anya kamenetz

anya bw

she blew us away with her book DIYU – it was a pot of gold – hailing the options available..


then – so that both could be free to read – mozilla financed – Learning, Freedom and the Web:

learning freedom ad the web

and Gates financed  and The Edupunks’ Guide:

edupunks guide


latest version – edupunks’ atlas:

edupunks atlas


here – she is hosting keynotes for dml’s Reclaim Open Learning Symposium:

opening keynote amin


one of many ongoing great finds by Anya.. adding this one as it’s part of the nmc horizon report 2014

oct 2013:

are you competent


testing of 2014:

opt out of tests


may 2014 – npr ed:

why ed


oct 2014 – Anya’s new site and book:

anya's new site










from amazon page on her book:

takes a step further to explore innovations in education—emerging solutions to the over-testing crisis—that are not widely known but that you can adapt today, at home and at school. And it presents the stories of families of all kinds who are maneuvering within and beyond the existing educational system, playing and winning the testing game. You’ll learn, for example, what Bill Gates, a strong public proponent of testing, does to stoke self-directed curiosity in his children, and how Mackenzie Bezos, wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and mother of three, creates individualized learning experiences for each of her children.

All parents want their children to be successful, and their schools to deliver true opportunities. Yet these goals are often as likely to result in stress and arguments as actual progress. The Test is a book to help us think about these problems, and ultimately, move our own children towards the future we want for them, from elementary to high school and beyond.




here’s an excerpt from #thetest in @salon!

Original Tweet:


pbs hour interview:

Is ‘The Test’ failing American schools?


As a mom, The Test by @anya1anya is must-read to play & win the testing game in schools; blog:

Original Tweet:


Anya reporting on tfa nov 2014:



find/follow her here:


diyu site

She writes for fastcompany, huffington post, …




older writings:

march 2010 – shift in  higher ed




random notes from early on:

monday, july 26, 2010

anya kamenetz at #wec10

 master plan is dead with current round of budget crisis
college ed has become trapped in an unsustainable cost spiral
 there’s a relevance question in higher ed… after many generations saying that college ed is key to success and prosperity
but now – economy is changing so quickly that the degree that they get now might now might not be the same when i finish
i’m not able to choose to study what i think is going to be relevant for me
diyu isn’t a road map but a compass
these transformations don’t just come from the tools, but from an attitufe.. summed up in one word
content – open license that anyone can access content   (mit) – only the first step, an infrastructure so that then you can build… on…socialization
socialization – enable to teach online with huge benefits like in classroom – like video chats, twitterfeeds, (tutor) – taking open content and organizing courses around it
accreditation – who gets opportunity and who gets credit, how do you prove that someone has taught themselves online
provide an assessment based model – based on passing assessments – created from scratch, rather than saying i got a degree – because of requirements, actual tests/content
behans? – upload profiles, community rating system, employers go on site and select, get a job based on the work you demonstrate
this is what i’ve done… vs diploma
most decisions are made by faculty, legislators, parents, but very little are made by students
the real change that has to happen is to change the way we look at the ed process. only 1 in 10 7 out of 10 grad hs, then only about half grad college.
how is it the same?
same ideals of early schools, scholars pursuing knowledge for the love of knowledge, total free inquiry in a way that had never been done before
latin – universitas = communities


thursday, february 17, 2011

anya kamenetz

cool update, her slides now on slideshare:

mike davis up first reminding parents – you model behavior for students.

Anya – live – how lucky am i.

her words as best i could capture them (i didn’t see anyone videoing this..shame if not)

ultimate lesson: exciting time to be a learner

i’m not an academic, not an educator, i’m a journalist , come from the outside and ask annoying questions

john meyer, stanford, speaks of oxford: a cathedral of rationality
such a bedrock articl of faith
the sacredness of that cathedrasl rationality has made it hard not to evolve
in america we made college ed the centerpiece of the american dream
1) higher ed for small % of white men
2) 1965- turned to open doors toa ll, 70″s community colleges popped up 1 every 2 weeks
the masterplan – charles reed, csu system today, says masterplan is dead (before 2008 crash)
no longer have resources to back the promises we made

college tuition has grown over any other good or services in last 20-30 years
1) massification  – broad opportunity
2) cost shifting – play between fed/state level funding
3) student loans – cheap money gets people less sensitive to high costs
4) baumel’s cost disease – 1966 performing arts dilemma – you cannot outsource a string quartet, you can’t cut the cello, an immanable (?) 1st person experience
say ed is personal so no other way to do it

looking at not only what’s possible with tech – but what’s possible in lowering the cost with tech

45% – no significant gains 1st 2 years of college
36% – no significant gains over 4 years of college
remember this black box – when we’re trying to decide if change is worth the risk

are students taking responsibility – are they engaging
1) they are working harder – most have jobs
2) in the flow of communication (fb, twitter, text, google, youtube, etc) – too much is not happening in the classroom
this is a magnitude of missed opportunity
a waste of resources – how do we redeploy them

music industry – records replaced by digitial downloads people are seeking out personalization, through privacy
then they seek out face to face, because that’s immanable ? (want to find that word)
resources flow into in person experiences

cathy davidson – hastac
daniel pink: design/function, story/argument, symphany/focus, empathy/, play/, one more (get that slide)

content, socialization, accreditation, all 3 are being affected with openness:


open courseware at mit, 95 mill access it, offered couple thous for profs that allow videoing, etc (which by the way encourages them to improve their lectures)
cost of distributing ivy league course drops to 0, so what will ivy league provide
teds, khan academy, etc
all moving faster than an official curricula can move,
computer based program, carnegie mellon, presented at levels like a video game, allow students to cover more material (and i would add – per choice)

flatworld knowledge – save $1000/year per kid on text books
2 bill for creation of vocational courseware
hopkin? (find him) asst to deputy, says unis will be irrelevant in 30-35 yrs, and not going away till irrelevant

pln’s everyone has one, not just people but info
if you can do it (learn via youtube) with a skateboard, how do you do it with a math trick, a resume, an app letter   (again – per choice, only – just in time and per choice)
university of mary washington – blog platform, sharing w/world vs reports to be trashed
feedback from world brings intrinsic motivation

prof networks in lieu of diplomas

complementary, supplementary, and some replace all together
behance network, scott belsky, companies recruiting straight off this website, true peer review (whoa – hadn’t seen/heard of this – take a look at the gallery)
reputation based systems (we rely on them more than a priest/dr/etc)
the younger kids learn how to represent themselves on these networks the better
linkedin has 90 mill members – data driven career planning – how to use it
find out – what did the other math majors do as a 1st job, 2md job, etc

a lot of students make career based decisions based on too little info – this is huge – we need more of Anya’s message

#1 employer of ivy leagues – teach america/year in africa – nothing wrong with either, but if they knew more of their options at the front end..
the new way – college is a piece of success. options are huge


from q&a:

as an employer, how do you start to evaluate students?
co-evolution has to take place:
1) institutions who’s basis is assessment, per specialization, you pay to get reliable vouching
2) portfolio – where you can see the work
3) reputation – large % of hiring here, has been this way before
hiring is an arbitrage process – so an arbitrage opportunity

in this new model – what about writing? i find it’s the hardest thing to teach.
internet is text based
(well has tons of text in it – google still just sees text but-   is it not more video based -tapping into speakertext, 3d-ish, kelly’s what tech wants. i would offer the suggestion, the key is in words like teach, and run a class, etc, like Anya pointed out in the beginning, the black box, teaching writing doesn’t get at the essence of it, and excellent consideration, writing, because it is huge – would love to hear how Anya thinks she got to be such a good writer – here’s Kate)

is it (still wondering what people are defining it to be) going to make it more competitive?
there are more opportunities for people currently without a voice/invisible that have talent to rise and for those in high places with no talent to fall
(my thinking: competition becomes mute as people are allowed options to be themselves, no one can compare to you, so the competition, you could say, turns in to – how can i be the best me – everyone finding their nitch – comes down to godin’s – indispensable people)

what about those with learning disabilities?
there’s mass customization, it it’s tailored and not just thrown out there – ie: you find it – then tech can certainly be a plus

seems choices are highly complicating things, do you see simplicity down the road?
old dewey decimal system to google search box
google is simpler but system behind it is more complex
everything is miscellaneous, more simplified at the level of the user
(steven johnson’s adjacent possibilities, and again kelly’s – what tech wants: minimize to self, maximize to world)

what about organization establishing curriculum? seems very chaotic.
university = guild, community helping you funnel through
my notes from her talks on this – wec10 and tedxatlanta

less people at the major uni more in a customized group

how do you get kids prepared for this?
ed no longer as a service – like hot water, now has to be in hands of the learner
culture that says yes instead of no – allows for that (i’m assuming this means less rules/policy/filtering/etc)
huge: make failure part of learning. (godin again – part 6 video)
talked about how she didn’t let herself fail even through college
this is a supplement – ivy bridge – (not sure if that’s the right link, missed that connection/explanation)

how do you assess the merit of the content?
perfect answer – we’re comparing it to a black box – her very opening, that more than 1/2 – no significant gains
piece of improvement happens w/open courseware, profs lectures are now online, they improve, bigger audience
for optimal – we need the back end connection to employers, asking them to eval a portfolio, give feedback, recommend content, action, etc

what about the core curriculum and liberal arts that bring a continuity of community?
she’s found in her research, that continuity of these is merely an illusion

no – i meant community from common knowlege..
core vs specialization, this actually brings us closer together, bridges
she said – may still have groups – math people – sharing – with others not joining in,  {i may be misrepresenting her here – well – all throughout, no? this is all my interpretation of what she said}
[Anya touches on this in her post on ed – it’s an overriding curriculum, if you will, of learning how to learn, no matter what:
No decision of curriculum, grade, or whatever should be imposed from above without students taking responsibility for their own learning. This would drive diversity within the system as it adapts to a multiplicity of needs, freeing everyone from the yoke of standardization. 
this drives diversity to a limit, that limit forces us, or let’s us, finally, zoom out, to what we’re really after in the first place, how do you learn, how do you get better at things, etc… that’s our commonality, and it’s much more humane ]

what about the danger, who we trust, how do we teach kids how to discern, teaching discrepancy?
we need to be teaching them to question everything, even us
now we’ve got many resources to verify, etc, many eyes on all we do
[something we needed to be doing all along anyway – and ties in nicely with mike’s first comments, the first sentence above, we all need to be gracefully questioning everything.]


friday, june 10, 2011

anya kamenetz

as posted on fastcompanylove it Anya – huge thank you..


wednesday, august 18, 2010

anya kamenetz on ted

ted rocks..
i love this:
My contention is that many of the cool things that TED does spread more widely than the cool things that Harvard does, because of its
attitude toward
and its use of
social media.
nov 2015 – via Anya rt
Post fueled by @edleader21 @anya1anya & fireside chat w @pammoran & @AndrewWymer10s How Do We Unstandardize Testing?
Original Tweet:
in the city.
as the day.
no need to base it all in ie: math, science, civics, et al… no need to ..
…periodically participating in low-stakes “tests” for school responsibility to impart the guaranteed curriculum.
guaranteed curric – deep enough –2 needs – toward us.. toward eudaimoniative surplus..

app/chip/updates…like this: a nother way

for (blank)’s sake


A radio interview The Test: Why Our Schls R Obsessed w/ Standardized Testing – But… (w/ Anya Kamenetz)
notes (interview from jun 2015)

using testing to ration out ed resources.. but intelligence.. not really able to measure..

testing starts as finding the stars.. then 60s.. testing to find holes..

main stream bill of rights groups back these tests.. thinking they would fill the gap..

problem is tests we are using aren’t high quality..


lot of memorizatinon.. not developing learning… not helping kid long term

testing and punishing schools is obviously cheaper than remedies

9 min – what is number one problem .. if i had to break it down – high stakes attached to tests… because tests are so limited… being hostage to test scores… ie: cheating scandal/trial in atlanta..

if you tell people job is on line.. a rational choice..

telling kids they are a failure and it’s hereditary

14 min – you have to change assessments and you have to change accountability.. if you trusted teachers.. you wouldn’t have to rely on outside tests.. professionals don’t rely on outsiders to decide if doing a good job.. and what about making it accountable the other way… accountable for resource gap

18 min – prep for 21st cent – means prepping for something we can’t predict.. ie: curiosity..

22 min – a lot using khan or dream box.. biggest application is math…  stealth assessment… ie: tracking progress in video game.. whole class tracked.. and kids don’t even know they’re being assessed…


23 min – team monkey –  schools starting to use self report surveys for emotional health in a school.. what are they coming into school with..

24 min – not fluff.. if taken over time.. gallop.. good indicator.. silly to attach high stakes.. but indicator for decision making..

or.. redefine it all.. ie: decision making

25 min – butterfly is project based assessment.. places i’ve visiting.. really engaged students.. feeling what they are doing is real..

27 min – unicorn – games and situation.. to give high level assessment as team butterfly.. in data rich way – hard to compare kids performance across schools… game generates game engine gathering evidence decisions made through game and can determine ie: this student understands rhetoric, systems thinking at this level

29 min – those who want tests as element of control will never be convinced.. but also those who are concerned about equity.. rigor.. high standards.. and see high stakes tests as only way to enforce for all children.. open ness potential… building consensus on what we all believe is most important for kids

consensus ness… can we not be past that..?

30 min – i wrote the book.. people come to me saying how awful.. and i say.. you know it might be getting better now..


31 min – pendulum swings and kids caught in middle.. hopefully over next 10 yrs.. we’ll see some (up swings)

10 yrs ..? whoa

33 min – i’m not a politician.. i’m a journalist who’s trying to tell the story… i think the parent’s revolt is important… ie: long island… opt out parents going into school boards… as far as how assessments are changing we do need to offer an alternative… ie: what do you got instead..

a nother way

for (blank)’s sake

34 min – our business world wants people who can succeed and compete… the way to get better isn’t going to be some mechanistic solution. great creative teachers and empower them… to me that’s a powerful tactic..

competition.. oy


book talk at bookstore jan 2015


tests are games and tests can be gamed..

on the kind of society/people/kids we want to cultivate and what we are holding kids accountable for .. i want to talk about expectation and achievement gap… you manage what you measure..

oy..perhaps we let go of both.. managing and measuring..

8 min – all the stuff i did w/ higher ed.. then i had a kid.. so i wrote diy k-12 about all innovations going on.. homeschoolers/unschooling/maker movement/ pbl/et al.. it was really cool stuff.. connected educators on twitter.. amazing stuff going on ..  yet none of these have broken into mainstream…

10 min – if so great.. why isn’t this breaking into mainstream.. problem… no time to experiment..because of testing… led me to write about nclb.. nation at risk.. sputnik .. et al..

11 min – writing on higher ed – international.. writing on k-12 unavoidably personal/political

12 min – why i wrote book – who i wrote it for.. to offer alternatives… possible vision of change

(haven’t watched all yet – q and a starts at 13 min)

love the girl.

we’ve got to disengage from irrelevants. esp now.. facing a time of major irrelevants.. so major disengagement..


Anya Kamenetz (@anya1anya) tweeted at 2:00 PM on Tue, Mar 20, 2018:
Lulu kindly telling me I was overexplaining something on the way to school: “It’s kind of weird to have an answer without a question.” #momsplainer

very much the problem w school..

let’s fall in the love w the questions.. as it could be..