Designing the Future of Digital Education

Jose Ferreira of Knewton interviewing Hillary Rodham Clinton

Jose Ferreira, CEO of Knewton interviewing Hillary Rodham Clinton, former US Secretary of State

This week I joined the Knewton Symposium in San Francisco and was a panel speaker on the subject of “Digital Readiness”. We have recently started partnering with Knewton, which I am enthusiastic about since I believe adaptive learning is the next generation. I joined the meeting to make sure I’m up-to-date on the latest thinking and for the networking opportunity.

Great program

The program was a mix of speakers and panel sessions. I especially liked the interesting and provocative speakers:
Jose Ferreira, CEO of Knewton (“transparency on what drives outcomes”);
Andy Rosen, CEO of Kaplan (“why Knewton will fail” – which emphasized the open dialogue of the symposium);
Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University (I was intrigued by his words about the “rise of the super-faculty” – it sparked my interest in the potential “rise of the super-teacher” enabled by technology in schools).

Also, some of the panel sessions gave food for thought, especially:
Investing in Edtech (I liked the quote by Michael Moe, partner at GSV “the best IRR will be produced by education companies that deliver the best ROE”)
The OER Impact (“80% of materials for university foundation years can be found Open Source”)

It was great to hear the “Big Ideas” of entrepreneur Tyler Bosmeny, CEO of Clever about solving Single-Sign-On and intrapreneur Ben Schrom from Google Classroom about simplifying digital workflows. (It was nice that he cited me and my “killer app of education is the teacher” quote too, a boost for Finnish thinking there :)).

Go Hillary!

From my perspective, the highlight of the meeting was the interview with Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She talked intelligently and engagingly about international affairs in a no-nonsense and straightforward way. Firm but fair. I liked her passion and commitment to education, for example with the “Too small to fail” program, helping to improve the health and well-being of children aged 0-5 years. Her words about making sure that schools are fit for children to attend and treating teachers as professionals appealed to me too. We had a short photo session afterwards, and even though we exchanged only a few words, she was funny and nice and I really liked her. Go for President Hillary!

Main takeaways

The three main takeaways for me from the meeting were:
1. The move to adaptive learning is the next generation. I believe we are right to be investing.
2. It will be of great importance to evidence and improve outcomes and to take a more proactive stance in positioning outcomes in our value proposition. We need to raise our game here. Our Learning Lab starting in September can help us in that regard.
3. It’s good to look and be outside, to be up-to-date with the latest developments and to be connected with talented people in the industry alongside the talent we have at Sanoma Learning.

Thank you Knewton!

It’s always great to be in the USA. I love the optimism and the way they go for it! Thanks to the Knewton team for having arranged a great meeting!

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