Monthly Archives: October 2010

Language is Meat – Serve it as you like

A quick Sunday afternoon post. A couple of weeks ago Michel Nizon  wrote in the comments that

You can’t sell learning like burgers or at your own risk…

And today, on Facebook, Arkady Zilberman disagreed with my generalization that “any (learning) method is perfect”. So, let me give you some quick thoughts on this.

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YongoPal got Funded by Dave McClure’s 500 Startups

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.

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Busuu announces Partnership with Collins

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.

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Facebook + Social Game + ESL = American Dreams

A new player entered the online ESL market but maybe not from an angle you might have expected. 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.

Continue reading – Helping the Students

Today I would like to share with you how 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.

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WiZiQ reveals new Pricing Structure

As WiZiQ already mentioned in emails going out to premium members back in August, the platform is planning to revise their pricing structure, starting at $120 per year.

Today Harman Singh, Founder and CEO finally announced the date for those changes in an email: the new prices will roll out on November 1st.

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R:ED October 17th to October 23rd

  1. Why We Need TechCrunch in the Classroom
  2. Blackboard to Sell Online Courses Through New Partnership
  3. Video Calling Startup Wham! Nails $3 Million In Series A
  4. Collaborative Diagramming Tool Cacoo Goes Freemium, Adds New Features
  5. Unsocial: Foursquare Plus LinkedIn Minus All Your Friends
  6. How Social Search Will Transform the SEO Industry
  7. Ooyala Launches Video Paywall Powered By PayPal
  8. Evernote Raises $20M In Bid To Become A “Global Platform For Human Memory”
  9. Internet to Surpass 2 Billion Users This Year
  10. Download The OS X Facetime Beta Right Now
  11. An Art Class in a Video Game?
  12. Ning Gets Its Groupon On
  13. 49% of Small Business Owners Use Smartphones [STATS]
  14. Ustream Lets Users Set Up Their Own Pay Per View And Ad Free Broadcasting
  15. Disrupt Winner Qwiki Arrives In Private Alpha (1,000 Invites)
  16. Mobile Credit Card Reader Square Now Open for Business
  17. Robots Are Changing the Future of Telecommuting

Being at home for the X-Files – Is Live still Relevant?

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.

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Online Education has its own Category at TechCrunch’s #TheEuropas

Great news for online education. Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe created a category for learning startups at this year’s The Europas Awards in London.

I think, this is a great statement Mike and the TechCrunch Europe team make here, showing that online learning is more than just a feature.

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TenMarks silently built a YouTube Channel with nearly 1300 Videos

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.

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Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

Leaving the Stage: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

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.

Continue reading – It’s Time to Jump in the Cold Water

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

Now is the time.

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Growing Guerrilla Style – Busuu is the second 7 Digit Community

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.

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R:ED October 10th to October 16th

  1. Gates Foundation Announces $20 Million Fund to Improve Education with Tech
  2. Bill Gates talks education tech
  3. Is Mobile Video Chat Ready for Business Use?
  4. Ning Everywhere Debuts With Third-Party Extensions, Mobile Apps And More
  5. Facebook to Update Commenting Plugin with Votes and More [REPORT]
  6. The Video Phone Comes Of Age: One Fifth Of American Adults Have Made A Video Call
  7. Prep for the SATs with iPad and iPhone Video Game
  8. Marvell Giving $100K to Education App Developers
  9. Skype Gets Serious Facebook Integration
  10. Updated Yahoo! Messenger for iOS brings cross-platform video calling
  11. HOW TO: Accept Credit Card Payments on Mobile Devices
  12. TED Brings “Ideas Worth Spreading” to the iPad
  13. Among Gen-Y, the Facebook Backlash Has Arrived
  14. For Millennials, Brands May Be as Important as Religion, Ethnicity
  15. Government pulls plug on Teachers TV
  16. StudyBlue Raises $3.6 Million For College-Focused Studying Platform
  17. E-book Sales Up 193% So Far This Year
  18. Skype’s VP Of Enterprise On Future Strategy, Products And Competitors
  19. Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause …

Did Video Calling finally reach Critical Mass?

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.

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Review Open Angel Forum & Edurope London

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

Why it will be Hip to be Square

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.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announces $20 Million Fund for Online Education

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.

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Livemocha and The Seattle Experiment

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.

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Review Panel Discussion Language Learning & Web 2.0

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.

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