One, to many
“You know I never finished university. I’d even tell you, you don’t need university.”
These are the few words I remember from a chance encounter with the critically-minded Cory Doctorow last year while attending a discussion on media at UofT. I don’t remember the actual discussion too much but those words seem to have stuck in my head. It’s been over a year since the event but as the humour in fate would have it, I have decided to take a year off. Not as Cory suggested, leave, but take a year off.
Let’s pause for a second to mention my honest excitement towards academia. This statement isn’t a play to my brave parents or the faculty I’ve had the chance to work with. I honestly believe there’s huge value placed in the research and findings done at the academic level. In fact the small outside of school research project I co-founded, Open Journalism, hinted to me the power of understanding complex problems that meet at the intersection of social, and technological change. We need these places of discussion and research, greatly.
With that said, I’m really excited to working with the Educreations team in Palo Alto, California for the next 9 months. I will miss Canada.
It’s likely not a coincidence that I chose to work with a team of people that care deeply about democratizing the tools to teach.
Imagine for a second if Newton, Feynman, or Einstein had the ability to share their knowledge to anyone with a computer. It’s with that hope, knowing that the next Newtons are being born and giving them the right tools to share what they know. That excites me.
The Educreations iPad app and website take a step forward from the giant whose shoulders many of us stand on, Sal Khan, to give anyone who wants to teach the tools to do so.
It’s apparent that as our ability to reach everyone around the world increases, it’s important to build things that allow distribution of knowledge in really easy to use ways. Tim O’Reilly has done a really good job with this idea in his creation of O’Reilly publishing, with the ethos that it was important to build things that allowed the sharing of information from one to many.
I’ll be spending the next 10 months better understanding how to make tools that are joy to use. That means a focus on building a tool that both understands and experiments with the future of technology and the classroom.
If you know me well, you know that I spend most nights working on small code/design projects. I’m excited to see what my full focus and working closely with some brilliant engineers can do to help build a really important technology.
We have big expectations to fill if the next Newton is just being born and grabbing for that iPad, after all.
If dots are minds, and minds are full of knowledge, surely connecting the dots will make humankind a bit more humble, and a lot more educated.
I can’t take all the credit for making working in education cool again. Apparently GZA was on board before me.