What if school was built for children?

JANUARY 7, 2014
Michael Horn, co-founder and executive director of the education practice of Innosight Institute

Horn proposed putting students at the center of their own education, which will require disruptive innovation.

Disruptive innovation is the process that transforms complicated and expensive products/services that are made for only a few and makes it simple, affordable and for the masses. Horn cited the following retail examples where disruptive innovation trumped the prevailing leader:

  • GM vs. Toyota
  • Department stores vs. Wal-Mart
  • Delta vs. Southwest Airlines
  • Sony DiskMan vs. Apple iPad

In education, online learning is an disruptive innovation that could transform the way students learn.

The four potential benefits to online learning include increased personalization, opportunities for data and feedback, teacher effectiveness and cost control.

Horn said online learning is not distance learning but rather a blend between technology and brick-and-mortar.

He also emphasized that the way educators use technology is infinitely more important than the technology — including a transparent student-level data system, infrastructure and meaningful content.

“America has spent $100 billion equipping schools with computers and we have basically nothing to show for it,” Horn said.


“Q & A with Michael Horn”


“What if school was built for children?”