Sunday, September 23, 2012

The idea

I am very active on this course even though my posting comes behind others who started before me. I started posting two weeks ago even though before that I have been browsing around the site, reading its content  and making myself familiar with the environment. I participated in the forums and tried to make some connexions. I sent private messages who haven't been answered. This is what I think is the most difficult thing in social networking. People are not really connecting or don't prove they are. I am active in different social media but people don't react to my posting or respond to my appeal. Success in entrepreneurship and in one's profession or any endevour depends on the reality of being connected to people who are willing to help and share ideas. One might have all the knowledge in the world, all the ideas to solve the problems but if someone who has all these things doesn't have the support of people nothing won't materialize. Human relationships are very important to solve the problems of our society. There is a lot methods that show how to approach people, make connections, maintain and cultivate relationships. But if people don't feel the necessity of helping each other, marriages or intimate relationships, children's education and education in general, employment, housing, entrepreneurship and all the social structures that help men survive will continue to fail. The educational system in its formal and informal aspect has to stress the importance of the connectedness between people to solve problems. Social learning is being used in face-to-face and online education. But do the students in real life are able to apply these skills to find a job, to start a venture and many other social undertakings?. Various social sites either for social connections or education have been booming but how many people benefit significantly from this explosion?. Some people have been successful in finding people to connect with for their social endevours. But the relationships are often difficult and fail. The majority struggles to find the right connections to make their social endevours successful whether it's having an intimate partner or spouse, making friends, having a job or start an enterprise, etc. With the explosion of private initiatives to solve educational problems educators have to play their role in society because they are the makers of social people. Good education in all its aspects not in its academic aspect can solve many problems in our society. The world education system  has for too long mistakenly sressed the importance of the academic knowledge while neglecting the human and social behavior. Math, Science, Languages, Art, Technology are the main subjects taught in schools and the belief has been persistent that if one masters these subjects success will come. If this was true, there wouldn't be all these world social crises with high unemployment rate. economic crisis, criminality, social conflicts and the break up of the social structures. Hoping that this introduction will reach some ears and people will be conscious and take action, I am presenting my ideas. These ideas are already started up but they need resources to be successful.

Idea # 1: Bring open courses and other educational resources in different disciplines such as Engineering, Math, Sciences, Human Sciences, etc to people around the world so they can educate themselves. Site: Open Popular University These open courses originate from open courses taught from renowned universities around the world. These courses are in English and French and can be provided in other languages.

A large segment of the world population can't afford a good education. Many students in face-to-face and online schools struggle in understanding the concepts they are taught and need supplemental help. Many self learners want to find educational resources and tools that can help them learn better. Many professionals want to be better in their profession by continuing to learn. Educators are not concentrating on educational resources at hand but are looking for good educational resources to supplement their curriculum. The educational resources in Open Popular University can help these segments of the human population.

Above all Open Popular University want to help people educate by themselves. This aspect has been long neglected in traditional education. As learning is a human skill the traditional educational system has been focusing on teaching people instead of helping them develop their learning skills. Learning starts with birth and ends with death. Many people learn by themselves whether they want it or not during their life. Babies already learn to cry when they are in their mother's womb so that when they are born they use this skill in order to satisfy their natural needs. Early in life some skills are just facilitated by parents or learned by oneself in the environment. Parents don't teach children how to brush their teeth, take a shower and take care of themselves. Children learn these activities just by watching and parents just coach them. Many other skills and things are just learned in the environment from birth to death without the help of anybody else. When children come to school they already know something they learned naturally. The role of the teachers would be to help them to develop these skills. The idea of Open Popular University is to strenghten the idea of self learnig and social or networked learning.

Open Popular University solves the problem of self learning, networked learning and learning to improve oneself by bringing all the educational resources at its disposal whether it is in the form or open courses or something else to help people to take charge of their own whole education. Educators, professionals, students, self-learners and people interested in Education can use freely the educational resources of Open Popular University.

Many other institutions are already helping to solve the problem stated above. Many people and many institutions can bring varieties in solving a problem. Since my childhood I have learned to learn by myself and in group of students. I have learned in an educational system where you take notes and the teacher lecturing. The time spent in class has been mostly devoted to taking notes and listening to the teachers. The bulk of my learning has been done at home where I have to master the concepts by my self. I have also studied in social groups of students. I haven't spent my time focusing on the teacher for my learning. This has been during all my life. While I have been brilliant in primary and secondary school and being satisfied, the university system (where I have been also brilliant by overcoming its shortcomings) with its closeness, profit making interest and all the other negative things not in the interest of people have put breaks in my learning and professional development. I have been the sole responsible of my professional and personal development in my adult life struggling within a system that hasn't helped me. When I discovered the movement of Open Education I think this is a movement that can help people to take charge and empower themselves but there is a long way to go. I will develop the idea of tutoring services New Direction Education Services in another post.


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Ed Tech Startup Space

Before giving my opinions on these Ed startups , it is important to define startup and describe their characteristics. A google search led me to these definitions:

"A startup business is a company that is in the first stage of its operations" (

"It is a new business that provides a new service to the target market" (

These two definitions stress the fact that a startup business is a new company whether the service provided is new or not. Startups are often financed by their founders as they try to develop their product or service according to Investopedia continued by stating: "Due to limited revenue or high costs most of these small business operations are not sustainable in the long term without funding from venture capitalists".  These characteristics seem make startups different from other traditional new companies in the sense that they are often funded by their creators. Why don't investors finance these companies in their first stage of operations? The survival of a startup depends on the existence of a need and capital.

I am not really attracted by the list of startups provided in the course as my ideas are based on providing open learning services synchronously and asynchronously. Coursera seems closed to my idea  but it provides open courses only synchronously and its courses are only taught by university professors where the traditional face-to-face model is duplicated online. I am also attracted by Degreed that seems to evaluate  formal and informal learning. I subscribed to it but there was a software error after logging. I might come back to it later to see how it works and make an evaluation. Codemy apparently seems good as it offers web programming but although it is free you have to subscribe in order to see what it offers. Class Dojo seems interesting as it proposes to solve behavior problems in the classroom. But it can only serve as an aid to the teacher. The assignment of points seems similar to a discipline method used in elementary school. Overall these startups are web 2.0 tools with the exception of Coursera and Codemy which  are some kind of open learning platform.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ed Startup 101 course Introduction

Hello Everybody,

I am an educator, math certified, currently living in Boston, Massachusetts. I am presently working in the public school system and tutor privately. I have 4 blogs where I comment or write articles on Open Education, my open PhD program, Math, Science, Civil Engineering, etc.

My educational background is in Math and Science Education, Civil Engineering, K-12 education, Educational administration, Curriculum, Adult and Open Education. I am currently pursuing openly with a network of open PhD candidates a PhD program I started a few years ago.

Graduated as a Math and Science Teacher I have been teaching math and Science for a long time. Recently I created the site New Direction Education Services  to market my tutoring services in Math, French, Spanish and ESL I have marketed in different social networks and tutoring sites such as and but these marketing efforts haven't yielded many leads. I hope my participation in this course will help me make the tutoring services successful not only from the knowledge acquired through this course but also from the participant's experiences and knowledge. My other recent initiative is the Open Popular University . Its purpose is to allow educators, students, professionals and self-learners to access open courses and educational resources from the world renowned universities. My goal is to present a rich, open, networked, self-learning educational platform. In order to reach these goals I need financial, material and human resources. In a first step I need to change the look and increase the capacity of the site to accommodate more educational resources and offer some open courses. I will have to do some expenses to upgrade the site and hire a web developer. I am also looking for volunteer educators for an advising board and to teach the open courses. In a second step a physical location with hired personnel will be needed. I am participating in this course in order to find volunteers who can help and people who can point to funding resources to reach these objectives. I am looking for people who can help at any level: sharing the site, liking the facebook page, advising, contributing financially, partnering, etc.  I hope that my participation in Edstartup will help me make New Direction Education Services and Open Popular University successful from the help gained from the facilitators and participants of the course.