Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Thomas Vaidhyan: CEO, Aten Inc.

Thomas Vaidhyan, CEO, Aten, sat with me for a few minutes and talked about his company and the role he wishes to play in improving public education. Thomas is spurred on by his son’s experience in education and his experiences growing up in India.

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Game Change: Video Gaming that Supports Education Innovation

Is the K12 education system a system we could define as demand with no supply? Michael Horn thinks so, and in personal conversations and in some of his recent writing, he has shown this with a focus on disruptive thinking.

There is more pressure now in higher ed to make college more affordable, and this is leading to changes in the delivery model of education. If these changes happen, they need to eventually get down to secondary level, or K12, education.

How do you get these best ideas, which tend to incubate and deliver innovation in for-profit sectors, into a system that not only is built around a non-profit government-fed model, but also actively resists any kind of for-profit thinking?

That’s not the easy one to solve. For now, the most we can do is build it. There’s nobody to sell to inside the system. The selling and the delivery will happen outside of the system. In fact, it already is happening.

One way to get there is by listening to people like Thomas Vaidhyan, who is CEO of IT firm Aten. He gave a great interview recently to the guy who runs Science in the Triangle. Here’s a segment:

Vaidhyan’s noticed the change in perception toward gaming, even in his daily life. After taking his son to a golf camp, he was surprised to learn the instructor rarely had to teach the complicated method of scoring anymore — his classes were already veterans of the fairways featured on Wii Sports.

“Five years ago when we were talking about it, people asked, ‘Are you crazy?’ But now everybody is understanding games can be a very effective tool,” he said.

The prevalence of devices like the iPad and smartphones is also expanding the potential playing field for educational games beyond the console and computer.

“You will see us moving more and more away from books and using devices like the iPhone and the iPad, where not only do you read, but that translates to a more visual and interactive experience,” Vaidhyan said.

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