In this episode, I talk to Mary Jo Madda, Senior Editor at EdSurge, about school models, school leaders and business models over the next 5-10 years, about education technology, and our perspectives on what the future of learning may look like.
Mary Jo is Senior Editor at EdSurge. Previously, she taught middle school math/science with Teach for America (Houston corps ’09), KIPP Houston, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at St. Cyril of Jerusalem School, where she also served as an administrator, curriculum coordinator, and decathlon coach. Following her years teaching, she worked on the ScratchED team at the MIT Media Lab, and served as an Education Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Harvard University Innovation Lab while piloting an educational media start-up. Mary Jo has an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. from Northwestern University. Most recently, she was featured on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for 2016.
In her spare time, Mary Jo is an avid visual artist, marathon runner, and plays a Bill Nye-esque character for her web series, codenamed Dr. MADD.
(02:03) Mary Jo’s background
How can the educators get the best tools and figure out how to implement those tools in the way that they see fit? … The teachers know the students better than anybody else. Better than the entrepreneurs, better than the investors. And so at the end of the day the choice that they make to use with the tools are the most impactful.
(05:14) Going back to your formative years, how many educators out of the K-16 that you had, how many educators can you point to who were instrumental in shaping in who you are and who you saw that were mentors to you?
(07:16) Were your parents educators also? What sort of background did they have?
(10:52) What have been the 2 or 3 key things that you’ve learned over 2 ½ years in your role at EdSurge?
(13:40) What you brought up about some of the different models that are popping up because of the perception around public schools and the lack of innovation, the frustration about the bureaucracy, public funding and testing. I think that’s really interesting… What I think is going to happen is there’s going to be a real shift in public perception of choice, rather than where we are right now… There’s just way more options now. It’s interesting to see what parents will do with this kind of information… What’s going to happen now that parents of a new generation are coming up with all these choices? What do you think about that?
(18:30) You make a great point about the micro schools. The current business model tends towards the well-educated, engaged parent. That may not be happening obviously in the lower income communities. There’s obviously a proliferation of different learning models happening and being tested. What’s going to be interesting to see will be if they begin to innovate their business models, because, you’ll always be in that one demographic, that middle to high-income, highly engaged parent demographic if a micro0school is $20,000-30,000 per year. But I wonder if you can bring that same learning model into a lower income community, like what’s being done in Africa, for instance.
(27:40) I’m interested in the people that you think over the next 5 to 10 years are going to be key people as things progress from a learning model standpoint in public and private school models. Anybody that comes to mind?
(37:05) Is there a book that’s most influenced you, and why?
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The American Meritocracy by Ron Unz
(39:30) What about documentaries, do you watch them? And if so, what’s your favorite?
(41:13) When you hear the word successful, who’s the first person that comes to mind?
(42:25) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?
EdSurge Website: http://edsurge.com