Author Archive

May 13, 2012

A Cursory Postmortem of the Satellite Distance Education Project in Rural Ankang

by brachbach

Around the world, governments and NGOs like to give vast amounts of hardware to schools. Citizens and donors like to hear how many computers they have helped get to kids. Unfortunately, these projects are often undertaken with far too little attention to how the equipment will actually be used. Such seems to be the case with the deployment of satellite distance education in rural China.

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May 1, 2012

Once Again, this Time with Computers: Delivering the Same Old Pedagogy with New Technology in Rural Chinese Schools

by brachbach

One of the great tropes in technology for education is the techno-utopia: drop in the computers, and pedagogy will magically become progressive overnight, creating classrooms full of 21st-century learners prepared to work in the knowledge economy. Another is the techno-flub: deliver a bunch of computers without any integration into existing curriculum, tech support, or teacher training, and watch them gather dust. But how about this reality: add in the computers and get something that looks very much like preexisting pedagogy, just a little flashier and more efficient.

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March 18, 2012

Spaced Repetition Software: Beyond Rote vs. Progressive

by brachbach

Flashcard software programmed with memory algorithms is a student-centered way to learn essential basic facts.

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December 28, 2011

If you’re making a last-minute charitable donation for the year…

by brachbach

This post will be short, but it’s really important.

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December 16, 2011

Research and Adventure

by brachbach

In my experience, the two don’t mix well.

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November 6, 2011

Dear Swat Ed, Love Ben

by brachbach

Dear Swarthmore Ed Studies,

I didn’t intend for my first blog post to be a love letter to you, but here it is: you gave me the intellectual tools and the practice using them that I needed to be prepared for my Fulbright research, and I have smiled more than once in the past month when I think back to what I learned from you.

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