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Money & Finance Opinion

Remember the Titans

By Tom Segal — October 19, 2012 2 min read

This past Tuesday, right before the second Presidential debate was set to take place, I attended an education meetup called “EdTech Titans of Industry” that was hosted at Knewton’s headquarters. The event featured a top flight panel including Greg Gunn, Jose Ferreira, Laurie Racine, and Harold Levy. Put together by Adam Aronson and Sharon LaDay of NYEdTech*, the meetup was broken into two sections: questions from a moderator, and then an audience Q&A. I have been to a number of these tech meetups in New York City, as well as panels at EdTech conferences across the country, and this particular one was likely the most intelligent, informative, and thought-provoking discussion I have heard to date.

Much of the discussion focused on the future of education, leveraging technology to scale, using data as feedback to shape learning paths (a topic that Mr. Ferreira is fairly qualified to comment on), and the role that private industry plays in facilitating this monumental transition. Throughout the chat, I scribbled down some quotes I found particularly interesting. Again, I emphasize that these are simply scribbles, and thus not spot on quotes, but they are likely close enough that the speakers won’t mind the botching:

Jose:

“Online education will be the Internet inside of a decade.”

"[In reference to college] what other product asks you to move away from your home for four years?”

“Education produces vastly more data per person than any other industry.”

Laurie:

“College is there for turning kids into adults, moving them out of the house and getting them to grow up.”

“We are raising a nation of digitally illiterate people. We need to teach coding in kindergarten.”

“Entrepreneurism is a social good. People that start companies learn [stuff]**.”

“Corporations should partner with community colleges. Disaggregate training. Force corporations to contribute back in ways they would actually later benefit from.”

Harold:

“In the NYC school system, 20% of kids miss a month of class or more each year (used to be 30). This is similar throughout the country.”

My apologies to Mr. Gunn, who had plenty of interesting ideas to share as well. It just happens I only remembered to type down these few quotes on my iPhone.

It turns out that there is a complete video feed of this event posted here, but as the volume on my computer is currently out of commission, I cannot review it myself. If you are low on time, you can check out a storified version of the evening here.

Many thanks to Sharon and Adam for putting it all together and drawing a packed house.
**Sorry Laurie, this is a family blog.

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