EDU problems

Startup Weekend EDU has been built around gathering the most talented people to come together and attack one of the largest and most fundamental problems in the world, the education space. We want to use this forum as a way for people to voice major problems they see and to start discussions on how we can build products to solve them. Also, sort through all the comments and vote up ones you believe need to be addressed the most and that have solutions you believe we could fix. With your help we can make this event one that makes a big impression on the world!

A major problem in the EDU space I see is...

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  1. Low-tech, market-driven solutions for global education

    I don't care where you go — Rwanda, Peru, India, Jordan, the US — there is one universal constant on the planet: Parents want their kids to have a better chance at life than they did. They want them to go to school, get an education and have a better life.

    There are 3 billion people living on less than $2 per day around the world. Every single one of them wants an education — whether for themselves or their children. The #1 thing parents want to spend money on is their kids' education.

    Internet-scale is old news. Let's talk about…

    22 votes
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    • Changing the Learning Environment

      School and higher education is designed around the factory model with managers and middle managers. The world is changing but education is still teaching in this model of lecturing and teachers as experts. To change schools to more of a learning environment that encourages creativity and innovation, I see the need for an Innovation Center where a K-12 school and a teacher-education program at a University design the "School of the Future." Students, teachers, and university students will be co-learners and co-designers of their learning. This school will be used as a model for teacher training, curriculum development, and assessment.…

      19 votes
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      • the lack of focus and motivation for education... we need Social-Gamification

        In order to achieve such -- I believe that an information system platform should be developed. One that will allow a student to visually see their full educational progress. A system that will also keep track of their past achievements, works, and alike creating a historical database for the student to display themselves. This will also be pertinent for future jobs, high education and alike. One that will allow them to communicate and collaborate with other students. A platform that will also provide incentives both tangible and non-tangible to complete their educational progress -- essentially social-Gamification education.

        Incentivization leads to…

        17 votes
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        • Better tools for kids to teach other kids

          Kids would much rather learn from other kids than from adults. Let's build tools that kids can use to easily share their knowledge with other kids in fun new ways. @evanjacobs

          17 votes
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          • Self paced learning in higher education

            Personally, while I was in college, there were classes I NEVER went to and found it much more productive to just study on my own and do the homework assignments. People learn at differently and at different speeds, so it would be great if schools could facilitate that. I know there are things like http://www.khanacademy.org/ that are trying to do this, but wouldn't it be great if you could do something like this at UW and get an accredited degree from a quality University, and actually feel like they did a good job teaching you?

            17 votes
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            • Solving the student loan/higher ed crisis

              Higher education has driven student loans to unsustainable levels. However, the benefits of higher education are immense: networking, personal development, developing subject matter expertise, etc. There are alternative ways to get all of these benefits. However, the credential from a higher ed institution is still an extremely important signal that leads to gainful employment.

              At the extremes are diploma mills on one hand and Peter Thiel's "stop out" program on the other. But how do we best frame this problem - and ultimately create a solution - for everybody else?

              13 votes
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              • Gamification lessons

                I have recently been addicted to http://www.codecademy.com/. Simple concept of taking gamification aspects to teach people the basics of coding and building your own website. I've always daunted the task of how to learn anything about coding, but the way Codecademy has done it, makes it extremely fun.

                How can we incorporate more of these ideas into learning anything? Have you seen any other companies doing similar things in the EDU space?

                13 votes
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                • Train and Mentor - share knowledge globally

                  My name is Nikhil Singhal, and I am a developer, strategist, and currently, a VP of Software Engineering. I have a great respect for education as my parents were educators, my business partner has been an educator and I am a parent of two children.

                  Today, education is everybody’s focus. We spend a lot of time talking about what students are learning and whether they are meeting the standards of learning. But, we are not spending a lot of time talking about the teachers. How can we keep our teachers focused, motivated and prepared? How can we help them grow…

                  12 votes
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                  • Lack of innovation in textbooks

                    Lets not put old wine in new bottle but let's reinvent the text for connectedness, internet, collaboration, social, video, real-time
                    lastest research and changes in an industry, etc. I don't want
                    my same old marketing book slapped up on a Kindle, I want
                    a complete new textbook experience.

                    12 votes
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                    • Better classroom transparency

                      Occasional report cards do not provide enough regular feedback to parents to allow them to address potential issues in their child's learning. We should allow parents to have better visibility into their child's progress by letting them see up to date grades, current curriculum, relevant announcements, etc. Allow them to engage with teachers and other parents directly. Empower parents to be active in their child's education, or at least provide them the information required to allow them to make smart decisions about the extent of their involvement. @alchen #MaveronScholarship

                      12 votes
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                      • Organizing Open Educational Resources into lessons and units

                        Open Educational Resources (open content) is getting a huge push from the US Education Dept and the Gates Foundation. But many teachers don't have the time, or expertise, to coherently organize all the various free digital resources available for their classroom use. This kind of glue is now provided by commercial educational publishers. Who will provide it for OER or, at least, provide guidance on how others can do it effectively and efficiently?

                        11 votes
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                        • Tracking progress, edu-achievements & Degrees2.0

                          The college experience has evolved to be equated with a 4-year degree (or variations thereof, with 2-year post-grad degrees), corresponding to a basket of credits and completed-classes.

                          With the cost of education rising, and the disparity between graduate skills and employer needs, I see a world where students study for shorter period of times, but do so over the course of their lifetime, constantly refreshing skills, and getting 'credit' for them.

                          10 votes
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                          • Teach emotional intelligence in schools

                            Researchers found that kids with high emotional intelligence are more likely to be successful later in life. Develop tools and curriculum to emphasize core values of effort, self-control, and determination. See this recent NY Times article for more details. @lewis_lin

                            10 votes
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                            • Redefining how students interact with each other in the classroom

                              Being a current college student myself, I've noticed that much of the learning process is in actually working and interacting with other students in the classroom setting.

                              It benefits students on both ends by having certain students help "tutor/mentor" others while on the other end, students receive addition peer help. This experience strengthens the classroom as a whole and provides a much more deep thought process versus merely studying for the class and not entirely grasping all concepts taught.

                              A solution I believe that will facilitate this is through students being able to connect or "check-in" to their classes to…

                              9 votes
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                              • New ways to use mobile devices for learning

                                Lots of students are carrying around smartphones. How can we use those for learning?

                                8 votes
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                                • Foster group study environment

                                  Study in a groups helps everyone in the group. Being a student for years, I found learning is more effective when you study with a group of peers. People are more focused when everyone else around are working hard. A group creates a positive atmosphere for study. Furthermore, yours peers can provide help and feedback when you need it.

                                  To make groups study easier and more common among students, we can create tools to help students know each other in large classes, provide a more natural way for students to form groups, and make communication easier within groups. Never wait…

                                  7 votes
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                                  • Teaching students to learn "how to learn"

                                    An inquisitive mind will never really cease learning. Education has to be seen more as a lifestyle, like exercising. There are learning opportunities when we steadily strives for bigger goals - whether we reach that goal or not.

                                    7 votes
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                                    • Tying teacher quality to teacher pay.

                                      Good teachers are never paid what they are worth and bad teachers are always paid a lot more than what they are worth. There has to be a way to make the system more fair in this regard. Interested in exploring some solutions to solve this inequity.

                                      6 votes
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                                        1 comment  ·  Admin →
                                      • Retraining Faculty

                                        Having spent 10+ years in higher ed, I believe one of the challenges is helping faculty (a) understand how technology can enhance learning, (b) learn how to (baby steps) integrate technology and active learning into classes and (c) get over worrying that the students know more than they do.

                                        Most faculty are accustomed to being a "sage on a stage" -- it's how they were taught (lecture-driven, expert). Active learning (adult learning, whatever you want to call it) is not new: we've known for decades that it's more effective than lecture and regurgitation (multiple choice or short-answer exams). But active…

                                        6 votes
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                                        • Fund High School and Early College Micro-Entrepreneurship

                                          My idea is a crowd-funding site for high school and early college aged students. Think of this as a niche Kickstarter, with a catch... Not only do you have to raise your capital, but you need a mentor to be fully funded (and a business plan to participate at all).

                                          I want to curate a list of entrepreneurs who would be interested in mentoring these students and match them up based on their field of expertise.

                                          I learned entrepreneurship at a young age by buying and selling Pogs, Beanie Babies, T-Shirts and other items. I believe that these simple arbitrage…

                                          6 votes
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