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Ed Startup 101, Week 3


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The twist with Techcrunch and its tech blogging kin is that interest in the technology industry now has a larger appeal than just those who work in the sector. Many readers are tech entrepreneurs and tech investors; many are tech enthusiasts and tech consumers. I bet we could say the same about education — it matters to everyone and not just teachers and students. But I doubt very many people would bother reading an education trade publication if they weren’t “in” education. And yet there’s a sudden zeal for ed-tech among the tech trade publications (and among tech industry folks). But what gets written about mostly, I’ll repeat: it’s not journalism; it’s marketing.

The line between journalism and marketing has definitely been crossed.

Her and Diane Ravitch seem to be the only ones willing to stand up and provide a contrarian view.

I think healthcare is a good example of what has and could happen to education.

In what sense? Sweeping reform that is resisted by half the population?

Rising costs and the poorest being marginalized. It wasn't a positive reference. :) It's more of a concern/warning.

Warning levels have risen. That's why do many people are trying to reinvent education through technology or entrepreneurial endeavors.

Do you genuinely believe this is why investors are backing EdTech startups?

When the venture capitalists, angel investors, and startups hire or invest in founders and employees with degrees from Udacity and Coursera instead of Harvard or stanford -- without any preference for an ivy-league degree -- I will believe the sincerity of their intent.

I think investors are looking for a return on investment and some seem to think education could be lucrative.

It's going to be a LONG time before VCs / Angels / Startups accept Udacity and Coursera graduates. Decades.

So then who benefits from the coming EdTech revolution?

BRIC nations bolstered by access to content they previously didn't have (for free), elite American families, and the highest-performing lower-class individuals. Everybody else gets left behind.

Meanwhile, middle to low-class students continue to get their college degree (which is what they need to get a job) for $25-$250,000 in debt.

I think there's a third path, though. And it's the DevBootcamp model. More and more folks figuring that apprenticeship and intensity is much, much more effective to acquiring necessary skills for job-seeking and retention or retraining than a 4-year degree.

Oh man, have you seen Bloc? http://www.bloc.io/

I believe that's what you're describing.

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