.

A portfolio of evidence, including a reflective commentary, is usually going to be the backbone of any fair, humane, effective assessment … It is worth noting that, unlike written exams and their ilk, such methods are actually fun for all concerned, albeit that the pleasure comes from solving problems and overcoming challenges, so it is seldom easy.

This is a useful provocation in regards to assessment and feedback. It is also interesting to think about in regards to things like open badeges.