October 2012 Archives

One young man, and in fact I was just speaking with him last night, he had some challenges growing up. He had dropped out of high school, he had a family that was physically abusive, and he really didn't understand how he was going to find his way in life. He heard about Year Up, came to us, and did incredibly well in the program. He ended up getting a job at State Street, did very well there, and most recently he was headhunted to come work at Bank of New York Mellon, where he is now managing fourteen people (three...

It would seem that the solution is a radical overhaul of American society and the destruction of the whimsical life of the American child. Sounds practical. Except, America is not Asia and trying to draw conclusions by comparing the two results in a circular conversation. The solution is not to draw on Asia's example but to alter and adopt policies that seize on the American way of learning and stimulate interest in math and science. The way forward is to use the emphasis our country places on playtime and integrate that atmosphere into the classroom. The term for such is "gamification",...

Apparently standards for certifications in aircraft maintenance have not been updated recently: some of them still refer to wooden airframes. That was one of the things I learned at one of the Department of Education's DC to VC events (hosted by University Ventures

I have been to a number of these tech meetups in New York City, as well as panels at EdTech conferences across the country, and this particular one was likely the most intelligent, informative, and thought-provoking discussion I have heard to date. Much of the discussion focused on the future of education, leveraging technology to scale, using data as feedback to shape learning paths (a topic that Mr. Ferreira in particular is fairly qualified to comment on), and the role that private industry plays in facilitating this monumental transition. Throughout the chat, I scribbled down some quotes I found particularly ...

These rubber-roomers get paid a fine salary to perform such tasks as counting the amount of chairs in a school building (a month-long assignment) and practicing pitching a softball (unclear how successful this endeavor can be in a supposedly cramped space). While the $22 million being paid to these rubber-roomers (not counting the paychecks of substitutes taking their place) is certainly a step up from the $30-40 million before the Bloomberg crackdown, it's still TWENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS being paid to "teachers" to accomplish NOTHING.

Spreadsheets have become the mathematical laboratories for business, for science, for technology, and even for many consumers. They are the way we do our math, the primary tool for quantitative reasoning, and yet they are barely mentioned in our schools. They were mentioned only once in the New York Times article. They were mentioned only seven times in the Common Core State Standards in Math (fractions were mentioned 210 times). They are the primary mathematics tool of the 21st century, yet they are virtually invisible to most of our students.

We must educate our way to a better economy. This means not simply rethinking how we teach, but what we teach, and why. Just as a student needs the physical infrastructure of roads, schools, and computers before they can efficiently learn, so too does a student need the emotional and social infrastructure of health, wellness, and safety.

When I tell people that I am a venture capitalist who invests in educational technology companies, I frequently get asked what I think of MOOCs. And the next question is almost always whether MOOCs can make money. This is one thing I am not worried about.

Welcome to the Reimagining K-12 blog, where we will provide you with unique perspectives on teaching and learning from the ground floor of the education marketplace.


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