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Can the Ad Industry Save Education?

This month we asked a bakers dozen of contributors for fresh ideas on how to reinvent education. Now a coalition of ad industry heavy hitters from Wieden + Kennedy to BBDO has come out with a major campaign to promote creativity in education. To be clear, they’re not just looking to promote creative solutions to well-known problems like poor math scores and low and falling graduation rates. They’re looking for approaches to promote creativity itself–arguing, in a really gorgeous slide presentation, that creativity is the no. 1 competitive edge in the 21st century, and the prime element that’s missing from our standardized test- and state standards-ridden school system. A patron saint of the effort, and judge on the panel, is Sir Ken Robinson, whose TED talk to this point is one of the most watched ever. norightbrainleftbehind “What drives us is the possibility of a platform where the creative industries put their differences aside for one week out of the year to collaborate on something that is larger than ourselves and our business goals,” says Viktor Venson of multimedia and interactive agency Stopp, a driving force behind the campaign. ” If adopted, this would be an annual challenge asking the creative industries to respond to a burning issue or cause.” As part of Social Media Week 2011, next week in New York City, No Right Brain Left Behind is challenging industry teams (advertising, interactive, marketing, design, what-have-you) to come up with products and approaches that work within or outside the existing school system. These will be piloted by the end of 2011. I’m torn. I absolutely love the idea of moving our schools away from a relentless focus on tests of basic skills and toward approaches that emphasize play, risk-taking, collaboration, and the other skills that make work worth doing and life worth living. The very structure of this campaign, moving swiftly from design brief to execution, has the elegance of the American creative spirit at its best. On the other hand, the interaction of the ad industry with schools has produced some not-so-pretty effects in the past (Channel One, anybody?) And lots of the problems in our public schools are problems of urban poverty and inequality that need to be solved with boring old tax policy, not jazzy new logos and apps. I guess in the end I’ll go with optimism that No Right Brain Left Behind produces some interesting new opportunities and turns on some new creative minds to the problems in our education system. The more eyeballs on this issue, the better.

How Would You Spend $100 Million To Save Education?

We want to create a discussion about investing in the future of education. Contribute by tweeting your answer to How Would You Spend $100 Million To Save Education? Or ask anyone who tweets for his or her ideas by including their Twitter username in your question. Read the original article at
diyu Anya Kamenetz is the author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.

Columbia, Brown, and 15 More Universities Join Coursera’s Free Online Platform

Coursera, the platform for “massively open online courses” founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford, announced today that it has doubled its number of university partners. The new roster includes several global institutions. Since its debut earlier this year, 1.3 million people have signed up for a free six- to ten-week Coursera class, […] Read More..

Artisanal U.: The Radical Potential of College Without the Classroom

From GOOD magazine. Published December 2, 2011. Joyce Alcantara grew up in Rhode Island with her mom, three sisters, two nieces, and a cousin. Her dad, incarcerated in Florida, isn’t really a part of her life. Alcantara had trouble with classes her senior year in high school and almost dropped out; her saving grace was […] Read More..

Why College Is Not A Bubble (Except For The University Of Phoenix)

The college-is-a-bubble meme just keeps growing. Student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt for the first time in history last year. Tuition is rising at three times the rate of inflation, and there are growing concerns about the quality of education offered at even our nation’s fanciest schools. Meanwhile, prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel is paying young […] Read More..

Top Ways to Save Money at College

College tuition at public universities is up 24 percent in just the last five years. With graduation right around the corner, many high school seniors and their families are wondering how they can save on one of the biggest expenses they’ll face. Assuming you’ve already made your choice of colleges, here are some top ways […] Read More..

Obama’s Lessons for Leadership in A Time of Change

The President’s speech to the nation last night was primarily billed as his chance to plead his case to the nation for the ongoing military intervention in Libya. But slipped into his remarks was a primer on 21st century leadership in a time of change, a topic Life in Beta is particularly interested in. Here […] Read More..