Episode 027: Tom Vander Ark, from Getting Smart & Learn Capital

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We had a very special guest drop by MEP for Episode 027…Tom Vander Ark!  Tom is a dynamo in the education industry, and provides a unique perspective as a former business executive, school superintendent, author, and current venture capitalist in education.

Tom and I chat about “personalization vs. standardization” in public education, innovative school models, and trends for 2014.  You DO NOT want to miss this!

Guest Bio:

Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and CEO of Getting Smart, a education advocacy firm.  Tom advocates for innovations that customize and motivate learning and extend access.

Tom is also a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in EdTech startups.  Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive privateTom Vander Ark sector experience including serving as a senior executive for a national public retail chain.

A prolific writer and speaker, Tom has published thousands of articles, has written and contributed to six published books and co-authored more than 12 white papers. He writes a daily Education Week blog, Vander Ark on Innovation, and makes regular contributions to GettingSmart.com.

Tom is Treasurer for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), board chair of Charter Board Partners, and is a director of Bloomboard, Imagination Foundation, and Strive for College. Tom is a national advisory board member for Communities In Schools, National Association for Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), and New Classrooms.

Tom received the Distinguished Achievement Medal and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. He received his M.B.A. in finance from the University of Denver. He continues his education online.

School Models that Tom Loves:

Summit Public Schools – Charter network currently in CA & WA focused on innovative, student centered learning.

Education Achievement Authority – A Michigan statewide school system for failing schools

*Here is a great article talking about the EAA model

Ed Tech/Book Shout Outs:

Book – Geoffrey Moore Crossing the Chasm

Knewton – Adaptive Learning Platform & Infrastructure

ALEKS – Similar to Knewton, but calls itself a “web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system”

Shauntel Poulson – Former MEP guest and just got promoted to Principal at New Schools Venture Fund!  Gotta give a shout out 🙂

How to Reach Tom:

Website/Blog on innovation in education:  Gettingsmart.com

Tom’s work on edweek.com


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