While this site and author generally disdain the buzz words of EdTech as well as the sustainability of more consumer-centric and Silicon Valley led moves in education innovation, there is no doubt that the emergence of personalization is driving real change and investment in education and with such, we hope, student outcomes. And so, in seeking to curate this year’s second annual Educelerate Conference (agenda and registration here), I thought this an appropriate theme.
Personalization Across the Student Lifecycle:
The move toward personalized learning has been led from Silicon Valley EdTech’s biggest names (Khan! Christensen! Silicon Schools!) and investors (From Accel to Bessemer and Peter Thiel) as well as some of the largest legacy corporations in education (via $100mm flagship acquisitions as well as successive, serial deal-making). But still, I was a little worried “personalization” as a conference theme might sound a bit dated in 2015 as it has now been 7 years since bellwether Knewton was founded (2008) and the bloom seems to be off the rose on some of those past acquisitions (see our own post on adaptive learning’s unmet promise and future opportunity). However, I take heart in the fact that “EdTech’s Cassandra” Audrey Waters just cited Personalized / Blended Learning among her annual listing of the Top EdTech Buzzwords (right after “digital disruption”).
To be clear, personalization is more than Silicon Valley buzz and, as I often note, education innovation does not end at instruction. To that end, the Educelerate Conference intends to show personalization is more than just “adaptive learning” — new technology and approaches toward engagement can customize the entire student experience to each individual. From school search, application and admission to student learning and assessment to persistence toward graduation and career pathways, our conference agenda is showing how personalization can impact the entire value chain across the full student lifecycle.
Educelerate Conference Agenda (September 24, 2015):
Hosted by our good friends at National Louis University, our agenda is balanced between leading start-ups and not-for-profit organizations with the following leaders currently scheduled to present:
- Personalization in Admissions – featuring the founders of DecisionDesk, NextTier Education, Overgrad and the COO of Admissionado
- Personalization in Learning – featuring the founders of eSpark Learning, LoudCloud Systems and Modern Teacher and the CEO of RealizeIT (moderated by Ray Henderson of IMS Global and formerly Blackboard and Angel eLearning)
- Personalization in Assessment – featuring the CEOs of Acrobatiq, eLumen, LiveText and Questar Assessment (moderated by Susan Van Gundy of Edovate.org and Educelerate CO)
- Personalization in Persistence – featuring the founders of Copley Retention, GetSet and One Million Degrees as well as the CEO of KnowlegeWorks (moderated by Cebra Graves of USA Funds)
- Personalization in Career Pathways – featuring the founder of BetterWeekDays, the program head of 1000Jobs and the Chief Evangelist of Yello (moderated by Raj Kaji of Bridgepoint and frequent contributor here at Educelerate.com)
And we are particularly excited to announce our keynote panel, a fireside chat between Raghu Krishnaiah, COO of Western Governors University and Phil Komarny (@PhilKomarny), CEO Robots and Pencils, which developed the University of Texas’s pioneering new UTx.edu. This chat will be moderated by none other than the president of our host National Louis University, Dr. Nivine Megahead.
As you might have noticed, none of the companies above are based in the traditional edtech hubs of San Francisco, New York, Washington DC or Boston. This is by design, as I have sought to leverage Educelerate’s not-for-profit, community-
September is a beautiful time in Chicago and there are plenty of edtech start-ups, innovative schools, and education investors and thought leaders to visit, so come make a few days out of Educelerate-Conference.eventbrite.com!