Jonathan Woahn hopes to raise $20,000 in order to fund the development and technical build of EduXchange. Funding will be open for 45 days.
The world of online education is developing rapidly, and will only continue to do so. Resources abound to the point that a motivated student willing to take their own education into their hands could feasibly drop out of high school and achieve their own world-class education. However, the operative word here is “motivated”.
I have spent the last two years teaching math in a 7th grade classroom to a range of students who are at grade level, all the way down to a 1st grade level. It is impossible for me to differentiate my instruction sufficiently to address the needs of each one of my students, which is why I believe that the power of online learning will only continue to grow – it has the capacity to directly address the needs of every single student at the level they need their instruction.
However, this presents another problem: motivation. My students have used a number of online resources which are capable of meeting them at their respective levels, but even if they’re getting met at their respective levels, they lack the motivation to actually learn. Obviously, the best education takes place when intrinsic motivation for knowledge is the driving factor. But for students who lack that due to circumstances outside of the immediate educational environment, extrinsic motivation must become the driving force until the intrinsic drive takes over.
EduXchange will become an online courseware aggregator that utilizes social media and game mechanics to encourage learning. Students may earn points through our affiliate partners, which can be redeemed through our website and applied towards rewards from our sponsors.
EduXchange will provide an online courseware builder that will allow an instructor or teacher to develop their own online curriculum from our library of online resources – resources that have been aggregated from across the web. Some examples of these types of online resources include websites such as grockit.com, khanacademy.org and youtube EDU. The instructor builds their course and the objectives for each step of the course, with frequent checks for understanding and progress. As the student meets certain objectives, they earn points which are tied to a personal account and show up on the EduXchange.
From EduXchange, the points that are earned can be applied toward the reward incentive programs, such as what our students have for Saturday School. If they attend 10 consecutive weeks of Saturday School, they may earn a free laptop. The source of the funding for rewards may come from various corporate sponsors, or even the districts themselves. One of the potential strong points of this type of education is that it virtually eliminates the need for textbooks, which represents several hundreds of dollars for every student enrolled in school, every year.
Not only can the points be applied towards incentives, but there are other programs, like San Francisco Promise, which guarantee’s college to every sixth grader that graduates from high school. This program could also be used to monitor and track the progress of the student on their way towards college, and give them a visual indicator of their efforts and how it is influencing their future.
Additionally, social competition is a strong motivating factor adolescents – they love to compete and see how they stack up against their peers. The website could utilize gaming mechanics, such as creating leaderboards for peer groups, badges and awards for completing various lessons, and challenges of knowledge between students. This will encourage them to push each other to higher levels, and maintain a competitive edge with their peers.
The online learning revolution is coming, but the demographic of America that is in the most dire need of it is the last group likely to take advantage of it. I am confident that EduXchange will help promote and encourage their participation in education.
You can contact Jonathan by using the comment form below or you can e-mail him directly at jonathanwoahn [at] gmail.com with any questions you may have.