Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

“Future Self” Will Take What’s Behind Door Number Two, Please

Here’s an interesting study from Columbia University about one’s connection to one’s future self, and how it determines choices one makes.

Impact on education? As far as I can see, helping a student make some strong connection between the learning happening now and the reward or the experience of learning’s outcomes in the future is what a school system should do. Are we doing that well now?

 The June 2011 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research features research from Professor Daniel Bartels, marketing professor at Columbia Business School, and Oleg Urminsky, marketing professor at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, that depicts how consumers feeling or not feeling connected to their future selves impacts their spending and savings decisions. The researchers conducted a series of experiments, manipulating the degree to which subjects felt connected to their future selves. When discontinuity with the future self is anticipated, people behave more impatiently – speeding up the consumption of utility (in this case, gift cards) – than when connectedness to the future self is expected. The research which examines how people weigh smaller, immediate rewards against larger, long-term rewards, is part of a growing area of study in psychology on intertemporal trade-offs.


In the first study, the researchers asked a group of college seniors — three weeks before graduation — to read a passage that described college graduation either as an event that would prompt a major change in their identities or as an event that would prompt only a relatively trivial change. Compared to students who read the passage describing graduation as a small change, those who read a description of the event as a major change were much more likely to make more impatient choices, choosing to receive a gift certificate worth $120 in the next week rather than wait a year for up to $240.


In a subsequent study, the authors asked people to evaluate their sense of connectedness and similarity to their future selves. Three weeks later, they were asked them to choose between smaller gift cards they could use right away or larger gift cards that would require waiting. “Those who had felt more connected to their future selves then made more patient choices and were more willing to wait for a higher-valued gift card,” Professor Urminsky explained.


Professor Bartels discussed the significance of the study. “Our work suggests that you can motivate people to hold onto their money, or make other, more prudent decisions by increasing their sense of connectedness to their future selves. Rather than trying to guilt ourselves into making prudent financial choices or creating complicated incentive schemes, we can instead look for simple, straightforward ways to foster our sense that what matters most will be preserved in our future selves, so that we can achieve goals that are important.”


Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Work, , , , , , ,

Y-Combinator of Education Receives 40 Applications in First Week

Hoping to build on a rise in tech investment and a shift in cultural attitudes about how education is delivered in this country, Geoff Ralston, co-founder of Y-Combinator education investment clone ImagineK12 says that his incubator has received 40 new applications for startup ventures since they opened shop.

Read more to see the notes from the interview:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Media Literacy is the New Diploma and What You Can Do About It

Here’s a broad wash of the brush: The future will be constructed by people who can demonstrate their ideas to a wide audience and find their peers for projects in that wide audience. The future is about building a community around an idea, and the best tools for that are online technology and media, and smartphones that allow many people to connect to each other’s content and personas.

media literacy social media revolutions learning curriculum digital

Getty Image: A teacher shows a student the future

We’ve seen the power of youth yielding social media tools. Look at the massive shifts in hierarchy and decisionmaking, and the overpowering of autocratic state leaders –what the Chinese call the Jasmine Revolution — occurring in North Africa and the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Influence, , , , , ,

Mother Goes to Jail for Getting Her Kid Into Better School

The short response to this is that there are solutions to this kind of problem. A mother in Akron, Ohio faces jail time because she lied about where she lived in order to get her child into a better school.

I’m not conversant enough in the ins and outs of the political game in Ohio, but the way school is run these days is a lot like a feudal kingdom. Politicians in charge of budgets are in charge of who gets to go to what school. And fights over school budgets play an important role in what child gets a particular kind of education.

Filed under: Work, , , , , ,

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