Tag Archives: education

Asking the big questions

This blog is all about Future Business.  My latest consulting gig is in the education space and it is a whole lot of “future”.  Recently, I agreed to serve as Product Manager turning a concept into a repeatable/scalable product for School of One.  It is an ambitious project that gives each student their own custom daily schedule to match their educational needs and learning preferences.

The project is quite a ride.  The people are smart, the goal is ridiculously large, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We are working on problems that not only haven’t been solved yet, but haven’t even been considered and are only now possible given the advancement of technology.

I will keep you tuned via this blog.  If changing the way US public schools work is important to you, feel free to connect and I will be happy to collaborate on anything that is shareable.

Other big questions that I am working on

  • Can an online community be consistently energized by a Twitter Chat? KMers
  • Can online events be made more collaborative by combining video streams with Twitter Chats? twebevent
  • Can the speaker bureau industry be vastly improved?  TBA

Future Education

There is no doubt that Education is critical to the future of the United States economy. Thomas Friedman talks about it extensively in his very popular book, The World is Flat. Therefore, the concepts in this post on Future Education are not only directly applicable to business, but our success in Future Education will have a direct impact on our abilities in Future Business.

I spent 90 minutes last night on the phone with an excellent visionary from the NYC Dept of Education.  Arthur VanderVeen is focused on how best to achieve knowledge sharing for NYC educators.

We talked about the difficulty of turning tacit knowledge into explicit and we talked about the challenges of fostering active communities of interest/practice.

Two of the main tenets of our discussion were

  1. Give them what they want: the sharing needs to have value to the way they work today or want to work today. There are some technologies (eg. Computer, cell phone) that completely change the way we work, but most enhance the way we already work in a more evolutionary fashion rather than revolutionary
  2. Work bottom-up rather than top-down. Try various programs in schools and see what works. Where there is success, invest more to work out if it can be scaled up.

One thing that has come to mind since our discussion is the 100-10-1 rule of community involvement. In the case of education it is probably 1000-100-10-1 due to the challenge of getting already overworked educators to even view information.

  • For every 1000 educators
  • 100 will actively or passively browse the knowledge-base
  • 10 will comment on or use existing content
  • and 1 will contribute something new

That means that for 80,000 teachers you may only have 80 contributors. This is likely not sufficient volume to create a critical mass of content that keeps the 100 coming back and gets more of the 1000 to view. The larger districts may decide to invest in “librarians” who seek out good content and take the time to get it into the knowledge-base, but this is not the most efficient model and is probably not tenable for the smaller districts.

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