Last week we sponsored the 7th annual ASU+GSV Summit, an innovation-centric event that gathered together more than 3,500 entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, policy makers, philanthropists and educators to focus on raising educational outcomes through scaled innovation.
We have seen unbelievable growth in educational attainment in the US since 1870. This matches the country’s incredible economic growth during the same time period, empowering our population in a process that has accelerated the evolution of our species. Four waves of higher education dating to the 1630s—including the formation of American “Greek academies” like Harvard, public colleges, land grant universities and research universities—have created this remarkable ecosystem.
Yet higher education remains an under-performing sector, in which success is largely based on family income. This social issue has not been resolved; it’s why we have an imperative of innovation; and it’s the core reason for our focus on education’s fifth wave to address the half of our population that has not surpassed a 15 percent college attainment rate (a central indicator of social mobility and economic well-being).
This fifth wave seeks to draw on all the knowledge we have obtained in the previous waves and link it to digitally immersive, technology-enhanced learning experiences. The goal is to expand our capacity to reach the millions of Americans and people around the world who are at risk of being permanently left behind.
While we don’t know where all of this is going, we are looking to our more than 100 technology partners and many of the people who attended the ASU+GSV Summit to help us chart the path forward.