Disrupting the Education World: Inside TED2016’s Dream Campaign

On Monday, an impressively diverse cadre of entrepreneurs, artists, scholars, startup representatives, policymakers (and some who wear all of those hats) will convene in Vancouver for the TED2016 conference.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will discuss the concept of “radical repatterning”. Shortly beforehand, NYU Occupational Therapist Holly Cohen will discuss her front-end efforts on assistive technology: technology that improves the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The overarching theme for the week is but one word, which is easy to say but difficult to grasp in a single context: Dream.

So what does a proclaimed “problem-solver-in-chief” and “tinkerer” (Kalanick’s and Cohen’s respective titles on the program) have in common?

Both individuals tell stories that reaffirm why MathCrunch decided to become official sponsors of the event in the first place: they saw technology and a seemingly unrelated field and added a dream to the equation. Dreams so outlandish that they have shaken the world.

Our team, with Naguib Sawiris at the helm, has fueled MathCrunch with the exact same dream. While Kalanick took the abstract idea of transportation and transformed Uber into a global platform that changed the way we navigate our cities and towns, Naguib also looked at the traditional tutoring space and decided to flip it on its head. And now, anyone with a smartphone can push a button to request both a driver and a tutor in an instant — with drivers and tutors operating equally as flexibly.

For Cohen, reinvention doesn’t stop at the smartphone. When she co-founded DIYability, her dream was to make tools, toys, and consumer electronics more accessible to all humans. Just as her assistive technologymakes using traditional video game consoles possible for individuals who cannot use their hands, MathCrunch has looked at technology and education in a way that simplifies homework for hundreds of thousands of students.

These are but two notable speakers in a weeklong program saturated with enough talent to make your head spin.

While dreams can also be head-spinning, it’s a concept more easily grasped in relation to its tough opposite: reality. Each speaker will illuminate their lofty dream in relation to the harsh problems that have challenged its merit. Their story was made exceptional by their ability to surmount the challenges, logical and practical, in a never-ending cycle of rebuilding.

Our dream is to leverage technology in education to make personalized learning available to every student in the country, regardless of socio-economic background. Being a part of TED2016 allows our team to learn, grow and support the progressive dreams of other brilliant people.

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