In all this, the one variable I wish could control is the difference between my pedagogy and that of 90% of the edublogosphere. What I’m saying is that, on any given day, I read five endorsements of school computing swiss-cheesed by faulty assumptions and, since the revolution demands solidarity (ie. “at least the message is on the streets”) they go unchallengedeg. Nesbitt’s video. Why don’t you regulate your own propaganda?.

A lot of the time they’re innocuous cases of irrational exuberance but other times the conclusions drawn are on the order of, “If you still use handouts, you’re a deficient educator,” conclusions which long ago heaved out the bathwater and now have the baby halfway through the drain.

Or elsewhere, I find absolute prescriptions, solutions which work great in magnet schools unregulated by standards with tablet PCs for every student and a fat pipe sucking down the Internet, but which don’t come close to acknowledging the realities faced by, say, an educator working with 37 students assisted by one campus computer lab running 17 blueberry iMacs, a single home DSL connection split across the entire school. Those prescriptions strike me, at best, as hopelessly out of touch.

What I’m saying is that it’s much easier in this tech-enamored ‘sphere of ours to write those posts than it is to criticize them. I’m not saying my rejoinders don’t demand a more objective tone (I’m saying the opposite) just that, having exhumed a lot of dusty blog posts the last few days, a lot of people seem less offended by my tone and more offended that someone bothered to contradict their majority opinion.

What I’m saying is that you can expect my tone to change around here but we will still challenge each other. It’s still open season on your sacred cows.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. dan,

    discovered your blog through clay’s. i love it. it’s refreshing to read.

    much of what you criticize deserves criticism. i will continue to follow you.

    I especially love your comment from fenruary 9:
    “I have never understood the lumbering Godzilla-like argument that because our kids are “digital natives,” we should de facto use tech in school. Why? If using tech is as natural to them as breathing, isn’t this like asking us to teach kids to breathe?”

    and this is brilliant:
    “Animoto belongs in the classroom as much as Transformers does in an arthouse.”

    keep keeping me curious and in-line. your thoughts are much needed.

  2. Mostly agreed but…point of clarification…do you mean charter schools instead of magnet schools?

    Not sure how magnet schools work in your neck of California but in L.A. magnet schools are regular public schools, scraping together money for our one computer classrooms like almost everyone else. The difference is only that we take low-income students from across Los Angeles rather than just neighborhood students and parents do have to fill out an application to attend.

    Charter schools, in my experience often get private funding for some of their endeavors. They do have standards but they’re usually able to choose their own curriculum and not follow the district’s if they don’t want to.

  3. I generally eschew posts (and bloggers) that discuss needing to have one-2-one programs yesterday because it’s the wave man and we gotta get on.

    What I prefer is listening to folks who have run successful (public) school programs discussing the steps (and there are usually a lot of them) that their school went through to plan, bring on stakeholders, etc.

    In general, I prefer people breaking it down and showing how things work to grand arguments for change/engagment/technology, etc.

  4. Good god, man. Agreed. Slaughter the cows with gusto.

    What makes me chuckle occasionally is seeing myself described as “an edtech guy.” It’s always only incidental to the more important thing, which is trying to make my own teaching more worth my students’ time.

    Please, please hear the main point though: Line those sacred cows up, blindfold them, give them a cigarette – and I’ll join you in the firing squad. That’s an important function to serve, and I’m glad you’re critical enough to do it.

  5. the more important thing, which is trying to make my own teaching more worth my students’ time.

    Yeah, I can get with that one. Missed it first period, though.