10 Things That Will Surprise You If You Put Kids In Charge

Jeff Sandefer at the Acton Academy in Austin, TX describes the innovative work they are doing there:

At the Acton Academy in Austin, TX, we are experimenting with a “Learner Driven Community,” a disruptive approach led by self-directed learners, in a community tightly bound by personal covenants and contracts, using the full power of the internet to craft a transformative, personalized learning path.

While we are in the early stages of refining the model, I believe schools like ours can deliver a transformative learning experience for less than $2,000 annually per student.

My favorite surprise:

Surprise #3: In the 21st Century, ‘Learning to Do’ and ‘Learning to Be’ are ten times more important than ‘Learning to Know.’


Link: https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-05-23-10-things-that-will-surprise-you-if-you-put-kids-in-charge

Automation in our future

The Technology Office at UHS often has conversations about surprising jobs or tasks that have already been automated.

Some examples:

– Driving (Google self-driving car – Anthony Levandowski is a UHS grad, class of 1998)

– Picking strawberries (Shibuya Seiki’s robot)

– Factory assembly work (RethinkRobotics’ Baxter)

And in case this list has given you the wrong impression that only mundane and/or menial tasks are susceptible to automation:

– Anesthesiology (J&J’s Sedasys)

What task or job that has been automated do you find most surprising? What do you think will be automated next? Please let us know in the comments below!

Disruptive Change Coming to Education

I recently read about Eastman Kodak’s rumored bankruptcy: “The year hasn’t been kind to Kodak, which has suffered massively from photography’s transition from film to digital….” I can’t say I’ll be very surprised if they do declare bankruptcy: their industry was severely disrupted by the introduction of digital photography, and despite their previously dominant position and early work in digital, they have not been able to adapt successfully—corporate Darwinism, I suppose.

Their troubles remind me that my industry (secondary education) has entered its own period of massive disruption with the introduction of online learning. Just as digital cameras were clearly inferior when they were first introduced, online learning is clearly inferior to in-classroom learning… so far.

However, just as digital photography first made in-roads on the fringes, so has online learning. The Flex Academies, offered by K12.com, would probably not appeal to many families who send their children to independent prep schools which sit at the top of the secondary ed pyramid. However, I believe the Flex Academy concept, which provides an adult-supervised, safe place to stay while parents are at work, combined with a self-paced online curriculum, will appeal to many families for whom independent education is out of reach.

K12.com initially offered online curriculum for home-schooling, so we see that the concept of online education is already moving up the pyramid, and is currently at the second or third level. As online technologies improve, become more interactive and engaging, and as K12 and other online curriculum providers experiment, learn, and solve the problems with their approaches, this climb up the pyramid will continue.

How long before it reaches the top? For my own sake, and for the sake of my colleagues at UHS and other independent schools, I hope a good, long time—but we would be wise to anticipate this disruption before it reaches us, and to recognize it for both the threat that it represents, as well as an opportunity. I’ll write more about online learning as opportunity in a future blog post.