Innovation in Education

Got a recent report on a company I invested in back in 2009.  It’s called Brilliant.  It is the largest social network of people solving math and science problems together.  They even have a Wikipedia for math and science.  The platform continues to evolve.  They are adding users like crazy.  You can download it in both the iOS and Android stores.  Much better to play with Brilliant on your phone than peruse meaningless websites or social media.

Lately they have been adding real world modules so people can learn things like artificial intelligence or how to build a skyscraper.  Brilliant gives people the skills to dream, and dream big.

Most of Brilliant’s platform is free. They do have some paid subscription modules, but they are pretty cheap, $5 per month.  Oh, and I might add the CEO Sue Khim is female and is originally from Korea.

I am a big proponent of innovation in education.  I have been in both inner city schools, and rural schools.  The education that they have access to isn’t the same as the education a wealthy suburb or tony private school kid gets.  Since learning about and actually seeing what charter schools can do, I am a big proponent of them.  I also know that I have never met a parent that wants a life worse for their child than they had.  I am a big proponent of school choice.

Currently in the US, we have a factory model for education.  We hustle kids in and out, and treat everyone the same.  Governments don’t spend billions on education.  They spend trillions.  Most of it winds up being eaten up by bureaucrats, administrators, and consultants.  The bulk of it doesn’t go to teachers or students.

It’s exceedingly difficult for our nations public school system to adopt innovation in education.  Brilliant is being adopted in classrooms all over the world. Recently, they were featured in publications as far away as Turkey.  Teachers in Asia are using Brilliant to bring home difficult concepts to their students. Math is a universal language.

The only way to disrupt the albatross is via competition.  I find it odd that people who are for innovation and toppling corporate monoliths in different vertical business silos wretch at the idea of disrupting a federalized bureaucratic one that actually hurts people.  Putting the power of individual choice in the hands of a parent is a powerful way to incentivize innovation in education.  Money will flow faster and more efficiently to teachers and students.  That’s where it belongs.

School choice and disrupting education is the civil rights of our time.




  • Oh, and the two Republican Senators voting against school choice and DeVos-received big time money from teacher’s unions:

  • The HUGE disruption in education will occur in the next 5 (10?) years, when smartphone apps plus desktop monitor have an AI chat-bot personalized to your tastes and learning speed, to help you “take the next step”.

    Imagine all of Khan academy lesson chunks, each with 4-10 (or more) possible points of view, including humor & examples, but each covering the same learning goal.

    Your AI chat-bot shows you one video, then tests you on what you’ve learned.
    If you need some refresh, it refreshes you. If you want to go faster, the next lesson is a more brief explanation; if you want slower (or need to, based on missing some test questions), the next lesson is more repetitive to help you fix it in your mind.

    I haven’t been looking for such a company doing this,yet, but I am very interested in it. I’m pretty sure English as a Foreign Language would be a huge winner — language learning is $52 bln globally, and more than half is English.

    Not so huge in the US.