Gates Speaks And We Listen! Gates Needs To Listen Too---To Wise Educators and Experienced EdTech Entrepreneurs. We Can Answer His Why's Wisely!

ASUGSV GatesThe excerpts below are reprinted from EdWeek’s MarketBrief. You can read the entire article here.


This article was written by Michele Molnar, Associate Editor, EdWeek.

Bill Gates address was delivered at the ASU/GSV Conference in San Diego recently.

RE@L Blog is pleased to see some penetrating, new thinking by Bill Gates on changing K12 academic outcomes for the better and for all kids. Our comments can be found inserted in this reprint and our answers to his call for cooperation are stated at the bottom. We are ready to go!

=====“Education technology is still at its earliest stages and has yet to live up to its promise, philanthropist Bill Gates told an audience of thousands of ed-tech entrepreneurs and investors at the 2016 ASU GSV Summit here. “We really haven’t changed [students’ academic] outcomes,” he acknowledged.

“Our foundation’s going to do everything we can to help facilitate the creation of great technology,” he said, with a focus on three areas: effective personalized learning solutions, an evidence base that works, and adoption of proven technologies. “Our goal is to help innovators.” [That gets our collective RE@L heart rate up!]

imagesScaling Up Personalized LearningWithin the next five years, Gates expects most schools to be using personalized learning in at least one way, but it’s a shift that will require more than just technology. Even the layout of the classroom will look different, he said. [RE@L: Dewey started the classroom almost 200 year ago. Time to change it!]

“It’s a big challenge, and it’s great that we have early adopters showing the way,” he said, pointing to Summit Public Schools, and its Basecamp initiative….[along with]…. the work of New Classrooms [who], personalizes middle school math in a way that Gates said is “far more engaging than a typical textbook.” For literacy, he said he favors products like ThinkCERCA that “meets kids where they are” and helps them with writing. [RE@L: These are good starts!]

WaterQualityEvidence of What Works: Using well-designed trials to develop new products is essential, Gates said, which is why his foundation has invested in LEAP Innovations, a nonprofit based in Chicago that conducts such trials. … Entrepreneurs will need to continually improve products, and “for district leaders, it means being willing to be involved in these pilots and really making sure that, when the data’s there, that the best products are getting rapid and high-volume adoption.” [RE@L adds that’s good and needed advice!]

images-1Adoption of Proven Technologies: In K-12, the way products are selected and how money is budgeted “has to change,” and more funds need to be freed up for professional development, he said. Last November, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will invest some $34 million in cooperative initiatives designed to improve teacher-preparation programs’ overall effectiveness….. While many teachers are willing to be pioneers in trying ed tech, district-wide adoptions often don’t get the desired results. “We have to see why,” he said.  [RE@L adds: YES, there’s big money involved, but the future of our young learners is even bigger!]:

Unknown-1$1.1 Billion Market Predicted: The market for digital instruction materials will likely grow by $1.1 billion between 2015 and 2020 in the U.S. alone, Gates predicted[He] gave investors and entrepreneurs a pep talk, saying the work they are doing is critical…..At the end of the day, I believe success comes to innovators who focus on new needs,” said Gates. Among them: Why are kids dropping out now? Why are costs going up?  

[RE@L adds: There are many more “why’s” than the two that Mr. Gates cites. May we list a few? Where do teachers get the help they need? Where are the helping resources that students and teachers need to use EdTEch effectively? How do we find ways to make it better?

Closing Thoughts by Bill Gates“Innovators who engage teachers and students, and who invest in product design taking needs into account, are the most likely ones to be successful. For those innovators, Gates said his foundation wants “to work with you to close the equity gap in American education.”…. [Mr. Gates’ Closing Thoughts above are right on target! We all need to work TOGETHER!]

======RE@L’s Closing Comments:

real hi res jpgWe at RE@L stand ready to work with Mr. Gates on this laudable and needed cooperative challenge. We can help pose some powerful questions, too….and even some useful answers. We envision many new products that we aready know will be a significant help in closing the “equity gap.” We also know what doesn’t work, and we’ve been working on that too….by listening to teachers and students.


RE@L hears your clarion call, Mr. Gates. Our questions is: “How do we respond to YOU?” Name a time and a place, real or virtual, and RE@L will be there, ready to work with you and your Foundation. We all need to work together to help more kids learn more.


Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.