Review:ed 2010 – October to December

This is the last part of my review 2010.

Video calling reached critical mass, live streaming comes to Facebook but is live still relevant in a world of on demand and self paced services?

Will the Internet get back to paid content and why is it so difficult to get reactions from readers?

October

October started with a report which indicated that video calling seemed to finally have reached the mainstream and therefore critical mass. The report predicts that at the end of 2011 40% of all US citizens will have used video calling at least once. This should have a significant effect on online learning as well but  depending, of course, on the actual need of people taking live lessons.

Busuu surpassed the magical 1 million user mark, boosted by the success of their nicely made iPhone applications and therefore became the no 1 competitor for Livemocha in Europe. Babbel which had previously switched to a premium only model surpassed 900k only two months later in December (read the previous part of review:ed to get more information on that subject).

Duane Sider, Head of Learning at Rosetta Stone wrote a very insightful post on the new role of the teacher in a tech dominated world. It’s about leaving the stage and taking the role of a guide, helping the students explore learning on their own but also helping them to keep the focus. A must read.

Looking at the different possibilities of learning on the Internet, I asked myself if live was still relevant. In a society that shifts toward a demand based consumption of content and has less and less time to be on a spot at a certain time of the day, why should those people take live lessons if the asynchronous content like videos and self paced exercises are simultaneously getting better and better?

YongoPal received some substantial funding from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups fund and moved to California to start working in the recently launched incubator. Getting funding from such a well known super angel like Dave is, can be seen as a good sign in itself for the general idea. Besides the funding, the team gets mentoring from various experts which will help them build an awesome product, I am sure.

The last post I’d like to share with you from October deals with the ongoing discussion how one should teach or learn a language. My take on this is: do as you like. Language is the raw material, prepare and serve it the way you like it. I ruffled some feathers, I guess.

Related Links:

  1. Did Video Calling finally reach Critical Mass?
  2. Growing Guerrilla Style – Busuu is the second 7 Digit Community
  3. Leaving the Stage: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age
  4. Being at home for the X-Files – Is Live still Relevant?
  5. YongoPal got Funded by Dave McClure’s 500 Startups
  6. Language is Meat – Serve it as you like

November

TenMarks, the startup that wants to change math education offers its product for free to math teachers around the world. Teachers can set up their classes and assign exercises to the students. Analytics and metrics of each individual student are provided in the product.

Facebook and Livestream partnered to offer embeddable livestreams to Facebook pages which is a great feature to host live classes directly on Facebook. Your viewers don’t have to leave the platform or open new accounts. They simply go on the Facebook page the lesson is streamed and can join the chat with their Facebook account. I just gave it a try yesterday and it works like a charm.

Related Links:

  1. TenMarks is now free to use for Educators
  2. Host your own Show (Classes) on Facebook with Livestream

December

Mingleverse, the Canadian startup that created the Mingle rooms, an interesting mix between web meeting and Second Life, raised $1.4 million and are planning to use it for marketing and expanding their product into the mobile space. As mobile is one of the hottest trends in 2011 for sure and I hope nobody will miss on, it will be interesting to see the first applications in that space.

I launched my subscription based newsletter reflect:ed in December based on a thought process I have gone through since dropping the advertisements on this blog. The blog itself is completely ad free now to enhance your reading experience and I believe it was one of my better decisions.
Thanks to the education of Steve Jobs who almost single handedly (re)established it as something more normal again to pay for digital content, reflect:ed a micro consulting in form of a monthly newsletter came into being. I feel, this might be another trend in the coming years. People will pay small amounts for digital goods which then ramp up to an income for content creators. The newsletter is doing good, after two months still in the two digits but constantly growing. I got my assumptions confirmed, people are willing to pay on the internet for content when you identify a pain point and you provide them with extra value.

Another personal blog post was based on the experiences on the 2010 Edublog Awards. I was nominated in two categories with strong competitors. At least, that’s what I thought. Calculating my chances based on the number of people in my network I came up with an estimation on how many votes I would get. It showed that I was pretty close. Astonishingly, I made the second and third place, “out ranking” blogs with far more subscribers. Therefore, I came up with the question why people don’t support the bloggers?

In what I call a desperate move, Myngle launched a new commission structure which basically makes it impossible for teachers to give single lessons. Only if a teacher sells 50 lessons or more in a package, the commission rate will be at the previously established 18%. According to some discussions in the Myngle community, the company’s investors lost their patience after three years and now Myngle has to prove that it can actually generate revenue.

My Christmas present for online educators was a business model based on the TinyPay.Me service. It’s about building a bottom up platform where teachers get together in order to promote and sell learning material or live lessons.

Here you have it. That was my year 2010 in blogging, in the main outlines at least. Now, it’s about you! What has left its mark on you over the last year?

Related Links:

  1. Mingleverse raises $1.4 million for Marketing and Mobile
  2. The new Culture of Paying
  3. Lessons learned from the 2010 Edublog Awards
  4. 35% Commission – Is enough finally enough?
  5. Building a Bottom Up Online Education Marketplace with TinyPay.Me