4 Apr 2012

All posts from 4 Apr 2012


What I learned about Hacking EDU at SXSWinteractive

While attending this years SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas it was a wonderful feeling to see so many passionate and creative people using technology to make a change. Many of these people are working hard to use technology as a disruptive tool within education. When I wasn’t battling the dowsing rain, technology malfunctions, logistic needs, hunger, or general fatigue you could find me in events that covered various aspects of the educational technology space.

P2PU Event at SXSW

Photo by Kevin Michael Martin

The first event I attended was Building a Massive Peer Learning Community Online, presented by Phillip Schmid who is the founder of Peer2Peer University.  Schmidt highlighted some influential and successful projects like: MIT Open Coursware, Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Course, Kahn Academies: Flip the Classroom, and Digital Story Telling 106.

But it was his ideas around 5 dimensions of open content that really engaged me. These dimensions are not only similar to our April Hacking EDU’s action ideas but my own personal philosophy when sharing knowledge.

These dimensions include:

  • The allocation of expertise
  • Meaningful and rich assessment
  • Recognition and certification of skills
  • Utilizing design to harness the community

My biggest take away though, is when Schmidt talked about needing fluid learning communities, built for independent learners.  Designing platforms to make education seamlessly engaging, project based, and accessible to everyone  is a very important aspect of the knowledge economy. Existing platforms are breaking down the institutional barriers and empowering learners in a new way.

Later in the week Patrick Doherty and I were fortunate to run into social media maven, entrepreneur, tech guru, and VC Tim O’Riley at the Mashable house after the film screening of Microsoft Biz Spark’s Control Alt Compete where he agreed to give us a few minutes on camera.

With the Four Peaks Hacking EDU April events we geared our questions toward funding and innovation in the education space and wanted to know what he thought was exciting in this area. When asked what edtech companies  he found most exciting he mentioned, Stanford AI, Codeacademy, and Boundless. All of which he has been a part of in some way.

It’s a very exciting time in educational technology, with many new and innovative players entering this space. most of the tech luminaries, mavens, CEO’s, and bloggers I spoke with said the same thing; the most disruptive have yet to come. Many organizations, companies, and individuals are diligently working to find solutions to some of educations biggest problems. Although the road to solving the issues we face in education will be long and difficult, I believe the future and disruptive potential of educational technology looks very promising.

Please tell us about the projects, programs, technologies and companies you know that are making an impact in education today.

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What I learned about Hacking EDU at SXSWinteractive