Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coffee Time with Graham Glass, Founder of edu2.0

I wrote a blog post a couple of days ago about Twitter and how I learned about edu2.0 from a friend who tweeted about it. I am so excited about this new site & so I asked the founder if I could interview him for the blog here.

One of the toughest challenges I face in my job is providing professional development (on behaviour management, the UK curriculum, adjusting to life in London, and so on) for teachers from across Canada and the States who want to teach in London, England. The most obvious issue is one of geography, in that our country is just too massive for me to offer PD sessions in every city prior to departure for all of my teachers.

Usually I just fly to London and give workshops there. But then the issue becomes one of timing. Teachers arrive throughout the year, usually in August, September and October but also in January and April. So it becomes increasingly difficult for me to provide workshops at the right time of year for every teacher.

So, here's the deal. I love edu2.0 and can really see how it will be useful for teachers with Classroom Canada. I hope I can develop an online class before the summer that teachers can take from wherever they may be. Best of all: it's free! And I can use it without being a techie-whiz-kid. I just need the time to come up with the content, but that's another story.

I also need your help. First, please read more about Graham's ideas below. Then share your ideas for how we can use this with Classroom Canada in the comments section.

On to the interview with Graham:

Name: Graham Glass
Company: edu2.0
Position: Founder
Education: BSc and MS in Computer Science

Background:
This is my fourth startup. My first was ObjectLesson, a hi-tech training
company. My second was ObjectSpace, a training/consulting/products company specializing in object-oriented technology. My third was The Mind Electric, which specialized in web services infrastructure and was bought by webMethods in 2004. I served as the webMethods CTO for two years and then founded edu2.0 in 2006.

What is Edu 2.0?
It's a web site that provides a free and easy way to teach and learn
online. It's an attractive alternative to systems like Moodle and Blackboard because it's completely free, easy to use, and web hosted so there's nothing to download or maintain. Some people might call our site a "Learning Management System", but it includes many features that go beyond that definition.

As a teacher yourself, why do you think the world needs Edu 2.0 right now?
It makes good sense for a teacher to have their materials available
through the web so that they and their students can access them anytime, anyplace. edu2.0 makes it very easy for a teacher to upload lessons, videos, audio, pictures, quizzes, and other educational materials. In addition, edu2.0 makes it easy to set, track and grade assignments, as well as utilitize modern educational tools like blogs, forums, chat rooms and debates.

How do you see teachers in the public school system using Edu 2.0?
They are using edu2.0 to make teaching more efficient and enjoyable. Over
1,000 teachers are currently using the system and it's growing fast.

You taught in the states but are British yourself. Do you have any insights about teaching abroad that our readers may like to know?
I taught computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas, but it
wasn't particularly different from Southampton University in the UK. So I don't really have any insights.

What kind of response have you had so far in regards to Edu 2.0?
It has been terrific. I frequently get emails from enthusiastic teachers
and students. I recently visited some universities in the Philippines who are using edu2.0 and they're already teaching a wide range of subjects using the Internet. The site has over 40,000 members and is growing at 3% a week, so we must be doing something right!

In terms of organizations & companies like Classroom Canada, where do you see Edu 2.0 fitting in with our needs?
edu2.0 is a great system for individual teachers or schools who want to
teach online. Each school gets its own custom URL, customizable home page, and a space for their banner, so you can set up an online school in a matter of minutes. Hopefully http://classroomcanada.edu20.org will be online soon!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I have some ideas that challenge the traditional ways of teaching and
learning, and I plan on implementing them over the next two years. None of these ideas is currently part of edu2.0, but stay tuned......

Any more questions you'd like to ask about edu2.0 or about the Classroom Canada online class idea? Please share your thoughts below. Your ideas will help to shape our use of online professional development for teachers interested in teaching in London, England. Thanks!

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!

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