Whilst developing partnerships at Meet’n’learn, I became increasingly aware that there was a lack of EdTech round tables or face-to-face debate forums that could form a real EdTech community and eco-system that took on challenges together.
Meet’n’learn is a new player in the EdTech world that has been part of the 3rd Cohort at Wayra incubator in Munich, Germany. The educational platform has been giving university students the chance to build upon their skills and experience by tutoring younger students through their specialist subjects, encouraging peer-to-peer and intergenerational learning. Within this environment of developing a platform that is increasing accessibility for education the concept of an EdTech Meetup began to form. In the meantime I met Diana Ouellette, a researcher and doctoral candidate in Learning Sciences at LMU and we discussed our similar concerns that there was a lack of an EdTech community so we decided to collaborate by creating a Meetup where a community could be developed and expanded. Bilgehan Arikoglu, Business Development at Meet’n’learn joined and we all started together to grow an EdTech Meetup that would raise current EdTech issues and challenges.
As we made headway, we realised a name was needed that stood out from the crowd. A couple of years ago I was asked by Learning Online Universities to write about combining technology and teaching and how more and more teachers were implementing technology into the classroom. Based upon this article that I had entitled Te(a)chology we adapted this name to fit to the EdTech Meetup.
Concurrently, Simon Köhl, an Ashoka fellow who founded Serlo, an open source education and learning platform had started an EdTech Meetup at his offices in LMU (Ludwig Maximillian University). So in the spirit of collaboration, I went along and we realized that our efforts would be doubled if we collaborated.
For the first EdTech Meetup Te(a)chology 101 we invited speakers that would simulate dialogue about current EdTech issues, such as accessibility, integration, cost of materials and usability concerns to name a few. Diana Ouellette introduced the EdTech community in Munich to STEM topics which explored how to go about implementing your research as well as giving your results verification. Programmers and students following Diana`s talk asked to contribute in her research study, ever broadening the EdTech community and building a strong eco-system of committed individuals forming groups keen to make a difference.
The other speakers included David Lees from StoryHome that explored social and oral history through his new hardware startup as well as Simon Turschner who founded Vensenya. He discussed changing mindsets of under-privileged youth, to increase motivation towards further education and open-mindedness. In addition Ben from Knick Knacks through his startup shared his idea to make text books more accessible to a wider range of people by sharing second-hand books and passing on, those that have been used.
It is clear that the sharing economy is becoming a big factor in EdTech. Sharing is at the heart of Meet’n’learn. Tutors are able to share skills with their students. Many of the tutors are studying themselves and so this gives them a chance to gain deeper understanding of their knowledge and specialist subject by sharing with others, instead of getting stuck in a dead end job.
Te(a)chology 101 EdTech meetup Munich was a great success with over 75 people coming from diverse fields such as EdTech startups like Open Campus and Campus Compass, as well as teachers from the Volksschule, Munich and trainee school teachers.
The participants were diverse and engaging. A couple of Egyptian students from the TUM, who had been a part of the Arab Spring, came to learn more about how they could continue being part of transformative education in Munich. Trainee teachers listened for solutions to their ever increasing demands in the schools. Other startups shared their stories of challenge and hope in education. Programmers discussed how to make games more valuable for education. Students discussed and a radio broadcaster enthusiastically jumped from one group to another collecting opinions and stories. After the presentations and group work as well as sharing empowering stories of education with each other, everyone stayed talking until 11.30pm. It was a real possibility to explore challenges, thoughts and hopes for the future. We are facilitating these Te(a)chology 101 in Munich as part of its mission of developing education for all. Any suggestions for future topics are welcomed as we learn and empower through dialogical education and technology.
Jessica White is an EdTech consultant, educational facilitator and writer. Meet'n'learn sponsored Te(a)chology 101 with the congruent vision to increase accessibility to education for all.
This was originally posted to Linkedin here