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May - 2012 - issue > Editorial
It's not too Far
Christo Jacob
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
"If we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids," believes President Barack Obama. While the whole world is undergoing transformation due to technology, there has still not been any incredible transformation in education sector and has a huge scope for change in the U.S. To create a dramatic breakthrough, it's the need of the hour to have a disruptive innovation in the way we learn and teach. As we all know, disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Over the past few decades, though schools have spent billions of dollars placing computer and implementing new technologies in the schools, there has been no big a change. This is because schools tend cram the new technologies into their existing structure without giving a thought into how these can be utilized effectively. Currently, online learning is in a disruptive mode and educational institutions have to create a room for the same. With proper footing, online learning stands a much better chance to improve over time and eventually become good enough to offer a competitive value proposition even for mainstream students. It is only when this happens that the classroom system will really change.

To embrace the real change, we need to see more and more companies initiating the change. Today Apple’s iPad has 1.5 million users in Education (using 20,000 specific apps), and has witnessed gains of 50-60 percent in reading, math and science performance. Internet companies like Netflix and Amazon have devoted significant resources to develop tools that analyze consumer data to identify patterns, tailor results to users' preferences, and provide a more individualized experience. Researchers are exploring whether similar techniques can be applied to education as well.

We do not have to wait Steve Jobs to be reborn. If a good number of smart Silicon Valley entrepreneurs can join the bandwagon of disruptive innovation in education coupled with a strong support from VCs and a major commitment from school administrators, I am sure that a solution for the education crisis in the U.S. is not much far.

Please do share your thoughts with us.

Christo Jacob

Managing Editor


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