I’ve been living in San Francisco for a few months now.
During this time I’ve had the chance to talk with some great educational entrepreneurs who are making different platform bets.
A platform is a plug-and-play business model that allows multiple participants (producers and consumers… who may be one in the same) to connect, interact, and create value.
Education platforms are varied.
Some are content neutral: numerous programs can plug in and users can access in any way they want.
Some deliver more standardized content: fully baked competency curriculum, tasks, and assessments – with more heavy curation of user generated content.
What I’m most curious about is this: who will education platforms liberate?
Platforms could liberate students. They might be better able escape mediocre curriculum, weak assessments, and substandard teachers and get better instruction, psychological development, and career guidance through platforms.
Platforms could liberate teachers. They might be able to better escape terrible district mandates and simply close their doors, plug into the platform with their students, and execute a far better instructional model.
Platforms could liberate school founders. The barriers to entrepreneurship could significantly decrease if a new school is plugged into a platform that does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of technological, operational, and academic infrastructure.
Of course, platforms could end up liberating them all: students, teachers, and school founders could equally benefit.
On the other hand, platforms might also not deliver and simply liberate investor of their money and educators of their patience.