Innovation is your only hope

Bill Gates and education:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Monday that it would be funding a $20 million, multi-year grant program to foster innovation in online instructional tools with a particular focus on community colleges. According to the New York Times, the Foundation will be joined by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and four non-profit education organizations in using technology to ultimately prepare more students for the high-skill job market.

There’s the idea of the hybrid. You’ve got to have effective teachers. The effective teacher is the most important thing. And yet how do you leverage their time so that kids are watching and trying things out (online), either out of school hours or when the teacher is with a small group of students?

Those hybrid models are really just beginning to emerge and be measured. Unless you get some really great content, the idea of just having the tool alone probably just has modest benefit. If you get the content right and widely available, then it has a much, much bigger impact.

There’s nothing that has emerged yet where all the schools are using a common set of content, and the amount of budget that K-12 school systems have for online stuff is pretty modest. We really need a nudge to get things moved in the right direction.

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