My Best of 2011

Journal Entry
I wrote a lot this year. Here are my favorites:

How the Library of Congress is Building the Twitter Archive

This was my big journalism "win" of the year. I'd been stewing on a follow-up story about the Twitter archives since the big announcement in 2010 about the startup's donation. One year later, what was happening to the project? What were the challenges? Who would have access to the archive? My interview with Martha Anderson, the head of the library's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIP), and Leslie Johnston, the manager of the NDIIP's Technical Architecture Initiatives, appeared in O'Reilly Radar in June. Exclusive! (link)

Mr. Callahan: The Best Teacher I Ever Had

The title says it all. This story also appeared in The Huffington Post and on George Haines' blog. (link)

The Public Library, Reimagined

Wow, I love this. Librarian Lauren Smedley is building a Fab Lab -- a fabrication laboratory -- at the Fayetteville Free Library where she works. The Fab Lab includes a Makerbot (a 3D printer) and soon a CNC Router and laser cutter. There will be computers and classes -- library as community makerspace. The library is housed in an old furniture factory and the building has a "history of making," says Smedley, which adds this wonderful level of awesome to an already awesome story. The story appeared in MindShift in November (but was picked up and cited in multiple places). (link)

What Do Kids Say Is the Biggest Obstacle to Technology at School?

I wrote a lot about education technology this year, but I actually had very little opportunity to talk to students (particularly K-12 students) -- something I hope to rectify in 2012. This particular story was based on the results of the Speak Up 2010 survey, which found among other things that kids listed 1) Web filters and 2) the banning of cellphones as the biggest barriers to effective use of technology at school. I'd say this story shaped some of my focus this, particularly when it came to tracking on filtering and BYOD. The story appeared on ReadWriteWeb in April. (link)

You Can't Always Get What You Want: Apple's Disappointing Music Announcements at WWDC

There's a really long story behind this blog post about Apple's iCloud announcement -- tech blogging, sausage-making stuff. I wrote it way too late, crammed way too many music references into it. And yet somehow it sat at the top of Techmeme for almost a full day. Ah, Apple blogging. The story appeared on ReadWriteWeb in June. (link)

Read, Written, Resigned

This post felt good to write. Enough said. Published here at the end of July. (link)

My Top 10 of 2011 series

Yes, this is sort of cheating since this lumps together 11 posts: the top 10 ed-trends and the top 10 ed-tech startups. I put a lot of thought and care and energy into these posts, and I learned a lot in the process of researching and writing them -- I have a much better grasp of the landscape, I think, for doing so. (link)

How Data and Analytics Can Improve Education

One of my new writing gigs this year was as a data correspondent for O'Reilly Radar. And some of the most interesting interviews I conducted sprung from that assignment. My favorite was with George Siemens, and I found myself returning to the story time and again to read and reference what he said about the future of data and learning analytics. This interview appeared in Radar in July. (link)

The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy

One of my most successful stories this year, this was my attempt to explain the myriad of reasons why Khan Academy gives many educators pause: his connections to Bill Gates' ed-reform efforts, his embrace of gamification, and his recapitulation of old models of lecturing in a new digital video format. There's a lot to like about Khan Academy, don't get me wrong. But let's not go overboard here with proclaiming that YouTube has brought forth the math messiah. The story appeared on Hack Education in July. (link)

Codecademy and the Future of (Not) Learning to Code

I stand by my profanity in this story. But I'll gladly be proven wrong as I hope we really all do better when it comes to building (and lauding) ed-tech startups. The story appeared on Hack Education in October. (link)

Photo credits: Flickr user Joel Montes de Oca


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