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.

How did they bring it all together? Well, there was this technology called the alphabet, and they used it to start writing information down. Then educators quickly figured out that just pages of information wouldn’t cut it, so they started putting all their lesson pages in order, and bound them together.

Now, keep in mind this wasn’t just a book that was full of stories that someone dreamed up. No, the author had to do a lot more legwork. He or she had to seek out the latest information, verify that it was correct, and put it all together in a cohesive way that the instructor could follow. Add Gutenberg’s press along the way and voila, you have what we all know and love today (well maybe love is too strong of a word), the course textbook.

And that worked…for a long time. For centuries, textbooks made it easier to educate the next generation efficiently and consistently. But then it became a business. And for lots of reasons — mostly the wrong reasons — books became expensive, really expensive. And sometimes so expensive that it actually made students think twice about taking the courses they needed. How often is textbook pricing an issue? At one point or another 65% of students have opted against buying a textbook due to price. So instead of the solution, they became part of the problem.

Many educators who care about their students recognize this and are moving away from what was once such a valuable teaching tool, and trying other approaches such as writing their own texts, scouring the web for other resources, or even going back to the old standby, the oral lecture sans text altogether. How’s that for progress?

Luckily for us, and unlike the ancient Greeks, we live in a time where we have something amazing — the Internet. And it’s a free-flowing river of information that is always gurgling along with novel approaches to describe, illustrate and assess concepts. Plus, at this stage of it’s evolution, that information is pretty college-level course-worthy. The problem is that high quality content is also mixed in there with distractions of cute cat pictures, the latest viral video sensation on YouTube and fake articles from the Onion. No, I don’t think Barnes & Noble is giving away unlimited free tablets – or are they?

So we have a solution–and it’s simple. We just went back to basics and are doing what the Greeks set out to do — use the latest technology to gather the best information available in one place — and make teaching more efficient. And just like a classic textbook, we use experts to help figure out what the best information is, and how to organize it.

Now, the only difference is that those plain, flat written pages have blown up in ways the Greeks could never have imagined. We use videos, games, interactive tools, and more – the best that the Internet has to offer. Nicely and neatly packaged and aligned to your syllabus and learning objectives. And because we don’t have to create this all from scratch, we can keep the costs where they should be – affordable.

That’s it. That’s our big idea. And it’s what our app does for you. We have courses already created that you can just start using today. Or, we can customize them for you, or if you don’t see what you need, we can work with you to create brand new ones. We keep them fresh and up-to-date and do the legwork for you.

Come see the simple solution that will get the mission of educating our next generations back on track.

Picture Plato i sin akademi, av Carl Johan Wahlbom (ur Svenska Familj-Journalen)” by Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Vineet Madan is the Founder & CEO of Junction Education and has been on the forefront of the digital transformation of education for nearly a decade. A first-time entrepreneur and long-time intrapreneur he launched interactive textbooks on the iPad with the likes of Inkling and Apple, scaled adaptive learning into colleges with Area9 and laid out the original product strategy and go-to market plan for McGraw-Hill’s Acuity formative assessment platform. Junction is the next step taking lessons learned from publishing around curation, aggregation, layout and design and applying them to a screen first experience.