May 29, 2011
connected learning

Dear Mr. Pontefract – I Need a Connected Learning Platform

<note: from time to time, I receive email and voicemail requests along the lines of collaboration, connected learning, etc. The one found below was intriguing enough to post publicly. I also responded to the request over here>

Dear Mr. Pontefract,

I would like to know your opinion on a few problems I´m facing in my E-learning 2.0 project. I know that you are probably very busy at the moment and one thing you can do is to “delete” this e-mail but I will try to tell you a short story about me that hopefully will help me to win your attention for a few minutes. Storytelling is the only resource I have to try to communicate my message and add value to it, so here is the story…

I was born and raised in a working class neighborhood in South America. Since I was little I knew that I would be a teacher, I had the opportunity to go to a good school in the suburbs (thanks to my father who paid the tuition). After my parents divorced I went to live with my grandmother, she was illiterate but she have a big heart and used love as the most powerful teaching method, I went to school every day and tried to learn as much as I could so I could teach her things. As I became older, I used to teach my friends all the things I was learning at school, most of them were high school drop-outs. I was the first one on my family that graduated from high school and went to the University where I studied biology. I´m graduating from a Master in biomedicine and I have started a new Master studies in biotechnology. My ambition, and the promise of a better life, has brought me to Spain where I´m currently living with my wife (13 years together).

I´m trying to develop a very ambitious E-learning platform or as you said a ‘Connected Learning’ environment. As you can see all my life I have been struggling with two things: the need to help others through education and my own limitations to do it. Now I have the same problem and honestly I don´t know how to solve this.

This is my project: I want to develop a ‘Connected Learning’ platform to help other students have access to specialized learning resources and to get access to formal and informal learning through the interaction with professionals, scientist and teachers in a collaborative network.

The problem: I have been working with a business advisor who coaches entrepreneurs. He has told me that my project has a great potential but I need two things: Money to develop the platform on my own (of course, always the money) and/or partners that can help me develop it.

I want to ask you:

How can I create a platform where professionals/experts could upload their teaching materials in different specialized subjects and offer them to students that want to improve their knowledge and skills and are willing to pay (micro-payments) for it.

In a country that has 5,000,000 of people unemployed and where young professionals neither have access to good jobs nor have money to pay for expensive learning program, a ‘Connected Learning’ platform will be a good opportunity where experts can put their formal /informal learning tools available and obtain money for it and students could use those resources to learn the skills needed for their future jobs at a low cost (compare to a 3000 Eur master program.)

I hope my story has won your attention and I hope you can spare a few minutes to share your wisdom in learning platform development. I appreciate all your help and comments.

Best wishes,

Jose <real name removed>

Pd. Go ManU! Champions at Wembley.

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