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FlippEd ~ education for the new millenium

Flip power dynamic by aggregating student profiles and having educational providers (current and new players) bid to fulfill student vision.

Photo of Philip Arca
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

With such a complex issue, many players, many levers to pull -- can we use technology to flip the power dynamic of students nervously applying, parents struggling to pay vs. higher ed institutions and their constellations (testing empires like the College Board, usury lenders, and other intermediaries) holding the levers of power, gatekeeping decisions for higher ed pathways? Imagine a version of "LinkedIn plus" for students, presenting a student educational vision and seeking bidders.

FlippED would develop a "LinkedIn plus" for students, presenting a version of below online:

1.Portfolio of Student Performance (albeit not all testing scores), List of Aspirations, and their Educational Plan

2.Student Educational Plan, might perhaps be outlined as following example:

        Year 1, Coordinate a Community Experience -- project based work experience like Americorp, with OnLine General Ed Courses

        Year 2, In Class Time, Residential Experience with OnLine Ed --  to increase the pace of learning

        Year 3, OnLine Ed and Career Focused Internships -- sponsored by employer entities receiving first look privileges by contributing to the educational bidder price

        Year 4, In Class Time, Residential Experience, Internship -- closing with a Graduation Rite of Passage, Career Placement

3. Price/Willingness to Pay

    Students and their families offer an annual price they are willing to pay for the educational experiences they have outlined per Student Educational Plan above. Higher ed institutions, current intermediaries and perhaps new intermediaries accept the student/family bid, or even bid lower -- to provide the plan as proposed. 

How is this different from the current system? Students and their families propose a price for what they have outlined in the Student Educational Plan, not passively pursuing what already exists.  Perhaps initially, it will be "lesser profile" institutions bidding, but once a market is built, it will be a more efficient way to match student and educational path. Others will join.  

Quality control will be maintained by an open, transparent rating system of the educational bidder, and student participant based on explicit deliverables. 

And yes, there is a role for the public sector and public sector dollars in this model. Public entity support can be shared directly with the student and family, not with the educational bidder (an aspect of flipping the current power dynamic).

A quick note relative to public dollars. Public investment in human capital to prevent the tragedy of our cognitive "commons" is no joke. And as the cost of the prison system has shown us, early investment/prevention/intervention is less expensive than our current mix of bad outcomes. Public money should support any proposed model, but higher ed institutions and their constellations need to be challenged, need more competition, and more dilution of their brand power.

Possible considerations, outcomes, questions? Need a platform. Need to drive interest and aggregate the student profiles, tapping into the talents and expertise of high school college counselors and other mentors to help students build profile and parse bid options. And then, yes, disrupt and get the bidding going and flip the power dynamic. Create a world where students and families have their own brand, and their own choices for which " educational brands" to pay for, support.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Have students build an FlippED profile. Invite and survey educational providers, including non-traditional providers -- seeking off the record bid amounts for various profiles and educational plans.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Platform design. Strategies to build aggregation and bidder interest. Plan for the bidding process.

This idea emerged from

  • An OpenIDEO meetup

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • Yes


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Photo of Jim Robertson

On first reading the FlippED proposal and comments the first thing that popped into my mind was the story of choreographer Gillian Lynne (of "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera" fame). Here is a quote from Wikipedia...
"Lynne's gift for dancing was discovered by a doctor. She had been underperforming at school, so her mother took her to the doctor and explained about her fidgeting and lack of focus. After hearing everything her mother said, the doctor told Lynne that he needed to talk to her mother privately for a moment. He turned on the radio and walked out. He then encouraged her mother to look at Lynne, who was dancing to the radio. The doctor noted that she was a dancer, and encouraged Lynne's mother to take her to dance school."
Perhaps FlippED's custom, LinkedInPlus educational vision is what brought the Gillian Lynne story to mind.
My gut reaction to the FlippED proposal is that it could "pivot" during the final days of the higher Ed challenge, and shift focus to home in on addressing the potentially millions of Gillian Lynnes out there. Young people with great potential who might benefit from an alternative approach to structuring an educational path.
My initial impression is that FlippED should be scoped down from a universal educational reform to an innovation that focuses on identifying individuals that the current system "misses" and custom crafting an educational path that suits them. 
Of course this challenge has a focus on financing education. So additional refinement of funding ideas could be useful.

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