Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp Page 2RSS Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • themusicwoman 8:36 pm on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

      Jeff O’Hara is the Co-Owner and the Co-Founder of Edmodo which is an answer to the problem of many school districts locking down sites that can be visited. It is a social networking platform that allows teachers to create classes and assign homework, have students submit homework, send out alerts and reminders about exam […]

    Continue reading   Jeff O’Hara is the Co-Owner and t… Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • Jim 2:41 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Michelle!
      Great report on Jeff and edmodo! You know, reading this post of yours, especially the last few paragraphs, made me think of something that I hadn’t thought about before. That is, really big schools districts with the money to invest in learning technologies might actually be at a disadvantage when compared to smaller boards. Smaller boards, ones that have not invested in any, or very little, learning technologies so far, are quite free to experiment with newer sites like edmodo or even free learning management systems like moodle. Bigger boards, with more money to spend, might be committed to certain learning technologies, which may no longer be as good as some of the newer online platforms like edmodo.

      BTW – how does edmodo make money?

      • themusicwoman 11:14 am on September 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Dear Jim,
        Good point about being able to be free to experiment. I have had experience with moodle as well but find edmodo actually easier to navigate. I don’t think our district has come out with any “guides” to sites like these.

        And another good question about edmodo making money. Hmmm . . . maybe I’ll just tweet Jeff! Will have to get back to you unless someone else knows.

      • mcquaid 3:02 pm on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        That’s very true, Jim… there’s even a difference in levels of users at schools and other sites, too. I know, for myself, as the school’s “site technical contact”, I’m an enhanced user on the network… ie, I can access the Start menu & desktop, download programs, etc. This gives me a great advantage over even other teachers in my school.

    • Kristopher 7:11 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Jim and Michelle!

      Michelle, thanks for sharing on edmodo. I had not come across this tool and am impressed by its capacities. This is a spectacular tool that I would use as a teacher in my classroom.

      Jim, this is exactly a challenge that my workplace is facing. We are a fairly large organization so that typical response it to create a solution instead of looking to see what solutions are readily available; this leads us to proprietary software that works for a specific function, but doesn’t really work for a changing and developing work environment. When workings with a smaller organization, we were able to test and learn about the tools that we could get to work for us; there was an outside perspective in those products so as they continued to develop, so this our uses.



      • themusicwoman 11:15 am on September 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the reply, Kristopher. And I’m totally with you about the frustration with programs that are good for the whole but not always a good fit with the specifics. And you were actually asked what you thought??? Wow. lol. Cheers.

    • mcquaid 3:05 pm on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi, Michelle,
      I’ve tinkered with edmodo before, and thought it had a lot of potential. You’re right in that part of the genius / reason for success here is seeing a problem / niche and being able to resolve / occupy it. It’s like they created a Facebook-like platform that’s focused on education. Nearly genius, and very appropriate for many of today’s learners (and tech-savvy educators).

  • Jim 7:24 pm on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: Ben Papell, comment, conversation, , social, Steve Muth,   

    Meet Steve Muth and Ben Papell, co-founders of VoiceThread, LLC.  VoiceThread is located in Boca Raton, FL and filed as a limited liability company on January 1, 2006.  If you are interested, here is a 53 minute interview with both Steve and Ben from Mr. Media conducted in December, 2008.  The interview is excellent for […]

    Continue reading Steve Muth and Ben Papell :: Co-founders of VoiceThread, LLC Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • themusicwoman 8:59 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      Nice outline and links to more information. I also appreciate the fact that finding out information on the founders can be difficult! Considering it is a fairly new venture, I’m not surprised. I am impressed with these entrepeneurs who can identify a need and then go ahead and create it. Or is it an innovation? Hmm.

    • David William Price 4:37 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting… a cheap Camtasia/screen recording s/w?

    • Karen Jones 11:45 am on September 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Jim,

      Given all the exposure VoiceThread has been given in pro-d circles, I am surprised that there isn’t much biography info on the founders! I love this product and have used it in lots of ETEC assignments, but ironically, not in my class. This product seemed to go “commercial” really quickly, requiring $$ to expand the free basic subscription, although the educational site is a pretty good deal. What sets it apart from other recording s/w is the ability to record comments that appear linked to avatars, and to play them back asynchronously, thereby making it really useful for creating an online discussion community.

      Thanks for the info!

  • kstooshnov 3:49 pm on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: semantic web, ,   

    Professor David Crystal, OBE, co-founder of Crystal Semantics, designer of Shakespeare’s Words website, author and linguist Crystal Semantics Limited is an innovative Web marketing technology that makes use of Crystal’s research into semantics.  The company, launched in 2001, ‘is the result of 8 years and $8 million investment in research and its ground breaking technology […]

    Continue reading David Crystal & Shakespeare’s Words Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • Everton Walker 4:10 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting production. I like this idea of the site staving off bad commercials and yielding to the impact of multinational companies. The glossary idea is a great one as it facilitates the linguistic idea perfectly. Although this is a major investment, I think it’s a rewarding one even if profit is not gained. I strongly believe that once persons are educated from such a venture, it is a natural success.

      • kstooshnov 10:03 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Everton,

        Like you, I am not a big fan of advertising in any form, and the less cluttered a website can be, the better. Of course, not all of them are bad, but even the good ones are manipulative in some way. I like the idea of designing a fabulous website freely accessible by all, but like the Dark Knight’s Joker says “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” David Crystal seems to have found the ideal balance between commerce (selling off Crystal Semantics and Reference System to ad pepper media) and his passion for linguistics, going back to Shakespeare’s contributions to the English language.

    • Deb Giesbrecht 5:19 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting concept. I wonder how he got $8 million dollars rounded up by his investors?!
      Great marketing campaign though and I am sure the payoff is well received. English has always been the language of business, but never thought of it as the language of the internet. Wonder if they put Spanish McDonalds ads together in Spanish websites?

      • kstooshnov 9:39 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Deb,

        Thanks for your comments, and something I learned while teaching English in Japan is the mercurial qualities of my native language. More than just adapting to other languages (sushi, kamikaze and otaku are familiar enough imported words), English takes almost every noun, adjective and some conjunctions can be made into a verb, for instance. I also found this great article by David Crystal explaining how Shakespeare’s words are not so far off from modern English, only 15% of his words are not commonly used today.

    • David William Price 4:43 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting site… I think I’d prefer cursor-driven popups vs. searching in the sidebar.

      • kstooshnov 9:06 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks David,

        I agree, there are still lots of thing that could be improved with the website. Some interesting things are happening with Internet Shakespeare Editions published for the Internet by a team at the University of Victoria, with introductions, choices between different editions, and other clickable features, but there is no glossary at all. Hopefully both the Crystals and UVic keep tinkering with their sites.

  • Julie S 12:43 pm on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

    eGen Technologies is an e-learning venture specializing in ‘instructional design, performance, technologies, e-Learning, courseware, and simulation design’. (eGen, 2011). The differentiator for this venture appears to be a strong focus on employee user experience using an interactive learning design process which the founders have designed. There are two leaders in this venture, Nick Zap, CEO, […]

    Continue reading eGen Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • Angela Novoa 3:44 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Julie, thanks for sharing. I think this initiative is very interesting. One of the areas that I want to gain more expertise is instructional design through online platforms. About your reflections on the leader’s and the company’s profile I think it is relevant to have information about board advisors or investors as it could brings us some clues on how launching our own ventures.


      • Julie S 4:52 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Absolutely. I was surprised that they didn’t have anyone identified on their site but maybe they aren’t looking for investors. I wonder if companies are more inclined to have a board of advisors if they are looking for investors. Mind you I think it’s wise to have a board no matter if you are looking for investors or not. It’s possible that they are still in the process of identifying candidates to establish a board as well.

    • Everton Walker 5:25 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      This is a venture that immediately grabs my attention. However, I would like to know some of the platforms they have on their listing. And do I go about this if I am interested in having a platform in my institution. Also, where have these platforms being tested and proven. Despite the concerns, I think this venture is worth sticking close to as an educator.

      • Julie S 9:22 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        The platform is a valid concern Everton. When I was reviewing the venture it appeared that they were more focussed on selling the course design services so I wasn’t thinking as much about the platform. I’m surprised they don’t list what type of platforms that they build the software for and if whether the courses are designed in a flexible way to integrate into more than one LMS platform. I made the assumption that they would design and build tailored for the corporate environment but that is a big assumption. They really should have some platform information in the product section.

  • jarvise 9:45 am on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: bluedrop, coursepark, rizkalla   

    Creating a thriving business on the East coast is no small accomplishment; Emad Rizkalla accomplished this by founding an e-learning business that strives to meet corporate needs while being learner centered and driven. The business that he co-founded in 1992 and continues to serve as CEO is Bluedrop Enterprises, whose current project Coursepark aims to […]

    Continue reading Bluedrop Enterprises Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • Deb Giesbrecht 5:23 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I agree ……..financial risks are too much for me too! I like to know the money coming in is steady and reliable. I have been told I will never make it rich working for someone else, but then again, I will never die from a heart attack due to too much stress!

      • jarvise 7:37 am on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        This type of work would definitely require some serious stress management skills. Completely anecdotal evidence here, but when my Dad had a major heart attack a couple of years ago and was at the regional heart center in New Brunswick waiting for his multiple bypass, the one common thread that seemed most prevalent across the floor was high stress work. Its something that I definitely keep in mind when considering jobs. (My dad is fine now by the way, but is trying to manage his stress better; he was already an active, 62 year old vegetarian!)


        • Deb Giesbrecht 4:35 pm on October 2, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          It is pretty hard now a days to find a job with low stress – although I would like one myself! But there are certain things we can do to help – although being an active vegetarian one would think would certainly help. Glad he is doing well.

    • David William Price 4:59 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for following the outline for the assignment. As for risks, there are many ways of starting businesses. The safest way is to deliver a product or service to people who want it now and who will pay for it now. You can start the business while you have a day job. You grow through your profits, not through high risk lending and venture capital. That is not the kind of venture story you typically hear about, but it is the kind of story that creates a solid foundation to start from and to build on going forward. One of the videos the prof linked to last week about pitches described how that very simple concept was the way to tap the “Fortune 5 million” companies out there and have a comfortable lifestyle business.

  • Doug Smith 5:19 am on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

    Jeff Vyduna is a co-founder and leader of the software polling venture Poll Everywhere. Vyduna was kind enough to respond to some questions I sent him about his involvement in an education start-up company, which helped me complete a fuller picture of his approach to being an entrepreneur in an emerging market. Poll Everywhere is […]

    Continue reading Poll Everywhere: Jeff Vyduna, co-founder Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • jarvise 9:59 am on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Doug,

      I like your nature or nurture comment. I think that both are at play in the production of an entrepreneur. I’m sure that there is a nature element in that you have to have a high risk tolerance. Then once you get into the personality components the two blur together.

      Your write-up is great because it takes the mystique away from the successful entrepreneur. He is someone who has pursued the right education, and has strategically planned and moved towards his goals. As I’m always telling students, there is no ‘secret’ to success, per se. It involves getting prepared (education), setting goals, strategically planning on how to achieve the goals, and measuring success (and adjusting behaviours) along the way.

      Good job getting in touch with him, too!


    • bcourey 4:01 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I am really impressed that you contacted the founder directly for more information! The student response system market is getting crowded with some big names involved – especially SMART technologies as the biggest that I am aware of…and they are very expensive. Offering a less expensive alternative that will do the same thing is very intriquing!

    • themusicwoman 8:45 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I, too, am impressed that you contacted the founder. By the way, I’ve used this in workshops and classrooms and love it. Nice that you chose to showcase it 🙂

    • David William Price 5:04 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’d challenge the notion that success depends on “nurture” or some innate risk tolerance. Anxiety management depends on recognizing poor habits and learning new skills that avoid the extremes of anxiety: jumping in without thinking enough, or over-analyzing and doing nothing.

      • Doug Smith 3:47 am on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi David,
        What I meant is whether entrepreneurship comes from nature, ie. genes and who your parents and family are, or if it comes nurture, ie training and education. Obviously there is some type of balance at play. However, I think if a person was to come from a family of entrepreneurs (I think Vyduna does), their chances of being a successful entrepreneur are greatly increased.

  • Everton Walker 8:04 pm on September 27, 2011
    0 votes

    http://www.einstruction.com     With a tag-line of Simple Solutions, Real Results, eInstruction was founded in 1980 by Dr. Darrell Ward. Prior to founding eInstruction, Dr. Ward started the Computer Science program at the University of Mississippi, had faculty teaching and research positions at Texas A&M, The University of Texas System, and the University of North […]

    Continue reading http://www.einstruction.com   … Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
  • andrea 6:50 pm on September 27, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: , ,   

    Fingerprint Play creates mobile learning applications for touch-screen devices for four- to seven-year-olds. They describe themselves as “the first mobile learning and play network for kids and their grown-ups” (Fingerprint). The “My Big Kid Life” applications allow kids to explore the skills associated with popular grown-up professions [fire fighter, veterinarian, and fairy princess (?)], while learning […]

    Continue reading Fingerprint Play Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • jenaca 5:52 am on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey Andrea,
      This looks like a very interesting device and I am definitely interested in learning more about it. I wonder what the market is currently like for this technology and if there is anything else similar to it?
      I agree with your reflections, this venture does seem very commercialized as it does have a team surrounded by the media world, however, all the power to them!!
      Great find,

    • jarvise 10:06 am on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      My kids love using their Tag Reading Pens (from Leapfrog), and love using the ipad when they can get their hands on it. I think there is a very large market for interface design that is geared at kids. Check out Starfall.com for an example of a product that is well-designed for kids. They have sparkles around the spots that are supposed to be clicked next, extra large arrows to move to the next page, and a large ‘x’ up in the top corner to close the window. After watching my 3 year old learn how to use the computer on this site, I was super impressed.

      I wonder what the marketing will look like for this product – I’m sure it will likely be slick with some of the people resources they have on their team. Often, good educational sites (often designed by teachers) are slow to catch on due to lack of marketing. I’m thinking that if this is an effective product, AND has an effective marketing team, it will be a real money-maker.


      • andrea 9:04 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Emily, thanks for the info on Starfall.com. Nice clear, colourful, and intuitive design. I can imagine how appealing that would be for little people.
        Fingerprint Play is launching in October, so it will be interesting to see the marketing. As you say, I’m sure it will be well done considering the team. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you can’t sell it (as we’re seeing in this course).

    • bcourey 3:57 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      She has certainly lined up an impressive team that makes the venture look very appealing…and reaching out to the kids’ market is very wise!

      • Doug Smith 3:41 am on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Yes, from a management structure point of view it looks like MacIntyre has put together a very strong team. It would be very interesting to see what kinds of numbers or data this group had at their disposal when designing their products. Surely they have identified a big hole in an emerging market!

  • Everton Walker 4:34 pm on September 27, 2011
    0 votes

    I need some help here. I need some explanation or direction to where I can find the instructions for this week’s post. I know it’s the entrep bootcamp but not sure exactly what to do. Thanks, Everton

    Continue reading This week’s discussion Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • Angela Novoa 4:42 pm on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Everton,

      You need to:

      Select a learning technology venture and find out who its leader is, making sure they are also a founder of the company. You can select a company by searching here: http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/2010/exposition/exhibitor_search.php

      Then you’ll need to provide the following information:

      1. Information about Founder or Co-founders, title & photograph, and brief bio
      2. Venture name
      3. Any personal reflections this analysis has inspired regarding your own entrepreneurial potential

      Hope to have helped.

      Good luck,


    • Everton Walker 4:44 pm on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      I couldn’t thank you more. 🙂

      One Love,

    • Angela Novoa 5:23 pm on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      You are welcome Everton 🙂 Glad that I could help.



  • schiong 9:25 pm on September 26, 2011
    0 votes

      Site: http://www.khanacademy.org The Khan Academy is a non-profit organization. Its goal is to provide world-class education to anyone anywhere for free. There are  2,680 micro lectures (as of September 2011) via video tutorials stored on YouTube teaching mathematics, history, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics and computer science. How did it all begin?           […]

    Continue reading Quality Education for Free ? Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • jenaca 11:20 pm on September 26, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey, I really like the way you have outlined your post and the way you included to much detailed information. This does sound like a great organization! Giving students the opportunity to get quality education for free via the internet is amazing!
      I agree with your closing thoughts on what you would like to learn from the academy. I too am interested in learning more about how to develop the proper software for the organization, other competitors in this field and their pitfalls they encounter.
      Great post!

    • verenanz 7:54 am on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I love Khan academy…..If a student had a question though…..I wonder who they would ask for clarification? I have never used the videos – they are great. but seemed to be very US focused, math/business/science focused….I was looking for language support…Maybe someone who has used these resources could tell me what happens “after the video” if there is confusion? I love that they are free…..

      • David William Price 5:24 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        One idea behind Khan Academy is students watch the videos at home and then come to school to do their homework with teacher supervision. The teachers focus their energies on helping students apply their new information vs standing at the front and speaking.

    • andrea 11:47 am on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      What a cool venture! The team is amazing, as you said. (I’m adding Khan Academy to my “I want to work there someday” list.) The videos are educational and entertaining, and I learned something from the few I watched. It’s also easy to see how this venture could expand. The concept itself is inspiring.

    • bcourey 3:55 pm on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I am a big fan of the Khan Academy too and I know teachers in our schools that view the math videos in their classrooms to reinforce some of the concepts. It is amazing to see how much content they have amassed over time. Impressive. I don’t see follow-up that goes with the videos, but I would expect that a teacher would want to personalize that part of a lesson so that it fits better into whatever state/province the audience is based.

    • Everton Walker 8:38 pm on September 27, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      This is very interesting. With the state of the global economy, it is good that persons are willing to sacrifice their time for the better good. However, I am wondering if there is an hidden agenda or shortly they will begin to ask for donations. As it relates to teachers, is there evidence of certification? And are these courses accredited by the local bodies? Despite the uncertainties, as long as persons are learning skills and concepts free of cost from all over the world, it is a great venture in my estimation.

    • jarvise 10:14 am on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great post – another math teacher I work with uses this all the time. We teach a lot of combined classes at our school, and we are always looking for free, blended learning options to help manage more than one class at a time.

      The real question is, however, why did he do 3 Bachelors degrees? Unusual, but he obviously has an extremely strong background for teaching purposes (imagine his number of ‘teachables’ for all those teachers out there…)


    • David William Price 5:26 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I think Khan Academy is a great example of reasonable effective low-fideliity learning. It’s not fancy but it’s cheap, widely-available, and it works. He makes mistakes in lessons, addresses them in following lessons, and comes across as a pretty humble guy. Personally I’d do a lot more scripting but his style is his style and it has a charm.

    • Doug Smith 3:31 am on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      One thing that jumps out at me from Khan’s biography is his lack of education in teaching. This is a significant shortcoming, as I believe that the bulk of Khan Academy’s videos came directly from Khan himself.

      In terms of motivation, Khan started the project as a result of tutoring he was given his extended family. He was producing videos for nephews and nieces and decided to distribute his videos after seeing how many requests he was getting for them. The motivation behind Khan Academy is very noble and altruistic.

      Slightly off-topic, I should note that I am not nearly as big of fan as Khan Academy as others. I note that there are several problems with it, some of which relate to the program itself and some that relate to its portrayal. As mentioned above, Khan has no background in education and this shows in the style of learning in Khan Academy. It is transmission teaching, “sage on the stage”. Frankly, for all I know Khan could be copying notes directly from a textbook when he does his videos. This leads to my second criticism, which is that in terms of content and pedagogy, Khan Academy is no different from simply reading a textbook, other than apparently people prefer to watch a video as opposed to read. Thirdly, topics are covered quickly and superficially. For example, math topics are done in a 10 minute lesson and reduced to a procedural solution rather than a conceptual understanding. As far as I can tell, in terms of Blooms Taxonomy, Khan Academy is operating at the Knowledge level. I certainly hope for more in education.

      The criticisms above would not be too bad if Khan Academy was accepted for what it is. The big problem comes in when media and famous personalities such as Bill Gates speak out and claim that Khan Academy is revolutionizing education and is some type of savior. I believe this to be very dangerous because the public is buying it.

    • mcquaid 6:15 am on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I agree with your “sage on the stage” comments, Doug, and that it should be just taken for what it is. Taken as it is, I think it’s a helpful resources that allows teachers and students to decide how they want to use the content. I’m curious, though… will they give out any kind of certificates / achievement recognition? How will someone prove they’ve learned anything?

      I’m a little concerned about Khan wanting to be the world’s FIRST free, world-class, online university. There are other reuptable online schools out there, too, which one may argue is better or more “trustworthy” – the UN’s “University of the People”, for example.

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