Kate Nowak Joins The Dark Side Of EdTech Evangelism

Kate, tripping guilt with the best of them:

If you want to find excuses for why you can’t possibly teach class differently than you have for the past n years, you will find excuses. If you want to find solutions, you will find solutions.

If they got to Kate they can get to any of us. Double the watch. No one sleeps tonight.

PS. But seriously: where is the comparative study of “no excuses” rhetoric between the Rhee reformers and the edtech evangelists? If you close your eyes, they sound the same.

PPS. Do not close your eyes!

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. Blah. You’re right. I sounded awful. I added this to the end:

    Edit, because I got called out, and fairly: Look…I’m just weary of that question I used to title my post. If what you’re doing is working for you, and your kids are learning well what you think they need to be learning, great. Awesome. You should say this: “It’s not broke. No reason to fix it.” And I’m not trying to convince you to. If you feel overwhelmed, you should say “This is too much to take in all at once. Can you suggest something smaller in scale to try out?” If you think this is an ineffective way for kids to learn, argue with me on the merits. I want to have that conversation. But if you live in a place like where I live, where I have taken surveys of classes that indicate home computer and internet penetration approaches 100%, and while at school, kids are tripping over a computer every time they turn around, “What about students who don’t have a computer?” is not the rhetorical trump card people seem to think it is.

  2. I’m 90% just funning around here. I even agree with the sentiment as expressed. I just had to look up and check the location bar to make sure I hadn’t accidentally linked over to Richardson or McLeod’s blog. Which struck me as ironic given some of your previous blogology.

  3. Waaa! That description is not my school — my kids don’t have computers at home or only have them when they’re hooked up and there’s some sort of working line into the house. Rarely, that is.

    When let loose on the school computers, the middle school girls almost universally go here: http://www.babydow.com/ while the boys search for the raciest pictures they can find on school computers and try not to get caught playing “unacceptable for school” music from websites.

    The conundrum I run around in my head as a new teacher is this: I don’t know what I’m doing, really, so I ask a lot of questions and will try almost anything that seems reasonably doable. Several of the other teachers seem very capable and they’re certainly getting something done with their classes.

    HOWEVER and here’s where my head hurts. These are the same techniques that have delivered me 6th and 7th graders with not a clue about numbers. Students who literally just guess at things and can only see that saying “75?, 360? 100?” when they’re trying to find half of 36 songs on an mp3 player is ridiculous after a lengthy discussion, drawing of pictures etc. And then tomorrow…the same thing happens again.

    So, then I wonder, why am I teaching them in the same way they’ve been taught all this time…when it isn’t working? Or maybe it is working, this is just as good as it gets? That they learn enough to show some progress on the state exam and then start back at zero again the next year?

    Sigh. Sorry for two posts like this in a week!