Mike Rae

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  • Mike Rae 9:21 pm on November 25, 2012
    0 votes

    Up2date Learning is a high school e-Textbook company that produces customizable resources designed to align with individual course curriculum that receives annual updates every year, and sends email alerts to teachers giving them options for updating their course throughout the year when events and breakthroughs occur. Here is my elevator pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiVXcnQAfn8 Here is my […]

    Continue reading Up2date Learning is a high school e-Text… Posted in: Venture Forum
    • jkotler 7:53 am on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      After watching your presentation, I think venture concept addresses a real need in education and offers a good and viable solution. In particular, I really liked the updates feature and especially the up to the minute updates as I believe it would be a valuable resource to many educators.

      One thing I was curious about (and don’t recall being specified in the presentation) is what subjects the e-textbooks would be designed for?

      As well, in terms of the presentation itself I felt that it was somewhat difficult to hear you at times in addition to clearly seeing the power point. Thus, I think had the quality and design been given a little more attention it would have made the overall presentation and sell of the venture that much stronger.


      • Mike Rae 7:19 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the feedback Julie, I agree with you that it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, and I definitely could have done a little more with the presentation. My idea was trying to mimic doing a pitch in front of people, and then tape that. But when it gets taped and is viewed electronically, it definitely loses some of the effect. After watching some of the other venture pitches, i found myself saying “damn, I wish I had done that” a bunch of times…you live you learn though right?

        I may have had to cut the subjects from the presentation, but my main focus was on Social Studies, Business, and Science. Subjects where breakthroughs and events tend to happen that updates would improve the course.

    • Kent Jamieson 1:06 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hello Mike,

      Great elevator pitch. It made me want to watch your venture presentation. You have a natural ability to sell.

      Your information was good, and had many of the aspects that the assignment was looking for. I like that you demonstrated how your etext would work, and the updates idea is great. I also agree with textbooks being outdated and that this idea can satisfy a need and has validity.
      In saying that, however, I found that your venture pitch seemed a little stagnant. The motionless camera fixed on a slideshow made me feel like I was back in highschool trying to stay awake during a lesson. I also found myself wondering about the way we teach – or at least the way we ‘should’ be teaching – these days, and worried that your lecturing style of presenting your textbook based venture didn’t seem very ‘up to date’…even though your final message to us all was that you’re behind the times if youre not ‘being up2date’. Just a thought.

      Finally, I’m a bit worried about competition you mentioned. They are huge companies. It seems as though many of these competitors would offer ‘updates’ that link to curricular needs?

      Overall, i like the pitch, but it didn’t quite allow me to open up my cheque book.


      • Mike Rae 7:22 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks Kent,

        Yeah the stand and deliver in hindsight may not have been the best approach. If I could go back, I would have broken that up with graphics, slides from the powerpoint, etc. instead of doing it all at once.

        Those big companies are the scary part of the venture idea, might be a better option to patten the update feature and then sell that idea to the big guys.

        thanks for your thoughts

    • Ranvir 1:15 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Mike, I liked the way you prepared the venture pitch – posing in front of the camera and explaining your venture concept, I wish I could have done that too…

      I like your venture concept and agree that e-textbooks have lot of potential in terms of making education more affordable and up-to date as you mentioned. This is the reason Amazon, McGraw Hill and other publishers are offering online versions of their books that can easily be accessed on smartphones and tablets. I myself have stopped buying paper copies since I bought my iPad earlier this year.

      I however have some questions for you –

      1. As an investor, one would like to know who your competition is in this market? Are you planning to compete with Amazon and the likes?

      2. How to you plan to market your product?

      3. How and when can an investor expect to get a break even and start making profits on the investment? Typically schools have shallow pockets and have faculty have limited PD budget. Is that a correct assumption?


      • Ranvir 1:26 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        On second thoughts, please disregard question 1 and 2 as you have sufficiently answered them in the venture pitch.

        I buy supplemental text for my kids from Amazon although I would appreciate if a company could offer variety of content focused on K-12. I think the market is there and I wish you luck with your venture.

        • Mike Rae 7:25 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I agree Ranvir, the shallow pockets is a hurdle to overcome. It is hard to say when investors would start to see a return, because the e-textbook market in high schools is in such a early stage. So it might take a year or two to see some return. The idea is that a start up company like this one builds up and then eventually sells out to one of the bigger dogs in the ring, making profit for the investors.

    • Colin 10:04 pm on November 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike, I agree that having up to date textbooks is a good idea as I still have some textbooks that refer to 2004 as in the future. Though I am trying to understand if you will be writing all the textbooks yourself or whether you will be taking existing textbooks and then just updating the information as needed. I believe right now when you get an e-textbook subscription that you always do get the newest version but a new version could be coming out every few years. My only concern would be having to have textbooks continuously updated and republished could be costly. Also writing a textbook that teachers want to purchase would be an issue as it is a very competitive market. My last issue would have to do with the fact that right now most classrooms don’t have access to laptops or computers to read the e-textbooks. Otherwise good presentation and idea.

    • cunnian 12:07 pm on November 30, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,
      I quite liked both your elevator and venture pitch. This is a new angle on this emerging market and it addresses a clear need in the educational system. I appreciated the detail with which you explained the product, clearly differentiated it from what is currently out there, identified your market and specifically laid out what you need from your investors and what you plan to do with it.
      While this is an innovative product and one that I think warrants further development, my concern as an investor is that you are going against the giants of the publishing industry. If this is an idea that truly revolutionizes this industry, I would be concerned that the ‘big dogs’ will quickly catch up and run you out of the market. While you might have a head start, they have large client bases and very deep pockets for development. As such, you would need to somehow patent this idea.
      Another concern is how you will create your ‘base content’ for your e-textbooks. The idea of having up-to-date information that a teacher can customize is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but you still have to provide some sort of ‘base material’. As such, is your team going to write e-texts from scratch? Is that part of the development costs?
      Again, I think that you did a great job. Well done!

    • manny 3:10 pm on November 30, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      You have a brilliant idea and I could easily see it being used in education. Your pitch reminds me of textbooks we have in our library, some of these books such as “challenge of the west” are the same books I used back in highschool. There are big competitors in this market (Mcgraw-Hill) and I think your ultimate goal would be a buy out from one of the giants mentioned rather than competing with them. Another competitor is the free RSS feed feature that teachers in courses such as social studies can use to stay up to date on current events by creating their own news feeds. Great wrap up and catchy final logo “If you’re not up2date, you’re behind the times!”

    • rebeccaharrison 7:12 pm on November 30, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      As said by others, I really like the idea, especiallly with respect to the up2date current content. I am also concerned, just by watching the elevator pitch, about the competition, as I have been using online textbooks for course content already. How is this different? That might be the most important point for me because I think the rest of the idea is an easy sell. Good pitch!

    • jhodi 9:36 pm on November 30, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      I think that you have a great idea here and one that does address a common concern in schools. However, my worry with such a technology is how it would compete with major publishing companies that could use already made textbooks, put them in e-text form, and continuously add to them. I also wonder about the practicality of keeping information ‘up-to-date’. I wonder how many people you would need to employ, how much legislation would need to be passed for each piece of information to be added, and how quickly all of this could be done to give the information to students. It seems like a very large task to keep say a Social Studies textbook up-to-date, whereas a Math textbook may be much easier. I also wonder which classes this would be intended for.

      All said, I think that you did a great job. I really like how you presented this information and I liked that you made it personal by putting yourself in front of the camera. I did read your reflection as well and it is too bad that you had to cut part of your video out because maybe that would have answered my questions. I think that with a little more work, this would be a venture that I would be very interested in.


    • adi 12:11 am on December 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry for the late post. I have had sleepless nights completing other assignments. I do apologize and mean no disrespect.

      I loved your pitch. You spoke well, with good stress and intonation, and touched upon just enough detail to create curiosity. I also enjoyed your longer pitch, though I would perhaps make the deck (slides) more graphic and with less text.
      I think your idea is great and there is a market; however, as a textbook author myself, I know the competition is fierce because there is a lot at stake; the textbook market is huge and profitable. You would also need a large team of editors and writers making these updates, and there would be issues regarding who gets royalties for what. Nevertheless, you raise a valid point and there is a need, what I don’t know if going it alone without the backing of one of the textbook publishing monsters would be feasible.


    • Peggy Lawson 7:59 am on December 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike –

      Of all of the pitches I’ve viewed, yours is focused on one of the greatest needs I think, and you’re elevator pitch sold that very well. Loved your enthusiasm – you held my attention as you did a great job of covering the pain point. It was unclear to me, however, in the evevator pitch, if the updates were meant for eTextbooks produced by other publishers (and I had no idea how you would manage that) or if your company would create the textbooks. So I followed up with your venture pitch. While this question was answered, and if I needed to be sold any more on eTexts you continued to do a great job, what conerned me was the potential quality of writing for the eTexts – quality curriculum writers come with a cost, which must be passed along to the consumer. This will make it very difficult to compete with the Big Dogs; I’m concerned about your competitive edge. This will be a huge challenge I think. Other than that, I thought the pitch was well done – you’ve thought out the marketing plan. I had faith in your credibility (but may have omitted your mention of your failure in securities sales).

  • Mike Rae 2:30 am on September 25, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: all in learning, Darrell Ward, Texas   

    Darrell Ward is one of the co-founders and CEO of ALL in Learning. He is described as an educational technology pioneer, executive and entrepreneur. ALL in Learning is a company that seeks to make assessment data of students more efficiently. Further, it appears that the original company of this team, eInstruction Corporation, started “the clicker […]

    Continue reading Darrell Ward is one of the co-founders a… Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • avninder 8:47 am on September 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have used clickers in corporate training and found them to be effective in increasing class participation and gaining feedback as an instructor. As with any learning technology the clicker can be extremely useful but also a hindrance in learning, if its use is not executed correctly.

      I do not foresee the assessment data provided by ALL in Learning being used at my organization in the immediate future. However, it is good to know that this service is available. Thanks for the info.

    • Jenny Brown 9:04 am on September 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      We were looking for an option for gaining better student engagement in our large food safety classes (100-400 students) and we ended up using polleverywhere.com I think this is the sort of technology that is replacing clickers. Essentially it is the same idea except it uses “polls” and mobile devices. The poll comes up on the PowerPoint slide and then students text in their answers. You can also send in answers through the Internet and Twitter too. Grade reporting and other reports are available to teachers.

    • jenbarker 4:19 pm on September 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I briefly looked at this company too and when I read about the cost of the clickers it doesn’t surprise me that users are turning to polls. It makes me think of programs such as Socrative and GoSoapBox where students can use a computer, mobile device or any smartphone to key in their selections. I have never used a clicker and do not know if they allow for open ended answers but I know the other programs do.

    • Mike Rae 12:02 am on September 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Yah when I saw the picture of the clickers I was kinda surprised at how dinosaurish they looked, that they were for sale, and how expensive they were. That being said, the clicker could definitely be seen as the great grandparent of the BYOD revolution that allows students to do things like polleverywhere.com. Maybe that’s why Ward consider’s himself an “educational technology pioneer”.

      On a side note, in my school (BC offshore in China), there is a “no cell phones in class policy” to limit texting between friends mostly. Some teachers have been flirting with using student cell phones as cameras for scavenger hunts, polleverywhere.com, and things like that. Once word got back to administation, there was a slap on the wrist group email sent about breaking a school rule and teachers are not to be doing these activities…..this email was sent three days ago….ugh!

    • kstackhouse 10:01 am on September 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      We have a set of clickers at our school (I can’t remember the brand). I know that they math teachers use them more than the other departments. It does work well for quick checks on concepts and to do simple quizzes. I think now people are relying on twitter more to do the same thing. This is being done in university courses and even in church services I have seen the Twitter feed on the screen and people can ask the pastor questions.

      Mike, I feel your pain. We have a no-BYOD rule in our district. It is frustrating because we were told to provide 21st C learning opportunities and at the same time told there would be no spending on technology…Students are coming to school with great resources available to them. I know there is are issues between those that have and those that don’t and security concerns. I think there must be a way to make it work.

  • Mike Rae 7:05 pm on September 12, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: , uneven devolpment   

    I found ZDnet report very concise and therefore useful to me. I would recommend it, it gave me opportunity to look things up that I didn’t know about, and explore them on my own (some hyper links are provided).On the contrary, someone looking for a research report that is more in depth might find the […]

    Continue reading I found ZDnet report very concise and th… Posted in: Week 02: The Edtech Marketplace
    • Mike Rae 7:09 pm on September 12, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      lesson learned: copy and pasting from Word may cause the beginning of the post to look like hell

    • Doug Connery 7:11 pm on September 12, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike:

      Yes I found that as well but manged to delete the coding before I posted it live. You can go in and edit your post later to delete the excess stuff.



    • Colin 9:21 pm on September 12, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike, I agree with that a 1 year prediction window is too small when determining future trends. I think it would take several years for most of his predictions to happen.

    • jkotler 3:21 am on September 13, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,
      I too have wondered what approaches could be taken to ameliorate the divide between those who have access and benefit from new technologies and those who cannot. Or better yet, what alternatives can be implemented so as to make those students feel a little less marginalized? What suggestions would you put forward?

    • adi 8:50 am on September 13, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the post; it inspired curiosity and I delved into several web pages to check things out. It turns you are right in taking the information from ZDNet cautiously, but not only because Adam Garry works for Dell, but because of who ZDNet is. It turns out ZDNet is quite a profitable company presently owned by CBS Corporation; they even accept advertising. Knowing this explains why the major predictions this guy makes are promoting tolls owned by major companies: Dell’s platform; Live@Edu (Microsoft); Journ(i)e (Blackboard); not one mention is made of OERs other open sources. When I couple this with the OECD information about how schools are failing to integrate technology and really make a change in education, I wonder if it’s not because we’re working backwards; instead of educators saying this is what I do and so I need this type of tool, we’re allowing companies to create needs that are not there.
      Perhaps where his predictions are correct given the statistics provided by the OECD report on ‘Trades Shaping Education 2010’, is the need for personalized learning; however, I’m not sure this necessarily means LMS systems will disappear, rather we will see more open sourced options. The context of differientiated instruction is that of a community of learning, while that of personalized instruction is a solo act, and there’s room for both. His prediction on tablets and etextbooksis also right, but we need to find more ways to exploit this ability to become mobile learners and educators.


    • Jonathan 8:33 pm on September 13, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Mike – I read the article initially with the mindset with a critical eye, as I would for our coursework, however, I found myself quickly relaxing my stance as I shifted my viewpoint to one of a fan of technology. I became less critical and was just enjoying the article as a general consumer. I couldn’t agree with you more on the Dell involvement. I thought it was fishy and I chuckled with the plug for their own product. His mention got me curious about the product, but I wasn’t able to find too much about the platform other than some general information. Do you have experience with it? I’m well aware of the Dell Duo Netbooks.

      Adriana — Thanks for doing the extra research. I took it an extra step further to dig into Dawson’s previous predictions and found that while he was involved in ZDNET Education articles, he is just an informed writer, sharing opinions and thoughts. Naturally he’s catering to a wider audience and he does have yearly predictions. What is interesting about ZDNET and many of these firms as you’ve mentioned is that they are all intricately tightly wound together. I’m more hesitant with regards to some people reviewing products now because of this. Often reviewers feel inclined to give positive ratings just so they can continue to receive products. It’d interesting to know if this is a collegial friendship or one that was setup by ZDNET and advertising itself 🙂

    • kstackhouse 1:34 pm on September 14, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I also enjoyed the hyperlinks in this report and the NMC 2012 Horizon report. I think that I would not rely on one of these reports. I would be more likely to check out a few. Having the links would allow me to go from one report to another and gather the information I want without being bogged down with extras.

  • Mike Rae 11:38 pm on September 7, 2012
    0 votes

    I am just starting the program and was wondering if you guys could recommend how many courses I should take this term.  I work as an academic advisor in China, and do a lot of that work after school hours and at lunch.  I forsee having a some time during the working day to do […]

    Continue reading looking for advice Posted in: General
    • jameschen 1:15 am on September 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’d take 2, for quality over quantity.

    • Mike Rae 2:12 am on September 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      that’s where I was leaning…thanks James you probably just swung a life decision for me.

    • kstackhouse 7:17 am on September 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Two would probably be enough on top of your busy schedule. Good Luck.

    • Lisa Nevoral 11:40 am on September 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      With your busy schedule, I would take 2 courses. Good luck, Mike.

    • Shaun Pepper 4:59 am on September 9, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would agree with all the above 2 seems like a good fit. Where in China are you working?

      • Mike Rae 4:37 pm on September 10, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hey Shaun, I am in Wuhan, China working for Maple Leaf Schools, BC accredited, BC salary, China cost of living. Its pretty good, but Im in my third year and I am getting a little China’d out. Not sure where the next move will be though.

    • joeltremblay 11:57 am on September 10, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi there Mike,
      With a full teaching load I find I’m only able to keep pace with having one course per semester but I’m not as motivated as the rest here I guess 🙂
      Good luck and enjoy yourself 🙂

    • Mike Rae 4:35 pm on September 10, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks all, there is a lot of after school/lunch work that comes with Academic Advising, so I forsee having a little extra time between the school hours most weeks. I gotta be at work in front of a computer anyway and facebook and youtube are banned in this country, so I think two will be manageable.

  • Mike Rae 12:25 am on September 6, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: china, , richmond   

    Hey everyone! Very interesting reading about all of you…quite a diverse group.   My story is that I am from Richmond (noticed that a couple people teach there) and went to UBC where I studied Geography and International Relations.  After about 4 years of work and travel I decided to get into education and have thoroughly […]

    Continue reading Hello from China! Posted in: Week 01: Introductions
    • teacherben 12:58 am on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike! I’m in Hong Kong–not too far away. I’ve been in the area for a while–Beijing before this and Taiwan before that. Has Wuhan been a good experience for you? I just Googled your name and Wuhan out of curiosity (hope that wasn’t prying too much) and it looks as though your school is somehow accredited by the BC Ministry of Education or something like that. What’s that all about?

      • mikerae 3:26 am on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        yah its not a bad deal. they pay BC salary and cost of living is pretty low. we deliver a bc curriculum and at the end of grade 12 the kids get a bc diploma which obviously helps them do post secondary over seas (mostly in Canada). Wuhan is kind of a dump, nothing compared to HK. your gig sounds pretty good too. You guys get holidays off like mainland China? I love the holiday structure, it sucks working over xmas, but it rocks having 5 weeks off in february and january.

    • jkotler 2:49 am on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Interesting story about how you got into education; I actually have a similar one in that I was working as an event planner for a few years but after a while the hardships in the industry got the better of me and I decided to back to education; since then I too have been happy with it.

      I am always interested to hear about teachers experiences abroad and would like to hear more about what its been like for you in China.


      • mikerae 3:31 am on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Yah Julie, sometimes you just gotta go with what works. Event planning is a very cyclical type of business too. when the economy is down, they tend to throw less parties. It is frustrating with the lack of upside economic rewards in education, but there sure are a lot of other rewards. China is kinda crazy, tonnes of people, tonnes of cars, all that. The language is super tough to pick up compared to other ones. The school I am at is a BC school with about 70 western teachers so I am certainly not lonely over here. I was just back in Canada for the summer which was great and we get a holiday over chinese new year where we gallivant around asia for 5 weeks, which of course is great. Students are very different as a whole compared to Canada, in good ways and bad too.

        Im gonna creep on your intro now to learn a little more about you!

    • kstackhouse 8:20 am on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike. That is an interesting story. I did a round about way into education…but all during my undergrad. Started in Science, then Psychology, then a BA in Arts, to then take my BEd at Queen’s. How far are you in the MET program? Best of luck this term.


    • Doug Connery 6:18 pm on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike I too fell into education as one of many side tracks in my career. This is my third time at post secondary: first as a lab tech, second as a remote sensing scientist through geography and now working in education and taking MET as an educational catch-up to the position.


    • jenbarker 10:11 pm on September 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Mike,
      I’m Jen and have just begun my first year as an FA at UBC. I was happy to read your story because today when I met my group of Teacher Candidates that I will be supervising they asked if any of last year’s group had been hired. Unfortunately none were… not because of lack of skills but lack of jobs. Our CITE cohort mentioned to them that there are many opportunities abroad so I will be happy to report back to them next week that there are some BC run schools in China that have hired many Westerners. Do you use the BC IRP’s? Best, Jen

      • Jonathan 12:42 am on September 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Jen —

        I graduated from the CITE cohort! You’ll have to say hello to Steve for me. Catching up with graduates in the past 4-5 years has been a bit depressing. I know there are great candidates going through the program but I know that the hiring rate has been less and less. Those that have been unsuccessful have definitely gone abroad to find other opportunities and have been successful in their endeavours.

        — Jonathan

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