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Hardcover | $27.95 Trade | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780262017947 | 232 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 46 figures| September 2012
eBook | $19.95 Trade | ISBN: 9780262306539 | 232 pp. | 46 figures| September 2012
About MIT Press eBooks

The More We Know

NBC News, Educational Innovation, and Learning from Failure
Foreword by Henry Jenkins


In 2006, young people were flocking to MySpace, discovering the joys of watching videos of cute animals on YouTube, and playing online games. Not many of them were watching network news on television; they got most of their information online. So when NBC and MIT launched iCue, an interactive learning venture that combined social networking, online video, and gaming in one multimedia educational site, it was perfectly in tune with the times. iCue was a surefire way for NBC to reach younger viewers and for MIT to test innovative educational methods in the real world. But iCue was a failure: it never developed an audience and was canceled as if it were a sitcom with bad ratings. In The More We Know, Eric Klopfer and Jason Haas, both part of the MIT development team, describe the rise and fall of iCue and what it can teach us about new media, old media, education, and the challenges of innovating in educational media.

Klopfer and Haas show that iCue was hampered by, among other things, an educational establishment focused on “teaching to the test,” television producers uncomfortable with participatory media, and confusion about the market. But this is not just a cautionary tale; sometimes more can be learned from an interesting failure than a string of successes. Today’s educational technology visionaries (iPads for everyone!) might keep this lesson in mind.

About the Authors

Eric Klopfer is Associate Professor of Science Education at MIT, Director of MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP), President of Learning Games Network, and author of Augmented Learning: Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games (MIT Press).

Jason Haas is a game designer and a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab.

Table of Contents

  • The More We Know
  • The More We Know
  • NBC News, Educational Innovation, and Learning from Failure
  • Eric Klopfer and Jason Haas
  • foreword by Henry Jenkins
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • © 2012
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • MIT Press books may be purchased at special quantity discounts for business or sales promotional use. For information, please email or write to Special Sales Department, The MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142.
  • This book was set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited, Hong Kong. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Klopfer, Eric.
  • The more we know : NBC news, educational innovation, and learning from failure / Eric Klopfer and Jason Haas ; foreword by Henry Jenkins.
  •  p. cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978-0-262-01794-7 (hardcover : alk. paper)
  •  1. Science—Study and teaching—Technological innovations. 2. Education in mass media—Forecasting. 3. Digital media—Social aspects. I. Haas, Jason, 1978– II. Title.
  • Q181.K547 2012
  • 507.1—dc23
  • 2012004959
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • Foreword by Henry Jenkins vii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1 Media Education for the Twenty-First Century 1
  • 2 The Education Arcade 9
  • 3 An Education Revolution 21
  • 4 Due Diligence 41
  • 5 The Skunkworks 53
  • 6 Television Dollars and Digital Pennies 71
  • 7 Ever More Desperate Attempts 83
  • 8 The Hype 95
  • 9 What’s Your iCue? 107
  • 10 iCue Reality 129
  • 11 What Next? 151
  • 12 What If? 169
  • 13 The More We Know 179
  • References 191
  • Index 197


The More We Know is both a page turner and a crucial cautionary tale for reformers in the digital world. Any and all would-be reformers be warned: read this book. For all the rest, the book is a delicious insider’s tale.”
--James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State Universit"—
“This intriguing case study provides important insights into how academic and business partnerships function in order to improve education through new media. Highly recommended for entrepreneurs launching startups based on learning technologies.”
--Chris Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard University"—
“For new educational technologies to be both innovative and successful, they must challenge deeply-entrenched classroom traditions while also meeting the needs of students and teachers. The More We Know illustrates how difficult it is to accomplish both--and provides lessons for those who (I hope) will continue to try.”
--Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, MIT Media Lab"—