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Beyond "Platforms": Moving the Needle on Student Achievement and Deeper Learning


Next week is the Education World Forum and BETT tradeshow in London. It has me reflecting on what I’ve learned in the last 10 years working with educators around the world…


Shawn McCusker’s article in Mind/Shift about “thinking beyond platforms” underscores what I've been seeing over and over: It's not about "integrating technology" into what we already do, but rather stepping back to revisit the scholarship of teaching and what the learning sciences tell us about how people learn.


For example, learning is fundamentally social. While I think their headline was a bit over-stated, the NPR story, “The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course”, reminds us of this fact. If anything, the debate about MOOC’s has shown that Professor Jim Greeno's concept of "social situativity" is proven right - again. Why is everyone so surprised that delivering videos and automating "feedback" is not sufficient?


This is an exciting time of innovation in education, especially when it comes to the use of technology. There are a myriad of choices – but mindful educators don’t begin with a technology discussion. As Dan Gilbert (formerly at Stanford’s Wallenberg Hall) taught me, the conversation about course (or school) design begins with teaching and learning “verbs”. The “nouns” (technology solutions) will then become clear. The answer may be a graphing calculator, a smartphone, a tablet, a Chromebook, a convertible laptop, a workstation… or an abacus.


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Of the 1200+ edtech innovation projects in 41 countries I've had the privilege of supporting through my work at HP over the last 10 years, the ones I’ve seen succeed focus on designing powerful learning experiences that encourage more students to find relevance and success. They take great pedagogy, combined with the right technology, to create a more powerful learning experience for their students.


This is the magic behind moving the needle on student achievement and deeper learning...










Jim Vanides, B.S.M.E, M.Ed.
Global Education Program Manager
Corporate Affairs

Follow me on Twitter @jgvanides



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About the Author
  • Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is the effective use of technology to create powerful learning experiences that help students around the world succeed. He has been instrumental in launching over 1200 primary, secondary, and higher education projects in 41 countries, including the HP Catalyst Initiative - a 15-country network of 60+ education organizations exploring innovations in STEM(+) learning and teaching. In addition to his work at HP, Jim teaches an online course for Montana State University on the Science of Sound, a masters-level, conceptual physics course for teachers in grades 5 through 8. Jim’s past work at HP has included engineering design, engineering management, and program management in R&D, Manufacturing, and Business Development. He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.
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