Forbes: Leading Venture Lawyer Reveals Best Education Investments Now

An excerpt from Steve Masur’s interview with Forbes:

James Crotty: So, sitting here right now, what do you see as the growth trajectory for education and technology? And for people out there in the ed tech space coming up with new ideas, what are some fertile areas you would like to see some of that computer brainpower going into?

Steven Masur: I would cite three main areas: gamification, interactive communication, and technology-assisted research. But, ever since the early days, what happens in most Internet, Web-based, and mobile-based initiatives is disintermediation. That is, cutting out the middleman. That’s what I think will be happening in the education industries. I see them as multiple industries.

It’s happening in publishing. And publishing is clearly an educational industry in which there is a whole educational book publishing industry. And technology is having a massively disruptive effect on that industry. There is also a lot of money flowing toward this. So, what you will see is almost a redistribution of money, because technologic change is not really changing the rate at which people read books.

And there is an oral education industry. Didactic speaking in front of students and Socratic method teaching. These ancient methods are all methods that technology can enhance. The Socratic method, for example, doesn’t have to take place in a room anymore. You could do that over, like you said, text messaging or video chat.

Skype is something that is being used as an educational platform by default. But getting someone to use a new technology is the most difficult thing in the world. You need to get somebody to use it for a compelling reason. And education is a compelling reason. For example, Mary Helen Bowers, the prima ballerina who instructed Natalie Portman for “The Black Swan,” teaches her Ballet Beautiful classes using Skype when her celebrity clients are on location and cannot come to her studio. This practice was born of the compelling need to do these classes from location. And the compelling needs of education are the same. People are just picking up these technologies and using them. And companies and businesses will catch up to that. Read the full article.