imtchr.com – 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.

Of course, I was thinking about a product for quite a while now but I did not feel that I or the market was ready for it. Besides that there was too much movement going on, like on a lava field of a freshly erupted volcano. Everything was in the flow. But now it seems that we have the first solid isles on top of the magma and the movements are not that spontaneous anymore. Therefore, it finally makes sense to implement my service.

The main premise that I had in mind was always to build something that adds value to the three groups involved in online education which are the students, the teachers and the service providers. I see my role in being a connector and therefore my service needs to be based on the same principles.

The concept of imtchr.com (I am teacher) was born in April 2009, soon after I had started this blog. Back then I already saw the trend of online teachers having multiple accounts across the different platforms. There are three problems related to this.

  1. Teachers who might be well rated and popular on one platform have to start all over on any other platform they open an account on.
  2. Platforms don’t know if a teacher who signs up to their service is already an experienced teacher who could help growing the reputation of the platform or a newbie who might need some extra help and guidance.
  3. Students who find an interesting teacher on a service but don’t like the product have no idea where else this teacher is also offering his / her services.

imtchr.com will solve each of these problems by offering one central website where every teacher can link to the platforms and services they teach on. But of course, that’s not all.

The service will be based on a freemium model. The free basic version of imtchr.com will allow teachers to link their profiles and add a short bio and a picture. This profile will also be searchable on mytchr.com which will be the complementary service for students, but more on that later.

The premium features will include more ways to customize your imtchr.com page by adding direct scheduling , direct booking and payments, links to websites, blogs, Social Media profiles, Skype and a personalized virtual classroom to name a few. In this case imtchr.com would be your virtual office on the internet.

As I mentioned above mytchr.com will be a complementary service to imtchr.com. Students will be able to search and find the best teacher based on their personal needs and preferences like matching interests, pricing, availability etc. The result will be a list of matching teachers across all platforms and services to choose from.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I need your help. This blog post started with me saying how I love to work on this blog and this is also true for all the related content I produce like EDUKWEST, review:ed, ETCon etc and I don’t want to quit all that. Therefore, I need to hire people to work on this project as I cannot take my time off and learn how to code and all that, although I would love to learn it.

Hence I am asking for your support and decided to try to crowd-found this project. This way you all will be part of a service that is aiming to boost the online teaching market and everyone of you who supports imtchr.com / mytchr.com with 25 Euro will get a free, live time premium account but to get this off the ground any whatsoever amount will be happily accepted and welcome.

Of course, I will post regular updates on the progress of the project and you will even be able to shape the product along the way by voting on the design, the user interface and so on as I want it to become your product!

In any case, thank you for your support by donating and / or spreading the word amongst your colleagues. And now let’s build something awesome together!

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  • http://www.theascendancegroup.org/ TAG

    Kirsten – good luck with your venture. Happy to hear you're heeding the words of Bill Gates. ;)

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thanks Jon. And let's try to have our talk about your venture, soonish :).

  • http://www.facebook.com/gmachlan Louis George Machlan

    So, now you are an empire builder! Jai Ho! I will go you one better. I will pray for you and your endevours. You are tracking into unknown waters, beware There be Dragons there. I will pray particularly that you stay true to your noble calling and that you remain humble. It will try you and be a cruciable but I am satisfied that you can prevail. Remember to keep fun and service at the center. I have always seen a twinkle in your eyes and in your interviews that reveal a child-like joy which is endearing and critical for dealing with the rest of a fallen world.

    PS when will we start the imjrk.com for your non-teacher followers?

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thank you for your kind words George. I can assure you that I will stay true to my principles, I always have. As you will be a vital part of this project I am sure you will keep an eye on the course of the ship, too :). And of course slay some dragons along the way ;).

  • chinamike

    Kirsten,

    One of the reasons this idea brought a smile to my face was its focus on teachers. I have (perhaps) an excessive amount of respect for the individual teacher, what he or she does, and what he or she can do. Not all teachers manage to live up to these ideals but the ones that do make something special out of education.

    All to often I see platforms diminishing the role of teachers. I'm sure they don't set out to do this but along the way it comes as a kind of reaction to the “demands of the marketplace”. Too often platform owners end up seeing teachers as obstacles and impediments. They want to find ways to mitigate the influence of teachers on “their” systems. Or they want to put teachers into little boxes where all the interactions can be controlled as minutely as possible. In effect, they want to digitize every aspect of education.

    And I understand why. The power of I.T. is amazing. This power can be used to introduce new services which make learning faster, easier, more efficient, and/or more fun.

    But in this rush to embrace 1s and 0s I see a complimentary rush by platform owners to turn teachers into guns for hire. This is not the way I see teachers. In my world, teachers are shepherds not gunslingers.

    Maybe this new digital world heralds the end of the teacher as shepherd and the beginning of the teacher as gunslinger. Regardless, I want to thank you for envisioning a place where teachers can carve out their own home on the web. Hopefully a place where they can be whatever they choose; be that gunslinger or shepherd.

    Best of luck!!!

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thank you Mike. Like George, you will be ab essential part in this project. Your input and guidance is always more than welcome. But I am glad that my message is clear :).

  • http://twitter.com/bnleez bnleez

    This looks like an interesting project, and would like to know more. How will your service differ from other services such as Cloudscape?

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      imtchr.com / mytchr.com will be targeting online education only. I see it as the missing link between the three groups on this market aiming to facilitate the interactions involved in the process from finding the “best” teacher, booking a lesson, paying the lesson etc. All parts are basically there but up to now it is very difficult for all people involved to interact with each other. Students need to search on every single platform for the best teacher without having the guarantee to know every service out there. Teachers have to spread their online presence over all different services without porting their reputation they might already have built on a specific platform. And platforms might have great teachers signing up to their service without knowing it and most often they don't do a good job at SEO which is essential for students who search for teachers via Google etc.

      Therefore imtchr.com / mytchr.com aims to be the connector of the market without interfering with the actual booking process. It will be up to the teachers, students and platforms.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      imtchr.com / mytchr.com will be targeting online education only. I see it as the missing link between the three groups on this market aiming to facilitate the interactions involved in the process from finding the “best” teacher, booking a lesson, paying the lesson etc. All parts are basically there but up to now it is very difficult for all people involved to interact with each other. Students need to search on every single platform for the best teacher without having the guarantee to know every service out there. Teachers have to spread their online presence over all different services without porting their reputation they might already have built on a specific platform. And platforms might have great teachers signing up to their service without knowing it and most often they don't do a good job at SEO which is essential for students who search for teachers via Google etc.

      Therefore imtchr.com / mytchr.com aims to be the connector of the market without interfering with the actual booking process. It will be up to the teachers, students and platforms.

      • http://twitter.com/bnleez bnleez

        Thanks Kirsten for the reply. Your links take me to pages that are a work in process, is that right?

        • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

          Yes, we start with a blanc page. That's why I would like to raise some money for this project ;).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=690186985 Bernhard Niesner

    Congrats Kirsten to this move and I wish you all the best for your own venture! We from busuu.com will be watching very closely your progress and would be great to find ways to cooperate!
    All the best,
    Bernhard

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Vielen Dank, Bernhard. I already have some points on the list where I can see possibilities for imtchr.com and busuu.com – talk soon!

  • http://twitter.com/colingoorg Colingo

    Congratulations, Kirsten! This is wonderful news.

    I'd love to see if Colingo tools could be of any assistance to imtchr. Let's speak soon!

    Best,
    Ben

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thanks Ben, let's definitely talk soon about Colingo.

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  • http://www.vikramadhiman.com/ Vikrama Dhiman

    Fantastic. I am going to go create a profile as soon as it is LIVE. And we need to spread the word even more!

    All the very best! I can see this being used for partnership/ collaboration with a number of platforms already! Also, you should had some information on how we can support you.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      I will set up a blog on imtchr.com this weekend. Then we can connect and discuss over there. I am also planning regular webinars about the progress etc. It's really about getting people involved in this project from the start and giving them a chance to shape the service.

  • http://twitter.com/darienbrown Darien Brown

    An about.me for online education! Nicely done — I'll definitely be following this. :)

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      You are good, Mr Brown :).

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