Week 6 of HackerYou’s Summer Academy was exciting. I got a lot of programming done but I guess the focal point was the discussion we had about career goals and entrepreneurship. The main takeaway for me was “know what you want, be specific about it and tell people”. So here we are; this is I guess a manifesto of sorts.
Education is a great industry
Working in education is an intellectually stimulating endeavour. There are some major problems that will take creativity, passion and determination to solve. Education is also an endeavour of passion. Learning is messy, it’s difficult, it’s human… emotions run high. The combination of the intellectual and emotional is in my opinion perfect.
I want to work in education.
Learning is about will and focus, not time
One can spend decades doing something and never learn enough to surpass the beginner stage. Learning takes focus and will. I believe my focus and will for the past two and a half years have resulted in a tremendous amount of learning. I’ve learned enough in my involvement in education to start making bigger contributions.
I’m ready to contribute now
I have taught classes (both in person and online), built curricula, prepared courses for Ministry of Education inspections and presented at the MOE Inspectors’ Learning Group Meeting. My presentation about how online education works will hopefully better inform future inspections.
Having been in front of classrooms, I don’t take teaching for granted. Communicating complex concepts in simple terms isn’t a skill that comes naturally to people; it requires preparation and a lot of hard work. I come prepared and I truly enjoy the experience. I develop relationships with students because I care, which helps me create a safe, caring and respectful learning environment.
My own technical co-founder
Since creating my first website in 1998, I’ve been living and breathing the “web”. My technical tool-belt runs the gamut from web design and SEO to full stack web development. I will need help for sure, but I’m not helpless… I can build what I imagine.
Success is inevitable
This is where people scratch their heads… how is success inevitable? Success is simply an accomplishment of a goal we set; so at the end of the day it is something we have full control over. Is my goal to make a million dollar company? No. Is my goal to sell X amount of something? No. My goal is to make positive change. A single act of kindness can spark positive change… helping a single person teach better… helping a single person learn something… that’s my goal. I can accomplish this every day, so yes, success is inevitable.
Driving a product/business
Educational technology is a hot topic now because many people see the potential. Technology can amplify learning but only if it has a strong foundation of sound pedagogy. The technology doesn’t need to be complicated; in fact, it shouldn’t be. There is no silver bullet that will solve everyone’s educational needs so there is no point in trying to build an app that does everything.
Building apps that do one or two things very well will make for a better experience. Teachers can then pick and choose what tools to use - the tools that fit their needs.
I have many ideas and I can build them, so I will. I want to build a startup that will build the tool(s) needed to improve education today
Simply put, I want to empower people with technical skills. I want to teach beginners how to build their first website, their first program, their first Rails app, etc.
I’m not an expert programmer who has solved tremendously complex problems (yet) but that’s not a problem. A person like me is better suited to teaching beginners anyway. Teaching is a profession that I take seriously; I will come prepared and students will learn more from me than an expert.
An open invitation
If you’re passionate about education then let’s chat (in person, Skype, email, etc.). If you want to help me build educational tools then let’s chat. If you have a beginner-oriented programming/web workshop or class then let me teach it – seriously, you won’t be disappointed.