Joel Klein and Larry Summers at CES HigherEdTech Summit

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No doubt you've heard about the shiny gadgets featured at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. But did you know that CES also houses the HigherEdTech Summit? Now in its sophomore year, the conference drew roughly 200 people. At least one attendee felt that the crowd was thick with edtech execs and entrepreneurs but a bit light on teachers. As is often the case with CES, it was a fine place for companies to ogle one another and talk about possible hookups, or partnerships.

Plenty of "who's who" of the higher edtech world were present, though. Here are videos of two headliners: Joel Klein (CEO of Amplify and former Chancellor of NYC Dept. of Ed) and Larry Summers (President Emeritus at Harvard). Here's what's worth noting:

Klein's started the morning with some general observations about the changing education landscape and why certain trends--such as the generation shift in the teaching force--give him reason to be optimistic about where education is headed. What's probably more worth your time and bandwidth are the sneak peeks into what Amplify's been up to (cue 17:45). Chief Product Officer, Laurence Holt, joined Klein on stage to share some screenshots of Amplify's three product lines: a data analytics dashboard that maps student learning as a series of hexagons (think Settlers of Catan); an Android tablet preloaded with materials from the likes of Khan Academy and CK-12; and demo science lessons from the K-12 curriculum that Amplify is creating for math, science and language arts.

Where Klein sounded chirpy and hopeful, Summers' closing keynote had a foreboding tone, portending big "disruptions" looming over the horizon. (His concession: Yes, the scene from "The Social Network," where he disses the Winklevoss twins' complaints about Mark Zuckerberg as "pretty much did happen." And he noted that as a culture we're getting smarter. Proof? Compare "The Beverly Hillbillies," the leading show in the 1960s, with "The West Wing," he says. Um...sure...but what about Jersey Shore?)

More seriously, the sagacious Summers, speaking with the authoritative (and at times, sarcastic) tone of someone who's seen it all, offered five predictions (cue 25:30):

  1. Boundaries between school and work will be far less sharp than they are today--the idea of a school place and a work place will break down. “we think of extension school as an adjunct, as a somewhat peripheral activity. extension school will be the norm of education.”
  2. The media people study will be different from the one they use today--not just e-books, but some hybrid of books, recordings, and movies that will engage people more fully
  3. Formulas will be found which will simultaneously involve much more economies of scale, much larger audience, and much more customization
  4. A much more varied "ecology" of educational institutions. There will be higher education institutions far larger than the ones today, providing different services across the world, and some niche ones that are smaller than the ones we think about today
  5. A combination of progress in brain science and progress in technology that will lead to much more identity of how individuals learn and preparation of lessons for the way in which they learn best

More videos from other speakers can be found here, courtesy of 360KID.

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