Monthly Archives: September 2009

Partnerships, Partnerships, Partnerships


For a long time I did not cover all the new partnerships that were made in the education 2.0 sector. One reason for this is the huge amount of new companies which enter the game.

Really exciting times but nevertheless lets have a look at the “grown up” rebels. You will see that there is lots going on, too. Especially building alliances with the established top dogs in education.

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Some thoughts on Second Life

Since the first ETCon back in July Second Life, or SL as the cool cats refer to it ;), has been an ever upcoming issue on my agenda. There seems to be a virus that especially infects ESL teachers and draws them into the depths of the cyber space.

I checked out Second Life two or three years ago for the first time, when the hype brought it into the magazines. As most people back then I was disappointed and soon left. In between I checked it out occasionally but after 10 or 15 minutes of flying around in empty spaces the result was the same.

After the first ETCon I wanted to give SL a last try, this time in the name of educational research. Therefore I logged in to SL every day and tried out if there are possibilities to teach on this platform.

During this research I came to some conclusions I would like to share with you.

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Sclipo – The Other Platform Model

This week I had the pleasure talking to Christopher Grant, Senior Vice President of Barcelona, Spain, located startup Sclipo.

The company was founded in late 2006 as an educational video sharing platform as you might have guessed from the name already.

Since then it has rapidly grown and can today be seen as a full set teaching and learning platform with an inhouse developed virtual classroom. Sclipo is also a true platform and that is something I really appreciate. I also like the fact that they call themselves social learning revolution.

Let’s see if they can stand up to this statement.

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First Look At… –

On my daily surf through the web I came across this fairly new language learning community called What immediately caught my eye is the fact that they “only” offer language exchange between Spanish and English speakers. That’s what I call targeted.

Reading a bit through the blog I learned that the site was developed by just two people and the design cost only about $1000. That’s what I call boot strapped!

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eduFire launches Business Channel

15 Entrepreneurs to Get You Inspired

is the title of the email I received a couple of minuts ago. This is really big news. After receiving a $1.3 million dollar funding eduFire is kicking it off again.

They launched an eduFire Business Channel with a tremendous lineup of high end entrepreneurs who will share their knowledge with you.

This is really exciting and such a huge opportunity for everyone interested in building an own teaching business or who wants to learn some tricks from the experts.

First Look At… –

Nice coincidence. Today I got a new Twitter follower called @Mingoville. When I checked out their website I was quite amazed. is a free online community plus virtual world for kids to learn English.

A great use of Social Media strategies, matches perfectly today’s #Edchat Social Media topics.

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#Edchat 09-22 Social Media in our Society and Education


Today on the #Edchat poll there are two topics rivalring closely in popularity and votes . The good thing is that I think they are related to one another, so I would like to cover both questions in this post.

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Twitter for Teachers Workshop – Review and Additional Links

Last wednesday WiZiQ organized a mini workshop about Twitter for Teachers. They invited Enza Antenos-Conforti (@iVenus), Alexandre Enklerli (@enkerli) and myself to give some presentations about how teachers can use microblogging.

It was a great event and I learned a lot from my co-presenters there. Below you can watch our presentations as well as some links to teacher related events on Twitter, some useful ebooks and blogs or watch some more videos about Twitter.

Presentation of Eza Antenos-Conforti

Presentation of Alexandre Enkerli

My presentation

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16th century teaching

Back to 16th Century Teaching!

This morning I read a very interesting article in the NY Times.

[…] Education moved from a bespoke craft to a more industrial approach. […]

[…] Still, one-to-one tutoring is the learning method proven time and again to sharply improve a student’s measured performance. A good human tutor can deliver a “home run,” educationally and statistically, explained Christopher J. Dede, a professor of education at Harvard University. […]

Very encouraging for the classic one-on-one private teacher / tutor, right? I will get back to this point of the article later because there is more to talk about.

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Exclusive Preview of the new Livemocha Active English Course

On Wednesday I was kindly invited by Clint Schmidt, VP of Marketing and Product to have a first private sneak peak preview of the new Pearson powered Livemocha Active English course.

Livemocha and Pearson announced a partnership back in March 2009 to build an online English course based on Pearson content. The release was previewed for August but as always in the IT industry, you have to add some extra months :).

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The biggest Language Learning Community in the World is…


At least it could (will) be. This week news about Facebook were rushing in.

1. Facebook has now 300.000.000 users

2. Facebook is finally in the positive cash flow

3. Facebook will offer a Voicechat by Vivox

Point two is not that interesting for the regular user. Ok, it is good to know that Facebook is a sustainable business. Rumors even say that there are plans to bring Facebook to Wallstreet in the second half of 2010. We’ll see.

But if you take together point one and point three it should make you think. The potential is just mindblowing!

Think about it.

First Look At –

There is so much happening on the education 2.0 market right now. I already have a giant pile of tools, companies and services I want to share with you. So here we go with a new category on my blog: First Look At…

In here I will present you very quickly all the interesting stuff I come along. As the category name says, a first look.

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Pearson – Full Steam Ahead

Nevertheless, it does move.

Gallileo Gallilei

In the past few months we saw a couple of interesting moves from Pearson, from the partnership with the language learning community to the Eleutian SpeakENG course powered by Pearson which is available on

But Pearson, one of the biggest classic publishers, symbol of the “oldschool” education industry keeps on suprising me with innovation and expansion. Does not look to me as if Pearson is ready to lay itself to rest.

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Mafia Family is NOT a Twitter Worm – Tweeple are just fly-by-night

Everyone on Twitter seems to be “a bit” annoyed about getting DMs to join the game Mafia World. The message you can read now on Twitter is something like “Mafia Family is a twitter worm. Let ppl know to shut off spam.”

I don’t think that Mafia Family is a Twitter Worm. And I don’t think that the game is the problem. The problem is that the tweeple are thinking that Twitter is detached from the rest of the internet and the basic rules don’t apply.

The problem is: why are you giving away your username and password to a service that writes the T&Cs in small print, dark grey on a black background? If you get a DM “Dude, join me in putting your fingers in the jack!” you go on your knees and join the fun?

Click to enlarge the small print.

Click to enlarge the small print.

Mafia Family offers their T&Cs on the bottom of the login page, as well as a link to not notify your contacts saying “Click here if you don’t wish to invite your contacts automatically“. If it works, I don’t know, because I won’t try it ;).

And what do you expect of a game, based on Twitter? Of course everything you do will be in your time line. Where else?

Therefore: don’t blame some blokes who want to promote their obviously lame game on Twitter, blame yourself or your followers/friends for not being responsible with their private data.

Twitter for Teachers – Mini Workshop hosted by WiZiQ

I was kindly invited to present at a mini workshop about Twitter for Teachers.

When?: Wednesday, September 16, 5.30PM CEST
Where?: WiZiQ
Price?: Free

Of course, I will not be the only presenter. WiZiQ has invited a very impressive panel with

Alexandre Enkerli @enkerli

Alex is a French-speaking ethnographer from Montreal, Qc. As a part-time or visiting lecturer, he has been teaching anthropology, folkloristics, and sociology at diverse universities in Canada and the United States, including Concordia University in Montreal and Indiana University South Bend. His teaching philosophy has been influenced by his constructivist father and by diverse learning experiences. Alex pretty much lives online. Apart from diverse activities on online services like Facebook and Twitter, he participates in diverse online forums and mailing-lists, including the Moodle community at His main blog is Disparate.

Enza Antenos-Conforti @ivenus

Enza Antenos-Conforti is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Italian at Montclair State University. She received her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from the University of Toronto. Her research areas are Applied Linguistics, instructional technology, materials development, and teacher training. Currently, she is working on viable Web 2.0 alternatives to learning management systems for the second language classroom and mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). Recently she presented on Twitter at the OIT Summer Symposium at Montclair State and LARC’s Summer Institute (San Diego State University).

Really looking forward to this event and to hear the opinions of Alexandre and Enza.

I made a little promo banner for the event. So if you like, copy the code below and share it on your website or blog.

busuu launches new Italian Course on Friday, Portugese soon

In yesterday’s Edukwest interview with Bernhard Niesner of he announced for the first time that they’re going to launch the new busuu Italian language course on the website in addition to their existing English, Spanish, French and German courses this Friday.

Moreover, they’re experimenting with crowdsourcing  to launch a Portuguese course soon. So far, more than 50 Brazilian Portuguese signed up to function as crowdsourcing translators.

I’m happy to see busuu extending their offer and I look forward to these new courses that’ll keep my language garden green and will hopefully make me earn some busuu berries.

Following this link you’ll be directed to the full interview with Bernhard on EDUKWEST.

eduFire raises $1.3 Million for their Platform

There you go. You take one weekend off in Bordeaux to relax, then you come back home and get an email from Jon Bischke saying

[…] I would love to (talk with you) but this month is really crazy. […] Lots of good things happening. I’m excited to share with you! […]

Ok, so talk to you end of September, I wrote. Then, after a really great interview with Bernhard Niesner, the Co-Founder of on my EDUKWEST series, which you can watch over here, Bernhard sent me the link to this TechCrunch article titled: EduFire Raises $1.3 Million For Video Education Platform

Jon, Jon: if this is “just” good, then I am really excited to hear your news in a couple of weeks!

I won’t rewrite the TechCrunch article here as it contains enough information for the moment. But I will try to schedule a new interview with Jon to ask him about these exciting moments that led to this funding.

For now, congratulations to you Jon and all the guys at eduFire. It is really great to see that your platform and therefore the whole educhange movement is finally getting the attention and support it deserves.

Edit: Jon was invited to the Happy Hour Show on

#Edchat 09-01 How to prevent Social Media Burnout


First of all, for every guest on my blog who is not familiar with my background yet: I am, amongst other, an independent language coach who works only with adults.

My point of view is therefore from the business side. I am not a classic school teacher, in fact I started my career from a legal background specialized in European law as well as the history of law and legal systems. But I always had a big interest in languages so after my studies I took this road.

I just wanted to let you know as many of you will be refered by Twitter and I think most of you will be classic school teachers. Nevertheless, I hope you will find some interesting points in my post :).

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