Resource Sharing using Pedagogle.com

I’ve created a file sharing website for teachers to upload and share their digital resources called Pedagogle.com.

My venture pitch for this resource is accessible from http://davidwees.com/content/join-pedagogle-today

Update: Video now available on Youtube at greatly decreased quality.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q3eKbB2uWo[/youtube]

Now to go finish my venture analysis so I can email it in!  Good luck everyone!

17 comments


1 David Wees { 11.23.08 at 3:20 am }

Note: Slightly modified video going up soon, realized I was missing an introduction! Please be patient if you have downloaded this already, the newest version will be up in about 4-5 hours.


2 Cheryl Milner { 11.24.08 at 5:11 pm }

Hi David,

I have tried at least four times to open your video on my Mac and it just won’t play. It gets loaded and then wants to reload but not play, got any ideas?

Cheryl


3 Michael Awmack { 11.24.08 at 10:25 pm }

David,

Your pitch for Pedagogle is fantastic. Over the course of an executive summary and 7 minute video, the entire concept behind this venture became perfectly clear.

The idea is great; creating a sharing system of this type really is the future of open education, in my opinion. It really looks like you’ve spent a lot of time thinking through how this system should work.

I think the program itself is almost market-ready. It has a clear purpose, it offers great value to users (if they give and take from it equally), and seems highly functional. You could put this out with very little modification and you would develop at least a small user base.

I do have a concern about your pitch, however. You mention that it is meant to be a non-profit venture and at the bottom of your executive summary you make an “ask” for $4000 per year in sponsorship to pay for server/bandwith/web manager costs. Do you think Pedagogle’s operations will be sustainable with such a meagre inflow of capital? Have you concerned other revenue models that would actually give you the budget to advertise your site/service, growing its user base as well as its sponsorship? The paradox underpinning the existence of non-profits is that it costs money to bring in donations. If you want Pedagogle to continue to grow, how is this growth going to be funded? Advertising? Annual membership fees (similar to a professional association)? Is there a plan in place for growth beyond word of mouth?

With such a great venture idea, I do not think you will have any problem attracting interest. To strengthen your pitch, however, further consideration of the business aspects of the venture may be required.

I would recommend funding this venture, on the condition that a clearer financial sustainability model should be developed.


4 David Wees { 11.25.08 at 1:38 am }

Hi Michael,

Your point about the business plan for this venture is well taken. I think the first step in making such a venture work would be to find someone more business sense than myself to partner with me and help me with the financial details of this project.

I guess I am thinking short term goals, and I should have made that more clear in my pitch. Long term goals will obviously be more expensive, and the organization has no hope to grow exponentially without a different model being employed.

I’m glad the pitch makes sense though, I was a bit worried it got a bit too abstract at the beginning.

Cheryl: Did you download the video or are you trying to watch it in your browser? Try and download it, and then you should be able to watch it with VLC Player (or rather I am able to watch it with VLC Player on the PC) so I assume that the same should work on a Mac. If this doesn’t work, then I’ll see about uploading it to Youtube, although they downgrade the quality so much that I’m not sure it will be worth it. I’ll try anyway.

Dave


5 Bruce Spencer { 11.25.08 at 10:45 am }

I think Michael has provided a great summary of your venture and there’s very little I can think of to add to it, other than to say, this would work well in other subject areas too. Great venture, David.

I hope you’re able to resolve the $$$ issue for your venture and I wish you all the best!


6 Cheryl Milner { 11.25.08 at 2:12 pm }

Hi David,

Very impressive site, although I still was unable to open your video. Funnily enough the premise of this project is similar to David Vogt’s new tool in that Pegagogle and CrowdTrust are each locations for digital resources. Good luck on this very exciting venture.

P.S. You’ve got a really cute son. He reminds me of my son when he started crawling. Savour the time, it goes by too quickly.


7 Alex { 11.27.08 at 10:05 pm }

Hi David,

I like the design of your webpage. It is simple, clean and professional in appearance.

You must have a very fast Internet connection. I tried a couple of computers and Internet connections, and allowed more than half an hour, but unfortunately I was not able to view your video clip. So, my top suggestion to you is that you please make your site light and make it easily accessible to people who rely on slow ADSL connections. I do believe that I am using the same platform as you except for the speed of Internet services. It is frustrating but the Internet does not work as well as we hope it would.

Your website and work are impressive. The possibility is that some, especially tech savvy teachers, might find it too time consuming to going over other people’s resources and might prefer to produce educational materials by themselves. However, once your teacher community is established, and the community members are knowledgeable on the resources available in Padagogle, the members might find it indispensable. Until such a day, Pedagogle would see much of its uploaded resources unused. Your attempt is commendable but it would need much more organization, planning and promotion to make it functional.

Alexandra


8 David Wees { 11.27.08 at 11:09 pm }

Hi Alexandra and Cheryl:

I have noticed that on some computer systems, my video does not run, at all. So I get to thank my video editing software for producing a product which does not produce perfect video. I’m trying to get it converted into a more readable format, which I will upload to Google so you can see the video.

You are right about promotion and planning, this is a very early stages venture. Having built the platform, now I need to create the plan to go with it. 🙂

Dave


9 Crystal Pullman { 11.28.08 at 3:52 am }

David,

You have a great idea here, and it seems easy enough to use. Like others I believe that it may initially be a bit of a struggle to really get it off of the ground – simply because the attractiveness of using it is to be able to access the resources of other teachers (to not reinvent the wheel, as it were) and there won’t be a good store of resources until you have a number of teachers already using it. However, I think if you can make the interface more appealing (as you proposed), then once the initial struggle is over you will have a very successful business indeed.

I’m also wondering how you intend to market this resource to teachers, or more precisely, how do you intend to inform teachers that it exists? And, more importantly, that it is a viable, valuable, free resource?

Aside from the issues you have had with the video, I found it a very effective way to communicate your ideas. I would have liked to see something in the video itself about what you were asking of potential investors ($4000), and how you intend to use that money to help improve the venture.

In your video and your website you prove your own credibility to your investors (moonlighting as a freelance web programmer in London), but you don’t mention anything about the others that are involved with you in this project. I believe that including this too would strengthen the proposal.

I believe that I would invest in Pedagogle. You already have a product together that is already usable, and as such you’re not requiring much of investors. $4000 is not much money, but then again as an investor I might also wonder if I would see a return on the investment (simply the money that was invested) as your proposal is for a non-profit business.

Cheers,
Crystal


10 Jarrod Bell { 11.28.08 at 9:07 am }

Hi David.

It is refreshing to see a pitch for a not-for-profit model such as you have here. As much as I want to share and enable that wherever I can it still costs money and time to do that! I have been trying with a similar approach locally and now provincially sharing full courses created in moodle with teachers around the province. <>It is quite tiring trying to convince people to share when they have a grand retirement scheme about selling their resources. <> I do know two teachers who have done that quite effectively so it is possible though, but they were making textbooks.

I found your introduction and summary compelling reasons to invest while I waited for the video to download. (Media-convert.com) lets you convert any format for free. I couldn’t get any sound on your youtube video though either from the site or directly on youtube.

Loved the video review of where we have been, where we are today, and where we can go with your service.

For marketing I would suggest some of the conferences like BCCUE, VSS, and TechItUp which often ask for people to present projects such as this. From there word of mouth and seeking out technology leaders in school districts or provincial organizations to get set up with a webcast and build via word of mouth. Presentations to education faculties and cohorts would be a good place as well.

As with all web 2.0 projects they must be kept fresh and have regular contributions for their long term survival. I think you have the ability to do this if you can leverage some advertising opportunities. I see at the end of your video that you have a very committee staff 😉 and understand that it is difficult when you are only one person. Seeking out some like minded individuals, especially one with a little more on the business side is a wise start.

Great work! I hope you can find the funding and the people for this project!

Jarrod


11 David De Pieri { 11.28.08 at 7:59 pm }

WoW… very impressive David

Great introduction to Pedagogle with a simply, yet very effective cartooning feature of the organizing issues of the past and the rapidly over-whelming present.

Clear and effective explanation of folder / file manipulation as we all struggle with the same organizing dilemmas. A common place to submit & retrieve resources makes total sense.
Without saying too much… everything you speak of is bang on.

You look like you have been at this for a while, how long has the site been up and running… are you happy with the progress? I will definitely tell my colleagues about Pedagogle.com

A couple questions:

Keep track of your karma, what exactly is “Karma” with you having approx. 5319?
Didn’t explore that too closely.

Why did you choose .com instead of .edu?

Thailand is beautiful for sure, have you thought about moving back to North America?
Funding issues may not be an issue here in N.A.

Well done… 2 thumbs up…

ddp


12 Drew Murphy { 11.28.08 at 11:53 pm }

Hi David: I really liked your approach. I think the dedication you’ve been showing for a non-profit venture is a much appreciated and admired attribute among web users. And, I think that your venture goes after another web venture motivation, that being the possibility of getting a huge number of users.

Prior to the web, it was impossible to imagine getting the kind of user base that one is capable of getting now. And so I think your venture really speaks to this new web venture motive of being able to induce great change and involve thousands and thousands of people. I feel that your venture has the ability to do this but your pitch didn’t really address the scalability of this venture. Can you handle thousands of users? I think if you set your sights bigger in your pitch, the ambitious nature of your project might appeal to an investors desire to make big change too.


13 David Wees { 11.29.08 at 2:04 am }

Well I finished creating this site exactly a month ago and it took me about a week to make. I had the idea for the site about 5 weeks ago, so this is a very new venture for me, but the basic premise for me was, how can we apply the open source model to education?

There are lots of unanswered questions I have as well.

1. How can I find a way to fund this project in the short and long term? As someone said, it takes money to make money, and this is true for a non-profit organization as well.

2. With sufficient funding, the model I’m using is scalable. Drupal is currently used on websites with millions of page views per day successfully. The two issues here are of course, the point I raised in #1, and will the site be usable if it is receiving thousands of resources daily.

3. Idea I had for an improvement to the interface I am mulling around. Upload a zipped archive of your resources, in their disorganized state, then presented with a page where you go through and categorize all of your resources in one fell swoop, and then each resource is saved to the site (but files with “bad” extensions aren’t presented to the user in the big form). Would this make it easier for teachers to contribute?

See this page: http://pedagogle.com/karma for an explanation of what Karma is. Basically I need the maintenance of this site to handle itself, and I have discovered that if you give people something back when they contribute to your site, they are more willing to contribute again the next time.

My Karma is currently artificially high so that I have ADMIN status, otherwise the site would have no admin level users. Basically I’ve cheated!

The reason why I chose .com instead of .edu was easy, visibility. People tend to remember the domain better for .com sites. Yes, I understand that my venture makes more sense as a .edu or .org categorization-wise but I personally feel that part of what makes online ventures successful is an easy to remember domain name.

Has anyone got any suggestions for organizations I can approach for funding?


14 David Wees { 11.29.08 at 5:36 pm }

Video uploaded to Youtube successfully, in case you haven’t been able to see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q3eKbB2uWo


15 Deepika Sharma { 11.30.08 at 3:55 am }

David,

You have already shown the provice of your venture – the power of collaboration and the promise that it holds by creating the product first – great job! I was unable to go through your video since I am working out of a commercial Internet centre and they do bot allow audio unless we use headphones and I did not bring any! But let that not be the hinderance to my understanding. I have been asking my teachers to share and collborate with their peers over resources in the spirit “openness” that is what content is all about these days, it is also the one of the better ways to keep one’s content organic lively and current. BUT I find huge resistance from educators to share their content …it is a mind set that will change ultimately, but right now takes a lot of convincing (at least in thie part of the world which is yours for the moment as well).

Three issues arise – one is a suggestion the other two are questions –

Like some others the $4000 needs a little expansion and in your post aboveyou have agreed to that.

What are the differentiating features of pedagogle from other similiar open source collaborative products from Google and how will Pedagogle compete with Google that rides on its already huge customer base? If you have covered some of this in your video pitch then ignore the question.

How will you popularise this product amongst educators? I do not see any marketing costs in your pitch so there should be another way. Any thoughts on this?

Cheers!

Deepika


16 Laura Macleod { 11.30.08 at 6:34 am }

Dave –

This is a terrific idea. It is actually very similar to mine, except that (being the cold-hearted capitalist that I am) I want to charge for mine! What appeals to me about your proposal is the way it marries the power of Web 2.0 architecture and self-interest to drive what I could see eventually turning into a very rich and useful resource. The way you’ve designed the site for ease of use is a big advantage – one of the beauties of this idea is that you’re not asking anyone to learn a new program. You’re simply asking them to apply things they know in one context to another. I also think the ability to edit categories and the ultimate social creation of hierarchies is a good feature. And your point that this contributes to the creation of ‘institutional memory’ – a way to archive best practices – is really powerful. Finally, user rating takes care of the peer review aspect of the database. Quality control is, I think, one of the biggest issues for ventures that try to solve this kind of problem – DavidP mentioned (many weeks ago) that Merlot had run into real bottlenecks trying to manage the peer review process. Getting to the point where you’ve got enough aggregate data to be meaningful is one of the issues you need to address.

The front end of your project is thoroughly worked out. My concern is that the back end is vague. The business model (as is often the case with non-profits at the beginning stages) isn’t clear. Beyond the appeal for money from sponsors, how does the site become self-sustaining? If you want this to be advertising free, you should look for an institutional sponsor, such as a school board or a teacher’s union – some organization that will see the value for their constituency and put money into sustaining it. The other route you might consider is advertising support, although the most obvious candidates for advertising to teachers are resource publishers, who would see this site as competitive.

In terms of the pitch, I thought it was very clever and enjoyed your art! Again, though, more attention to the nuts and bolts of the business end was necessary.

As an EVA I would happily recommend this for funding, once the business model was made clearer and the ability of the resource to be self-sustaining was worked out.

Thanks!
Laura


17 Jagpal Uppal { 11.30.08 at 11:04 am }

Hi David,

I think your idea is great for education and for teachers. It will allow us to share ideas and work collaboratively.

As an EVA, I look at the feasibility of the project and as you mentioned curious how many teachers will post their “valuable” resources.

I also think that funding needs to include some major sponsorship for either school districts, teacher unions, or some corporations. Might be nice to include some case studies on certain corporations in exchange for sponsorship? Not sure if this would impact the integrity of the product….but its a thought.

An excellent idea, and a very professionally delivered pitch!

Jag

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