Wednesday, December 7

Where are the women Disrupter's in Education?

Recently I attended TedXSF event "Skooled" after looking forward to it for weeks because I so emphatically agree with education entrepreneur and TEDxSF salon curator Emily Chiu's perspective that:
“Despite dramatic advances in technology and cognitive science, higher education hasn’t changed in decades – and institutions are too entrenched in current models to disrupt themselves to meet changing student needs.
While it was a great event on many accounts --there's a nice overview on I was not alone in noticing and expressing disappointed that women were so unmistakably unrepresented. Seven speakers, one facilitator and one performer--all men! Amazing men like Michael Ellsberg, Dale Stephens, Gunnar Counselman, Gene Wade, Ben Nelson and Michael Horn. At least the producer and the curator were women, but still!

I hate to be a pill!  And I personally like and admire the organizers but really, are there truly no women disrupting education?

I tweeted:
"Please help me identify women Edu change agents/edu-hackers. I can't believe there are only men in the space (as awesome as the guys are!)"
Ok, so here's where we're at:

Audrey Watters is a technology journalist, freelance writer, ed-tech advocate, recovering academic, rabble-rouser, and single mom.

Absolutely! Sold! No question! Just take one look at her blog and it's clear that she's an Edu-hacker worthy of attention.

A few other suggestions included: Jun Axup who is working (in academia on targeted cancer drugs).  She's also an advocate of science education and her interests include DIY and quantified self.  Excellent though not exactly the disruption I was thinking about...

Other names friend tweeted were Sarah Ippel of Academy for Global Citizenship and Sandee Kastrul and Tiffany Mikell of i.c.stars (and I've since met and shared the stage with Tiffany and concur that she's an awesome voice for changing ed). 

Other femmes who have come into view since include:

Elizabeth Stark who is working on a stealth edu startup now.  She's taught at Stanford and Yale, was one of the key organizers in the anti-SOPA movement, and has spent years working on open internet issues, including founding the Open Video Alliance. She has researched and spoken on the future of knowledge and learning, and is now working on a related startup as an EIR at Stanford's StartX.

Ritu Jain who created Learning Jar to help autodidacts capture the ‘informal’ learning of books, blogs and online videos to fill the need for a way to capture ongoing skills development and use it for tangible success.

Betsy Corcoran is an impressively informed and tuned-in journalist at Edsurge where she's a critical part of a team of journalists, educator and technologists dedicated to accelerating the adoption of outstanding and appropriate technology.  

Preetha Ram enables learners globally to connect, get help and learn from one another through OpenStudy.  The social learning network is democratizing education by allowing everyone to connect to high quality open content.

Ok, my friends.  Who else?  I think it's a huge loss that women's voices are not more front-and-center in the incredibly critical world of changing education.  Please turn me on to the other awesome women I just don't know about yet.  (Please note that my personal interest is mostly in creating learning opportunities and support outside of institutions, but, as I always say, we're ALL needed.)

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