Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Innovation Money Went to Allegiances, not to Innovation in Education

This article in GOOD about the poorly managed good intentions behind the i3 grants is spot on: money went to allegiances, and to the estabilshment that was already set up to “guide” education innovation. The money did not go to real and ingenious startups, among them the smaller entities headed up by hard-working and risk-taking entrepreneurs.

Here’s a quotation from the article, but go and read it for yourself. It is written by Philissa Cramer of Gotham Schools, and quotes a former public relations staffer from NewSchools Venture Fund, Julie Landry Petersen.

But a funny thing happened on the way to innovation. When the first multimillion-dollar grants were awarded last year, they went to some of the country’s most established education nonprofits—to allow them to keep doing pretty much what they had been doing. For example, the two largest prizes, $50 million each, went to the KIPP Foundation (one of the most established charter school networks) and Teach for America to expand their famously well-oiled human capital machines. Smaller “development” grants of $3 million to $5 million each helped school districts bulk up their arts programming or data analysis.


Filed under: Influence, Work, , , , , , , ,

Kno Turns Any Textbook Diagram into a Quiz

For some reason I can not embed any TechCrunch videos on WordPress, but here is a link to a quick video that shows edtech startup Kno and two of its new offerings for education.


Filed under: Digital Learning, Gaming, Video, , , , , ,

Virtual Goods Slip Into #Education Field

If you are building a virtual education or online education play, you probably worry about relevancy. You have to fight against two camps of thought: people who think that virtual education or gaming education is a distraction from the real world of reading, writing and arithematic; and people who think that gaming education or online learning has no impact on the real lives of people.

I just found MiniMonos, an online education game for boys with a twist.

Buy a virtual good inside the game and you contribute to a clean water supply for kids in India (14,000+ days to date), as well as adopting orangutans, supporting wild tigers, and other feel-good rewards. There are also in-world rewards for real-world eco-actions.

Why boys? Disney tends to target boys with TV shows as girls will happily watch boys’ shows, but not vice versa. But online, there’s lots of entertainment for girls, but not much for boys. So if you capture the boys online, you bring the girls along with them, thus increasing the value of the company.

Its four main countries are the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand; memberships is driven through natural traffic (word of mouth), Google Adwords, the Miniclip games aggregator site, and PR, via primarily kids’ television. The company has just launched TV commercials in the UK and will launch branded prepaid cards in Sainsbury’s in the UK in October.


Filed under: Digital Learning, Gaming, Influence, , , , ,

Tom Vander Ark’s Blended Learning Glide Path

Educators and education consultants must have a few questions after a New York Times article about charter school projects that Tom Vander Ark sought to set up in 2010.

The article points out that Vander Ark spent $1.5million on “lawyers and consultants” but failed to open three blended learning schools in Brooklyn and Newark, New Jersey.  Vander Ark pinned the flop on the bad economy and other factors, but claimed that his staff members and colleagues were making “ridiculous” claims that there was no “there” there.

After the jump, a couple of quotations and a link to the article.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Tech, , , , , ,

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