A friend of mine saw my post on Facebook in which I was recommending the use of www.khanacademy.org for maths. his comment was a question: why not a Dereck Tafuma Academy? Let me take this opportunity to announce that I am working on a physics course using www.teachable.com. I will have a page on my website www.derecktafuma.com called Teachable which will lead to my courses.
The Prussian Model
Education has been slow to adopt new technologies on a grand scale. We have many different applications on the market, and none of them addresses the needs of the educational institutions such as schools and universities. The late 18th to early 19th Century Prussian model of education still dominates modern teaching and learning. Depending on the school and the teachers, there are different levels of use of current applications to enhance the process of instruction and learning. It is hard to implement new ideas such as the flipped classroom and project based learning on top of the Prussian model of education. The model builds on reforms which were designed to deliver education on a mass scale. I am not going into detail about the history of education but just to state that we can implement the new methods of teaching or learning using the new applications and the internet.
When online courses started, they were for individual skills such as manipulating computers, spreadsheets, and presentations. It was also for learning how to use email and the internet itself. Usually, for those skills that we were not in schools or universities. Most people have taught themselves many skills to be able to navigate new media.Some of the traditional educational material is now available online. There are platforms which distribute and deliver these courses. One such platform is www.teachable.com, and another is www.udemy.com. Even universities such as Stanford are offering free online courses. Apple has an app called iTunes Uni which provides a significant number of classes from social sciences to artificial intelligence. www.khanacademy.org is a great inspiration. The amazing thing is that a teacher did not start it. Salman Khan was a venture capitalist who decided to revolutionize the way we teach and learn. Sometimes innovation comes through people from unrelated industries. These people have the freedom to ask simple questions because they’re free from the natural biases of those in the industry, much the same way as children will innocently ask you questions about your expertise which may change the way you think about challenges and solutions.
When my friend wondered why I was not posting about my academy, he had no clue that I had already started creating one. It was an opportunity for me to announce that I was in the process of making one. I am now one of those people who will announce my next move to put pressure on myself.
Putting a course online is now a straightforward thing to do. There are plenty of resources to choose from the internet. First, you have to think about the platform where you are going to publish the course. Ideally, you want a platform where you can generate income. YouTube is the easiest one. You can even use it to practice recording lessons and uploading them there. You can start to build an audience which you can move to another platform when your course is ready. In fact, all of the social media is strategic for branding and building a following.
To record lessons, you need screencasting applications such as ScreenFlow by www.telestream.net or Camtasia for a Windows PC. I have used ScreenFlow for Mac, and I think it is excellent. I can record the screen of my Mac, including my face if I want to. I can also import content from the hard drive or record the screen of an iPad or iPhone if there is an application I am using to demonstrate an animation or to solve a problem. I also use www.canva.com to create graphics which I can use in the video.
If you are going to make headway in the social media era, you have to be authentic because there are so many people out there who can pick up a camera and start producing anything. The problem is not the mediocre creators because these are naturally pushed out. The problem is that you are in the market for the same audience and the audience will choose the best. To be the best, be yourself. Noone is naturally boring to everyone. You will have your followers who like the fact that you’re not pretending to be something that you’re not.
So what can you teach about in your courses? I suggest you educate about what you know. I have written many blog posts and a couple of books. Every time I write about what I know, I just flow. When you know, the readers can see it. You don’t need to do a lot of research if you know your subject or area of expertise. I need bullet points so that I don’t get off track too much. I love the freedom to jump from idea to idea and find commonality between apparently disparate ideas. If you have read physics and capital, and economic growth and development, you will find areas of common ground. You can not talk about the history of wealth creation without the history of physics. Discoveries in physics principles and laws resulted in the agricultural and industrial revolutions. And now physics is responsible for developments in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics. Physics is all about the matter, energy, and the relationship between the two. Countries which control more power have better economic growth and development. The more developed a country is, the more power it generates.
My online school will be up and running within the next four months. I want to use the skills that I have learned to good use.