2018 has been an incredible year of upheaval for me, with some pretty major personal and professional changes. I finished up my Spencer Fellowship, taking Sam Freedman’s legendary book-writing class this spring. I signed a book deal. We moved. Again. Once back in Hermosa Beach, I started exercising a lot more regular – walking at least 5 miles a day. I started cooking again – something I hadn’t really been into for the past decade, so thoroughly worn out I was – spiritually, emotionally – from care-taking a dying husband back in 2015. As the year drew to a close, I decided it was best to sunset a lot of the work I’ve been doing for the past not-quite-decade on Hack Education… at least temporarily while the book gets written. To that end, I quit social media too. And oh yeah. Last week, Kin and I [redacted], something we joked we would never do and something that portends even more changes in the coming year.

Focused on the fellowship and the book, I didn’t do a lot of other speaking or writing in 2018. I did pen a foreword to Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s collection of essays. I had chapters in two other books, and I blurbed John Warner’s. I published my first article on Vice, a writing success that more than any other my son thought was “cool.” I gave a couple of talks and a couple of guest lectures and sat on a panel and was in absentia from another.

I was “in the news” and on podcasts talking about (among other things) the “tech regrets” industry, personalized learning, new startups, old education ideas, billionaire philanthropists, and Ursula K. Le Guin. (RIP.)

I promised myself I’d sit still and focus but I still traveled a lot, with overnight stays in Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; San Diego, CA; Cambridge, MA; Albuquerque, NM; Palo Alto, CA; Millbrae, CA; Paris, France; Grenoble, France; Annecy, France; Chamonix, France; Parsippany, NJ; Elyria, OH; Ottawa, IL; Omaha, NE; Fort Morgan, CO; Salina, UT; Barstow, CA; Inverness, Scotland; Edinburgh, Scotland; Indianapolis, IN; Rome, Italy; Princeton, NJ; and Las Vegas, NV.

I read the following books: Lorraine Boissoneault’s The Last Voyageurs: Retracing La Salle’s Journey Across America: Sixteen Teenagers on the Adventure of a Lifetime; Lucette Lagnado’s The Arrogant Years; Peter Ho Davies’ The Fortunes; Kevin Young’s Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News; Brian Dear’s The Friendly Orange Glow; Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti: The Night Masquerade; Langdon Winner’s The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology; Fred Turner’s From Counterculture to Cyberculture; Dale Russakoff’s The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?; Nick Lehmann’s The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy; A. O. Hirschman’s Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States; Todd Rose’s The End of Average; Yasha Levine’s Surveillance Valley; Sam Abrams’ Education and the Commercial Mindset; John E. Chubb and Terry M. Moe’s Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools; Safiya Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression; Megan E. Tompkins-Stange’s Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence; Nnedi Orokafor’s Akata Witch; Rebecca Onion’s Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States; Jeffrey Henig’s Rethinking School Choice; John Dewey’s Experience & Education; Jacques Barzan’s Teacher in America; Nnedi Orokafor’s Who Fears Death; Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath; John Scalzi’s Head On; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment; Naomi Alderman’s The Power; John Carreyou’s Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup; Nelson Denis’ War Against All Puerto Ricans; David Tyack and Larry Cuban’s Tinkering Toward Utopia; Alexandra Lange’s The Design of Childhood; Siva Vaidhyanathan’s Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy; Ellen Condliffe Lagemann’s An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Education Research; Patrick Suppes and Robert Smith’s Computers in Education: A Half-Century of Innovation; Cynthia Solomon’s Computer Environments for Children; Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man; Eugene Galanter’s Automatic Teaching; William Deterline’s An Introduction to Programed Instruction; B. F. Skinner’s The Particulars of My Life; B. F. Skinner’s The Shaping of a Behaviorist; B. F. Skinner’s A Matter of Consequences; Thomas Rid’s Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History; Douglas Noble’s The Classroom Arsenal: Military Research, Information Technology and Public Education; Charles Bashe and Lyle Johnson’s IBM’s Early Computers; David Noble’s America By Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism; Harold Clark’s Classrooms in the Military; Alfred de Grazia and David Sohn’s Programs, Teachers, and Machines; Alexandra Rutherford’s Beyond the Box; R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War; Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give; Robin Sloan’s Sourdough; Norbert Wiener’s Cybernetics; Joshua Hunt’s The University of Nike; John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire; Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White; Joy Lisi Rankin’s A People’s History of Computing in the United States; Joseph Roucek’s Programmed Teaching; Theodore Roszak’s The Cult of Information; Natalie C Anderson’s City of Saints and Thieves; James Conant’s The American High School Today; Karl Smith and Margaret Smith’s Cybernetic Principles of Learning and Educational Design; Theodore Roszak’s The Making of a Counter Culture; Ronald Kline’s The Cybernetics Moment: Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age; Paul Goodman’s Compulsory Mis-education; Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life; Chris Knight’s Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics; Jerome Bruner’s Toward a Theory of Instruction; Audra Wolfe’s Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science; and Len Holt’s The Summer That Didn’t End; and I’m still reading Gordon Pask’s An Approach to Cybernetics.

I listened to these books on audiobook: David Sedaris’ Calypso; Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential; Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist; Michael Ruhlman’s Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America; Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes; Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time; and Jon Gertner’s The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation; and I’m still listening to Merve Emre’s The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing.

I took some nice photos throughout the year, but they’re on Instagram, and I’m not logging in just to locate and share them here. The year ends better and the new year begins better by being far away from as much Zuck-tech as possible, I promise.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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