"The Audrey Test," Part 2: What Educators Need to Know about Tech

warning: crash test area

Several months ago, I wrote a post I was boldly silly enough to call “The Audrey Test” — or, “what every techie should know about education.” Out of that post has grown a guide to help engineers and entrepreneurs with a crash course on education theory, research, and pedagogy.

But lately I’ve been thinking about the other side of the coin. It’s not enough to immerse techies into education theory, research, and practice. Educators need to have a better understanding in turn of the tech. They need to understand a certain amount of the technology itself — the code, the functionality, the software, hardware, the OS, the stack. And they need to understand the industry — its historical underpinnings, its culture, its funding practices, its revenue models, its personalities, its politics.

It was pretty easy for me to write “The Audrey Test” for technologists. After all, I’ve been thinking about teaching and learning (with technology) for a long, long time. It’s much harder for me to write a test for teachers. I’m neither an engineer or an entrepreneur. I've never done no book learnin' on these topics, and I had to take a crash course in these things when I became a tech blogger. I'm still all "valuation, wait wut?" I confess.

Nonetheless, here’s my first draft of what educators (particularly those making purchasing decisions -- for themselves, for their schools, their classrooms, their children) should probably know:

  • History of (ed-)tech ("The Internet: We Built That")
  • How is education funded – public sector, private sector, for-profit, not-for-profit 
  • What’s the relationship between philanthrocapitalism and education 
  • Enterprise technology versus consumer technology 
  • Business models (who's making money, and how?)
  • Investors 
  • How does venture capital work? (What does it mean when a company raises investment? What's a seed round? What’s an “exit”?) 
  • Being a smart tech consumer: How to look “under the hood” before buying a brand new technology (e.g. what’s the LAMP Stack, what are basic Web literacies, and why should you care?)
  • The Cloud
  • Entrepreneurs (the “who” behind the company) 
  • The Garage Myth 
  • The Dropout Myth 
  • (CS) Education (and/or what Silicon Valley thinks about “the system”) 
  • Terms of service and the fine print
  • Who owns your data? 
  • What's an API and why should you care?
  • Open v proprietary 
  • Adaptive, personalized, gamified and other marketing and/or tech terms 
  • Define “startups.” Define “entrepreneurship” 
  • The Ed-Tech Press: Who, What, When, Where, Why 
  • Education Research: Stats 101

What am I missing here? And am I crazy for thinking these things are important for educators to know about?! After all, there was plenty of pushback from entrepreneurs that they didn't want to learn about John Dewey. Why does an educator need to know about John Doerr?

Photo credits: sethoscope



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