December 10th, 2012 Technapex NYC EdTech Event: Open and Social Education

On Monday, December 10th, OLC attended Technapex NYC EdTech Event: Open and Social Education. The event featured the following companies: Jeremy Johnson,cofounder and President of Undergraduate Programs at 2U (formerly known as 2tor); Nihal Parthasarathi, cofounder of CourseHorse; Hunter Horsley, marketing and operations lead at Lore and Eric Ma, engineer at Skillshare. The event was moderated by Laura Pappano, award-winning journalist, author and blogger.


The event began with the question of “What problem are you solving? Where did your idea come from?” Each company representative was given a chance to respond. Horsley, of start-up Lore, spoke of pioneering the “future of the classroom.” Lore seeks to extend class beyond the campus, by providing a place professors and students can continue to learn, online. Johnson, of 2U (which delivers rigorous, selective graduate degree and undergraduate for-credit programs online) claimed their biggest question was, “Is it possible to create an outcome similar to a compelling online experience?” Parthasarathi, of CourseHorse, talked about how his company was born out of a parent questioning which SAT prep course was best. All of the companies focus on learning in new, fresh ways and learning as entertainment.

“What have been your key issues?” asked Pappano. Horsley described how his company has become more open to feedback. The people we work with are “very smart, they have opinions.” he explained. Both Johnson and Parthasarathi echoed the issue of working “within the system.” School system politics can sometimes hinder the growth of the companies. There are rules and guidelines to innovative within. The speakers also pointed out that the definition of education is changing. Why we go to school is broadening, and may no longer be just simply to learn. Companies must cater to all the various needs for education.

Finally, Pappano asked each company what they wanted to see created or innovated upon in their sector. Many topics came up including: blended class models, game-ifying content and commentary on what classes are actually about. All of the speakers were most excited about game-ifying content. They agreed it could help students learn and retain information.