The Most Depressing Image from the Digital Labor Conference

Here’s one I’ll just allow to speak for itself. My friend and former colleague Audrey Watters is the writer of Hack Education, where she keeps track of all the horrendous ways the tech industry is misunderstanding how to solve problems in education. Ad-supported tech blogs made clear to Audrey that they have no interest or will to cover education in a sane, humane way, so she struck out on her own. The ed-tech start-ups that get the easy press are probably directly responsible for the classroom situation Audrey has observed here:

This scene is from Rocketship, a California-based charter school. Here’s an excerpt from a PBS Newshour interview about the kind of classroom depicted in Audrey’s photo:

JOHN MERROW: For about one hour every day, students practice math and literacy skills. They work independently at their own pace. The computer is able to track and guide the progress of each student. ... The learning lab allows a school to hire six fewer teachers, which Rocketship says results in savings of up to half a million dollars.

(#DL14 is the Digital Labor Conference, which seems to have been attended by everyone I follow on Twitter. I am still grappling with the FOMO.)