The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Educator’s Notebook #441 (March 24, 2024)


  • Dear Readers,

    I have a question, and I’d be grateful for your feedback. In my consulting and with Athena, I continue to hear from many schools about two ongoing needs: 1) developing teaching & learning approaches for an era of AI, and 2) preparing for the fall election.

    At Athena, we’ve had several inquiries about these topics recently, and are determining whether there is interest enough from teachers and schools to explore these topics in our summer fellowships. (Here is a brief overview of the fellowships we have run in the past.)  My question: Would there be interest at your school in a summer PD opportunity focused on these topics?

    I’d be grateful for your feedback on this.  Thank you!


    In the meantime, this week has been an excellent week for reading:

    In the features: Find a report from a California classroom about student responses to the 2018 novel There, There. It suggests to me the importance of personally relevant content in our curriculum. This makes for an interesting partner to the second feature: As culture wars, international conflicts, and curriculum battles deepen, more institutions are exploring formal stances of institutional neutrality. See the first feature for notes from one such discussion at Harvard recently.

    Beyond the features, find an interesting review of Bloom’s two-sigma claim, several perspectives across curriculum innovations and challenges, several approaches on cell phone management, a return of interest in microschools, more information on the eclipse, and an excellent section on AI.

    These and more, enjoy!


    PS. I’ll be at the AIR Show at ASU GSV (April 13-17). Find the full schedule here, and let me know if you’ll be there.  Keep a special eye open for Schooled: The Musical on April 14!

    • New York Times
    • 03/18/24

    “In the three years since Orange’s novel became a mainstay of the Millennium Art curriculum, pass rates for students taking the Advanced Placement literature exam have more than doubled. Last year, 21 out of 26 students earned college credit, surpassing state and global averages. The majority of them, said Ouimet, wrote about “There There.””

    • Harvard
    • 03/06/24

    “Ginsburg said that the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a non-profit, reports that more professors on the left and right have been “fired in the last few years than in the entire McCarthy period,” often in response to student demands: “This professor took this position, we can’t have this person here.” The complaints typically involve academic behavior that “would have seemed normal” a generation ago. But he agreed that “the current level of pressure from the state is something we have not seen, I think, since McCarthy.””













A.I. Update


  • “Prompt Library” (GPT-4)


    Tectonic shifts continue in the AI world, as Microsoft acquires the key leadership team of Inflection AI. This bodes well for Microsoft’s AI division, and bodes ill for the future of, which is one of my favorite destinations for developing ideas. Most of all, this suggests that we are still in the very early phases of the AI landscape. Companies are searching for sustainable business models, and even extraordinarily well funded companies are having trouble entering the market. It’s increasingly clear that the big data models will belong only to massive companies, and the smaller companies will have to innovate around the margins.

    In AI and education, schools are still early in the exploration phase. See this week’s features for ideas around policies (or positions) and ways in which AI may be able to reduce teacher workload. Also note in the education section that LA’s large public school district is experimenting with a chatbot for students and parents.

    These and more, enjoy!


    • Rooted
    • 03/21/24

    “It’s safe to say that AI is exactly the kind of “emergent novel reality” that brings new structural uncertainties to our schools and beyond, structural uncertainties that no oracle or expert system could predict with complete accuracy. That’s why the topic demands a systems-thinking approach (like the 5 P’s framework), or a new mental model that stretches us to perceive more than what forecasting and policy-making can afford us.”

    • Leon Furze
    • 03/21/24

    “Using the Eisenhower Matrix as a framework, I’m going to explore a few ways that generative artificial intelligence can be used to support teacher and school leader workloads beyond generic lesson planning and resource creation.”






Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


* indicates required