Chasing the Illustrated Primer
I’m joining forces with Khan Academy, an education non-profit.
I’ll be leading their mobile engineering group with my sights set on a future of interactive, personalized, discovery-based content.
I’ve dreamed of focusing on education for years. I’m taunted by visions of interactive primers emphasizing experimentation and discovery over passive absorption. I long for content personalized to students’ backgrounds and behaviors. I fantasize about what a generation of lifelong learners could accomplish. And I often embarrass myself with overeager rambling when party conversations turn in this direction.
I’d planned to research these topics independently in a few years. But as the time drew nearer, I realized I needed expertise in data science and infrastructure that I couldn’t readily provide myself. There was no way I could fund a whole team, and I was wary of how outside capital could distort the mission.
Months drifted by, and I grew increasingly unsure how I’d ever tackle these problems. The inimitable Ben Kamens wrote to me in February, looking for someone to lead Khan Academy’s mobile team. I almost didn’t even reply! “What does ‘mobile team’ mean to them? Building a native video library?” That’s not quite how I wanted to contribute to education.
But we shared lunch anyway, and then another, and then another… Over several months, as I spent time with more and more of the Khan Academy team, I saw that their goals are just as ridiculously ambitious as the ones I’ve been dreaming about. They’ve already built up the expertise I lacked in data analysis, infrastructure, and other key areas. And I happened to know just the lady who could provide the interactive design leadership.
So I’m diving in, hoping to push educational content forward on our powerful new interactive medium. I’ll have much more to say about our dreams (and deeds) in time, but for now: here goes!
PS: Does this sound like your dream project? Are you an outstanding mobile engineer or interactive designer with an obsession for education? Let’s chat.