This post is the white paper (V1.0) for the OpenSchool project.
Goal: to provide quality education for free to all students over the world.
Here is how this article will be structured:
- The main idea.
- The on-going test of concept is a success!
- The OpenSchool, an organizational structure inspired by decentralized technology.
- Call for teachers interested in joining the OpenSchool (and what it implies).
- Call for ideas on elements to be placed in the OpenSchool charter.
- Steemit, the ideal platform for the development of the OpenSchool.
- Ideas for further developments once the proof of concept has been solidly established.
1/ The concept
With the huge advances of communication technologies in the last two decades, new opportunities to make the world a more equal, thus a more peaceful place, have emerged.
Big shiny words, right?
Well, the OpenSchool wants to translate these words into real facts by attacking the root of the problem: education. This is where communication technologies kick in: Nowadays, countries of the third world have also access to fast internet connections for reasonable costs, which allows smooth video communications.
Fluid communications between any two points around the world? Wait a minute…
This is how we can tackle the education problems. Teachers anywhere in the world are now able to provide the best support to any student or group of students anywhere around the world. This is the Credo of the OpenSchool, and, we do this for free.
Of course, before we revolutionize the world, it is necessary for us to test the concept… Well, these past couple of months, we did just that, and it works: @muphy, private physics teacher in The Netherlands teaches a high school classroom located in a remote area of Nigeria every Monday.
2/ The OpenSchool: a concept already in place.
I have put the concept to the test by setting up a link between an ‘emitting teacher’ (me, @muphy) and a classroom of defavorised kids in a remote region in Nigeria, with the assistance of their local teacher (‘receiving’ teacher, @obamike). Every week, we meet by Skype for a 2-hour lesson in Physics.
In consultation with the ‘receiving’ teacher who is aware of the program the students must follow, a lesson plan is set in place (here we chose ‘basics in mechanics’ ). Lessons are prepared in advance. Exercises are adapted to the level of the students and can be used as support for further discussions.
Up to now, all lessons have been a success in terms of interactivity. The feedback of the ‘receiving’ teacher has shown that this experience is extremely useful to the students as it gives them a new vision of the subject, boosts their motivation and lets them see beyond their own cultural bubble.
Proof of concept : check!
So for now, the map looks like this
The goal of The Openschool is to make it look more like this :
3/ The OpenSchool, a structure inspired by decentralized technology
The unconventional organizational structure of the OpenSchool aims at generating a spontaneous wave of international solidarity that strives independently of any single individual, organization, corporation or government.
The novelty here is that the organizational structure is neither vertical nor horizontal. It is exponential. What do I mean by that?
Every teacher / tutor or school director is considered as a node of the network. Two teachers partner with each other and create a ‘pair’. One is an “emitting teacher”, the other, a “receiving teacher”.
Together the emitter and the receiver arrange to set up the means for a good communication (fluid internet connection, computer, screen, loudspeaker, eventually beamer etc…). Once the first lessons have been carried out successfully, a link is created.
The OpenSchool can provide financial support to the 2 partners via the donations or upvotes it receives on its posts.
Yet, the responsibility of a pair does not stop in just animating a regular class. It also has a role in creating new links between potential partners by activating their personal network. This is how the Openschool network can expand exponentially without the need for a central organization.
Example: Alice from Copenhague (Denmark) is a teacher in biology. Pim is a secondary school teacher in the suburbs of Pleiku (Vietnam). A teaching pair, already active in the Openschool initiative connects them together and help them set up a link. Now, every 2 weeks, at a regular time, Alice animates Pim’s class. Once a routine installed, and the link solidly established, Alice and Pim are now active members of the Openschool network.
It is their turn to activate their own personal network of teachers and attempt to create new links between teachers (John, economics teacher in Sweden and friend of Alice, and Lisa, Pim's direct colleague, also in Vietnam). John and Lisa, become the next generation of active teachers and when in turn they realize how profitable this action is for the openness of their own students, become active members too, so activate their own network… and so on…
And that's how a chain reaction of solidarity and knowledge rises across the globe…
No government, nor institution of any kind could stop this momentum. This is the power of decentralized education, fueled by the most motivated teachers, those that are willing to go through this extra mile to make their kids grow and bloom out of their cultural bubble.
4/ Call for teachers interested in joining the OpenSchool (and what it implies).
Are you interested in participating in this beautiful human adventure?
What you will gain:
First off, you are not going to make money for yourself. But the reward is much more valuable than just cash. Imagine you, a talented teacher in your field:
- Inspiring kids the other side of the world and presenting them ideas they have never thought about before.
- Seeing in their eyes the spark of understanding when you present a concept they are not used to be taught in that way.
- Feeling their gratitude and that of their local teacher for your time and dedication.
- Feeling like you are actually truly doing something for others, and that this is not giving away money (which is usually just a patch) but your drive and dedication. Such gift on a large scale is what can solve educational issues at their root. You are making the world and better place, and you can be proud about it!
What you will give:
These are moral rewards that can make you feel really happy in your daily life. But involvement does require quite some dedication. Be ready for that too.
First of all, once you have been presented to a partner teacher by an active OpenSchool member (or once you have found one yourself), You must create a link:
- Have one-on-one meetings between emitting and receiving teacher to get acquainted, test the internet connection, discuss of the students and the scope, and decide of a lesson structure and schedule.
- Solve any technical problems concerning the internet connection, the diffusion of the lesson and the interactivity of the sessions.
Example: in the Nigerian-Dutch link, there was one lesson where connection drops were making it impossible to proceed in good conditions. The emitter teacher recorded the lesson on video and sent it to the class using Wetransfer. Funds were donated by the OpenSchool to the receiving teacher that was able to purchase the equipment needed to improve the connection (Many thanks to @Elemenya for her donation that allowed this!). The lesson that followed benefited from a much better connection, and restored interactivity between emitting teacher and classroom.
You must also :
- Be consistent and regular. Make sure you have the time to provide a lesson of quality on a regular basis. It cannot be just a one-off for fun: you must consider the kids the other side of the screen as your own students. You have to feel the same dedication for them as your usual ones at home.
- Once the link is set up and in ‘routine mode’, count about 3 hours per week of your time (1h30 preparation and admin, 1h30 for the lesson itself).
Support from the Openschool:
The Openschool will:
- Upvote / resteem all posts concerning the progress of your partnership (lessons, progress, anecdotes, human stories, tips, lesson content, etc…). The post must be tagged #openschool.
- Provide financial aid when required based on the funds available by donation.
- Provide technical support to help you in setting up a lesson, in setting up the internet in your own school (@muphy and @Obamike on discord). As the number of nodes increases, so should the number of people able to help you.
5/ Call for ideas on elements to be placed in the OpenSchool charter.
The ultimate goal of the Openschool is to allow students around the world a free access to great teachers from all around the world. In order to make sure that this objective remains constant while the Openschool grows, it appears important to define a kind of charter.
The charter will need to be concise and simple, and reflect the decentralized humanistic approach expressed in this post.
When the time comes, we should have one ready. @obamike and I will be reflecting on it, but if any of you feel like contributing a draft or share some ideas, please give it a go!
6/ Steemit: an ideal platform for the OpenSchool
Have you noticed how in the last 50 years, decentralized network technology has revolutionized our lives?
First you have the Internet, that allows direct communication between two individuals whatever their location around the world. The best part is that even if a large fraction of the network is down, the communication link can remain open.
Then, you have blockchain technology that layers onto it and provides the next step in this decentralized revolution: it does so by excluding from an exchange between individuals, financial or otherwise, parasitic middle men and the abusive handholds of authorities.
Steemit provides an amazing environment where decentralized initiatives like the OpenSchool can bloom. Remember, the idea is to create an unstoppable wave of human solidarity and knowledge that remains independent from official institutions, governments, foundations or corporations.
When links are set between two ‘rich’ countries, no funds should normally be necessary: Fast internet connections and IT equipment are common and inexpensive. However, when one or both sides of a link are located in less fortunate countries, a financial support may be required to establish a reliable link.
This is why we call on all Steemians to:
- Delegate Steempower to the @openschool account.
- Donate SBD or Steem to the @openschool account.
- Follow the @openschool, resteem and upvote our posts and resteems.
7/ Ideas for further developments
The Openschool project is in its infancy, and will remain so until the proof of concept has been solidly established by a multiplication of solid links. Yet, there are some ideas worth exploring for when the time comes:
There will be a calling for web-designers to build an interactive website:
- Where emitting and receiving teacher could register themselves with topics of expertise, student level, availability etc… browse through the database and contact each other.
- With a forum where teachers can interact and help each other.
- With a blog to relate the human adventures that will rise from this initiative.
- Tips, tricks and support.
- A compilation of free downloadable software tools useful for the lesson (like for example, OBS and virtual cam).
There will be a calling for developers to launch an ICO to:
- Provide a source of funds for financing links and educational projects.
- Finance larger projects like for example real life lessons and workshops in defavorised areas, or even a network of physical open school buildings! Feel free to contribute in the comments if you have other ideas.
Feel free to contribute in the comments if you have other ideas!
This article is the first version of the OpenSchool white paper.
It describes how we wish to implement our attempt to make good quality education a respected fundamental right whatever the location or social status of the student.
The decentralized and exponential approach of this initiative could be the seed for a wave of solidarity and knowledge for the benefits of all kids around the planet.
Help us make this vision a reality:
- Join us as teachers (emitting and receiving),
- Join us as organizers (tech support, development, help in setting up links),
- Delegate SP or donate SBD or Steem to the @openschool account,
- Follow the @openschool account and upvote and resteem its posts and resteems.
- Pictures of class room in Nigeria by @obamike
- Pictures of lesson set-up by @muphy
- All illustrations produced by @muphy using elements found on Pixabay.com
- Other pictures found on Pixabay.com
My life revolves around music production, teaching sciences, and discovery through travel. You enjoyed that post? Resteem and Upvote!
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You enjoyed that post? Resteem and Upvote!
You are interested in these topics? Follow me!