Episode 26: Other Technologies, Part 1

Thu Apr 12 2018 (59:57)

This is Part 1 of a 2-Part Episode. Akbar Cooke is a vice principal at West Side High School in Newark NJ, he's one in nearly 1mm K12 administrators in the country, but at West Side he's a giant. Kids call him "coach" or "Cooke" and straighten up when they see him. Not out of fear, but respect - the kind that if you've ever worked with teens, you know only comes when things are reciprocal, mutual - it's clear that his heart is as intimidating, in a way, as his physical presence. Everyone should walk the halls with Akbar, if you don't ask yourself "do I have the courage to love this much - to work this hard for the people around me?" then you're not human.


Matt Greenfield is an venture capitalist. If you ask anyone who invests in technology for education, they know his name, and his company Rethink Education. Proper disclosure, Matt is a board member at Mouse, and he's a writer - he's one of the only people I know who's worked as a publishing poet who now manages investments. His intellect is enormous, and among the things he shares with Akbar, is heart. When a national EdTech publication, EdSurge asked Matt to write an editorial about the exciting prospects for EdTech in 2018 from an Investors Perspective, Matt too the opportunity to write about other technologies. He wrote "I find myself without strong enthusiasm for the task of writing a conventional set of predictions about education technology in 2018. The most urgent needs of the most vulnerable children in this nation involve other technologies. M: This nation is failing its most fundamental duty to children."


A lot is covered in these two episodes, but all of the topics revolve around one single truth: that the prospects for how tech innovation in the US illuminates a path to meaning, and success and wealth is not the same for everyone.


Marc is also joined by Tywan Jones - a senior at West Side and one of the wise-beyond-their-years and courageous teens who gives me hope for our future. We get into the failures of our current system, and the successes of a local leader, who along with an amazing team at West Side, is battling for every strategic position on the chess board. In episode two we get into the national walkout and gun violence, and whether kids in Newark NJ can safely "walk out" even if they chose to.


A quick disclaimer, there are some disturbing images that come up in our conversation in these two episodes - so if there are sensitive ears nearby - you might save this one for your headphones.


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