University of Delaware

Entertaining education

UD students gain insight into the frontier of youth development


2:36 p.m., Nov. 8, 2013--One of the biggest challenges facing K-12 schools is providing an experience that is as entertaining as it is informational. While programs like athletics and music can provide such experiences, dwindling funds are forcing schools to suspend extracurricular activities that can foster development of student interests.

That’s where Philadelphia venture eThree finds its niche. The organization provides experiential educational entertainment so that learning does not stop outside of the classroom. 

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“I believe eThree has tremendous potential regarding giving students an opportunity to collaborate and think outside the box,” said James O’Neill, professor of economics in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics

O’Neill invited co-founders Daniel Morrissey and Lev Davidson of eThree to his Economics of Entrepreneurship class to give students the chance to engage with the entrepreneurs and learn about the facets of running a start-up.

eThree has established learning “gyms” that house a digital curriculum to give students the tools to be successful in a digital age.

According to Morrissey and Davidson, eThree’s advanced curriculum is built from a consortium of the biggest names in technology, including Intel, Dell and Apple, who have strongly influenced what skills will be necessary for careers in the future. 

Based on insights from the consortium, eThree instructors like musicians, athletes and artists created a K-12 weekend and after-school model, orienting students to the frontier of technology.

“Think of it as a gym,” said Morrisey. “We’re creating a playing field where any kid can be a cyber athlete and build the skills they’re going to need to be valuable in the 21st century. Like a circus ring, we can pop up and go wherever we want to administer this. iPads, projectors and screens make for the best 90 minutes of the students’ week.”

Students asked questions, taking full advantage of the resources made available to them. 

“How do you plan to handle the massive demand for content when you are facing kids with individualized passions and interests?” asked one student.

An internal development team is the answer, said Morrissey and Davidson. “And while we work on establishing that team, we’re also interested in UD students for content development.”

The co-founders’ interest in UD students was another reason O’Neill said he asked them to visit the class.

“Their visit emphasizes experience-driven learning where students can hear about internship opportunities for creating real world projects relevant to their interests all while learning a specific digital skillset.”

Article by Christopher Hannigan

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