Business Learning

Educating Executives to Disrupt, Not Be Disrupted

The Drugs Dilemma: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business: Overview

Much has been written about how technology is transforming education. Still more has been written about how technology is driving disruption in business. Less explored is a question posed by the intersection of those ideas: how can technology help business leaders to educate themselves about potentially disruptive opportunities and threats? The MOOC model is ripe for adaptation to deliver structured courses to business leaders, helping them to think about potentially transformational combinations of ideas at the periphery of their industries. The Forum Academy, launching this month with a course on global technology leadership, is a foray into this space. The World Economic Forum is partnering with edX to use its education delivery platform for expanding access to the kind of conversations that happen at Davos.   More

Learning

Will Bringing Big Data into the Classroom Help Students Learn Better?

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Brad McIlquham was tutoring at-risk youth in Durham, N.C., when a former co-worker gave him the educator’s equivalent of the Social Network pitch. What if, instead of teaching at most 50 kids a year, you could help bring personalized tutoring to 100,000, or a million kids? McIlquham’s co-worker, Jose Ferreira—who had taught SAT and GMAT prep with McIlquham at Kaplan—was proposing an upending of the traditional “teach to the middle” classroom model. When teachers instruct students of varying ability in the same class, some students get bored, while others struggle. And often, teachers don’t discover which students have failed to understand key concepts until their tests get graded. But by then, they’ve already fallen behind.   More

Learning

Can Higher Ed Survive the Threat of MOOCs?

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Massively open online courses are bringing creative destruction to the higher education industry, and incumbents must reconfigure their value chains to survive. MOOCs, as they’re known, are free online courses that use pre-recorded, asynchronous lectures, discussion boards, and peer-grading to reach hundreds of thousands of concurrent students. Among the non-profit MOOC platforms is the edX platform, which includes courses from MIT, Harvard, the University of California, Berkeley. It is funded by the Gates Foundation and Google, among others.   More

Learning

This Company Wants Teachers To Make Money on YouTube

Chris Pedregal (far left) and the Socratic team.

As the cost of education skyrockets in the U.S., online education is an increasingly appealing alternative to the traditional classroom. Everything from standardized test prep to undergraduate classes is being offered online. While some bemoan the fate of scholarly pursuit, the entrepreneur behind one education startup believes this is the shake-up academia needs. Socratic co-founder Chris Pedregal says the educational system wasn’t designed with its end-users in mind. “Very little in the educational space is impacted by the questions students have,” he says, pointing out that this is the approach behind many tools students already use to find information, such as Google.   More

Cities Learning

How Remixing Has Helped Revive Pittsburgh

TransformED, a digital playground for teachers at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. (Image via The Sprout Fund)

The Rust Belt story you’ve probably heard tells how the cities and towns that once formed the engine of 20th century growth have been left in the dust by the global economy. The decline of domestic manufacturing, mass migrations, and economic stagnation may appear to have paralyzed this once prosperous land of opportunity. But in my hometown of Pittsburgh, we’re seeing communities reinvent themselves from the ground up—increasing opportunities for civic engagement and improving quality of life. It's starting with the education of our youngest citizens. At the same time, digital technology is giving people powerful new access to tools and resources, creating whole high-tech cottage industries.   More

Business Learning Security & Privacy

This Week’s Techonomic 5

A still from "Koyaanisqatsi."

Welcome to the first installment of our Techonomic 5, a brand-new series spotlighting techonomic happenings from around the Web and beyond. Every two weeks, our editorial team shares its picks of the top people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech's ever-growing role in business and society. Here's what's grabbing our attention: tech curriculums, Canadian data security, apps for mindfulness, the rise of Netflix, and Kayaanisquatsi director Godfrey Reggio.   More

Learning Startup Culture

Education Experts Say College Becoming Like a Startup

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A global survey of leaders in education arrived at six five-year predictions. But they didn't just say social media will burgeon as a tool, along with "blended learning," in which online and offline methods converge. The leaders surveyed by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative also think college will become more like a startup, literally. Methods that replicate the atmosphere of startups will emerge on campus. And the influence of the maker movement will lead to actually producing things as a way to learn. Also likely to become more important: data-driven learning and assessment, as well as just plain more online learning.   More

Digital Learning

A Techonomist’s View of CES

I’ve been to CES more times than I can count. The bright lights, loud music, bustling executives held up by groups of awestruck consumers—the CES show floor has always felt like Rockefeller Center during the holidays. This year, it was hard not to be impressed with the booths from Samsung, LG, Sharp, and Panasonic showing bigger, higher-definition televisions, but to me, it was the smaller and extremely innovative companies that were most exciting. Watch some of my experiences in Vegas and at CES in this video, produced using tools from our partner, Magisto.   More

Digital Learning

Tech Toys at CES: More Than Meets the Eye

The Sphero 2B.

Spending time in the various Vegas casinos alongside last week’s CES, I was reminded that play isn’t just for children. But how we play in our youth has the potential to mold our long-term interests and even influence our career choices. For many, carrying the playfulness of childhood into adulthood is a sign of good health and a robust imagination. As I approached the Orbotix booth, I saw a large group of adults itching to control a small translucent ball as it rolled through a series of tunnels, ramps, water hazards, and other obstacles—all using their smartphones.   More

Learning Life Science Video

Microsoft’s Mundie: Governments Impede Progress in Health and Education

With technology making transformative strides in business, communications, transportation, space, and beyond, why do two of society's most important sectors, healthcare and education, continue to lag so far behind? According to Microsoft's Craig Mundie—who as senior advisor to the CEO has spent years speaking with global leaders on the company's behalf—government may be the root of the problem. "The reason these two sectors have been resistant to change is because in almost every country [they] are controlled by the government," Mundie said in an interview at our Techonomy 2013 conference.   More

Government Learning Partner Insights

Will All Schools Have Nanotechnology Labs?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gets a lesson in nanotechnology from Wheeling High School student Drakkari Lott. (Photo: Ed.gov)

Setting up high school students with atomic-force microscopes and optical profilers so they can study nanotechnology may seem like a science teacher’s dream, but it’s already happening in at least one school in the United States. And the amount of outside financial support received by Wheeling High School in Illinois to make the lab a reality, coupled with efforts to encourage teachers to emphasize the field, suggests that more labs may soon be cropping up. The focus on nanotech in Wheeling and elsewhere speaks to its potential.   More

Learning

Foreign-Language Software Goes to the Library

Mango co-founders and brothers Jason (l) and Mike Teshuba.

Technology has done much to build bridges globally, but it could do a lot more. Helping us speak other languages is one promising arena, expanding global business through cultural awareness. Mango Languages aims to teach the grammar, culture, and intuitiveness of languages in a fun, interesting, and engaging way. The company’s conversation-based learning products employ a technique it calls intuitive language construction. More than 2,700 libraries across the U.S. offer Mango Languages to expose learners to new languages, cultures, and opportunities. And corporate and government adopters are showing how bilingual training is good for business.   More

Learning Partner Insights

Lawmakers: Colleges Need Free Digital Textbooks

Undergrads on average spend more than $1,200 annually on books and supplies. (Photo credit: Lightpoet)

Lawmakers in Washington are considering a proposal that would help colleges produce and share free digital textbooks, a move proponents say would help make college more affordable. The Affordable College Textbook Act would create a grant program for colleges interested in establishing pilot programs that use “open educational resources” to reduce textbook costs. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a supporter of the legislation, has defined these resources as free, online academic materials that everyone can use, adapt, and share.   More

Learning

Rethinking Online Scholarship

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Are MOOCs all they’re cracked up to be? Over the past few years, the merits of massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been fiercely debated; some argue that they will radically expand and democratize higher education, while others say the hype is overrated. Unfortunately, early results have been disappointing, the New York Times reports. A study released this month by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education found that only about half of those who registered ever viewed a lecture, with only about 4 percent completing a course.   More

Digital Learning

Google Isn’t The Only Way to Research

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The fast-growing Digital Public Library of America aims to make accessible the holdings of every library, historical society, and other repository of information. Not just text but photos and other resources flow through this aggregator of sites. The DPLA regularizes the metadata so anyone can search through vast troves of specialized material. Want to find where your great-grandmother lived in rural Minnesota? This is how you may do it.   More

Learning

A Holiday Gift That Helps You Navigate an Electronic World

SynthKitBoxandBits

Thirty-one-year-old Ayah Bdeir wants to inspire a new generation of innovators, and she has the building blocks to do it—literally. Bdeir is CEO and founder of littleBits, a company that sells an electronic toolkit that can teach complex engineering concepts to kids and adults in a fun and simple way. LittleBits users get access to an open-source library of small electronic modules resembling LEGO pieces that snap together with tiny magnets to create fully-functioning devices. Each “bit” has a specific function—it might create light or sound, have a sensor or house a motor—allowing users to create anything from a flashlight to a fully operational robot.   More

Digital Learning

In Chicago, It’s Hot to Study How People Interact Online

People who build technology want you to have the most simple—and emotionally satisfying—experience possible. That's why more and more students are studying UX, or user experience, design. There are many subtleties in how understanding how users interact with technology and how to create user-friendly products. The field of UX design is often described as how and why things work. And Chicago is becoming a hotbed for studying it.   More

Learning Techonomy Tucson The Arts

Why STEM Isn’t Enough to Train Tomorrow’s Creators

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In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama committed to “reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math—the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.” Yet employers realize that it’s not only hard to find good developers; good designers are big difference makers as well. If we want to make the next generation of “artrepreneurs,” we need to add A for the Arts to turn STEM to STEAM.   More

Jobs Learning

The Public Image of the Female Programmer

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The Labor Department has estimated that there will be 1.4 million job openings for computer-related occupations this decade. On the heels of less-than-stellar jobs numbers, this should be welcome news to millennials planning their career paths. But, as Catherine Rampell wrote in this week’s New York Times Magazine, few young women are choosing the computer science field, despite its potential for high incomes and flexibility. Why is this? Rampell suggests that computer science has a “public-image problem,” and there aren’t enough narratives of successful women in the field.   More

Learning Techonomy Detroit Video

“Help Kids Dream Big,” Says Teach For America’s Annis Stubbs

A "prerequisite of being a kid" is dreaming big, says Annis Stubbs, executive director of Teach For America - Detroit. Our challenge is providing students with an education system capable of supporting their big dreams—a system that distributes resources equally, educates the child as a whole, and empowers students to execute on their ideas. At the Techonomy Detroit conference, Stubbs talked about her vision of a reinvigorated education system. "Everything starts with an idea," she said. "We need to help figure out how to ensure that our kids feel good about expressing their ideas and they feel confident enough to have these big ideas."   More