This year, the Google I/O and Google Chrome teams were kind enough to invite Udacity to participate in their Developer Sandbox at I/O. On Friday, fellow Udacians Stuart, Chris and I manned a Udacity booth equipped with a new mini lesson to show everyone what Udacity’s all about.
I’ve been trying to think of the right way to describe our experience at I/O, and I keep coming back to the same phrase:
Seriously, the response Udacity got from developers at I/O was nothing short of astonishing. We were mobbed by people all day, we had to tag-team getting food and drinks around lunch time because there was no way we could leave our space.
As to the actual response from developers at our station, we got a wide range of people and opinions. A huge number of current Udacity students stopped by to give us the thumbs up and ask about our future plans. We had a number of people who had never heard of Udacity before. Interestingly, I felt like these people left with more genuine interest in Udacity and a change in the educational landscape than anyone else.
Finally, we had quite a few folks stop by to say they didn’t understand how we were different from any of the other education provider, like Coursera, edX, Codecademy, Codeschool, etc. I really enjoyed these conversations! It let me open up a bit more about the differences in philosophy and pedagogy between some of these different approaches, describe what was unique about Udacity, what we get right, and what we need to improve.
At the end of the day, my I/O takeaway was clear:
Everyone wants education to change. No one is happy with how the education system currently works, and people are eager to hear what we’re doing to make that happen. We were grateful and, quite frankly, humbled by the enthusiasm we met with, and we couldn’t have been happier to talk to everyone there!