Learning

A Class Discovery Platform: By Students, for Students

berkeleytime

Today, you can use an app to hail a cab or to have groceries delivered within an hour, but college students still use outdated academic services for even simple tasks like signing up for classes, arranging college housing, and paying tuition. Frustrated with such outmoded tools, three UC Berkeley undergrads created an intuitive application to solve a central academic challenge for students there (and at most schools): finding the classes that best suit them.   More

E-Commerce Learning

Audible Founder Katz on Discovering the Music in Language

Even the head of an audiobook juggernaut has to admit that certain books were meant to be read on the page rather than listened to on headphones. For Audible founder and CEO Donald Katz, that book is “The Sound and the Fury,” which he describes as “one of the most complex and beautifully constructed pieces of literature” and a primer on the “music in language.”   More

E-Commerce Learning

Got Audiobook? Audible CEO Katz on the Rewards of Listening to Literature

Since introducing one of the first digital audio players in 1997, Audible (now owned by Amazon) has become the biggest name in audiobooks. “It really is seen as a service now,” says Audible founder and CEO Donald Katz of the surging audiobook phenomenon. We spoke to Katz at the recent Venture for America Summer Celebration in NYC. He ticked off some of the benefits enjoyed by the growing legions of audiobook consumers: “They get to work smarter than the guy in the next cube; they have storytelling in their lives on a consistent basis.” Most importantly, he said, they’ve found a valuable way to spend the millions of hour per week Americans spend in traffic.   More

Learning

Audible CEO Katz on Why Audiobooks Boost Literacy

Donald Katz, founder and CEO of audiobook pioneer Audible, can go on at length about why listening to books is a virtue for readers and society. That's not surprising, since his company (now owned by Amazon) effectively created the mass listening phenomenon, and dominates it in the U.S. Katz says that by listening to literature, “a lot of people who just don’t have enough time to read now effectively read and ingest beautifully-arranged words.” We spoke with him at the recent Venture for America Summer Celebration in NYC. He argues that audiobooks aren’t just a supplement for adults who are short on time. “A lot of kids are turned on to reading itself or the concept of long, immersive experiences” through audiobooks, he said.   More

Learning

Techno-skeptic Andrew Keen on the Failures of American Universities

“Universities are two or three hundred years behind the curve,” said writer and entrepreneur Andrew Keen (without any evident irony) when we spoke with him at the recent DLDnyc conference. Despite a technologized economy “rushing at about a million miles an hour,” Keen believes our institutions of higher education still “move with glacial speed.” But he doesn’t think that keeping up with technology will necessarily solve this problem. While the “Digital Vertigo” author is a confirmed techno-skeptic, he recognizes that the failures of higher education in America are not necessarily caused by the misuse of technology. Rather, he believes universities are suffering from a deeper cultural and intellectual malaise.   More

Learning Mobile

Mobile Panel Looks at How to Engage Students Through Their Devices

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When it comes to user engagement, the biggest competitor to any online education platform isn’t a rival one, said Dan Friedman of Thinkful on stage at this week's M1 ("Mobile First") Summit. It's Netflix. So how can Web-based schools keep the attention of students who'd rather be watching Breaking Bad? The answer might come from mobile.   More

Learning

Education Needs to Change as Fast as Technology

Illustration by Oliver Munday

More Americans go to college than ever. But how many think about the return they will get from tuition payments that can easily reach $200,000? Up to half are unemployed or underemployed a year after graduation. And two-thirds say they need further training and instruction to enter the workforce. As student debt balloons, it's time for society to re-evaluate postsecondary education—and our entire system. We need to create new and innovative systems that help individuals achieve their potential. The Web is changing many important functions of modern society—how we transfer money, communicate, purchase products, and more—but has been slow to transform the critical task of educating the next generation of citizens and leaders.   More

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?

(Image via Shutterstock)

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?

(Image via Shutterstock)

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 Video

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

(Image via Shutterstock)

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

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

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

Bio & Life Sciences Learning

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