Recent Event: SKOOL'd (Reimagining Higher Education)

Tue, Nov. 28, 2011 @ 6:30 | Madrone Studios

TEDxSF 2011 Education Salon - Speakers Michael Ellsberg, Gunnar Counselman, Gene Wade, and Ben Nelson
TEDxSF 2011 Education Salon - Speakers Michael Ellsberg, Gunnar Counselman, Gene Wade and Ben Nelson ©Suzie Katz #7409

Speaker Bios:

David Berkeley
Performer and Speaker

Performances and Storytelling

David has been hailed by media as "one of the most promising contemporary American singer-songwriters" and the "best of the young American songwriters." He has recorded multiple albums – including The Confluence, After The Wrecking Ships, Strange Light and Some Kind of Cure – as well as published a book, "140 Goats and a Guitar," which encourages readers to move through the book to understand the stories and poetry behind his fourth studio album, Some Kind of Cure. He has toured in support of Dido, Don Mclean, Billy Bragg, Ray Lamontagne, Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds, Nickel Creek and many other artists.
Before going to college at Harvard, David Berkeley spent a year as a volunteer for City Year. During college, David became increasingly interested in music. He also volunteered in a Boston prison where he taught math and literacy to inmates. After college, he held a number of writing and editing jobs for magazines, including Outside Magazine and Time Out New York. After September 11th, David wanted to find a way to connect to his community and Brooklyn, and began teaching creative writing to middle school students in a public school.

Dale Stephens
Founder, the UnCollege Movement; Entrepreneur & Fellow, Thiel’s 20 Under 20

Dale’s Talk (with Michael Ellsberg): Debating Higher Ed

Dale Stephens brings a unique perspective on the future of education, talent and innovation. At the age of 19, Dale leads UnCollege, the social movement that is changing the notion that college is the only path to success. Through UnCollege, Dale's goal is to empower students to hack their own educations through resources, writing, workshops and community. Having come from a homeschooled background, Dale brings unique perspective and believes that everyone can live an UnCollege life by hacking their education.

In May 2011, Dale was selected out of hundreds of individuals around the world as one of the first members of the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship. Started by Peter Thiel, the Fellowship recognizes the top entrepreneurs around the world under the age of twenty and provides them with $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation to pursue innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow.
Dale has appeared on major news networks, including CNN, ABC, NPR, CBS, Fox and TechCrunch. His work has been covered by the New York Times, New York Magazine, Fast Company and Forbes. His first book, "Hacking Your Education" will be published by Perigee / Penguin in early 2013

Michael Ellsberg
Author, Blogger and Speaker

Michael’s Talk (with Dale Stephens): Debating Higher Ed

Michael's most recent book, "Self-Educated Millionaires: Lessons From the World's Most Successful People," is a bootstrapper's guide to investing in your own human capital at any age. In this, Michael interviewed some of the most successful people in the world – who didn't complete college and who educated themselves in the real world – to deconstruct their secrets and to create a "Syllabus for a Successful Life," based on what he learned from them.
The book features interviews with selfeducated billionaires & the the insights of experts.
In addition to being a noted author, book editor and consultant to other authors, Michael has spoken at the Googleplex for the [email protected] series, at the World Technology Summit & Awards, and also spoken at the Thiel Fellows Retreat. He writes a blog on entrepreneurialism, career development and education at

Bror Saxberg
Chief Learning Officer, Kaplan

Bror's’s Talk: Demystifying the Human Mind

Bror Saxberg is a thought leader in the field of learning science, cognitive science and artificial intelligence. As the Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan, Inc., Bror is responsible for the research and development of innovative learning strategies, technologies and products across the Company's full range of educational services offerings. He also oversees future developments and adoptions of innovative learning technologies and maintains consistent academic standards for Kaplan's products and courses.
Bror most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer at K12, Inc., where he was responsible for designing both online and offline learning environments and developing new student products and services. Prior to joining K12, Inc., he was Vice President at Knowledge Universe, where he cofounded the testing and assessment division that became known as Knowledge Testing Enterprise (KTE). Bror began his career at McKinsey & Company, Inc. and later served as Vice President and General Manager for London-based DK Multimedia, part of DK Publishing, and education and reference publisher

Michael Horn
Author and Co-Founder, Innosight Institute

Michael’s Talk: Disrupting Class

Michael Horn is the co-founder of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank devoted to applying the theories of disruptive innovation to problems in the social sector. He is executive director of Innosight Institute's education practice, which seeks to transform America's educational system into a student-centric one in which every student can realize her human potential.
He is the author of numerous publications and articles, including "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns" (McGraw-Hill: June 2008) with Harvard Business School Professor and bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen and Curtis W. Johnson, president of the Citistates Group. BusinessWeek named the book one of the 10 Best Innovation & Design Books of 2008 and Newsweek named it as the 14th book on its list of "Fifty Books for Our Times." Tech&Learning magazine named Michael to its list of the 100 most important people in the creation and advancement of the use of technology in education. MBA Harvard, BA Yale.

Gene Wade
Founder and CEO, UniversityNow

Gene’s Talk: Building the World's Most Affordable and Accessible Online University

Gene Wade is the Founder and CEO of UniversityNow, a venture-backed start-up, whose vision is a world in which education is universally affordable and accessible to all who seek it. At UniversityNow, Gene is focused on building a university system that takes student debt out of the equation. Gene is a serial entrepreneur in the education space who has been profiled by the media, including Fast Company and Business 2.0, for his work as a social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to fixing education. Prior to UniversityNow, Gene was CoFounder and CEO of two venture-backed, education companies, including Platform Learning, an after school tutoring company.
Over two years, Platform Learning grew to serve over 35,000 students in 350 struggling public schools throughout the U.S. Gene was Executive Vice President for Development at Edison School, where he oversaw the effort to secure Edison's contract to manage 20 schools and 13,000 students in the School District of Philadelphia. He also advised Pennsylvania Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker in connection with the state takeover of the School District of Philadelphia.
MBA, Wharton. JD, Harvard, BA, Morehouse.

Ben Nelson
CEO, Minerva

Ben’s Talk: Taking on the Ivy League

Ben Nelson spent over 10 years at Snapfish, as CEO for more than 5 of those years, seeing the company through from an idea to the world's largest personal publishing service. With over 42 million transactions across 22 countries, nearly 5 times its closest competitor, Snapfish today is among the top handful of e-commerce services in the world. Prior to joining Snapfish, Ben was President and CEO of Community Ventures and was a consultant instrumental in the launching of several ventures within both large and emerging companies – including the launches of Disney Regional Entertainment for The Walt Disney Company in Asia, mergers & acquisition advisory work in the telecommunications market, and the growth plan for CDNow in the first months after its founding.
Ben graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he first realized his passion for reforming undergraduate education. At Penn, Ben pursued a number of reforms at the University and saw the limits of what an established, progressive University can implement given the constraints it faces. It is from those experiences that the concept for Minerva was developed. Minerva strives to be the world's most elite University, training 21st century leaders and creators with an innovative curriculum taught by the world's most inspirational instructors. Despite providing a more rigorous and analytical education than what is currently available in the market, the University will only cost a fraction of the market rate at $10,000 per year. A level that is accessible to the global brilliant middle class and accelerating the trajectory of the hardest-working, most brilliant students in the world to positively shape our collective future.

Gunnar Counselman
Founder and CEO, Fidelis

Gunnar’s Talk: Moving Beyond the Diploma (Rethinking Credentialing)

Gunnar founded Fidelis in April 2011 after recognizing a major mismatch between available educational services and the needs of service members transitioning from military to civilian careers. Fidelis is ramping up to provide an end-to-end education solution for the military-tocivilian career transition. Fidelis starts with an analysis of the needs of colleges and companies and leverages new technology to provide customized curriculum, transition coaching, lower-division course credits from leading Universities as well as access to appropriate mentor networks.
The core of Fidelis's company placement service is a detailed badge-oriented transcript that includes data that doesn't exist in a traditional transcript, CV or social profile. Fidelis's program will directly measure the specific talents, personality type, interests, knowledge and skills sets mastered along with the students' network and reputation. By doing so, and making the data searchable by companies, Fidelis intends to help a job to seek out the right person rather than a person seeking out the right job.

Event Sponsors:

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Karol K. Denniston
Karen Han
Alexander Spilger


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