Thursday, September 19, 2013

Some Thoughts on Ed Tech and the Sacramento Ed Tech Meetup

I thought this was a great discussion on both the positive trends and real obstacles to work in the Ed Tech field. I wanted to bring up one point last night, but didn't get the chance. And maybe this helps to address David's point about civic responsibility.

My argument is that it shouldn't matter if one is in the private or public sector, works at a public school, private or charter school -- is an entrepreneur or works for the government. If one's aim is to improve education by making it more engaging, interesting and interactive -- where people can explore ideas, search for meaning or find areas of interest (while learning the basics) - then does it really matter what sector they're from?

If educational innovation and the development of Ed Tech products is not supported by larger institutions, but the search for market success drives work in this area, then I guess I would have to ask what the problem is in supporting entrepreneurs? That is, I'd like to see more meetings between these various groups, i.e. get educators working with developers and investors so we can work towards getting on the same page and driving or encouraging more innovation. Plus, if points, badges and gamification can work in the classroom so well, wouldn't it be a contradiction to not support financial incentive for successful entrepreneurs. What about promoting partnerships and profit sharing with the public schools?

One of the things we learned from our Education Super Collider event at HackerLab (back in November of 2012) is that Ed Tech is like the Wild West right now. It's a mass of different parties with different interests and even using different sets of vocabulary, i.e. academic vs. business vs. weird "startup language."  Navigating this is difficult. So, if this or any group can help figure out some good strategies for bringing apps, games, platforms and projects to students, this will really help.

Thanks to Sheila HerdJason Fabbri, Paul Smith and HackerLab for putting on this event.

Note: the picture references a comment made at the meetup about young Spock's education - as portrayed in the prequel. 

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