“I’m going back to school.” It’s a common decision when someone wants a job promotion or a career change. And that’s especially the case during an economic downturn. Can’t find a job? Go back to school. More education can mean job re-training, or it can simply mean a time-out from the work world altogether — a time to live on grants, scholarships, and student loans.
But as the cost of college tuition skyrockets and the burden of student loans outpace other forms of consumer debt, going back to school might not be such a great plan. Add to that the wealth of educational resources now available online, the possibility for people to learn new skills and to gain new knowledge outside of the traditional college classroom seems to be a compelling argument not to head right back to school.
And that’s the case author Kio Stark is arguing. Stark is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, crowd-funding what she hopes will be her next book — a guide to help independent learners figure things out on their own.
Helping independent learners build networks so they can access a professional or learning community.
Stark’s book will join a number of others, including Uncollege‘s Dale Stephens’ Hacking Your Education (due out from Penguin in 2013) and Anna Kamenetz’s Edupunk Guide, which are making Continue reading
The vast discrepancy in the price of apps doesn't always reflect quality.
Walk the aisles of any toy store and you’ll see miles of shelves lined with $20-$30 board games and toys.
We’re accustomed to paying that amount because that’s where that the market set the price years ago. It’s predicated on production costs, overhead for toy manufacturers, distribution, and the store’s cut of the margin, among many other factors.
But with apps, it’s been a different story. Combine the freedom from marketing-oriented design restrictions with the power of new digital tools like the iPad, and the result is an explosion in excellent, interactive, educational games that allow kids to explore and create — not just consume or destroy — and at a far cheaper price.
Would parents be willing to make the ideological jump to paying more for a quality educational app?
Straight out of the gate, consumers are used to paying just a buck or two for most apps — and many of the “lite” versions are free. Even the apps that most agree have educational value vary in range from free to $7. Most would balk at the idea of paying $20 or $30 for an app when it’s available for so much less.
But there’s one thing app users have discovered: there are apps and there are apps. Some will invariably be single-function duds. At $1, it’s not much of a risk (though it does add up if Continue reading
We start teaching kids about jobs and professions at an early age. By elementary school, they know what doctors, scientists, farmers and firefighters do. In some cases, there are supporting programs to help kids gain knowledge and hands-on experience needed for those careers and to put them in touch with those who work in the field.
That’s not always the case when it comes to entrepreneurship, even though the skills necessary to build and run one’s own company can be relevant to anyone: financial literacy, responsibility, problem-solving, creative thinking, collaboration and independence. Add to that list “technical skills,” and we have not just an outline for a curriculum for career-readiness, but also the building blocks for what has become — and will probably become more so — a crucial driving force for economic growth in the country.
So how do you explain “entrepreneurship” to kids? How do you explain business models, business plans, and basic economics?
Lull Mengesha argues that many elementary school-age kids already have an understanding of bartering, and that’s where he starts the first book in his series “Building an Entrepreneur.” Lull and Continue reading
Thousands of people have enrolled for Stanford's online science and robotics classes.
This summer, Stanford University announced its plans to make three of its introductory computer science classes available for free to the general public. The classes — Machine Learning, Introduction to Databases, and Introduction to Artificial Intelligence — were to be taught by Stanford faculty and held online in conjunction with the regular on campus courses held during this October to December term.
Those participating in the online versions were able to take (almost) that same class as the enrolled Stanford students, and the online students were given the option to take an easier version too, one that didn’t require completing the homework or taking the quizzes. Those who successfully completed the courses won’t receive grades or credit but will receive a signed “statement of accomplishment” from the professors.
The news of Stanford’s online experiment generated an immense amount of interest, with more than 130,000 signing up for the A.I. class and roughly 50,000 registering for the Machine Learning and Databases classes. Now that the term is in full swing, those numbers have dropped off substantially. Even so, some 35,000 students have turned in the first three weeks of homework assignments, reports EdSurge in its latest newsletter, joining the 175 Stanford students taking the class on campus.
Managing a class of that size is almost unimaginable. Even so, Professors Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun held office hours last week via a Google Hangout. That too was a bit Continue reading
Fayetteville Free Library, by Lauren Smedley
You’ll hear a lot of talk about the “death of the public library” these days. It isn’t simply the perpetual budget crises that many face either. It’s the move to digital literature, and the idea that once there are no more print books (or rather if there are no more print books), the library as an institution will cease to exist.
Librarians will remind you, of course, that a library is much more than a book repository. It’s an information center (free and open information, I should add). It’s an educational center. It’s a digital access center. It’s a community center. It’s fairly clear when you describe the library like this that none of these roles are going away (nor should they), no matter what format our reading habits may move to.
But these new formats will indeed change libraries — how they operate as well as how they look. As our books become digitized, there may be less need for row upon of Continue reading
What is a university? There’s a legal answer to that question, of course, as well as historical, philosophical, instructional, and civic. And strictly by some of these definitions, General Assembly doesn’t qualify as a university. There are no degrees awarded. There is no .edu Web domain. There is no football team.
And yet the New York City-based organization has a “campus.” It offers classes in engineering and entrepreneurship. It even offers certification. And by some accounts at least, what General Assembly offers the New York City community (and soon London, too) is very possibly the future of higher education. At the very least, it could be the future of more informal, lifelong learning.
General Assembly officially opened at the beginning of the year, a self-professed “campus to the public.” That campus offers classes on topics like Web design, startup accounting, and product Continue reading