Edtech News Round-up: Trade Jobs Increase, Net Neutrality, and the Value of Failure

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Technical education delivering more jobs, the death of net neutrality, and the value of failure. It’s our rundown of the week’s big stories in technology and education.


High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up for University

In a new report, the Washington State Auditor found that good jobs in the skilled trades are going unfilled because students are have been steered to bachelor’s degrees. This not only affects students but also poses a major threat to the economy.

Other reports such as the National Student Clearinghouse showed that 3 out of 10 high school graduates that went to a three-year public university still haven’t earned degrees within even six years. At private four-year colleges, the number is more than 1 in 5.

It is a misconception that trade jobs do not require education after high school – most require certificates or associate’s degrees. These types of qualifications cost less and can be completed more quickly than bachelor’s degree.

In addition, people with careers in technical education are also more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials.

The Value of Failing

The Teachers College have announced the creation of the Interdisciplinary Education for Persistence and Innovation Center, which will combine researchers from various academic fields and countries in its efforts to better understand how failure can facilitate learning success.

Research on failure as a motivator is limited. However, the evidence that does exist suggests that students can grow from learning about the failure of other successful people as well as from experiencing failure themselves.

Failure is a normal part of the process of learning, allowing people to have the opportunity to reflect and regroup. However, many students don’t see it that way.

The value of failure can vary depending on the nature of the task. Failure’s value is something of a tough sell in an education system where the emphasis on test scores puts teachers under pressure to prioritize getting things right at first go.

Net Neutrality is Officially Dead. Now What?

The Obama-era net neutrality rules are pretty much null and void. As of Monday, some of the FCC Republican-led efforts for repealing net-neutrality will go into effect.

There are still some key parts of the proposal that will not go into effect until a vote is passed by the Office of Management and Budget. It is unclear when this vote will take place but it is considered to be a procedural step and we can now consider the net neutrality rules as we knew them to be no more.

Obama-era rules of net neutrality have been criticised as being heavy-handed, deterring innovation and undermining investment in building and expanding broadband networks.

However, supporters of net neutrality such as tech giants Google and Facebook, as well as consumer groups, believe that the internet as we know it may not exist without these protections.

The 2015 net-neutrality regulations prohibited broadband providers from blocking or slowing down traffic and banned them from offering so-called fast lanes to companies with the ability to pay extra to reach more consumers faster than their competitors.

The most significant change that will result from the removal of the rules is the stripping away of the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband. This responsibility is shifting to the Federal Trade Commission.

In this shift in regulatory power comes great concern. The FTC lacks rulemaking authority meaning that enforcement extends only to companies with voluntary public commitments or to violations of antitrust laws. All actions taken by the FTC will be after the fact.

The repeal of FCC net neutrality regulations removes the ban that keeps a service provider from charging an internet service, like Netflix or YouTube, a fee for delivering its service faster to customers than competitors can. Net neutrality supporters argue that this especially hurts startups, which can’t afford such fees.

What does this mean for the consumer?

Net neutrality supporters say that repealing the 2015 rules and stripping the FCC authority will lead to broadband companies controlling more of your internet experiences.

Big service providers could give their own service priority on their networks, squeezing out competitors and limiting what you can access.

Facebook Makes its Community Guidelines Public and Introduces an Appeals Process

Almost a year after The Guardian published a leaked copy of Facebook’s content moderation guidelines, Facebook’s is making an expanded set of those guidelines available to the public.

This is being done in order to gather input from users around the world. The Facebook Community Standards run 27 pages and cover topics including bullying, violent threats, self-harm, nudity, among other topics.

The guidelines apply to every country in which Facebook operates and have been developed in conjunction with hundreds of experts and advocacy groups around the world.

Feature image courtesy of Sam Pullain | Unsplash


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