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Monday, January 25, 2010

Penny dropping moments

What Lucere is aiming to do isn't rocket science: in fact, there are plenty of people who recognize the same problem. Here's a quote from the Sept. 09 issue of Fast Company magazine

Richard Ludlow, a 23-year-old Yale graduate, has his own ideas about a workable business model for open educational resources. His for-profit startup, Academic Earth, is a Web site that brings together video lectures and other academic content from various sources. As an undergrad looking for help grokking a tough concept in his linear algebra class, he stumbled onto MIT's OpenCourseWare. He realized that there were some really cool educational resources out there and that most of his classmates didn't know about them. "My idea was to first, aggregate this huge critical mass of content disconnected over various sites; second, apply best practices in user interface design and Web standards to do for educational content what Hulu has done [for TV]; and third, build an educational ecosystem around the content," Ludlow explains. "Showing the videos is one thing, but building the right interactive tools and the right commenting system will really create something of value."

That's the same value proposition as Lucere, albeit aimed at a different audience.

Also relevant: the headlines in today's San Jose Mercury about the state of funding for California schools:

Only unpleasant surprises there: cuts that amount to $200 per child. The new reductions of approximately $200 per student come after successive cuts, including a cut of $253 per student in July. The governor's proposed 2010-11 education budget would be about 10 percent less than 2007-08 levels, according to School Services.

Bottomline: money will continue to leak away from education. And as the Fast Company article nicely puts it: The challenge is not to bring technology into the classroom….The millennials, with their Facebook and their cell phones, have done that. The challenge is to capture the potential of technology to lower costs and improve learning for all.

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