Saturday, October 25, 2008

Putting New Thinking on the Stand

One of the great things about the upcoming Education Industry Investment Forum is that it provides a platform for innovators and iconoclasts to debate the future of education.

On March 11, 2009, founder of Princeton Review John Katzman and founder Jordan Goldman will discuss the role of online innovation in the future of for-profit education.

Why? In short, because they are two people who know intimately what it means to be entrepreneurial. And they are engaging speakers.

What makes John Katzman fun to listen to is his tendency to call things absurd that he thinks are absurd, like his belief that the SAT is not an accurate measure of a student's abilities. He said this in a recent PBS interview.

We need objective measures. If all colleges had were grades, then every teacher, every high school teacher in the country, would have complete control over your future. At the same time, the idea that one test is a perfect measure for several million kids going to several thousand colleges is absurd. You need a flexible system where you can be tested in the things that you are passionate about.

Katzman has now teamed with the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California to run an online community that accentuates current degree programs in Education. It's entrepreneurial, gutsy and an assertive game-changer in the education space.

And Jordan Goldman? He was an early instigator of industry-changing business ideas.

At 18, Goldman created Student Guides, a print publication that gave insight on the college selection process.

He's now done one step better than that and decided to go online, for free, and let students make their own pitches for their own campuses.

He's young, and he's very bright. He sees a future in the social networking and web 2.0 model for college admissions and selection.

He was able to create a model that transforms the possible student population of a school, because it allows more information about that school to be given in a way that makes sense to the potential student. In other words, let's students market their own school to people most likely to attend it. the case of Unigo, it means prospective students who previously couldn’t afford to go on campus tours all across the country, who weren’t able to grab a current student by the arm and ask them questions – now they have a way to find an amazing range of authentic information right from their living rooms. Prospective students have a way to interact with one another and ask each other questions about these schools. And they have the ability to see each college from the perspective of someone just like them. Sure, Columbia is a great school. But is it a great school for African American students? What about students from California? Is it the same experience for a wealthy student as it is for someone a bit less well-off? How about a conservative student, or a gay student? Those are questions Unigo can instantly help you find the answer to. We want to move the focus away from overly broad rankings that don’t tell you much of anything, and over to “What’s the college that’s actually best for YOU?”

You can join them March 9-11, 2009 at the Education Industry Investment Forum.

Register now to benefit from early bird discounts. Early registration

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