OK, fidget spinners aren’t really a “trend to watch.” I imagine they’re going to be one of those consumer products that gets a lot of news, generates a flurry of sales, prompts schools to establish all sorts of rules and punishments, and then disappears by the time I write my year-in-review. (Perhaps the equivalent last year was Pokemon Go.)

But I want to jot down links to some of the stories that have been written about this hot little piece of ed-tech (yes, this is ed-tech) because I do think it serves to underscore some of the other trends I see in play: namely, a focus on behavioral management in the classroom and an emphasis on “social emotional learning.”

Both of these trends, according to education technology and education reform proponents, seem require technological interventions (and, by extension, technology products). By using that word “intervention,” I purposefully mean to invoke in its medical definition and implications. Students, in this particular framework, are viewed as though they need to be “treated” in order to prevent harm, improve functioning, and so on.

A sample of the fidget spinner articles:

Audrey Watters


The Stories We Were Told about Education Technology (2017)

A Hack Education Project

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