Entrepreneurship is encouraged and supported in academia, at every level of study. At MIT, doctoral students now weigh the pros and cons of pausing their academic pursuits (or dropping out) to develop their work commercially against completing their doctorate. Do they let licenses run out, developed inside of the University? Or do they stay in school? It is hard to run a company and do the work required for graduation, but where is their obligation? This article in The Chronicle describes some examples. “The public has invested in university research and will now reap the benefits. At the bottom of these initiatives, though, are students like Ms. Brikner, who now must balance two obligations to MIT: as student and licensee.”
The education startup community has been focused on making the acquisition of credentials more open and democratic. The disrupters – Coursera, Udacity, and others offer alternative credentialing models – which operate on the premise that the same knowledge obtained from courses in a University can be replaced by their own credential. Perhaps we need more of a paradigm shift, where the focus is on creating good jobs. Interesting thoughts from TechCrunch. “With such a labor environment, credentials are becoming even more crucial in differentiating talent, the exact opposite goal we are striving towards today. While it is hardly desirable to reverse our efforts around productivity, if we hope to change the way credentials are used in our economy, Silicon Valley should emphasize more of its resources around rebalancing the labor market rather than merely changing the pieces of paper used.”
Investment into educational technology is expected to double next year. This graphic, from NewSchools Venture fund and published by EdSurge, is interactive. Each bubble represents one of over 100 investments in 2013.
Glad to see the investment in EdTech and interest in being a part of new educational paradigms…as long as the startups are talking to educators about their experience and what they need. It’s a missing piece of communication and feedback that is only starting to occur recently. Thankfully. “But why the sudden interest from Silicon Valley? The US education system looks broken. US primary school students are lagging their peers in Europe and Asia in math and science testing. College education is notoriously expensive and inflation in the cost of tuition is difficult to control. Companies complain that the US needs to do a better job educating its workers.” Article is from Quartz.
The anatomy and advantages of Hackathons, from a blog post by Skilled Up – they are a fantastic experience for anyone who hasn’t attended one. Though there is an immediate association between hackathons and programming or UX design, the article also correctly points out that they are not for programmers only. “Hack” is being used in a broader sense. Finding an easier way, “hacking” a process for greater efficiency – these are all hacks. Hackathons need idea people, project people, and all types to carry a project through to success. Hackathons are, in fact, the ultimate immersive learning experience.
“In the face of rising costs, workplace readiness and professional competency have taken center stage as measures of a successful college career, and the hackathon model may provide an opportunity to promote them. The essential elements of a hackathon fit together to create an immersive experience for participants. Within the limits of an identified overall purpose, there are periods for project pitches, team formation, project development and presentation.”
It’s great to see education entrepreneurs getting the funding they need. Hopefully they are getting the connections to educators as well – they need the best advice from the people who know what they’re doing.
We love our edtech entrepreneurs. Why don’t we love them anymore once they are successful?
“Education investment actually falls into four large buckets in the U.S., investors said: technologies targeting the K-12 classroom; technologies or services focused on secondary education; continuing education and professional learning; and consumer-facing educational products and services.”
While Udacity is the company who gets the big press about MOOCs, Udemy, with their one-to-one, asynchronous, fee-based learning focuses on skills people need, and they (as well as the instructors) get paid. It seems they are growing much faster than those getting press attention. “The company has also announced a few growth metrics that seem to indicate that its educational programs have mass appeal. Specifically, Udemy has seen 300 percent revenue growth in the past 12 months, but didn’t provide specific dollar figures. Additionally, it says that student course enrollments grew more than 400 percent in the same time frame.”