Digital Education

The Hechinger Report keeps a close eye on ways that technology is changing the ways we teach and learn.



In a file photo, fifth-grader Andrew Riachi, 11, looks through his inventory while playing a game of Minecraft on a computer he built himself, in Pittsburg, Kan. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer)

Latest games are finally unlocking the key to making learning more fun

By Emmanuel Felton

A new generation of educational games is harnessing students’ love of video games and turning them into voracious learners — without them even realizing it. That’s the promise, anyway. Unlike previous educational games that functioned like glorified worksheets or tech-enhanced tests, the latest game developers say they are closer to figuring out how to unlock […]

Photo: Nick Pandolfo

Computer tutors that can read students’ emotions

By Annie Murphy Paul

Human tutors — teachers who work closely with students, one on one — are unrivaled in their ability to promote deep and lasting learning. Education researchers have known this for more than 30 years, but until recently they haven’t paid much attention to one important reason why tutoring is so effective: the management of emotion. […]

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When schools can’t get online

By Nichole Dobo

The community built a new barn, right next to their elementary school. They hung a sign over its red doorway, naming it Sunshine Farms. Inside, the children began conducting science lessons by collecting data on animals. The barn contained 11 hens, two lambs, and one laptop protected with plastic wrap. Until last year, the school […]

File photo. (AP Photo/The Forum, Dave Wallis)

No need to teach girls differently online

By Annie Murphy Paul

To hear some ed tech enthusiasts tell it, online learning is sweeping aside the barriers that have in the past prevented access to education. But such pronouncements are premature. As it turns out, students often carry these barriers right along with them, from the real world into the virtual one. Female students, for example, are […]

File photo. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Designing an educational game for kids and adults to play together is harder than it looks

By Annie Murphy Paul

Mindy Brooks was eager to gauge the reactions of parents and children to “Electric Racer,” a new interactive educational game. Brooks is the director of education and research at Sesame Workshop, the children’s media company that brought us Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Elmo, and that now develops content for computers as well as […]

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What it actually takes for schools to ‘go digital’

By Margaret Ramirez

Statesville, N.C. – As a hazy morning sun rises over the rural farm community surrounding North Iredell Middle School, the students take their seats and lift their MacBooks to start the school day. Soon, the glow of hundreds of screens illuminates each face in every classroom. Inside Skye Templeton’s seventh-grade Social Studies class, students are […]

Photo: Peter Taylor

Has this new online college program solved the MOOC problem?

By Timothy Pratt

ATLANTA – Dary Merckens was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, several weeks before moving to Las Vegas. He was also entering his second month in a master’s degree program at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Merckens, who is 30, can take his education with him. That’s because he’s enrolled in Georgia […]

File photo. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Teaching computer science — without touching a computer

By Annie Murphy Paul

A group of children on a playground, each kid clutching a slip of paper with a number on it, moves along a line drawn in chalk, comparing numbers as they go and sorting themselves into ascending order from one to ten. Another group of children, sitting in a circle, passes pieces of fruit — an […]

Deborah Gist. (Photo: Ken Richardson Photography)

Q & A with Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist: Our goal is to be the first state to fully blend technology into all schools

By Jennifer D. Jordan

The nation’s smallest state has embarked on an ambitious partnership with The Learning Accelerator, designed to make Rhode Island the first state in the nation to use blended learning in all its schools. TLA, a California-based nonprofit group, works to spread blended learning – an approach combining traditional teaching by an educator in a classroom […]

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Robo-readers aren’t as good as human readers — they’re better

By Annie Murphy Paul

In April of 2012, Mark D. Shermis, then the dean of the College of Education at the University of Akron, made a striking claim: “Automated essay scoring engines” were capable of evaluating student writing just as well as human readers. Shermis’s research, presented at a meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, created […]

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