Writing the Hack Education end-of-year series has always reminded me of how very short our memories seem to be. By December, we’ve forgotten what happened in January or June. And we’ve certainly forgotten what happened a year ago, two years ago, a decade ago. Or at least, that’s one way I can rationalize how someone like Chris Whittle can get such a glowing profile in The Washington Post this year for his latest entrepreneurial endeavor.
What I have noticed in 2019 from my perch of not-paying-full-attention would probably include these broad trends and narratives: the tangled business prospects of the ed-tech acronym market (the LMS, the OPM, the MOOC); the heightened (and inequitable) surveillance of students (and staff), increasingly justified as preventing school shootings; the fomentation of fears about the surveillance of Chinese tech companies and the Chinese government, rather than a recognition that American companies — and surely the US education system itself — has long perpetuated its own surveillance practices; and the last gasp of the (white, male) ed-tech/ed-reform evangelism, whose adherents seem quite angry that their bland hype machine is no longer uncritically lauded by a world that is becoming increasingly concerned about the biases and dangers of digital technologies.