A new mobile learning platform to empower teachers and scale relevant education

If 2012 was the MOOC (massive open online course) revolution, 2017 was the mobile learning revolution. Over the last six years, digital education has proven a cheap and easy way to scale and democratize knowledge. With online courses available via desktop and now increasingly via smartphone, hundreds of thousands of people have gained access to knowledge that would have been difficult or impossible to obtain.

This is fantastic, but who is teaching these courses? People with computers. And there are many people, particularly in emerging economies, who have invaluable knowledge but no computer to share it with others.

However, an increasing number of people own smartphones, many of whom are leapfrogging computers altogether. In emerging economies, the median percentage of smartphone users rose from 21% in 2013 to 37% in 2015.1 This continues to climb. At the same time, the number of internet users in emerging economies is increasing exponentially as broadband expands. In Africa, the number of Internet users increased 8500% between 2000 and 2017.2

As smartphone usage and Internet availability increase, a mobile app that allows anyone to both take courses and create courses will be extremely valuable in increasing not just access to education, but access to relevant education. Indeed, one of the prominent debates during the MOOC revolution was over the fact that course instructors were all from the western world, teaching from their ivory towers. While much of this knowledge is certainly valuable, locally relevant content is also critical.

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been working on such an app for the last several months. The designs are complete and I’m soon to commence development. Throughout the remainder of this article, I’ll showcase some of the key features.

App users can both create and take courses
From their profile, users can access all courses they’ve either created or taken.

The app enables flexible course creation
Course creators choose a course title and category, upload an image, write a course description, create lesson titles, and comprise each lesson of four types of content components: text, image, video, and multiple-choice question. They can create as many lessons as they want, add as many components to each lesson as they want, and reorder the components as they wish.

Learners can access courses offline and easily navigate lessons
After enrolling in a course, learners can see each lesson title and the number of megabytes. They can decide to download individual lessons to their phone using cellular data or wait until they have wifi. They can manage all synced content in their settings. After entering a lesson, they will be able to view all content components in one long scroll, and tap “Next” to go to the next lesson.

This is just the beginning. Over time I plan to build additional functionalities that will allow courses to be more interactive and collaborative. I’m very excited about the potential of this tool to empower people around the world to share their knowledge and benefit from that of others.

As this is a personal passion project that I’ve funded completely out-of-pocket to date, I would be extremely appreciative of any donations to help finance the development (which began on January 29!).

donate

I am also looking for beta testers to create mobile courses for their students. I will help course creators with each step of the design process to make a fantastic course. This is all completely free. If you’re interested, please sign up here.

Please post any thoughts on this project below–I would love to hear from you!


1Smartphone Ownership and Internet Usage Continues to Climb in Emerging Economies, Pew Research Center. February 22, 2016.
2Internet Users Statistics for Africa, Internet World Stats. Accessed January 5, 2018.

Advertisements

Announcing new online course: Cursive Penmanship

As a student in this course, you will learn the endangered art of cursive handwriting, but more importantly, your handwriting will improve in general as your control of the pen becomes more disciplined.

As the National Penmanship Champion in 6th grade, I won $500 and a really cool pen. But more importantly, good handwriting has benefited me throughout my career as an educator and instructional designer.

In this course, you will:

  • Hear examples of how good handwriting can benefit you throughout your life
  • Learn best practices for holding your writing utensil
  • Use cursive paper to properly align each letter
  • Watch as I write letters and words in cursive and walk you through them
  • Practice tracing letters and writing them on your own
  • BONUS: Earn a TURN THE WHEEL Penmanship Certificate!

Announcing TURN THE WHEEL’s first online course: Algebra Foundations for Calculus

I’m thrilled to announce our first of many online course offerings, Algebra Foundations for Calculus. Here at TURN THE WHEEL, we are beginning a journey to provide the best courses on the most important topics of the day. After creating online courses for Udacity, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and McKinsey & Company, I am excited to offer the world engaging learning experiences that are uniquely our own.

Algebra is so important because it forms the basis of just about all the math concepts people use in the real world, including statistics. This particular course focuses on the fundamentals necessary to be successful in Calculus.

To design this course, I partnered with my good friend Arun Sharma, Calculus professor at UC Berkeley. Having taught college math since 2010, he intimately understands the areas in which students struggle. As such, he guided the curricula and elaborates on various concepts throughout the course.

In this course, students will:

  • Become fluent in the language of math
  • Solve equations and inequalities involving exponents, logarithms, trigonometric functions
  • Graph polynomials and exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions
  • Define and use the derivative–the most important concept in Calculus–to better understand how functions behave
  • Use limits to graph functions and find the derivative
  • Find sums of finite and infinite series

The course contains 28 instructional videos (3-7 minutes each) and 24 exercise sets (3-6 questions each). Students can access the course via one of the following options:

Udemy Thinkific
$98
For a limited time, we are offering the course half-off ($49) to students in exchange for detailed feedback in order to make the course even better. Click here to purchase this course at the discounted rate.
$55
If you are not already signed up with one of these platforms, I recommend this platform for its user-friendliness.
Click here to purchase.

This will be my last mathematics offering for a while, the other being my statistics textbook Street-Smart Stats: A Friendly Introduction to Statistical Research Methods. Click here to see the first three lessons and preview the remaining 13. You may purchase a digital or hard copy, or for a limited time, purchase both a hard copy of Street-Smart Stats and a transferable enrollment in Algebra Foundations for Calculus for $65 by clicking the button below.

Buy now with PayPal

TURN THE WHEEL has big plans, so subscribe to hear what we’ll offer next!

Live Green: A Friendly Guide to Sustainable Living

The way we live our lives is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. The goal of the Live Green series is to provide an overview of what’s going on right now and show you how you can help reverse the harmful effects on our bodies and planet.

The curricula is still being developed, but in the meantime you can see what topics we’ll cover and feel free to get started by reading the suggested articles below.

Lesson 1: What’s toxic, what’s not?
This lesson covers how to choose products (including household items and cosmetics) that are made from safe, eco-friendly ingredients. You’ll also learn how to make some of these products yourself using all-natural ingredients.

Lesson 2: You are what you eat–our planet is too
The second lesson is all about food. You’ll learn how our choices as consumers determine how entire industries operate and impact our environment on a massive scale. We’ll take a macro look at where our food and water come from and the policies surrounding what’s happening. You’ll learn what you can do to contribute to the wave of activism that’s already helping to reform these broken systems.

Lesson 3: Reduce, reuse, recycle
You will explore how we can all reduce our consumption, reuse as much as possible, and recycle what’s left. You’ll learn what can and can’t be recycled and why and what happens to your trash and recyclables after you throw them out. This lesson will also cover composting.

Lesson 4: Conserve energy, save money, and lower your carbon footprint
In this final lesson you’ll learn about different sources of energy and how you can save money by using those that are environmentally friendly, like solar power. You’ll hear tips and tricks to lower your carbon footprint to lessen your impact on the environment and save money in doing so.

Please email katie@turnthewheel.org with questions and curriculum requests!