When the Path is Not So Bright

This is a short one until I get a bit more time to write on some big items developing in the realm of education.

As most know, I have a fondness for companies that develop software, applications, etc for non-education markets…and have now grown excited enough about education as a consolidated vertical to re-design and re-brand their thinly veiled existing asset (resume builder, professional portfolio tool, event management software, document organization app, etc.) as a curriculum tool or online courseware engine. And it is especially delightful to see mis-informed venture capitalists and investors pour funding onto these half-baked amalgams without ever checking if anyone involved knows or has any experience whatsoever with education.

One of my favorite offenders who has received millions and millions of such funding for a very poorly considered “course tool” sent out a communication today across the sphere that is just too delicious to not share. Like most companies of their ilk, this group regularly sends out “urgent news” of new, ambiguous features supported with obvious dictums like “We here at <insert clueless company name> believe students should be given an opportunity to learn.” However, while today’s sample graces us with that very aforementioned rhetorical simplicity, it also provides us a lead paragraph on their new “Submission Reflections” feature in which 3 of the 5 sentences would receive a failing grade from any middle school English teacher. Enjoy:

To truly deepen reflective learning, students need to provide more than the right answer. They should understand the process and why something the right answer. We have added an engaging way for students to reflect on every submission they make. This feature incorporates elements of gamification aimed at promoting student’s development of proactive reflection and critical thinking skills. Educators are also be given the choice of requiring their students to reflect on the quality of their work based on each criteria of an assignment’s rubric.


I’m thinking that they should run this very piece of writing through their own Submission Reflection tool a few more times. Nice work team; you get a “d’oh” badge.