Who Are Your Teachers?

Aug 27, 2014 by

Julia Freeland – For those adults working on, writing about, or generally pondering the fate of our education system, “teachers” are thought of as a stakeholder group, a fulcrum for change. But most of us are likewise bought into the idea of lifelong learning—that is, formal schooling may end, but we continue to be students of life. As such, who are your teachers? When you encounter a thorny problem, where do you turn?

For many of us, roaming the Internet for answers may be a first instinct; but many of us will also choose the “call a friend” lifeline. We will reach out to those we know—family, friends, colleagues—for information, guidance, or advice. We rely on a range of expertise across our social, emotional, and professional networks. Or in the words of famous Paris bookseller George Whitman, “All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher.”

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A relatively new breed of edtech platform is taking this basic truth of adulthood—our ongoing reliance on other humans as our teachers—into account for children. Platforms like Educurious, Nepris, and CrowdWorks’ newly minted UnitedTeach connect classrooms and experts from the real world using video technology to teach lessons, share their stories, or to answer students’ questions. There is some variation among the three: Nepris is exclusively STEM-focused, built on the DNA of its founder, Sabari Raja, formerly of Texas Instruments. Educurious looks a bit more like a curriculum company than the other two, with a focus on building project-based assignments with experts from a range of professions at the center. But importantly, all three of these are leveraging technology not merely to deliver academic content, as the majority of the academic software market aims to do. Rather they expose students (and their teachers) to adults in the working world. They are, although still in their early stages, an encouraging harbinger for how our schools could become hubs around which a whole host of human beings converge.

via Who Are Your Teachers? New Technology for Humanity – Education Next : Education Next.

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