Last-night's event held at Knewton headquarters (be sure to check-out this Profile on Knewton Founder, José Ferreira) was an interesting mix of lively panel discussion and audience Q&A. While focused on the infamous Common Core standards, the event seemed to rely heavily on personal anecdotes from panelists. One even had the chutzpah to comment, "I don't use textbooks in my classroom... they are too boring." Bold move at an event co-sponsored by textbook giant, Pearson (also, be sure to check-out our NLT Profile on Pearson's Head of Future Technologies, Diana Stepner). Special thank-you to Laura, Mason and Chris for venturing down to Knewtontown last night!
This past spring Brian S., Jo, Hui Soo and I took part in the Gifted and Talented Parent's fair at NYU, where we met Jen Choi, a blogger and edtech toys expert. Jen quickly became a "friend of EdLab" and attended our 4th demo night. It was at this event that she discovered WriterKey. Jen then included WriterKey in her recent Forbes.com article, "What Cutting Edge Looks Like In A School" and attributed EdLab as her discovery point (here is the specific gallery mention)!
I am so heartened that EdLab can serve as a discovery point for the edtech community and feel that this role helps serve some of the greater goals of EdLab's LaunchPad project. Here's to EdLab as a nexus point of great edtech innovations and inspiration in the coming moths!
While researching edtech companies to feature in upcoming EdLab GroundBREAKERS, Seminars and Demo Nights I came across this NYT's article (also featured as a Hi5 pick earlier this month) focused on how TERRIBLE and terribly nondescript educational tech co. names have become. Take for example, QLovi, Noodle, Grockit and others.
This naming issue is potentially interesting for a few reasons... 1) should the end learning goal be more clearly highlighted in a name?
This recent Bloomberg Businessweek article makes another case for the continued dominance of Silicon Valley and perhaps most interestingly, for the infamous "brogrammer." While exploring unique aspects of Si Valley and its tech-savvy denizens and explaining the origin of the "Google protests," the article also points-out an important distinction, Angel Investment. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are more focused on building equity and gaining capital to reinvest in other startups as an "angel" than NYC-based founders and investors who are largely focused on a large, quick exit that doesn't necessarily translate into as much reinvestment in the ecosystem.
This focus on feeding the ecosystem with capital, instead of striving to amass personal wealth not necessarily tied to reinvestment, seems like an important element of the mystery: why hasn't the "Alley" with its easy access to creative talent and investment capital, surpassed the "Valley." Another big reason, is still Stanford's continued focus on innovation and support of the tech community.
(Image: via CreativeHuddle.co.uk)
Athletic apparel giant, Adidas, headquartered in Germany (guess whose office probably had the World Cup on 24/7), believes that workplace training should be, "light, desirable, and fun." (Read this Forbes.com article for more) With an informal "Learning Campus" (check-out the corresponding Pinterest feed!) that allows employees to partner with mentors, learn new skills and participate in both virtual and in-person (that psychedelic "learning shed" looks amazing!) training. What are your thoughts re: Adidas's out-of-the-box take on professional development? It is interesting to see both a formalized and extremely informal learning pathway created to help better their employees.
(Image via IDEO Site)
In the spirit of Carmen & Chingfu's wonderful EdLab seminar and Yang's recent EdLab blog post, I thought I would introduce IDEO's Method Cards to the mix. Used by engineers, researchers and designers, this analogue deck of cards (and optional, corresponding app) are a great way to organize and push the creative, human-centered design process. Organized by four "suits" (Ask, Watch, Learn & Try), the cards are meant to help facilitate creative problem-solving and include real-world use cases of each "suit."
Description from IDEO's site:
IDEO Method Cards is a collection of 51 cards representing diverse ways that design teams can understand the people they are designing for. They are used to make a number of different methods accessible to all members of a design team, to explain how and when the methods are best used, and to demonstrate how they have been applied to real design projects.
Facebook has been quietly testing increasing the relevancy of video content within mobile user's news feeds and will eventually even show, in-feed video promotions (as reported by TechCrunch). This is especially interesting as EdLab works to help make vialogues video content even more relevant and useful to educators (thanks for the great time pattern visualization Yang!) and continues to study and discover what true engagement really looks like on our platform.
Here is Mashable's take on this summer-long Facebook push and possible long-term ramifications:
Video content has been a major focus for Facebook this summer. Late last month, the social network tweaked its News Feed algorithm to surface higher-quality videos by analyzing how long users actually watch each video, not just if they Like it or comment on the post. The goal is to better identify what videos perform well, and more importantly, which users are avid video consumers.
(Image: via Flickr user Paulo Ordoveza)
Join me and the EdLab outreach team for a night of lively discussion as startups pitch their ELL-focused products to a panel of ELL instructors. Hosted by the DOE and our friends at Innovate NYC, this event like all previous #SharkTankEDU events, should be epicly interesting. If you are interested in attending, please let me know in the comments below and I will secure a place for you with the Innovate NYC team.
Thursday, July 24th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
99 Madison Avenue, 15th Flr , New York, NY
Go summer outreach team! Go!
Vince Ponzo, our friend at Columbia Business School, shared this article in EdWeek announcing the launch of UPenn's Educational Technology-focused executive degree program (accelerated Master's). What is interesting about this piece, is the fact that the course I am currently developing, "Edupreneurship 101" has many elements of UPrenn's course present (overview of key concepts in the education sector, validation of core ideas, marketing etc.). This is good and bad, good, in that my ideas are semi validated, bad, in that I want to be sure to add the unique EdLab stamp of innovation. Regardless, few ways our course will be radically different include our use of the mSchool platform, lack of a formal credential, ability to informally move through the course and the truly unique set of LaunchPad resources we have included: Seminars, GroundBREAKERS, NewLearningTimes.com articles and other original EdLab thought pieces.
(Image via Jaron Lanier's site)
Dangers of the Siren Call of Social Networks
Jaron Lanier is at it again, the father of Virtual Reality (bet you thought it was this guy), predicts the future once more, with his newly released paperback (hardback released in early 2014), Who Owns the Future?. This time, as in Lanier's previous work, You are Not a Gadget, the Microsoft researcher and avid "softie humanist" has similarly dystopian things to say about the intentions of "siren servers" and buying-into massively open, free social networks like Facebook and Twitter.