EDUCATION: DISRUPT

Several years ago my now-college aged daughter was very interested in attending the Naval Academy in Annapolis. We read everything we could about the Academy, met with various graduates, attended events at the Great Lakes Naval Station, etc. Why? Because she was smart, disciplined and was searching for the right type of college education. She also loved the idea of serving our country, and the fact that the 5 year military and management experience would be absolutely amazing. During that time, a Time magazine issue was released where the cover story featured a service academy graduate and highlighted the amazing managers produced. West Point was ranked first in the nation that year. It didn’t hurt that our new neighbor and now dear friend was/is a West Point grad – and she is a remarkable woman.

To make a long story short, while my daughter did not end up pursuing a service academy, I have really never gotten over the $200,000  question…the “savings” we had been looking at while exploring the military. Who has $200k sitting around? I’ve always been a little uneasy around the discussion of the college price tag as it is just plain inaccessible to the masses. That is not right. It just isn’t.

Maybe the price tag is why I am absolutely obsessed with how rapidly education is changing – and quite frankly, it’s all happening right before our very eyes. It’s HERE. It’s HAPPENING. And it’s SO exciting!

Several years ago I read about the Khan Academy. After researching Sal Kahn, I called my mom to talk about it, “MOM you have GOT to read about Khan Academy! Oh my gosh – he’s going to change to world!” To which my mom (who’s always one step ahead)  replied, “oh YES – I’ve read about him! I agree- he’s going to change to world.” So here we are. When Khan sat down to assist a nephew on math homework via Skype he discovered and hit upon the beginning ingredient in the search for the Holy Grail in education: delivering meaningful content in a cost-effective way.

If you still don’t get it: how about the two Stanford professors who decided to offer an artificial intelligence course online for free, and open it up to the masses (MOOC: massively open online courses)?? Within two days over 160,000 people from around the world had enrolled. EVERY country in the world was represented except for North Korea. Let me say it again: EVERY country in the world. Talk about PENT-UP demand?! The world is yearning to learn! Finally, technology can provide a platform!

So here we are. Whether through Udacity, Audacity, UniversityNow, etc the world of education as we know it is gone. Of course, I keep reading about the new programs but know there is one thing holding me back from fully embracing: the social and learning environment of attending college in person cannot be replaced by online courses. And then?

The Minerva Project.

The end. Please take the time to read about it: The Minerva Project. It just might be getting close to solving the learning environment problem AND finally provide a viable option that will not cost $200k.

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