Look towards video messaging as a way to inspire and collaborate.
A blog about the evolution in education
Ms. Bigelow’s last act in the New York art world was her appearance in the second feature-length film by the feminist director Lizzie Borden, Born in Flames (1983). The film is loosely edited, in a way that makes it seem as though the camera has simply been taken from one location to another for each scene, so the plot is not easy to follow. It’s set in a United States that has recently undergone a Marxist revolution, though women, it seems, are still getting the short end of the stick. There is a Women’s Army that patrols the streets of New York on bicycles, preventing rape. A radical feminist leader dies in police custody, and the fringe elements suspect foul play. Ms. Bigelow plays one of the editors of the Socialist News Review, a popular post-revolution newspaper, so it’s her job to say things like, “Yeah but if we print the pictures of the death, we’ll be fetishizing it.” At the very end of the movie, the radical feminists decide they’ve had enough government propaganda. They blow up the radio towers on top of the World Trade Center.
If anyone thinks that the media doesn’t get people whipped up into a frenzy over little things, just look at what happens on Black Friday. Then ask yourself are we being whipped into a frenzy over bigger things?
When you see people fighting each other for socks in the United States, do you wonder what role media hype plays into it? All the ads, all the news stories about the event, all the pressure people must feel to be first in line?
Then wonder, all that information you see on the news telling you the world is ending and all is chaos. Do we really know what’s going on?
New speakers added to the agenda for the NYC Ed Tech Entrepreneurs Meetup. Please register if you are an educator or an entrepreneur and you want to network, show off your company, find developer partners or investment friends.
Steven Hodas, Founder, Contnu and Founder/ CEO of Noodle Education
Lyel Resner, Fellow at the Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship at NYU, and working on Startup Box South Bronx (SB2)
Jordan Garbis, Interim COO, PerformIT at Kaplan Ventures
Jordan Goldman, Founder, Unigo
Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Director, RTP Ventures
Rhena Jasey, primary grades educator, The Equity Project
Marisa Kaplan, educator and education consultant, EdGeeks
Jerry Crisci, Technology Director, Scarsdale Public Schools
Almost all parents think that it is a good thing for their kids to do something called “learning math” and are therefore in the market for software that will “teach kids math.” So far, so good. But what is not so good is that their ideas about what math is, and why the kids should learn it, are so flimsy that they are in a similar position to people who want to buy food for their kids but do not know the difference between nutritious food and junk food.
In my view 99% of what is sold is junk math.
We are social animals. You don’t need another blog post telling you that.
But what you might need is a little information about how #edreform is becoming more social. It is younger, tech savvy, and, ironically, it is not entirely concerned with ed reform.
I found this out when I stepped off the plane in Seattle after a five hour flight from New York and met Gregg Alpert, who is the new Developer Evangelist at Pearson’s Future Technologies Group.
Gregg had seen me check-in on Foursquare, which I had broadcast on Twitter. He sent me a Tweet asking if I wanted to meet up. We did.
This is what education is becoming. If there is no “market” for education entrepreneurs, there is a community and because it is a community, people feel comfortable meeting people who would normally be perfect strangers.
We met at the gate for his San Francisco flight, shook hands, and then sat down while I ate a burger and drank some water before my connecting flight.
Themes discussed: what is the education tech market; what are community managers like me and him doing with education and technology communities; learning how to code at Codeacademy; mutual friends; the new hubs in education technology (NYC is definitely getting bigger); my history and my theory that the baby-boomers who were trying to jump start the education reform bus are probably not going to be the ones who create the change, though they might have sparked the conversation.
The last point is important. Because a certain generation my age and younger works on the web, their conversation is actually more than just talk and relationships with politicians. It’s proactive, active talk. Talking forms communities, exposes new technologies, creates hackathons, and unites people who would simply be out of reach if they worked or lived in the system the baby boomers think they are trying to change.
Innovators come from outside of the system.
The current ed reform movement, pre-X-Generation and pre-Y-Generation, is still inside the system. Baby Boomers are just aligning themselves for new power and control, mimicking the system that they came from.
Their “change” is not change. It’s the spark of change, certainly. There are great rhetoricians here. There are people who have their hands on the levers of budgetary power, political control and relationships.
The real change is going to happen on platforms and it will be “consumer-driven.” Those consumers are students, communities, and teachers. They are not, in most cases, people who have branded themselves as education reform Leaders.
Why? Because it is on platforms that learning and community organization will begin, and it is on platforms, and through platforms that people come together.
It’s not about finding new leaders in the same system and changing it. It’s about activating the platforms and the communities that are already coming together outside of the system.
Udemy; Skillshare; Khan Academy (to name a few): they are more than just disruption makers in the evolving education vertical; they are more than just platforms that enable people to learn and to teach. They are really the platforms on which mini-societies will be built. They will be micro-communities and much more.
Since platforms mix and mash up people from different communities offline, these new education platforms will completely flip on their heads not only the district model for K12 and all the trappings of what we have come to believe is the public education system.
It will, for example, be the place where a primary student from Ghana can learn the same information as the kid from Wisconsin. And they won’t do it at the same time, though they might have the same teachers.
When that happens, leadership is less about filling the places of power and then flipping a switch. It’s really more about organic utilization of reputation, getting along with your peers and enabling learning through sharing and collaborative consumption, a la the Airbnb model, on platforms that students and people use every day to get their own version of learning enabled.
In this case, peers are not political leaders and political leaders mean less to education, since the intimacy and sharing enabled by platforms is so open, and so frictionless, there’s no need for the levers of power to push through authority.
It’s your classroom, because it’s modeled after your identity and your friends, and your way of learning.
Imagine a 34,500 person classroom, and the conversation andt he communication that goes on there, asynchronously. This may be taking a big leap in logic, but it is entirely possible that education will become a lot like the search for influencers on the web.
When you are managing learning of thousands of students, you need to find students in the legions that can manage their own communities. Kids do this already, on Facebook, on other platforms. Students do this outside of school, just like Gregg and I did this.
We see each other. We meet. We learn from each other.
Credibility, certification is not packaged as control and like a system. It’s more about who you know and what you know, and how you treat other people.
In that kind of model — where student leaders help craft the learning environment — district control doesn’t look so feasible. A standardized system doesn’t seem to make sense.
Education looks more democratic. It looks like a conversation, and it looks like getting things done.
Say goodbye to helping leadership get smart on the district level, and say hello to getting community started. The platforms are already active. It’s already happening.
The students are ready to learn.
Education blogger, dB C Media
Steve Blank gives the Secret History of Silicon Valley. It demonstrates that true innovation comes from breaking a model by taking assocations from outside that model to fix problems or create solutions found in the developing industry. Will this happen in education? Has it happened?
When we talk about trying to deliver innovation to a nineteenth century school system, we are really talking about a kind of abolition of the teacher and the student — enabling them to work, live and learn in a system that is much more like the world they already live in when they are not learning within the school walls.
That kind of thing is going to have take a lot of nurturing, talking with teachers, learning from students and creating a cultural space that enables and empowers the rich sharing that can create that innovation. Basically, we need to create a kind of Silicon Valley in education that is less about earning paper and flipping companies and mostly about sitting down at the table, and creating real education tools that work, and have had the market forces pushed against them to prove they work.