Category Archives: Opinion

beyond textbooks

Moving Beyond Textbooks

Textbooks have been with us since the dawn of time (or at least it feels that way). They have been researched, tested, reviewed, vetted and used for editions upon editions. But in a world where a first-year college student could have been born in 1996 – the year Derek Jeter won his first World Series – and would have been 11 years old when Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone, their expectations are that they will be able to do much more online in their courses than read PDF pages on a screen.

Continue reading

Yik Yak

Is Yik Yak the next Facebook?

Early rumors of a $75 million round for the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak that were first reported by TechCrunch turned out to be a $62 million round led by Sequoia Capital. Though there is no official statement of the round, TechCrunch dug up the SEC filing yesterday.

It’s the second funding round for Yik Yak this year, having raised a $10 million Series A in June led by DCM.

Continue reading

Language Learning in Europe

Success starts at home: Online Language Learning in Europe

As cross-dressing sensation Conchita Wurst belted out her Eurovision Song Contest-winning tune across a room filled with Europe’s hottest tech start-ups, I knew it could only mean one thing: the Europas annual awards evening had officially begun.  From Berlin came Babbel, who have become one of the world’s leading language learning platforms. Used in 190 countries, with over 25 million app downloads to date, they swept to victory in the education category in exuberant style. However Busuu, Babbel’s nearest rival both in market and geography, reached a staggering 50m users this year, proving that Europe has truly emerged as the home of social language learning.

Continue reading

Multilingualism in Britain

Multilingualism in Britain: A Snapshot From the Trenches

Great Britain is unusual. Geographically isolated, densely populated, and equally blessed and burdened with a history of “ruling the waves”. The majority of foreign nationals in Britain have always been nationals of the Commonwealth, invited guest workers from earlier in the 20th century.

The history of British power has always stood in contrast to Britain’s political need for close ties with the European Union. And over the last decade, there are two things that have really put a strain on the identity of this country: the economic crisis and the expansion of the European Union. EDUKWEST’s kick-off post on Multilingualism in Europe showed that the second language spoken on this island is now not Punjabi or Welsh, but Polish. As Britain is becoming a more multilingual place, why is education policy not following suit?

Continue reading

Greek education

The Road Not Taken…Yet

When the ancient Greeks decided they wanted to teach a class, they started by simply talking to their students. It was all oral lecture. That worked for awhile, but as humanity’s understanding of the world advanced, the topics became more complicated and they just couldn’t remember it all. So they needed a way to gather together all of the different things people were discovering and talking about.

Continue reading

Indian MOOCs

MOOCs in India = Indian MOOCs?

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about the MOOC movement (and hype) finally reaching India and the country’s first effort to bring some of its higher education online.

At the time the three Computer Science MOOCs were still at planning stage, so let’s take a look at what has happened within the last year and the challenges India is facing.

Continue reading

Accelerated Learning

Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times

Editor’s Note: This post has first been published on edcetera – straight talk on edtech.

Constant distraction is the bane of the digital age. Most of us are now connected 24/7, the Internet is just a click away for the good and for the worse. Especially education, or better the way we acquire and retain information, is shaped by mobile devices that can come up with answers and relevant information when and where we need it.

Another factor is the fast pace of the technology space in general. Not only does it incessantly throw new gadgets and matching applications at consumers, but it also demands workers with skills in the latest programming language, social media product or design software.

This environment seems to call for education solutions that drastically cut down the time spent to learn a skill in order to make sure that employers can access a pool of employees with the latest set of skills needed.

Continue reading

online education mainstream

The Real News behind Starbucks and AT&T: Online Education has become Mainstream

Editor’s Note: This post has first been published on edcetera – straight talk on edtech.

This week Starbucks and AT&T both announced new initiatives to educate their workforce. The two programs are indicators of changing perception when it comes to the value of a degree. While Starbucks wants to encourage its employees to complete classic undergraduate studies, AT&T looks into new, very granular forms of skill-based certifications.

Continue reading

Instructure Canvas

Instructure Canvas – The next Dominant Education Platform?

Instructure Canvas is quietly building what could become one of the dominant platforms in online education, from academic to vocational and lifelong learning. In this post I want to focus on three indicators that show Instructure’s growth in different verticals of the market and the overall potential the Canvas Network has for institutions and for-profit education.

Continue reading


YouTube plans Aggressive Moves to win back Talent

In August 2013 Jason Calacanis gave a keynote at Vidcon, one of the biggest conferences in the YouTube centered content creator world. Usually talks at Vidcon are around the latest YouTube stars, how they made it etc. Calacanis being Calacanis took the opportunity to present his view on the YouTube ecosystem from the monetary perspective.

Earlier that year Calacanis wrote a blog post titled “I ain’t gonna work on YouTube’s farm no more” which generated a lot of attention and feedback from the YouTube creator community. The basic message of the post and his talk at Vidcon: YouTube’s remuneration system is broken and talent will eventually find new platforms and better ways to make money in order to create better content. If you are interested in this topic you should at least watch the video of his talk.

Continue reading