Erik Gregory

Erik Gregory

Chief Field Officer, Pearson

Erik Gregory has a background in children's educational television and now works for the Pearson Foundation, where he works on using mobile technology to deliver rich educational materials in an affordable way to teachers and students in poor countries worldwide.

The scourge of education in developing countries is "chalk and talk", Erik says. At Pearson, he's working to get teachers to stop standing in front of their class and move to the middle where they can help students learn instead of just talking at them. Pearson's BridgeIT program, for example, uses cell phones or other mobile devices to engage students in viewing video programming in math, English, and the arts, then preparing and sharing their own work as well.

Erik has just completed a world tour of education for the poor, in which he visited more than 20 countries and explored what works and what doesn't. "We wanted to ruffle up the feathers of education globally and find the best practices of schools that are doing great things for $5 or $15 a month," he says. This summer, Pearson opened schools in the Philippines that put these methods into practice.

If Erik could change one thing about education by 2030, he would work with universities to change their admission practices to favor students who know how to learn, rather than students who know a lot of facts. This will give high schools the freedom to teach in a much more creative way, he says.

For recreation, Erik likes a good philosophical debate. "If you see me in the halls, feel free to run up and challenge me to an intellectual duel," he says. "That's when I really know I'm alive."