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foxhidden's avatar

What does "Hacking Education" mean?

Asked by foxhidden (44 points ) November 2nd, 2009

I read articles in Time.com, and what does “Hacking Education” mean in this sentence?

“Earlier this year I attended a daylong conference in Manhattan devoted to education reform. Called Hacking Education, it was a small, private affair…”

The address of the article that contains the sentence is below
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1902604,00.html

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3 Answers

jackm's avatar

It is simply the title of the conference.
“hack” can mean to cut awake to make clear, like hacking a path through the forest. My guess is that it is referring to clearing the clutter from education, seeing what it really is, and making the necessary changes.

MissAnthrope's avatar

“Hacking” in this sense means taking what’s available, using a system currently in place, and playing with it to make something better. For example, the site Lifehacker.

From urbandictionary.com:
a clever solution to a tricky problem
to hack is to mod or change something in an extraordinary way

P.S. Welcome to Fluther!

aphilotus's avatar

Hacking I’m guessing is used in its computer science sense:

From the Jargon File, the original original hacker’s dictionary:
Hack (n)
1. n. Originally, a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well.
2. n. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed.

Hacks being central to “hacking”, and hacking being the idea of finding solutions that seem horribly clever but are secretly effective, usually through playful exploration of the problemspace.

The opposite of a hack is a kluge, a piece of code that works obtusely, or for the wrong reasons. A long-ago Datamation article by Jackson Granholme similarly said: “An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.”

Currently, education works very kluge-ily- it works, despite the systems it puts in place and the methods it tends to employ.

A conference called “Hacking Education” , then, is probably a conference devoted to finding small, efficient, clever solutions to education issues without necessarily rebuilding it from top to bottom.

Indeed, from their website,

“A hack solves a problem in a way that breaks some established and widely accepted rule or conventional wisdom. The web has enabled many transforming hacks. For instance, Kiva and DonorsChoose are web based hacks that reinvent philanthropy making it possible for donors to fund recipients directly and to follow up and monitor the impact of their contribution. Craigslist is a hack that disintermediated the multi-billion dollar classified advertising industry, largely replacing it with a fabulously efficient web based network.

The Hacking Education Sessions event will bring together around 30 entrepreneurs, researchers, and educators for a day-long conversation about the impact of the web on education. Our goal is to encourage innovation in education by exposing educators to entrepreneurs whose appreciation for the web’s technical and social architecture has enabled them to build important online services, and by exposing entrepreneurs to the challenges and opportunities of reinventing education using the web. We are also inviting researchers who study education policy and changes in learning, such as the emergence of self-directed studies and peer accreditation in online forums for everything from anime to open source.”

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