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Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #76 with Michael Horn, the author and coauthor of multiple books, white papers, and articles on education, including the award-winning book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns [i], (a book I think that everyone should read as it describes how disruptive technologies  will personalize and revolutionize learning) making complete sense with what’s happening with online learning in the world today. He also wrote the Amazon-bestseller Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools [ii]and his most recent book,  Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life.[iii] that was written to help students and parents stay ahead of the curve as they make important college decisions.

Watch this interview on YouTube here.

Podcast Intro and Background on Michael

Welcome Michael! It was fun to hear your reaction to some of my questions yesterday, that dig back a few years.

I first saw you speak, Michael, at the ASU/GSV Summit in San Diego in 2016[iv] when our company was nominated for the McGraw Hill Innovation Award[v] in K-12 Education and wanted to watch this event, learn from the speakers, through streaming video. The title of my notes this year was “Aha Moments from the Eyes of a Disruptor” so I must have been reading your book Disrupting Class at that time. It was from this event that I learned about disruptive ed tech companies like Class Dojo, Clever and Remind who were all skyrocketing their online services  within the school market  (and now most people have these apps on their phones) and I knew this conference was one that I needed to stay connected to, and learn from these speakers, with you being one of them, if I wanted to stay at the forefront of innovation in education. Things really have changed since 2016, haven’t they?

Thank you so much for meeting up with me, to share your vision of education with those who are listening. I’ve been on your email list, ever since that 2016 summit, and felt that it was time I reach out to you when your email subject matter read “Why Developing Character in Schools Matters” as I have been focused on a Character Manual for Educators to put these of these concepts into practice.

Q1: Michael, I have so many questions that range from the K12 market, into higher education, and then I found your podcast Class Disrupted[vi] that you started when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted education and changed everything we as parents, teachers, or workers know about what it means to go to school.  I listened to a few episodes, and loved them with my favorite being the one about “Why can’t Sal Khan just teach everyone?” Can you give an overview of your podcast, and what your vision is so our listeners can check it out and stay with your content?

Q2: Let’s go back to 2016 to that ASU GSV Summit (this was the one that Bill Gates was a keynote speaker), these were the good old days in education. I was watching some of these ed tech companies talking about their growth. It’s crazy for me to look back and see that Class Dojo was only founded 9 years ago, and Coursera 8 years ago or that the Remind app back then was only in 50% of public schools (I am sure they are in 100% by now). We can all see that online education and technology has disrupted education.  Remember Moore’s Law[vii] that shocked Gordon Moore, Intel’s co-founder and author of Moore’s Law that states that “computing power will double every two years.” What advice would you have for schools/teachers/parents that were not ready or set up for this wave of online education that we are all now getting used to?

Q3: As a parent of 5-year-old twins, what are you focused on at home with their learning? I know routines are important, but what does a typical day look like for you? I’m asking mainly because I’m hoping to hear that someone whose written all these books in education with access to all of the tools under the sun, finds working from home, AND homeschooling to be challenging…like I am!

Q4: What about higher ed. I saw your article “Changes Ahead in Higher Ed: The Experts Weigh in”[viii] and wonder what other changes do you see for the 2020-2021 school year that go beyond COVID-19 testing, online learning challenges, the sports team you mentioned were being eliminated and whether campuses will reopen?

Q5: On this podcast, we do focus on the 5 social and emotional competencies, with self-awareness being one of them. Why do you think a gap year is so important for students these days to consider learning more about themselves before going to their next steps after high school?

Q6: Is there anything that you think is important that we have missed, to close out our conversation?

Thank you very much Michael, for the time you have taken to be on this podcast and share your vision for education in the next year. For those who would like to learn more about you, they can go to and find all of your books there and follow you on Twitter @michaelbhorn or Michael Horn on LinkedIn.

Michael’s BIO

Michael is a senior strategist at Guild Education, and founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit think tank. He’s an expert on disruptive innovation, online learning, blended learning, competency-based learning, and how to transform the education system into a student-centered one. He serves on the board and advisory boards of a range of education organizations, including the Clayton Christensen Institute, the Robin Hood Learning+Tech Fund, and the LearnLaunch Institute. He also serves as an executive editor at Education Next and is a venture partner at NextGen Venture Partners.



SEPT. 2020 Agenda with Michael Horn speaking

Class Disrupted Podcast

Khan Academy Kids for ages 5 and under teaches early literacy, math and social and emotional skills through 1,000 games, videos and stories.

Resource for Colleges

Measuring Colleges’ Financial Strength

Kaplan’s Boost Year



    • , a company that reaches parents and students wherever they are, increased to 35M users, with 50% of public schools using their services.


    • , a simple, safe classroom management app that helps teachers encourage students in class, and easily communicate with parents was founded in 2011 and now has 50M users.


    • , founded in 2012, a program that keeps educational applications (anything that needs a user name and password) up to date so that students log into their applications in one place, with a simple process, now has 20M users across the country.

Stanford AI Lab

    • , had 160,000 students in 2011, and has now grown to over 4M users.


    had 18M students in 2012, now has over 35M.

Moe continues to explain why these companies have experienced exponential growth with Moore’s Law, that states that “computing power will double every two years.”  These numbers have shocked Gordon Moore (Intel co-founder and author of Moore’s Law) himself, as shown in this image.

So what’s next for this next generation of students with these current trends? We do know that 50% of the jobs that currently exist will be replaced in the next 20 years, bringing up new challenges. How are we preparing our students for jobs that don’t yet exist? How do we ensure that “every person has an equal opportunity to participate in the future?” Moe asks and replies with some solutions to consider. Think of ways to “apply imagination to come up with ideas to solve big problems” with these companies as examples.

    Facebook re-imagined communicationAirbnb re-imagined travelUber re-imagined how to hail a cab





[iv]ASU GSV Summit 2016 Keynote hosted by Michael Horn “Mind the Gap: How Do Universities, Employers, Students and Government Get in Sync.” and summit keynote slides

[v] McGraw Hill Jr. Prize in Education

[vi] Class Disrupted Podcast

[vii] Moore’s Law

[viii] Changes Ahead in Higher Ed by Michael B Horn July 18th, 2020