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6 New Education Innovations: Public Schools Ever More Obsolete

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Great for homeschoolers, those thinking about homeschooling should take a good look at the growing number of alternative education approaches available for the taking. Expect to see many more new and exciting ideas as information breaks through the barrier of institutionalized education’s walls!

The field of education is buzzing with innovation. Both public and private sectors are introducing ideas involving new technologies and methodologies. It’s fertile ground for fresh enterprises; here are five we spotted recently:

1. SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION ARTS 2.0 — Launching this year in the UK, the School of Communication Arts 2.0 will resemble a creative incubator as much as place of study. Half of the 50 students will enter on scholarships, with much of the funding coming from advertising industry sponsorship. Some of this money will go into an investment fund to assist startups created by students.

2. KNOWMADS — Also with an entrepreneurial theme, the Knowmads school in the Netherlands sets itself out as a platform for what it calls “changemakers”—business innovators who want to make a difference in the world. Students on the one-year course join a 30-strong team that uses action learning and real-world assignments to develop new skills for sustainable and socially-beneficial enterprises.

3. KNEWTON — A host of companies in the US offer assistance to students preparing for their college admission tests. Knewton stands out for its entirely technology-driven model: all courses are purely online, and deploy adaptive learning software and reviewable videos to ensure they are suited to a student’s needs and schedule. The USD 690 fee covers 40 hours of live classes and a year’s access to the video archive.

4. MYTESTANSWERS — Rather than offering a course to help prepare for admission tests, MyTestAnswers provides a cheap alternative: it allows students to find out where they went wrong on tests they’ve already done. The site features videos that fully explain how to correctly answer each and every question that has featured in a prior SAT or LSAT exam. Each video solution costs USD 0.99.

5. LARKS & JAPES — Learning a skill doesn’t always mean paying a teacher. Larks & Japes in Millerton, NY organises one-day skillshare workshops covering a remarkable range of subjects, from HTML to reverse decoupage. A voluntary donation of USD 10 is solicited to cover costs. Attendees are encouraged to propose and then teach future courses in their own areas of expertise. Larks & Japes was inspired by Brooklyn Skillshare—and similar events are being organised in other US cities.

And One More for Good Measure!

Much the way TeachStreet helps consumers find nearby experts who can teach them something new, so Betterfly aims to connect them with teachers, tutors, coaches, trainers, stylists or anyone else who offers a service that can help them learn, look or feel better.

Now in beta, New York-based Betterfly deliberately excludes companies from its list of service providers, focusing instead on individuals with specific expertise. “When searching for someone to teach you Spanish, give you a massage or improve your yoga technique, it’s more important to know who the best person is, rather than knowing just the name of a language school, spa or yoga studio,” founder Joshua Schwadron explains. “Imagine if eHarmony.com told you that your future wife worked at Citigroup, but left it up to you to figure out who she is. Now what?” Such experts can create a free, highly customizable page on which they can promote their qualifications, services, locations, special offers and payment policies; display reviews from verified clients; upload resources like instructional videos and lesson plans; maintain real-time booking systems, complete with last-minute deals; and even create their own blogs. Users seeking an expert of some kind, meanwhile, can search for free based on more than 20 factors such as availability, friends’ recommendations, verified reviews and value.

Ad-supported Betterfly is currently available only to U.S. users. One to partner with or emulate for aspiring self-improvers in your part of the world…?

Website: www.betterfly.com

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