Friday, June 26, 2009

Education Innovation - see Seattle

This week I trekked out to Seattle to check out a couple of latest advances in education companies. I stopped by Global Scholar and Scholarity to get an update on their offerings. I was very impressed.

Global Scholar has an education management system that is pretty amazing and can gather and mine the data teachers need to really understand their classes. As a test geek, I was also very impressed with item level analysis their software can provide so that teachers, who are not test developers, can figure out which questions are good and which need to be tossed. If the data is there, it can be analyzed quickly and easily through this platform. As we look to the classroom of the future, tools like this will create that “disruption” we crave. I think it also makes for a larger grouping of students who are managed through the education process by a senior instructor, a junior instructor and a few analysts.

That can be accomplished on a greater scale with Scholarity. I got a sneak peak of their software which provides Intuitive, Adaptive and Personalized (IAP) learning through their software platform. I was pretty blown away by this innovation. The software analyzes your performance as you work through courses to adapt to your level. As we look for the classroom of 1 that can truly provide differentiated instruction, this platform has the ability today. It provides additional work and practice based on how well you grasp each concept. If you forget something, it takes you back to refresh that knowledge before you move on. It goes at your pace and continues to challenge you every time you master a concept. Plus it checks each step of multi-step algebra problem and points to the exact step where you went wrong. How cool is that.

With groups of students working at their own pace with their Instructor and his/her helpers moving around, students will move much quicker through the material and those who struggle will not be lost as the teacher keeps the pace centered on the average students. And those who are ready to move on, will not be bored waiting for others.

Seattle, with a seemingly endless supply of former Microsoft software experts and ties to inexpensive engineers in India, will supplant New York as the education location in the United States if these two companies are any indicator.