California is now a finalist for the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) grant. We are one of 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, that is competing for the $4.35 billion that President Obama allocated to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. California would be eligible for upwards of $700 million of that money, and over 300 local districts and county offices of education signed would be vying for that funding. The winners will be announced in September.
There are many problems with today's schools, especially in California, and there is one thread of similarity between all of the proposed solutions—make education more personal. California should ask itself one question when deciding how to spend their federal money: Does this personalize education for our students?
Do not base a social networking roll-out on the notion of "Build it and they will come," says Finn. Even the most amazing social sites will fall on deaf ears if they don't solve business problems, he says.
Instead, find groups of people — be it developers, designers or salespeople — and start small by creating online communities for them based on common interests and goals.
"If you create all these new communities and too many people aren't part of those communities, they will ask: 'Why do i need this'?" says Finn.