Theory and Practice in Education

Education is one of several soft technologies that share an interesting trait: The scholars who discover the science behind the natural phenomena that are the basis of the technology and the practitioners who apply that science to the human purpose are different people. Other examples of human technologies marked by this trait include agriculture (botanists, […]


In 1644, John Milton composed a pamphlet in which he argues for freedom of expression; areopagitica has been adopted as a term to describe the capacity for individual to compose and distribute any ideas they see fit. Digital tools, especially those called Web 2.0 tools have been interpreted as the realization of areopagetica and students […]

Data versus Evidence

“Data” has been widely, but imprecisely, used in education for most of the 21st century. Data-driven educators make decisions based on information they have gathered about their students’ performance. Ostensibly, this is done in an attempt to adopt the position of a researcher and to ground decisions in objective research, thus give more support for […]

“Activation Energy” and Instructional Technology

Computers and information technologies have an interesting characteristic: We can use it to be more efficient in our work, but getting to that point requires a temporary decrease in efficiency. We can illustrate this with this picture:   When we are using a “primitive” technology, we must exert a certain (and familiar) level of energy […]

More Thoughts on iGen

For several years, educators and other who care about your people have been hearing about “the Millennials,” which is the name given to the young people who were in school around the turn of the century. My children (who were born in 1990 and 1994) are firmly in the Millennial generation. Jean Twenge, a psychologist […]

Information Ecologies

Bonnie Nardi and Vicki O’Day (1999), two information technology researchers and scholars, developed the concept of the information ecology to describe the technology-rich systems that were emerging at the turn of the century.  (1999) used the term information ecology to capture the complex and evolving nature of these systems. Nardi and O’Day observed, “Information ecologies […]