an old vcr

Educational Technology: The Psychology

There was such a huge response to our last article on educational technology, I thought I would follow it up with another example of a simple design that doesn’t involve a lot of whiz bang technology but does what it is supposed to do.

MIT BLOSSOMS, one of the most exciting and effective uses of educational technology to help high school students learn math and science, doesn’t boast the latest in artificial intelligence or adaptive algorithms. Its secret weapon is, rather, a canny understanding of human psychology—both students’ and teachers’.

What I think makes BLOSSOMS interesting is that it violates a lot of our usual best practices. As Annie Murphy Paul describes, it is teacher-centered rather than student-centered. It is based on an old and not mobile device (the VCR). It doesn’t allow students to work at their own pace. It requires the teacher to scaffold the student’s learning, not the system itself.

And yet it works. What do you think?

Image credit: “Nordemende spectra V100” by Akinom used under CC BY 3.0

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