Education Week has launched yet another blog into the fray. EdTech Researcher, written by Justin Reich, intends to be “a space for building bridges between educators who use technology in their practice and researchers who seek to better understand the impact of technology on teaching and learning.”
This niche could be a fruitful one, given that many schools rush headlong into new technologies—from game-based learning to blended and online instruction. Reich casts a critical and amused eye on the new Common Sense Media Learning Ratings for Apps and Games. He picks apart the seemingly arbitrary standards: “Kinect Star Wars gets 1 ‘book’ for learning for encouraging people to be physically active. Does physical activity count as learning? Fruit Ninja gets 0 ‘books.’ Swinging my arms is learning but swishing my finger isn’t? What about the pattern recognition in Fruit Ninja; isn’t that learning?”
Elsewhere, he brings an academic perspective to the lessons learned from the Kony 2012 phenomenon, imploring educators to consider the implications for instruction on information literacy and social activism, and analyzes recent research on the effectiveness of automated essay scoring. Amid the countless sources and reviews of new apps and hardware, Reich is a refreshing, accessible voice who helps make sense of technology and education’s big picture.