Remember when kids used to get beaten up for having thick glasses, liking school, and being obsessed with their computers? Well, those are now the kids that everyone wants to be like. Think about it. The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular shows on TV nowadays, and its characters are now folk heroes. Napoleon Dynamite still has an uncanny cult following after almost a decade out of the theaters. SciFi shows like Lost have become the most popular type of drama series. Thick nerdy glasses are totally in style. Mark Zuckerberg just won Person of the Year. Hipsters are deliberately shopping for the geekiest t-shirts they can find (e.g. Star Wars). And something like 99% of the people we know just love to say “I’m such a nerd” whenever they’re talking about their weird knowledge and obsession about a particular topic. As predicted, the nerds have indeed taken over the world, and they have forced us to join their ranks. (more…)
Andrew Cohen's Posts
Ever since a study from Harvard and Columbia was released last summer “proving” that Google is eroding our memories, educators and technophobes alike have been pontificating on what this means for the future of education and the brain. The Twitter-sphere abounds with doomsday tweets about the “googlification” of our brains. Even Mashable recently weighed in on the subject, lamenting that we may “go into withdrawal when we can’t find something online.” With so much at stake, it’s probably worth understanding the actual context of the Harvard study a bit better. (more…)
Over the past few decades, much has been written about the proliferation of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms among American children and adults. Researchers have postulated dozens of causes and potential remedies for the affliction. Some studies show that the cause is mainly genetic and that the only way to truly treat it is therefore through the use of drugs. Other studies show that the cause is mainly environmental and that the elimination of artificial sugar or TV can slowly restore normality to an ADD-affected brain. And other studies even explore whether the cause of today’s ADD epidemic may actually be rooted in the proliferation of food dyes.
Whatever the causes and potential physiological-based remedies for attention deficit, it’s worth stepping back and considering whether our attention spans could actually be improved by some structural changes in our education & work systems, and in our lifestyles. (more…)
You may have already experienced Brainscape as a mobile education tool that helps you study things more efficiently using intelligent flashcards. If so, thanks for being one of our “early adopters!” Brainscape’s adaptive study algorithm has already helped over one million people like you do things like ace a test or learn a foreign language faster than you ever thought possible.
Yet there’s so much more innovation left to be done in education. Intelligent flashcards can cover only a small part of the knowledge and skills you want to acquire. People deserve a world where any bite-sized learning experience can be made available at their fingertips and delivered seamlessly into their brain. Until Apple invents the iBrain to embed knowledge into our skulls in the year 2025, people deserve to know that every moment of learning time is used as efficiently as possible!
Putting on our science fiction hats for a moment, let’s design a future Personal Learning System that truly optimizes learning. (more…)
No, I’m not being melodramatic. If you are still creating paper flashcards to study, instead of using Brainscape to create shared web/mobile study resources for you and your classmates, then you are personally increasing the pace of deforestation. This deforestation increases the production of CO2, which shrinks the cooling band of atmosphere that spans the earth along the Equator, which naturally warms the planet, which causes the polar ice caps to melt, which destroys the habitat of arctic wildlife, which consequently causes millions of baby seals to die.
So stop being a murderer, and instead use Brainscape to learn faster. You might just improve your brain power in the process.
When most people think of online college classes, the first thing that comes to mind is often a “cheaper,” more convenient alternative to traditional in-person courses. The problem with this model is that “cheap” often brings with it a grossly inferior learning experience.
John Katzman is trying to change all that. After a successful exit of his last education startup – The Princeton Review – Katzman has founded 2Tor as a way for universities to finally offer high-quality online degree programs. 2Tor’s instructional designers work directly with professors to incorporate their content into the company’s growing array of flexible tools, for high-impact education delivered both asynchronously and synchronously. According to Katzman, legitimate online degree programs should focus on “excellence first, and cost containment second.”
I sat down with John Katzman this afternoon to learn more about the history, justification, and future of 2Tor. Please check out our conversation in the video below, and be sure to let John know what you think!
But then I snap out of it. You see, there is a delicate balance between the size of your engineering team and the level of detail with which you should be pre-planning your product long-term development. (more…)
I often find it hilarious how many people I see on LinkedIn, or hear introduce themselves at a networking event, professing themselves to be founders of a “Stealth Startup.” These people presumably want you to know that there is a good reason for their current lack of formal employment, but they don’t want you to know what their actual project is, for fear that someone might copy their idea. Their intent is usually to stay in Stealth Mode for just enough time to prepare an impressive product and marketing blitz, so that the eventual launch has the highest impact possible, with momentum that cannot be easily replicated by copycats.
The problem is that being in Stealth Mode could kill your company.
Ah, nostalgia. I just got done reading the short blog post I wrote last year to ring in the year 2011. It feels like we were such a baby company barely 12 months ago! I mean, we were so excited about the mere facts that we had launched a few pilot iPhone apps and had a new website “on its way”. Gosh we were so cute. Fast-forward to late-December 2011.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve accomplished over the past year: (more…)
Have you ever wished that you could take an on-demand video course for interesting topics like building a website, starting a company, or doing yoga? Gagan Biyani has. That’s why he and co-founder Eren Bali decided to start Udemy, an online course authoring and sharing platform that aims to “democratize online education.” I actually interviewed Eren nearly a year ago about his role as the technical founder, and now that the company has raised a Series A, I thought it was a good time to catch up with the other co-founder Gagan to see how Udemy’s plans have evolved.
As you’ll see in the video below, Udemy still combines series of instructional videos into full courses that can be purchased, shared, and even certified. But they now have even bigger plans to expand on their additional features such as the addition of articles, presentations, assessments, index-able videos, and a variety of other social and collaborative education activities to create a richer overall learning experience.
Be sure to check out our interview below and tell Gagan what you think! (more…)