TeamOctober 16, 2020 2021-01-26 12:11
In 2016, Dan and his wife Erin were both lawyers, raising an 8-year old academically talented daughter. Both passionate about education, they carefully assembled a variety of educational experiences for her. They found an abundance of typical school courses like math, science and languages as well as alternative courses like music and crafts. They were all valuable in their own way, but none addressed what they felt was an essential piece of the educational puzzle – direct training for the type of skillsets that would set their daughter up for success in the future of the information age. They knew that she, like all young people, would have to build specific skills to thrive in an era with unlimited information and computing power at her fingertips. She would need – like top employers are already demanding – serious development in critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and complex problem solving.
Dan asked Chris – his friend of 20+ years whose background was in non-profit leadership – if he had come across a program like this. He hadn’t. Together they were surprised at the service gap for critical skills development. Upon further research they found out why what is known as ’21st century skills’ development was so rare – to be effective required top-notch teachers, small class sizes and an element of personalization in delivery. Experts would need to be engaged to ensure the course content adhered to a framework built on best practices in educational pedagogy, and courses would need to be developed around open-ended challenges requiring creativity and collaboration to solve. Oh, and it would have to be fun. These were all difficult and expensive things to do, and near impossible for the typical one-to-many online teaching models. So they decided to give it a shot.