Recently, MindShift gave a write-up about “The Rise of Educator-Entrepreneurs: Bringing Classroom Experience to Ed-Tech“. While we see this trend grows, the reason behind it is simple: “Teachers are usually the last people to be consulted on many of these education technology companies.” Even we can see new EdTech sites emerging everyday, not every newly minted site or software is useful to teachers.
Some EdTech startup leverages technologies or business resources to deliver their teaching ideas. Like Braincandy, the founder Jack West has the natural inclination to innovate in order to help kids. And James Sanders created ClassBadges which has just launched last Monday. It’s a digital platform for teachers and students to collect badges for mastery of certain topics. The badges represent learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom. NoRedInk is a fun way for students to improve their grammar/writing skills using their favorite celebrities, friends and personal interests. Immediate feedback facilitates the progress of independent learning.
The experience in hard work of teaching sets educator entrepreneurs apart from others because they know what works and what doesn’t. Those techie teachers can realize their ideas because they make technologies work for their know-how in education. Computers can speed up 10 times or even 100 times for what can be done by human beings. Automation, efficiency, visualization, convenience, flexibility and low cost are several advantages that digital solutions can bring to us. But the original concepts are probably not new. Actually the quality and expertise of a good teacher aren’t generated by technologies. It’s the digital technology to amplify a great teacher’s intelligence and influence.
The biggest question is: not every educator can dive into the depth of technologies and go as far as these start-up founders can do. That doesn’t mean the other teachers don’t have the gems of teaching expertise. Technologies change in fast pace, very often good contents can not flow into most learner’s reach because of there are some kinds of technology or cost barriers. Especially the devices bearing the potential for learning anytime anywhere are working in diversified platforms. Bringing contents into learners’ hands needs to handle a bunch of trivia. A good teacher should not be a programmer, so we like to bring programmers forward to bridge the gap. Because great teachers and their teaching expertise should be amplified. The hands-on educators have the insights on how to build a learning path step by step. Effective learning design requires the understanding of how people learn and how subject knowledge develops. Even it’s only a well-designed problem to challenge learners’ understanding. That’s worth it to share.
We, Classroom Aid Inc., has partnered up with programmers to help implement educators’ ideas for digital learning. The first step will be a tool to publish education contents like interactive conversations, quizzes or problem-solving sets structured as learning paths into mobile Apps. Educators don’t need to code a line, they should only care about their professional areas. We think that’s the way it should be.
- It will be free to use if educators publish the Apps for non-commercial purposes.
- Ultimately the contents can be pushed into major platforms.
- A web interface to build the contents, manage learners’ activities and get reporting.
- We will setup a sharing space and a directory of published contents/Apps.
- We will spread the words for educator publishers. (As we say, they should focus on their professions.)
By the year 2016, every students will be using mobile learning. New technologies no longer just automate what we did in the past but they open up new possibilities. Mobile Devices, cloud-based resources, social media and a whole new generation of educational applications (Apps) can place learning much more firmly in the control of the students, give them ownership to personalize their learning. That’s why we see the urgency to maximize learning opportunities on mobile devices. They will be almost everywhere, so it’s possible that learning could be anytime anywhere too if we make it happen. Let’s connect with learners through the mobile devices they like.
Dear educators: Are you satisfied with the available educational Apps on the market? We believe the best learning contents come from educators. What keeps you from publishing your own Apps? What’s your wish list for this tool? Please leave your comments below, or take one minute to finish our survey questions. Your suggestions are possible to shape the tool now, but this chance will be much lower after it’s finalized. Although we can customize Apps according to your specific needs and designs later, but it won’t be free.
If you like to be one of the early birds to get the invitation to publish your contents, leave your short information below, we’ll get in touch soon. This project is accepting sponsorship, more supporting from sponsors, there will be more free features to serve educators. Please spread the words, thank you!
Any conversation about this project, you are very welcome to contact : LearningMobby@classroomaid.org
Survey link : http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FVNSX56
Image credit : By lumaxart