The NewSchools Notebook: tech, teaching, and inspiration

October 18, 2013

At NewSchools, we are constantly being exposed to new ideas in education from a variety of sources. Given that we invest in technologies that spread knowledge and education to all, I wanted to start a blog series passing on some of the quotes and intellectual nuggets I encounter to the world.

Big Ideas from the week:

  • Education technology is not a zero sum game. When movies came out, live theater attendance did not decline. In fact, consumption in general of viewing pretend situations increased 28x. Technology can do the same — the value of in person teaching will not diminish (it might even increase with better tools), yet the general population will hopefully spend about 28x more time with educational content as technology makes it more available. [learned from Sebastian Thrun, founder @ Udacity]
  • Teachers are not surgeons. With the new Common Core State Standards, products are tempted to help teachers diagnose and fix minutiae of specific standards, but this is not how learning works. Products must step back and look more holistically at concepts and learning to help teachers build solid foundations. [learned from Anthony Kim, founder @ Education Elements]
  • K12 is a place to inspire. The “why” of K12 education needs a refresh. Yes, core skills are necessary, but core skills will change over each of our lifetimes. An essential goal of the first 18 years of education is to teach people to learn and to inspire them to develop throughout their lives.  [learned from Matthew Brimer, founder @ General Assembly]

 Stats and stuff:

  • 80% of Youtube Education views are from outside the United States
  • The “Williams Act” earmarks school budget for textbooks that sometimes just sit in the corner of a classroom as teachers use free online tools.
  • Some think the gold standard of tech is 1:1 (one device:one student), but the future might be 1:any — one device that anyone can use by logging in (e.g. Chromebooks, or apple ID’s)
  • Startup Advice
    • “Always be collecting candidates” — the ABC’s of recruiting according to Albert Wenger, partner at Union Square ventures (corollary to “always be closing,” the ABC’s of sales/marketing)
    • A startup’s growth is usually only constrained by one thing at one time – find this, and focus most of your attention on fixing that problem. Once that is no longer the bottleneck, shift your attention again.

I’m hoping to continue this as an ongoing series. If you have a neat idea you want to see posted, tweet it to me @eduhavens.

Please add anything neat you learned this week to the comments section.