Life is a roller coaster. Only a couple of weeks ago Darien Brown, co-founder and CEO of YongoPal wrote a brutally honest blog post on what the startup did wrong, what they need to change and that he and his co-founder Jon Hickey already were working on a complete reboot of the service.
Today, I learned over Facebook that YongoPal got funding by Dave McClure’s 500 Startups fund and that team YongoPal will move to Mountain View, California.
Busuu just announced a new strategic partnership with the publisher Harper Collins. Native English speaking premium users of Busuu will now have access to grammar guides for Spanish, French, German and Italian.
This is basically an extension of the existing deal with the publisher PONS which is providing grammar guides for the native German, Spanish, French and Italian speakers of the community.
A new player entered the online ESL market but maybe not from an angle you might have expected. Nihaoareyou.com launched its social game “American Dreams” on Facebook and Renren in BETA today.
American Dreams takes the player on a virtual journey to the United States where he or she has to cope with everyday situations like finding a job, working, shopping and of course socializing and learning English.
Today I would like to share with you how imtchr.com will solve the problems students have when looking for a teacher online these days.
I will focus on language learning in this piece as it is still the biggest part of the online learning market and also the most complicated but the general process is the same for any kind of subject matter.
Remember Dana Scully and Fox Mulder? We did not want to miss one single episode back then so we had to rush home and sit in front of our TV.
Maybe, you even scheduled family meetings based on the fact that you wanted to be at home at the right time. Because back then if you missed it you really missed it. No second chance! OK, you might have had a video recorder but honestly, who could ever “program” a video recorder? Either the beginning or the end was missing or you recorded another channel.
Therefore, TV series like X-Files or Twin Peaks were still real blockbusters but I think we can all agree that those times are over.
As you might know, TenMarks is one of my favorite online education startups at the moment and I am very much looking forward to my upcoming talk and EDUKWEST interview with Rohit Agarwal, one of the co-founders of TenMarks coming Monday.
Today though I stumbled over a little tweet of TenMarks about their YouTube channel and I think this one can compete with the famous Khan Academy.
In the digital age, approaches to learning increasingly are influenced by “digital natives”—those who have grown up with the computer and utilize the internet, social media and an array of digital devices as a primary means of communication, entertainment, financial transactions, and education. Digital learners are not simply students or workers to whom traditional instruction is delivered online, but tech-savvy internet pros who construct and manage their own learning environments online, develop their own learning strategies, and define success on their own terms.
Can you believe that this blog exists for 21 months already? Feels like yesterday to me. And although I really love to put down my thoughts on online education, I feel that it is time for me to go a step further.
Many of you asked me early on when I will start my own platform, service, product etc as I seem to be not always happy with the ones that are on the market. Well, quoting Bill Gates in his recent interview
Busuu tweeted recently that their community has officially reached more than 1 million members. This is a very impressive number itself but what I find even more interesting is that Busuu had tweeted exactly one month before to have reached the milestone of 800.000 users.
That is a growth of 200.000 users in 30 days, over 6600 users per day in one single month.
According to the latest Pew report it seems to be the case. In the report you can find that about 20% of Americans have at least once used a video calling feature on the PC or their mobile phone.
And today we learned that Skype 5.0 finally got the full Facebook implementation. This could actually be the tipping point for video calls becoming mainstream which would be of course very benefitial for live online language courses. Fast Company is already seeing 40% of Americans using video call at the end of next year.
As announced yesterday already the traveling continued almost seamlessly. Returned from Language learning and web 2.0 in Luxembourg, I was happy enough to spend a generous 36h period at home in Brittany before London was calling.
So it was basically nothing more than changing clothes and switching little Brittany for its grown up sister Britain. Continue reading →
As you probably all know by now, I am not a tech or gadget maniac. I bought my first iPod Touch just a couple of months ago, I won’t buy an iPhone 4 and I use my mobile phone for about four years now.
But from time to time there are innovations that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Right now, it is a little square box, not bigger than a thumbnail and I think it will disrupt the small business sector.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will found projects and startups in online education, especially in the online course sector, with grants ranging from $250k to $750k each. The fund will have a total volume of $20 million USD and focus on the postsecondary sector.
There will be a second fund focusing on K-12 education next year. This could be a big chance for startups in online education that did not receive funding yet because their product was seen as too conservative for classic angels and investors.
This weekend Michael Schutzler did an experiment with Livemocha’s new Active Courses. He put them on the hottest ecommerce platform at the moment which is of course Groupon.
People in the Seattle area got 50% off the regular subscription price, hence $75 USD instead of $149.95 for a one year subscription. And apparently the courses sold like sliced bread, closing at 534 courses.
Due to two recent business trips, the first to pretty Luxembourg, the latter to swinging London, this blog remained a little silent in the past couple of days, at least more silent than you are used to.
So with the new week just started, let me give you a roundup of why I was traveling and what has happened in both the educational as well as the business sense.