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Getting Smart Podcast

Feb 21, 2018

You may remember back in 2015, SXSWedu had a special screening of Most Likely to Succeed, a film produced by Ted Dintersmith. Well, he’s also the author of Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, along with Tony Wagner. And his new book, What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America, comes out on April 17th, outlining everything he has learned from the 50-state tour following the release of Most Likely to Succeed. In this episode, Tom talks with Ted about this journey to advocating for next-generation education.


Ted’s work as a venture investor put him in the middle of the formation of the new innovation economy. He uniquely appreciates the impact of exponential technology and the future of work. It has given him real urgency about promoting quality education — especially engaging project-based learning where young people build agency, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.


Tune in to hear more of Tom and Ted’s fascinating conversation on their hopes and goals for the future, the process of filming Ted’s movie — as well as the process for writing his new book, his own education growing up, what attracts him to next-gen learning, and his thoughts on where he sees education headed in this new innovation era.


Key Takeaways:

[:15] Introduction to the guest today and upcoming events for the Getting Smart team.

[2:04] Where Ted went to high school and the experience he had there.

[3:28] Ted’s college experience at the College of William and Mary.

[5:46] Ted’s support for the undergrad research at William and Mary.

[7:50] How Ted got to Stanford and why he decided to make the switch from physics to engineering.

[10:22] About Ted’s Ph.D. in engineering.

[11:31] Emerging in the information age.

[12:55] Spending more than 20 years in venture capital, Ted reflects on the timing of when he got out of school linked with the opportunity of becoming an investor.

[15:14] Ted’s thoughts on us being in a new era of artificial intelligence.

[23:14] Where Ted learned about Larry Rosenstock, the President of High Tech High.

[26:34] What initially attracted Ted to High Tech High?

[28:21] The process of creating his film Most Likely to Succeed with Greg Whiteley.

[33:31] How Ted now thinks about the purpose of school.

[36:00] The remarkable changes in education in the last 25 years.

[41:23] About Ted’s new book coming out this spring, What School Could Be.

[43:55] Where to learn more about Ted’s new book.

[45:18] Where to find more about the film, Most Likely to Succeed.

[47:03] Embracing change.

[49:40] An important message that Ted wants to triple underline for all listening.


Mentioned in This Episode:

If you’ll be at SXSWedu, tweet the team @Getting_Smart and use #SXSWedu, or email Jessica at to set up a time to meet!


SXSWedu Events: ‘Dont Let Data Hold You Back’, ‘Why Innovate Alone? Harness the Power of Networks’, and ‘The Rise of AI & What It Means for Education Meet Up’.


What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America, by Ted Dintersmith

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, by Ted Dintersmith
and Tony Wagner

Most Likely to Succeed (Film)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

High Tech High

New Tech Network

Big Picture Learning

Expeditionary Learning

The College of William and Mary
Stanford University

Larry Rosenstock

John Dewey

Ted Sider

Rudy Crew
Tony Wagner

Waiting for Superman

Greg Whiteley

No Child Left Behind Act


Harvard Graduate School of Education Most Likely to Succeed film

Innovation Playlist on


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