eddesginlab

October Update

Dear Education Design Lab Community,

We are officially launched! We unveiled our first design challenge at this week’s excellent Capital E-xchange conference at Gallup Headquarters in Washington, DC. The Education Design Lab went from idea to power point to nonprofit startup in less than a year.

So much has changed in that year. Some of the ideas we were sketching last fall have already shown up with other founders in VC portfolios and incubators. We have tried to measure the year in “MOOC hysteria levels” since maybe MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offer a proxy for the “future of higher education” narrative.

Our emotions seesawed. Last fall, we all felt a giddy high from the MOOC gateway drug that might finally bridge the gap of global access for quality education. Spring semester: we felt embarrassed that our tech-saturated, impatient brains resisted sitting through a MOOC, as much as we appreciated the concept. Over the summer, we felt a twinge of compassion as MOOC providers struggled with the sober reality that finding a business model in the second Internet age isn’t much easier than it was the first time around.

Amid this buzz, the Education Design Lab launched on a very positive note … we see MOOC accomplishments, hype and hope as useful. It creates energy and draws out capital. We will test new models of education with a goal of student success and a workplace launch pad firmly in mind. We have been so pleased that parties all around are inspired by the possibilities to problem solve from the central thesis of what do the users want and need to be successful.

It’s great to have launched in DC, the city that has become, in my mind, the hub of not just “edTech,” but “edFuture.” Here, universities, startups, and investors get that technology is a means, but not always. The sold-out Capital E-xchange Conference pulled together 200 players this week who rose above the conference format to push the reinvention of education farther down the path.Badging_Image4Update

At the Conference, MicroStrategy founder Michael Saylor told us that in 20 years we’ll find teaching a class of 20 kids as quaint a notion as growing food in your backyard. George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera explained why ground zero of this movement is the large public universities that educate such large numbers of middle class and lower income students: we are called upon to “drive the most scalable forms of innovation. If we get it right, the multiplier effect is huge.”At the Conference, MicroStrategy founder Michael Saylor told us that in 20 years we’ll find teaching a class of 20 kids as quaint a notion as growing food in your backyard. George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera explained why ground zero of this movement is the large public universities that educate such large numbers of middle class and lower income students: we are called upon to “drive the most scalable forms of innovation. If we get it right, the multiplier effect is huge.”

The Education Design Lab will work with traditional universities and colleges, and the school systems that feed into them as they challenge their own traditions—credits, seat time, majors and workplace readiness—and build more affordable, efficient and relevant pathways for students. And we’ll work with employers, startups and investors on the other side of the equation to help them understand opportunities and shape prototypes with students and institutions.  We are particularly proud to have as our first design partner, George Mason University.

If you have not seen our website, eddesignlab.org, it now includes more details on our team, partners and first round of design challenges. Thank you for taking an interest in the work we’re doing. We’ll check in periodically.

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Kathleen deLaski and the Education Design Lab team