Back To School

Many children are heading back to school today.

It is the top trending hashtag on Twitter right now (in my feed).

At USV, we have been investing in education for a while now and three of our portfolio companies have top apps for K-12 students:

top education apps

Those would be:

Duolingo – if you or your child is taking a foreign language, Duolingo can make the work of mastering a foreign language easier and a lot more fun.

Quizlet – the best study tool on the web and mobile. study anything. create your own study sets or use one you find on Quizlet.

Edmodo – the best way for teachers and students to stay connected and collaborate

So put these three apps on your phone or your child’s phone and be ready for the exciting year ahead.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Yup, I just saw a yellow school bus drive by the house!

  2. awaldstein

    Subways are full of kids. The chatter of winter coming.Wondering if there is an app out there for high school athletics to manage and inform the teams.My nephew coaches two sports and when I asked him, he was looking.Sports mean little to me today, they were what kept me out of (more) trouble when in high school. Important in many ways.

    1. Anne Libby

      Didn’t Kevin (@falicon) work on something like this?

      1. falicon

        Yes – though it never got the traction it needed to become a “real thing” (it was focused more on drills and the coaching/teaching part, but did include some stuff to manage/inform).There are a lot of “team management and communication” apps/platforms out there – most are sport-specific though. The biggest in the market at the moment is probably TeamSnap ( )

        1. LE

          Interesting it’s run by a Dupont.I would think they would do well with advertising of SUV by the major car manufacturers given who uses the app.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Is he really a Dupont??? I mean his name certainly is but resume doesn’t seem like it.

          2. LE

            I tried to figure that out but my point is it doesn’t even matter if he really is he will be treated differently (at least by people on this coast) simply because of the name.This would tend to make the probability higher though:Dave began his professional career as a field engineer in North and West Africa with Schlumberger Ltd. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard.Working overseas, two Ivy Degrees, his wife was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris. This is no guy from Yeadon PA. (It’s like Landsdowne PA w/o the glitz..)(asstalking now complete…)Edit: Or, alternately, with the Harvard MBA proves part of my point “admission edge”all else equal without major drawbacks.

    2. Dan T

      I have 4 kids in high school. 2 run cross country, 1 plays football and 1 plays volleyball. That is just this fall. The best thing our Schools Athletic program did this year was to put the game schedules online in a form so that I could download them to my Google Calendar

      1. JLM

        .Kids who run X-C are always winners. It is a great sport for discipline.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Dan T

          their cross country coach takes great pride in graduating seniors announcing their GPA and SAT scores at year-end party . . this never happened at the year end football, basketball, rugby or volleyball banquets.

          1. JLM

            .I was watching a college football game this weekend and the announcer said, “Such and such team lost all of their starters to graduation.”He started laughing.I looked it up. None of them actually “graduated.” They just used up their eligibility.Cross country is a great sport.The most important thing in HS is to keep your kids busy. To wring the energy out of them so they cannot participate in any wickedness. It is that simple.I made mine play everything. My Perfect Daughter was awarded 11 varsity letters — started on the varsity as a freshman in basketball — and could have played Div I in two sports.Of course, she elected to be a sorority girl and I paid for that.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. awaldstein

            I remember my dad taking me to see the high school wrestling coach telling him to work me hard so I would get tired.Good suggestion as I had enough spunk to be in the regionals not enough talent to go further.

    3. Dan T

      Shutterfly has actually done a pretty good job of adding features around their photo sharing to support teams. My son’s cross country team uses it as message tool, contact info and roster, etc

    4. Jess Bachman

      I know some that use whatsapp groups and facebook groups. Of course, there is always the local web as well. 😉

    5. Rick Mason

      Have him check out, it’s a free way for teacher, students and parents to communicate. They just added a way to collect money for school programs into the app. Great company that was started in East Lansing, though it’s out in Silicon Valley now.

  3. jason wright

    Yeah, went out for my bicycle ride this morning and the pleasure of quieter roads of closed schools is definitely over for another year. The rhythms of city life.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      This was my morning.

  4. sigmaalgebra

    Small point: Mostly I can’t read the text under the many icons. So, right, save the image as a file and look at it with a program that will magnify the image. Did that. BUT the file is JPG which is fine for landscapes but awful for text. For text, use PNG or GIF.Larger point:So put these three apps on your phone or your child’s phone and be ready for the exciting year ahead.If apps can help, then terrific.But IMHO, it has long been the case that, mostly for learning in K-12 and most of college, the best teaching is from a respected, caring, knowledgeable adult working directly with the student. Without that, there is some question about the power of apps or even the Internet. With that, there is still some question about the additional power of apps (in can be more optimistic about the best of the Internet).Good learning in the end happens between the ears of the student and is not just a spectator sport. The teacher can guide, motivate, excite, illustrate, explain, check understanding, congratulate, etc. The whole thing is heavily a human thing. Sure, by late college and in grad school and in a career, 90+% of self-teaching is from common to crucial.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I have not evidence of this yet, but I believe that part of this generation stimulated and trained with educational tools such as touch enabled phones and tablets with proper software or apps will have a notch more cognitive capability and a bit more processing speed too.Of course, for this to realise and have any significance, the factors you mention are crucial. Caring and loving parents and teachers are the foundation of any educational and formative effort. They are the curators of the digital experiences children may have today the same way that they are for analog experiences.Educational apps are tools that motivate exploration, discovery and creativity through digital experiences, experiences that were not (readily) available before. Sure, a caring parent can choose clever toys or provide creative analog experiences to their children too, as many of us had the luck to experience, but when both mom and dad have to work for a living any digital assistance is welcome and can make a difference.I am a keen observer of these processes in my grandchildren.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I hope the apps can add a lot. But a suspicion is that most of them might be too close to the boob tube — too passive to learn anything.By middle school, it was clear I had some math ability. Just where the heck I got It I don’t know. Dad had some, but he never taught me very directly. Mom was bright, but I never had any evidence of her math ability, one way or another.So, my guess is that the math ability was partly developed, that is, partly learned, nurture and not really just nature, that is, genetics.How? There was some stuff I was interested in. The first was a set of blocks, just rectangular parallelepipeds. So, I would struggle to see what I could build with them. So, I tried to build the longest free span or the tallest structure. So, I had to think about those little geometric objects. Maybe that gave me a sense of geometry. I’m totally in love with geometry.Maybe some of the thinking was for machines. So, I cared about cars. The first time I saw the piston of a car engine was enthralling. The first time saw the crank case of an engine with the oil pan off, that is, the crank, the counterweights, the big ends of the connecting rods, their caps and bolts, was totally enthralling — I still have the image in my mind.That was the most enthralling image until I the first time I saw what was under a girl’s skirt (uh, she eagerly showed me!).Again, I have to suspect that a spectator sport doesn’t work very well and, instead, there has to be effort between the ears.I could have done much more and likely much better. Likely generally there is a lot of room for improvement.Apps: Just passive like the boob tube? Not good. Really involving, enthralling, challenging, with a lot going on between the ears? Likely better.IMHO there has to be lots of activity, hopefully challenging activity, between the ears. If the source is a book, a PDF file, a screen, an app, fine with me.

        1. cavepainting

          Nature plays a big part in enabling nurture as well. The circumstances of life – including the parents you are born to – do not happen by accident.

  5. Mike Zamansky

    Kids, at least in public schools, don’t go back until Thursday. Principals and assistant principals last week and teachers today.So, while most of the city’s kids won’t be in classes for a few days just want to wish all the best to the teacher community members here going back for day 1 today.

    1. creative group

      Mike Zamansky:New York City schools are an Island onto themselves. Schools around the country return times vary from late third week in August to year round. Always depending upon State, City and School Boards elected by outside entities.http://www.coloradoindepend

      1. Mike Zamansky

        oops — yes – meant to say NYC since I know more than a few NYC PS teachers are at least lurkers here.

    2. PhilipSugar

      MD just passed a law that school must start after Labor day.

  6. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:After reading USV portfolio company Duolingo we thought about the tale of Americans being lazy learners in regards to learning languages and had no scientific research to support or refute if learning while a child makes learning a language easier or being older and traveling ignites the mind to learn new languages.Immigrants from around the globe learn English which is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn.Besides the cursory courses taught by career language teachers in American high-schools which hasn’t translated into mass multilingual students why isn’t more devoted to teaching and learning foreign languages in American schools.Most Baby-boomers can boast about taking foreign language classes how many remember anything beyond the phrases.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Juan toca la guitara in la playa.

      1. Anusha Ramboli

        Fred,, that’s a very poor promotion of Twitter. Goes to tell how Twitter and you stooped down to such a low level.

      2. creative group

        Susan Rubinsky:Susan somos mucho perezoso para pedirle que lo que Juan y si se acaba realizando las clases de español básicos. De hecho utilizamos Google translate porque no somos perezosos en el entendimiento, pero la parte de la traducción. Entender.

    2. LE

      Immigrants from around the globe learn English which is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn.For the ones that are motivated to do so (and not all are) two things:a) Total immersion (quite a bit different than going to a foreign country occasionally where english is spoken (business or pleasure)b) No plan b (in other words most others don’t know your language. Exception maybe Spanish (a bone I have to pick actually relates to all of the spanish marketing going on which means they are less likely to have to learn english we run into this all the time on phone trees..)My point is if the new world that I had to go to was China (to flee my own country) and there wasn’t a great deal of english spoken I’d find the motivation real fast to learn and retain chinese for survival if I had to.

    1. creative group

      Jess Bachman:Fundamental education priceless. Why reinvent the wheel? It works fine.

    2. DJL

      Is there an app that will remind parents to spend less time on their mobile phones and more time with their kids? I am thinking some type of electric shock would work.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I will say quizlet kicks ass. I don’t allow phones at the table. I don’t allow phones when you are talking, etc, etc.But that is a serious tool.I don’t want my kids wasting time playing stupid shit, but for apps like that…..the phone is a great tool.

        1. karen_e

          How do you prevent the stupid shit when these apps seem to pop up out of nowhere? Serious question.

    3. LE

      How are you finding the stainless steel with kids? It typically is difficult to keep clean I had found.

      1. Jess Bachman

        Yeah, finger prints everywhere. With 3 kids, it also helps to have low expectations in regards to a clean home.

        1. LE

          So there is a product there. Something targeted toward parents that you can use to coat the stainless steel and make it more fingerproof. I am sure something can be concocted. And if it’s already out there repackaged toward parents (with colorful packaging..)

          1. Jess Bachman

            Not really a big deal for me. We use one of those stainless steel wipes every few days. Takes all of 15 seconds.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Me too.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            And there is something to be embraced in those fingerprints on the fridge. Take it from one whose youngest (of 4) is 15.

  7. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:On the subject of schools. How important education is to guiding children. An example is right in front of those living in New York City. The ABC Nightline segment with Diane Sawyer on the infamous Rikers Island (Gladiator School)(Road of pain) reforms by the new Warden. Education is a key for non violent offenders. Housing them with violent offenders is plain irresponsible.

  8. LE

    The apps are all solid and beneficial no doubt. But from my perch the issue with school is what it has become and more importantly how it will change as millennials become parents. Growing up with perhaps the best assistants and advantages in “learning” that we have ever seen. That many of the people born before 1985 on AVC never even could dream of. (Not sure that’s even the right year but if I wanted to make sure I could do a search and figure it out, something that I couldn’t do if I was writing this back when I was in college).We already know how the baby boomers have messed things up [1]. Education has become simply testing and ‘get into a top college’ as opposed to one of the actual purposes which was, when I was growing up, to “be prepared to be able to work after college and get a job”. (Even in a ‘Wenger world actually this is necessary). [2]The focus has to be back on the basics (I hate that new Office Max commercial referencing binge studying actually) and a refocus on skills and making what used to be called “shop class” (as only one example) have a comeback. So not everyone is pursing the same brass ring of simply getting a degree from a top college so they can land one of the few plum positions that are out there. Especially the people that clearly aren’t cut out for academics and are fighting a losing battle.What do we have as well with the current environment where everyone wants to hit the startup job lottery? Waste of potential. Yesterday while reading the NY Times I saw a typical millennial waste of brain power. A girl that had 2 parents who were medical school professors and esteemed Physicians (doing valuable work) who not only went to Yale Undergrad but also got a BA, MBA, and JD from Yale!!! Three degrees from the Ivy League.And what is she doing with all of that? She “works on the strategic partnerships team at Facebook in New York, helping media companies with digital products and publishing”. Big fucking deal honestly.What a waste of a good brain (she is 31 years old btw.). Embarrassing that is the best that someone going to a top school can do after graduation. She isn’t even running the department according to linkedin (not that I would care and think that is any better).The focus needs to change on education in the schools in a big way. We have to move from all of this touchy feely community service build your college resume crap and get back to actual preparation for life in the real world. Teach things to kids that are actually valuable in life (the life that they will have which is different for everyone). That’s what they will need to survive in their generation as they get older. Realize that not everyone will end up getting the few slots at the top colleges that are filters for actual good jobs. Also realize that not everyone should be doing a startup or involved in tech either. [5](I actually think that the pendulum has swung enough that this may actually happen w/i the next 5 to 10 years.)[1] Assisted by helpful lists such as US News and World Report rankings.[2]…[3]…[4]…[5] Not talking my game either, all of this benefits me actually.

    1. Marissa_NYx

      Yes, the shift has already happened. The pendulum is swinging to incorporate more real world, project based learning in subjects across the curriculum. I see it everyday in my work in edtech, maybe its confirmation bias but the trend is real. Math and English are two core subjects which will still be taught in the next 5, 10, 50 years, that won’t change, although much around it will. The biggest changes as I see it are – how the subjects will be taught and the shift to every teacher curating their own curriculum. Its a definite bottom up tectonic shift going on out there.

  9. DJL

    Bummer. I went to Duolingo and didn’t find Arabic. I wonder how they select which languages to support. And how on earth will they even make money? (I am guessing licensing the platform.) I love the idea, though.

  10. Stephen Palmer

    What’s the best way for teachers to collaborate with each other? Edmodo?

  11. Elia Freedman

    My kids are still in elementary school but the one I can’t get over is that high school kids still have to buy those $120 crappy TI calculators. WTF? They are all carrying smartphones and our teachers are using these 30 year old pieces of crap to “teach” our kids? How are they supposed to be inspired to be mathematicians and engineers that way?I tried to do something about that a decade ago but my efforts failed, although from what I understand I came closer than any others. Here’s hoping there’s an Amazon Now to my and soon. I’m going to shoot someone if my daughter’s are asked to buy one of these in a few years.

    1. JLM

      .I won $100 the other day in a BBQ joint when I knew how to use a slide rule. The first HP calculators came out when I was studying engineering and they were considered the spawn of the Devil. We still had to use the slide rule.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Elia Freedman

        Impressive. Using a slide rule is becoming a lost art.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          A slide rule is terrific! Especially a circular slide rule! Play with that and will never go back to the straight kind! I have a collection, lifetime supply!, of little circular slide rules, each about 3″ in diameter and in a little black plastic case. I used to carry one in my shirt pocket to do ratios when shopping, e.g., get the most laundry bleach per dollar! Maybe even better, the back side has about every sci/eng constant and conversion unit could want!

          1. Elia Freedman

            I love that you are geeking out on this subject.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        When I saved FedEx from going out of business the second time, there in Memphis with poor access to good computing, I did the crucial arithmetic, some exponentials, with my HP calculator! Our two representatives of BoD Member General Dynamics (GD) were pleased.At the BoD meeting, the C-suite had tried all morning and failed to answer the GD question “How were the (my) revenue projections calculated?” Finally Roger Frock (he has a book on FedEx) guessed I’d done the projections and called me to come over and explain.I punched my HP a couple dozen times or so and reproduced several points on my curve. The GD guys canceled their plane tickets back to TX; FedEx kept the GD investment; and FedEx was saved.I hadn’t been invited to the BoD meeting, and, thus, FedEx was within a few minutes of going out of business.Actually, for doing exponentials, Dad had given me a freebie he’d gotten, a big slide rule with also the log-log scales good for exponentials. In principle I could have used that instead of the HP.Why the exponentials? I’d gotten the closed form solution toy'(t) = k y(t) (b – y(t))for time t and revenue y(t) at time t, via just simple freshman calculus; don’t need a course in differential equations!We assume we know y(0), the current revenue, and b, the planned max revenue. Then the solution is a lazy S curve that rises slowly, then rapidly, then slowly, and approaches b from below. That’s ballpark a good, first-cut, generic growth curve!The FedEx SVP Planning and I picked k, and that was the projection. It may be that the solution is the logistic curve — in that case, I reinvented it.

        1. cavepainting

          if what you are saying is true, it is a super cool story.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            True StoryThe story is true. If you know the founder, COB, CEO of FedEx, ask him.FedEx BackgroundI’ve related the story here at AVC before: FedEx was looking for an equity investment from General Dynamics (GD). GD sent two people to the FedEx HQ in Memphis to, say, observe.BoD Wanted Revenue ProjectionsAt one point, the BoD wanted some revenue projections. I was working on better fleet scheduling, right, NP-complete stuff, some deterministic optimal control, some stochastic optimal control, etc. and didn’t want to get involved.The SVP Planning was the person assigned to get the projections; I didn’t report to him yet so weren’t really, officially part of that projection work.Starting on the ProjectionsBut around the HQ, lots of people were thinking about how to do the projections. They had hopes, wishes, guesses, etc. but nothing at all easy to support rationally. The situation looked bad.So, I decided maybe to get involved.What Do We Know?So, at one point I asked (myself) a common, first question in applied math: What do we know? That is, what do we know about the real situation we can use as mathematical assumptions from which we can make mathematical derivations, deductions, etc. to get an answer?First Two Things We KnowSo, we knew the current, daily revenue (package volume). And from the planned size of the fleet of airplanes, we knew what eventual daily package volume, revenue, would be.So, we had daily package volume (revenue, whichever of these two want to think about first) at two points, the present and the long term growth target.An InterpolationSo, the projections had to be in at least some first-cut, intuitive sense an interpolation between those two.How the Interpolation/Growth Will GoOkay, then, back to the question, what do we know about how the growth, that is, the interpolation, would go?Two Sets of CustomersWell there were two sets of customers: First, we had existing customers who at least at some level liked the service. Second, there were our target customers we wanted, were slowly getting as the daily package volume grew, on the way to the full planned package volume.Viral GrowthSo, with these two sets of customers, what was causing the package volume to grow? Well, for a simple, first-cut answer, word of mouth advertising or, in current terms, viral growth.ProportionalityThen, still with simple, first-cut work, the amount of such viral growth should be directly proportional to (A) the number of current customers talking about FedEx and (B) the number of target customers hearing that talking. Right, simple, first-cut stuff.Formulate as MathSo, let t denote time in days. Let y(t) be the package volume on day t. Let t = 0 correspond to the present, and let b be the daily package volume when all the planned fleet of planes are full.Then the rate of growth in packages (or revenue) per day is the calculus first derivativey'(t) = dy(t)/dtA Differential EquationBut we had decided that at any time t >= 0, the rate of growth is also directly proportional to both (A) the number of current customers and (B) the number of target customers. Well, the number of current customers is proportional to y(t), and the number of target customers is proportional to (b – y(t)). So, for some constant of proportionality k, we have that for each t >= 0y'(t) = k y(t) (b – y(t))which is a relatively simple, first order, linear, ordinary differential equation initial value problem. Just by freshman calculus there is a closed form solution — it has some exponentials and, thus, is awkward to type here. Besides, the solution is an exercise!Saving the SVPSo, with this work, I went to our SVP Planning and explained. By a wide margin, my work was the best there was there at the HQ. I’d just pulled the SVP’s chestnuts out of the fire, saved his back side, etc.Making the ProjectionsThe growth curves, depending on the constant k, were as in the attached graph. So, we tried several values of k, picked one, and, using my HP calculator, drew the graph. So, my work didn’t determine k but given a guesstimate for k did determine all the rest.The BoD Meeting DisasterThe next day, Saturday, was a BoD meeting. The SVP was traveling. I was in my office working. I didn’t know about the BoD meeting and had not been invited. At about noon, I got a call from Roger Frock who asked if I knew anything about the revenue projections. He’d guessed I did. I said, sure, and he asked if I could come to the HQ offices. So, I drove over.FedEx about to DieWhen I arrived, the BoD meeting had broken up with people standing around looking unhappy. Our two guys from GD were standing in the hall next to their packed bags.Punching My HPRoger walked me to a table with the graph with the projections, selected a time, and asked me to calculate the value on the curve. I punched my HP and got the value on the curve. We did that a few more times, and then everyone had a big sigh of relief and started to smile. Our two GD guys started to smile.Background on That MorningLater I learned what had happened: The BoD meeting had started early, maybe 8 AM. The revenue projections had been presented early in the meeting.GD Guys Had a QuestionRight away the two GD guys asked how the projections were determined.FedEx C-Suite FlounderingThen the rest of the FedEx C-suite, etc. at the meeting tried to answer. Hours went by.Unhappy GD GuysThe GD guys got very unhappy. For GD guys, math, physical science, and engineering are super biggies they use a lot, but no way do they just throw numbers around without careful justification — no unidentified, random graphical objects permitted. The graph is just a summary presentation of analyses more fundamental, and they care totally about the more fundamental.GD Guys Give upWell, the GD guys weren’t just unhappy. Instead they were totally PISSED OFF at FedEx. No way could they consider an investment in some company based on unidentified random graphical objects the C-suite had presented but no one understood. Bummer.One Last ChanceSo, the GD guys gave up on FedEx. They got plane reservations back to Texas, returned to their rented rooms, packed their bags, checked out, and as a last chance, with their packed bags, returned to the FedEx HQ to see if anyone had an explanation for the graph. That was the situation when I arrived.Forgiving GD GuysThe GD guys were very forgiving — that I was able to reproduce the graph with my HP meant that the graph was not just some freehand drawing.Saving FedEx the First TimeAlso the GD guys had a history with me and likely respected me: The first time I’d saved FedEx from going out of business, I’d written some software to schedule the full, planned fleet, and one evening Roger and I used my software to schedule the whole fleet and printed out a schedule. CEO Smith said that the schedule “solved the most important problem”; the GD guys said that the schedule “was a little tight in a few places but was flyable”; some serious BoD concerns were alleviated; a lot of funding was enabled; and I’d saved FedEx for the first time.History with the GD GuysIn that work, I’d worked with the GD guys in reviewing the schedule. So, the revenue projections were the second time for the GD guys and me.FedEx Saved the Second TimeSo, the GD guys didn’t ask me to explain just what I was punching into my HP; they never got to that little differential equation. Apparently they were happy enough to have a reason to unpack their bags, stay, and keep FedEx going. A few minutes later, FedEx would have died. It was close.I Was PissedAnd in a sense I was also pissed: I should have been invited to the BoD meeting.Dysfunctional Goal SubordinationKeeping me out of the meeting was a case of organizational goal subordination: the people who kept me out were so eager to do so that they were willing to risk all of FedEx. I never got a word of thanks from anyone for saving the company.What about the Stock?Still, with that little differential equation and my HP calculator, I’d saved FedEx from going out of business the second time. That should be of some significance, right?Yes, my offer letter had promised stock, in three weeks. After 18 months and saving the company twice, I’d still gotten no stock. My wife was still back in our home in Maryland getting her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins. Bummer.Grad SchoolI went to grad school for my Ph.D.Another Flimsy Stock PromiseMy last day at FedEx, the founder Smith said, “You know, if you stay, you are in line for $500,000 in FedEx stock.” No I did NOT “know” that, and he was not putting it in a solid, legal form. And he was already late, 18 months on a promise of three weeks. I could stay and help FedEx be successful, but I had no confidence at all that I would ever get any stock.Stock Lesson 101Lesson learned: Don’t fool around with stock. Instead, get the stock agreement in rock solid, iron clad, granite hard form or just do NOT proceed. No freebies. No extensions. Promises and a dime won’t cover a 10 cent cup of coffee, not now, likely not later. No handshake deals.Getting/Keeping the StockFor my current startup, I am 100% owner. And my startup is at least as promising as FedEx was.Yes, the story is true.Being Super Cool”Super cool”? That’s not “super cool”. Want to know what would be super cool? $800 billion, that would be super cool. Back to it.But this time it’s not just some package delivery thing-y and not standing on just simple freshman calculus. Instead, it’s, say, an hour a week from nearly everyone in the world with Internet access, and it’s standing on H. Lebesgue, A. Kolmogorov, J. von Neumann, etc.Pure/Applied MathDid I mention? When I left FedEx, I went to grad school, in pure/applied math. Some of that math is astounding; no one should believe that any such things could be true; but they are true; we have rock solid proofs; and the results are powerful. There’s no way to guess the results; have to create the math and use it. And the math of current artificial intelligence and machine learning is baby talk in comparison. Ah, maybe one fine day the information technology entrepreneurship community will discover the QA section of the research libraries! Ah, not soon!

    2. Richard

      Real Engineers use a HP

    3. Mike Zamansky

      It’s worth noting that most math teachers I know (and certainly most of the really good to great math teachers I know) don’t believe in the TI calculators and would rather use a mix of other tools (phone apps, computer apps, etc.) and at times, no tool at all.Of course, that would mean that TI wouldn’t get its annual tribute.

      1. Elia Freedman

        That’s nice to hear. I haven’t seen that myself.Unfortunately the TI calculators are required for AP exams and basically required for SAT exams and therefore are basically required for high school math classes.The lineage is complicated. Since schools don’t track students (college-bound v. non-college bound) they also don’t generally decide early on who will need TI-84+s and who won’t. Therefore all kids use TI’s for algebra and above, even though most will never take AP Calc or Stats.It’s a sad story and, from my experience, one the College Board could care less about solving. (We made some headway on this problem a decade ago but then it fizzled away. As far as I understand there are no plans to make AP and SAT exams computer-based right now. They are *just* experimenting with AP Computer Science, as insane as that sounds.)

        1. Mike Zamansky

          Don’t confuse the college board with an organization that cares about education.Truth is, nothing about the exam itself really needs a calculator or any other tech. Tech should be used as teachers see fit to augment instruction and learning.In terms of giving exams on computers, you wouldn’t believe the infrastructure limitations and problems that make this impossible right now. What’s worse, when the powers that be work to address this, such as for computer based CC testing, it’s all about technology to support TESTING, not technology to support learning.

  12. pointsnfigures for math and science.

  13. panterosa,

    My daughter, 15, loves Quizlet since the moment she started using it. She even googled something the other day and the result was a Quizlet guide.

  14. JLM

    .I used Quizlet when I was taking my commercial and instrument pilot training. It is a great product and it just keeps getting better and better.I gave a guy my Quizlet notes and he said they were better than the actual instruction books.These type study aids go right to the core of how we learn — our individual learning styles.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. panterosa,

      Same mind style to study, multiple styles to explore the subject and ask questions.

  15. jason wright

    A touch strident don’t you think?

  16. Mike Zamansky

    Yeah – if it weren’t for dopes like me, where would we get career teachers from :-)?

  17. marko calvo-cruz

    Anki is perhaps the most under-appreciated learning app i have ever come across. It is humbly labeled a “flash card” app but does so much more.

    1. Cam MacRae

      I use it nearly every day.

  18. Vasudev Ram

    Duolingo is good, though, as someone else said here, it may not be suitable as the only way of learning a language – should use it along with other methods. But it’s a great method. I’ve been using it for some months now.I had an interesting discussion about learning German (about both Duolingo and other points), on HN, the other day:…Multiple people replied including some native German speakers, and others learning German.It was part of this overall thread on HN:Berlin’s Startup Hub Wants to Prove It’s More Than Just a Scene (

  19. Madeline Jhawar

    wow, those exact three apps were recommended by my daughter’s school. Those three and no additional ones. Well done on the educational investments, all 3 are amazing.

  20. Jess Bachman

    Can I get such bread in Rhode Island?

  21. jason wright


  22. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Excited for when you get to Red Bank, NJ. Don’t see it on your map yet 🙂 You’re not at farmers markets, are you?

  23. LE

    He means of course this stuff since he is to bashful to post a link I will:http://www.thelancasterfood…By the way “Craig” needs to modify this page to put those “best organic ingredients” in full view and maybe use a less wimpy font (for everything but have those great ingredients stand out). Also I guess you don’t make that raisin bread anymore because it’s not in the photo. (Meaning update the photos as well…)