I’m still finishing Jay-Z’s “Decoded” on my iPad. It’s difficult to find book reading time when you’re starting up a company. So this won’t be a “book review.” It also won’t be an “app” review. If you want to see a review of the app then check out this guy’s thoughts – he’s focused mostly on the flaws of the user experience with the app, and you can temper that with the Amazon reviews of the book to get a holistic understanding of “Decoded.” My experience with “Decoded” has been an inspiration to take a leap of faith with our company.
We at newquill are building off of how learning is about the relationship between consumption and creation. This is the bridge we’re building. This post is a bit of a decoding itself – an explanation – for why we’re landing ourselves in the entertainment vertical with a specific focus on musicians. We’re still about learning, we’re still about literacy, we’re still about new media, but we’ve found our wedge – and we are in love with it.
“Art elevates and refines and transforms experience… [Artists] bend language, improvise, and invent new ways of speaking the truth.” - Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z
We started newquill because we want to make learning an enjoyable experience. We started building bridges between traditional learning and what students love to do. But the more time that we spent in the traditional space, the more we looked at classic literature and the more my romantic idealism for text wore off, the more we realized that it’s interaction with media – forced to happen outside of classroom – that really matters most.
The publishing conventions we went to, the education technology conferences we attended, the conversations we had with New York City teachers, taught us three very important things about 21st century learning:
1. Content isn’t the only king; connection is, also.
2. Traditional education technology companies are not interested in disruption as much as they are in solidifying market control. If change is going to happen it will have to come from the ground up.
3. Teachers love media as much as their students do – everyone learns from music, movies, and games.
So who are the real curriculum creators of the 21st century? Who are the socratic teachers of our time? The true philosophers? They are the performers, the programmers, the artists: the doers.
Music is our team’s passion. We’ve often been compared to a band based on how specific our talents are in making contributions to the creative process. Two of us have been in bands and make music. Ryan loves Animal Collective. I love Kid Cudi Remixes. Robert loves Creedence Clearwater Revival. Jackie loves David Tao.
So why not build a company around our collective passion? Why not help musicians share their stories through the convergence of art and science? Education psychologist Lev Vygotsky showed the world that learning happens through play. We’re taking his socio-cultural theory to the next level.
So, now’s the point where everyone should be holding their breath. Well, newquill, HOW are you going to do this?
Let’s just say:
We’re bringing vinyl back. And, in the process, we’re bringing sexy back. We can’t help it.
More to come.