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Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Disrupt Education … Please! 1

I wonder if we as a society are ever going to figure out how technology can disrupt our antiquated systems for educating our children.

Think about what’s happened to information, social interaction, research, and business over the web — not to mention mobile technology — and then think about education. Preschool, K-12, and higher education.

Would anybody disagree that the institutions we depended on as kids are now embattled and crumbling as a result of political and economic factors? Higher ed has had the worst inflation of any industry I can think of over the last two generations. And the K-12 still depends on the old model of the teacher and two or three dozen students in a single classroom.

Innovation, yes, all over the place … but has it really changed anything yet?

And why not? Last week Shelley Palmer‘s email update tipped me off to Harvard and M.I.T. Offer Free Online Courses on YTimes.com, and a new Stanford-related venture called Coursera, a Web portal to distribute a broad array of interactive courses in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences and engineering.

Also last week I received this in email…

(The innovative minds at TED have brought a new educational video website to the head of the class. Today, TED-Ed launched http://ed.ted.com a site that features TED-Ed’s original K-12 animated videos with accompanying lessons and quizzes. On top of that, the site allows educators to create original lessons for any YouTube video, rendering the video on a new link where teachers can monitor student progress.

And I’ve subscribed to several and offer several courses at udemy.com myself. And by this time we’ve all heard of Kahn Academy, another compilation of online courses.

How many universities are offering online courses? How many of those are simply free to users? How many at very attractive prices?

But what about attendance, homework, kids doing things they don’t want to do, people growing up, validation, certification, leverage, consistency?

My angel investment group is looking in detail at EdCaliber, which offers online tools for K-12 teachers. And I saw two additional education business plans over the last three weeks at business plan competitions at Rice and the University of Texas.

I’m hoping something really changes public education for the better. I haven’t seen it yet.

(Image: bigstockphoto.com)

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  • Cliff Elam

    Amen.

    My 16 year old son wanted to take a Statistics course this summer from, really, any of the UNC schools. It’s functionally impossible because he’s still in high school and under 18.

    If he was in India or China I am sure that it would have been no problem.

    This summer he’s found a good job so it’s not been too big a deal, but I expect we’ll have a pretty big fight next summer.

    -XC