Digital Learning with Innovators

Personal digital learning is a megatrend that will reshape the world.  It will increase the number and percentage of students prepared for college and careers in the US.  More dramatically, by the end of the decade it will connect another half a billion youth to the idea economy.  The impact of edtech will be at least as substantial on the arc of history as will clean tech and biotech.
Two of the most important organizations in the personal digital learning revolution are Rocketship Education and Khan Academy.  I had the good fortune to moderate a lively Q&A session with leaders of both organizations at UW last night.
Shantanu Sinha is President of Khan Academy, the most important and fastest growing open education resource on the planet.  Now any student with broadband has access to at least one good math teacher.  His long time friend and colleague Sal Khan continues to crank out video tutorials at a dizzying pace.  They are adding subjects beyond math and translating the videos into the 10 most dominant languages.  As more excercises and assessments are added, Shananu said the platform will continue to become more adaptive.
John Danner leads Rocketship, a nonprofit network of high performing high poverty public elementary schools in San Jose.  Rocketship rotates kids through a computer learning lab for two hours each day.  Its how they can afford to run an eight hour school day and pay teachers more than traditional public schools.
John only has three schools open today, but he’s pushing hard for quality and scale.  As education technology improves, he’ll expand the time that students spend in the learning labs, and that will make the model even more scalable.   John’s early results and plans lead me to believe that Rocketship will be the first big national high performing school network.
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Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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