Esther Wojcicki @ THNK Forum, a woman after my own heart.

I started the Creative Leadership program at THNK.org last September, which is all about social innovation, at scale and how to make it happen. This is the second 10 day module and we have already had an amazing day today, days here start at 8am and run till 10 am at least, full of activities, work groups, improv sessions and prototyping. We had guests this morning from the Dutch business, the advisory board of THNK and not least Princess Maxima! and I loved exchanging ideas this morning with Ravi Naidoo.

Esther Wojcicki has been with us for the last two days while we have been pitching our new ideas, practicing story telling and envisioning. I will probably add her to my list of role models, since she is one of the earliest promoters of taking children seriously in education (and in general) and the open use of technologies to support education.


Esther at an earlier interview

Esther opens by telling us that she has thoroughly enjoyed the last two days and that’s she’s really happy to be amongst ‘soul mates’ people who are committed to social innovation. Esther takes us through the advantages of Creative Commons and shows us how easy it is to use and apply Creative Commons licenses to your work. She’s a big proponent of Open everything, and tells us about the recently launched School of Open which is a initiative of Creative Commons and P2P together.

Business models in Open Educational Resources (OER) ?

So does OER, open educational resources mean that there is no more money being generated in the education sector to fund further work when you work with Open?
Esther names three models she knows of, she’s certainly not against folk making money.
1. Just as with open source software, you can give away the educational resources for free and sell the support services, this is being used in Curriki
2
. Freemium models
3. The foundation model, whereby a foundation is willing to pay for work involved in getting open education resources online.

A Forum at THNK, involves a version of a flipped classroom and then supported by Socratic method of questioning, so we have all watched Esther’s TEDxtalk and read some of her articles beforehand and are now geared up in groups to ask questions.

First up is the group who want to explore further the relationship between creative commons and scientific research. Main point I took away from this is to note for the scientific community there is no CC for patents, so only the IP of scientists which is publishable in text and word is covered potentially by a CC license.

Next up, Peter, Kaz and Niels are hacking the forum system with a schematic for saving the world with everyone everywhere and what they introduce as a good cop, bad cop style of questioning. It looks like a representation of the Do Gooder’s internet, and without a load of curation of contents wouldn’t necessarily be better than a portal. but hey they made it with Princess Maxima so it must be good. This conversation ends with the ‘Enforcement’ question, how do you police usage? Esther would love to see a data tracking method for CC licenses and is pushing for that from her position on the board, but it’s not the main focus of CC and as Kaz points out regular copyright is pretty hard to police for the regular author too.


Photo from forum Esther (left) Gunter (middel) Tim Wong (right)

Tim Wong asks if Esther knows of any GIS data licensing systems and
Gunter is wondering, now that we have just learned that all our DNA’s is patented if he could license himself? We all laugh, but it might not take so long before this comes into the realm of possibility

 Esther on Pedagogy

Esther tells us about the Tiger Mom and then a french follow up book, which are all about parenting techniques which are based on competition and if anything this trend will continue ramping up. How do you encourage collaborative learning? Esther says the only way is if the tests start testing it, because testing drives the system. Apparently 80% of learning happens in the breaks.
And a good point on white boards in the class, they are called interactive white boards yet they are seldom used in any interactive way in the classroom. In fact this being the only technology that has been successfully introduced in the classroom and that’s directly explainable by the fact that it uses the same pedagogy of old. So no change there.
Unusually teacher’s seem to be the most tech phobic types on the planet.

OER and the Education DotCom Bubble, curated contents, 

We talk about the huge number of educational startup in Silicon Valley, and the likelihood of them being successful as businesses. So questions like how much are they making now and how much are they going to make in the future. Esther is skeptical that they won’t make that much money. Esther looks to the ones which teachers or students likes the most or potential success. Also if they haven’t been picked up fairly quickly or if they have a bad interface they won’t make it.

And then we’re back to the OER’s and the university’s models and if any of them are making money, Esther adds to the three options above for making money from these courses, aka Coursera or Udacity.

Model 4.
Because we wish to know more about how people learn, and all the data is registered as to how people use the systems then a coursera or a Udacity can sell this data., mine the data, analyze it and then sell the analysis and the data.

Model 5.
There is a global shortage of computer scientists and many aspects of this is captured in online learning courses. So potentially the course builders can sell data to companies on how students perform in their online courses. In this case, they are selling the information about top students to companies, the same way that Educational Testing Services sells information about top students to universities.

Jason Hsu mentions Floating University, which is maybe the newest in the space  it’s from Harvard, Yale, and Bard College, they do have a business model,  you can get a university credit, you pay 39 to 199 dollars for various courses, and then profits get put back into the schools to cover the cost of tuition for first years.

to be continued!

One thought on “Esther Wojcicki @ THNK Forum, a woman after my own heart.

  1. Pingback: THNK School: MineCraft for Grown Ups. « Emer Beamer

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