The Rise of the Adjuncts

Submitted by George Nantwi on Thu, 04/18/2013 - 8:53am.
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This article in the Atlantic highlights a rising phenomena in higher education: the rise of the adjunct professor (see chart below). What implications does this have for the future of higher education, especially considering the rising costs for students?


Building the Ideal Marketing Team

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 03/11/2013 - 11:24pm.
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As the EdLab ramp up its outreach efforts for several of our many offerings: publications (i.e. NLT), products (i.e. Survey Sidekick), and grants (i.e YoungArts MasterClass), we’ve all been thinking about building a team dealing with specific aspects of the outreach efforts for each offering. The author of this article highlights five things to look for when hiring people to form the ideal marketing team:

  1. Realize there is no such thing as a perfect team.
  2. Invest in 'students.'
  3. Look for marketers who are strategic and tactical.
  4. Always hire for culture fit over skill.
  5. Plan for the next big challenge.

What other characteristics should we look for when hiring or putting together the ideal marketing team for our offerings?


Wanted: Teachers for YoungArts PD Videos

Submitted by George Nantwi on Fri, 03/08/2013 - 11:43am.
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We are looking for teachers in three subject areas (Humanities, Math & Science, Visual & Performing Arts) to create professional development videos for the YoungArts MasterClass study guide. If you know any educators in junior high school and high school who might be interested, please let me know so we can reach out to them.

We are hoping to create something similar to this pilot below:


MOOCS and the Developing World

Submitted by George Nantwi on Fri, 12/14/2012 - 11:49am.
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I took a course, Economics and Educational Development, here at Teachers College this past semester and one of the topics we discussed in detail was government expenditure on education, especially tertiary education, in the developing world. Enrollment in public universities in most developing nations is almost exclusively linked to one’s economic class. Since there are very limited public university slots, those few that are available is allocated based on test scores, and quality of secondary education, etc., all of which are correlated to one’s family income. Governments in these nations spend a huge amount of resources financing few universities that are mostly attended by the higher-income population and thus creating a situation in which the poor is essentially left out.

As more prestigious institutions continue (in some cases begin) to offer their courses for free on the web as part of the massive open online courses, or MOOCs movement, a large number of participants in those courses are students from the developing world. In this article, the writer notes this phenomenon using the case of El Salvador, a nation of over six million citizens with just one public university serving 50,000 students. Students there have been flocking to moocs as an alternative or to supplement their education.


Startups Leading Job Creation

Submitted by George Nantwi on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 12:43am.
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A new report by the Kauffman Foundation claims startups and new firms (created within the past two years) are leading the way in hiring and job creation following the recession of 2008. According to the study, “four out of every 10 hires at young firms are for newly created jobs, much higher than in older firms”. Though young firms may be leading the charge in job creation, employers at those firms earn less than those at more established firms. As we think of ways to promote Research Broker as well as the eventual “launch” of Launchpad 39, how can we keep in mind this shift in hiring? Is this a consequence of the recessions or a real shift where startups will become a primary source of jobs?


Promoting YoungArts MasterClass

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 11:15pm.
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As we get ready to launch the YoungArts/MasterClass website, we’ve been thinking about how best to promote the study guide via social media and viral marketing. As some of you may know, YoungArts is a national program based out of Florida that chooses the best high school students in nine performing arts areas such as cinema, jazz, photography and dance, among others to perform in a series of workshops with “masters” in their respective field. The moments between the students and the masters were captured for the HBO Masterclass series that serves as the inspiration behind the study guide.

gehry zuckerberg
Frank Gehry and Mark Zuckerberg

One of the featured masters in Masterclass sessions is architect Frank Gehry, best known for his elaborate designs such as the Guggenheim in Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and more recently as the lead architect for the ongoing Dwight E. Eisenhower memorial in Washington, D.C. Gehry was recently chosen by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to expand the company’s new campus in Menlo Park, California. Dubbed the West Campus, the new facility will house all of Facebook’s engineers.


The Teacher Network

Submitted by George Nantwi on Wed, 08/29/2012 - 7:10am.
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We’ve started mailing out hard copies of the UFR curriculum to those who registered via the UFR site as well as to members of organizations such as ASCD, NCSS and NASSP. This fall will be the first full school year where educators across the country (and some globally) will be teaching the curriculum. In addition to receiving the hard copies, all educators teaching the curriculum can sign up to create a blog for their classroom via the Teacher Network. The Teacher Network is a series of interconnected blogs that allows for educators to create lessons and activities from the materials in the UFR curriculum and affords students a chance to comment, vote and ask questions. It also serves as a repository and an additional resource for all educators interested in or teaching the curriculum. Educators can sign up for their own classroom blog by creating an account on the UFR main site.

We want to start promoting the Teacher Network and get as many educators on it as possible. Since we will be working on a Teacher Network for the YoungArts/MasterClass grant as well, it will be really great to have a sound, consistent and effective plan to reach out to educators. There are several lessons already up on the Network so please browse go through them, watch the video below on the Teacher Network and share any ideas or suggestions you have about promoting the Teacher Network.


UFR in the News

Submitted by George Nantwi on Tue, 07/24/2012 - 12:25pm.
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Barry Elias, a weekly contributor to Newsmax on topics that include economics, public policy and politics, and an economic policy analyst to Dick Morris, a former political advisor to President Clinton, recently wrote a piece about the UFR curriculum to raise awareness about the importance of the subject. Elias focuses primarily on the need for high school students, who he sees as the instruments of change for our country in the coming years, to draw conclusions based more on inquiry and critical thinking and not on the very partisan political discourse in Washington.


Pursuing Your Passions

Submitted by George Nantwi on Sun, 07/08/2012 - 11:30pm.
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The YoungArts/Masterclass project essentially encourage students to “pursue their passions,” whatever it may be. In this op-ed for Time, Dan Edmonds, VP of Research and Development at, notes that having a non-academic “passion” has essentially become a college admissions requisite. He states that most students who do have a passion tend to devote a large amount of time to it while finding passions for students without one has become a task for parents and guidance counselors. The greater question then becomes how do you find or motivate students to pursue a passion and stick with it? More importantly, as Edmonds accurately points out, parents want to urge and encourage passions that will make their children an attractive candidate for admissions. For instance, students would not want to highlight video games as a passion even though they may devote a considerable amount of time to it and may have even mastered it.


How to Plan Meetings

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 06/25/2012 - 11:48pm.
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In light of the collaborative tone of Group Genius and the equally collaborative nature of the presentations, this excerpt from Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, a book by Ken Segall, a close collaborator of Steve Jobs, sheds some light into Jobs’ simple but successful approach to meetings at Apple: less is more. Meetings have become an essential part of much of the work we do here at the EdLab and they all differ in size for various reasons.

Do you agree with Segall's assessment of planning meetings and workgroups and how do you usually plan meetings that you lead here at the EdLab?

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