The 2018 EdSurde Annual Special: Surgecoin, EduWands and Other News Not...

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The 2018 EdSurde Annual Special: Surgecoin, EduWands and Other News Not Fit for Print

By EdSurde Eddie     Apr 1, 2018

The 2018 EdSurde Annual Special: Surgecoin, EduWands and Other News Not Fit for Print

Happy first of April—a day where the joke’s on all of us.

It used to be that people waited until today to unleash their pranks. But some companies are jumping the gun. Duolingo got a head start with Brewolingo, “craft beers from America's Owliest Brewery to help you get fluent in any language” and which contain “a special blend of Owlcohol and Owlgorithms.” Chegg appears to have borrowed a page from Duolingo’s previous shenanigan for the Osmosis Pillow, which takes “memory foam” to another level.

And us? We offer you EdSurge Mews, your one-stop shop for felicitous feline entertainment—and your new destination whenever your index finger misses the “N” key when searching for EdSurge News.

Oh wait, you were actually looking for the news? We’ve got you covered. Below are the finest collection of stories you’ll never see on any other day, and which have been brewing in our heads over the course of 2018 in between too many cups of coffee, indecipherable email pitches, 1:1 meetings, product sprints and the occasional but unavoidable sparring on Twitter. Here goes...

CONTROL+ALT+DELETE: In the biggest blockbuster deal that the industry has seen since Prussia was on the map, ControlSchool merged with AltSchool and DeleteSchool. Financial terms were not disclosed, although the entire education operating system was reset as a result of the transaction. Back to the drawing chalkboard, rows of desks, pencils and, yes, the Prussian schooling model, everybody.

BETSY’S CHOICE: True to her suggestion made during a botched interview on “60 Minutes,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos decided to intentionally visit an underperforming school. “Look, I just made a school choice,” she was caught on camera saying. “See how easy that was?”

INTRODUCING THE MEGACREDENTIAL: Last year saw the emergence of several new short-form college degrees known as microcredentials. But one traditional college is going the other direction. Princeton is planning what it has dubbed a “megacredential,” which will take about twice as long as a traditional PhD to complete (so, about 14 years). “If getting a doctorate is like running a marathon, this is an ultramarathon,” said the university’s graduate dean. Since academic jobs are hard to come by these days, this program is designed to keep students out of the workforce longer, so that maybe the market will be better by the time they emerge from their schooling.

TREMENDOUS DEAL! BUY NOW! In an effort to solve the never-ending debate over whether education technology “works,” EdSurge is creating “Surgecoin,” the first cryptocurrency tied to product efficacy. We will use some arcane technology called “blockchain” and distributed ledgers to validate that education software works. (Just don’t ask how this works. The whitepaper is forthcoming, trust us.)

EdSurge will also hold a presale ICO with a special discount for early buyers: spend $10,000 and get 20 percent more Surgecoin! (Unfortunately, we are only accepting Dogecoin as payment for the time being.) Don’t dawdle—give in to your urge to buy some Surge. It’s the copper to Litecoin’s silver; the water to Petro coin’s oil.

— Also on Surgecoin’s product roadmap is a hard fork to create Splurgecoin, which can be used to pay our hungry, hungry staff writers. Please, if you like our reporting, donate Splurgecoin to feed your friendly EdSurgents!

A COLLEGE WITH NO PROFESSORS, OR STUDENTS? While not yet mainstream, college upstarts like 42 Silicon Valley are paving the way for a new era in education—one where instructors are no longer part of the picture. Now, an even newer project, called Knowledge Shop, is going a step further: No students. Or, as the marketing bumf points out: “No teachers. No courses. No classes. No credits.” It’s actually just an online marketplace. Okay fine, it’s Amazon.

LOST AT C: The study-abroad program, Semester at Sea, has rolled out a program for online and distance learners. Students are virtually beamed onboard a cruise via a robot, which has a screen and camera to give students at home a sense that they are roaming around the ship. Tragedy struck this week, however, when one robot toppled overboard. The student controlling the robot remotely is calling the event a “freak accident,” and is asking for a grade boost as amends.

LINGUA FRANCA: Some say coding should count as a foreign language. But why stop there? Why not make coding the de facto language? The founder of Codemunication foresees a future where even verbal communication will be done in code. “It’s the only true objective language,” he says, “as objective as Objective C.” Or, as he asserts:

int main(void)
NSLog(@"It’s the only true objective language, as objective as Objective C.
return 0;

BETTER BUBBLE WRAP: Looking for new ways to boost your children’s resilience without having to leave your helicopter? Look no further than Better Bubble Wrap. Constituted from recycled Chromebooks, it literally wraps around students and fastens with a magsafe closure. Kids can then tackle dangerous undertakings like climbing a tree, learning linear equations and losing a spelling bee without risk of broken bones or bruised egos.

SWISH AND CLICK: Last week saw fresh announcements from Apple and Google that emphasize the use of a stylus instead of a keyboard. Next up: the EduWand. The device, which syncs to iPads or Android tablets over bluetooth, spits out 3D printed objects from its tip, giving any makerspace a magical feel. Okay, so the beta “spits” like an octogenarian with emphysema, taking several hours to produce a 3D printout. Company leaders promise (fingers crossed!) to make it “lightning fast” in the next, oh, say, five to 10 years.

GETTING GRITTY: All those articles on Huffington Post say your child needs grit and resilience. But how to get it, while also making sure everything goes their way? Say hello to Helicopter Helper’s newest product, Auto Grit. Shake a dash of Auto Grit onto your kids, and they’ll look like you actually let them climb tall trees, do their own homework and roam the neighborhood without a GPS tracker. Imported from Finland.

TEACHERS ACTUALLY PAY TEACHERS: TsPayTs’ newest feature takes the company’s name to another level. Mindful of protests by teachers over low wages, TsPayTs now allows teachers from anywhere in the world to send a cut of their paycheck to help another. Teachers in Luxembourg are currently signing up in droves to help their beleaguered colleagues in Oklahoma and Kentucky.

MAKE IT IMPERSONAL: He scribbles all his notes by hand. He relies on carrier pigeons for his dispatches. He doesn’t register for classes on the school’s LMS. He speaks through a Darth Vader voice changer helmet. He only takes and pays with cash. He asks others to search on Google—in incognito mode—on his behalf. His photo ID is a pencil sketch. He targets ads—not vice versa. He is: The Man For Whom Nothing Can Be Personalized.

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