Whenever a major event happens in the iEARN community, like today’s launch of the new Collaboration Centre, the words of Argentine teacher Daniel Reyes come to mind:
No one person knows so much that he can’t learn from others, and no one person knows so little that he can’t teach others.
In 1988, Daniel heard about a new effort to connect classrooms in New York City, Moscow, and cities around the world. Inspired, Daniel helped host the first iEARN Conference in 1994 Puerto Madryn, where representatives from nine countries drafted and signed iEARN’s Constitution.
Tragically, Daniel Reyes died in 1997 in a plane crash while traveling home from Argentina’s First National Telematics Camp, where more than 300 students and teachers from around the country had gathered to share their experiences and plan collaborative projects. Today, Daniel’s spirit lives on: each year, TELAR recognizes a school in Argentina in his honor on his birthday, and countless iEARN participants worldwide remember his words, which are less about crowdsourcing and more about humility, generosity, storytelling, and listening.
The iEARN community has grown to 50,000 member teachers and 2 million student participants in 130 countries. The new Collaboration Centre, years in the making, is a key piece of meeting the needs of this community. The new Centre is also a key piece in the effort to fulfill iEARN’s mission to enable young people worldwide, working in collaboration and respectful dialogue, to make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people. It’s a proud moment and we hope it helps educators and students share their teaching and learning more effectively with each other.
Most new online platforms are in search of users. iEARN’s task was to create an effective technology-based environment for its existing global K-12 project-based learning network.
The custom-built platform was designed to support the unique needs of that network. iEARN worked closely with the teams at Minds On Design Labs and Arkus Inc. to develop an elegant Salesforce-powered, safe and secure, multilingual, educational environment. Better yet, the environment enables distributed management, providing for scalability and worldwide local adaptability. We’re excited by a number of new functionalities to improve collaboration, accessibility, speed, and user management, while giving teachers and students cutting-edge, industry-standard tools for their collaborative project work. The platform uses cloud computing to convert videos to web- and mobile-compatible formats using Zencoder, the largest cloud-based video encoding service in the market.
Through support from the Salesforce Foundation, the site also provides country coordinators with new user management tools to more effectively serve the rapidly growing numbers of teachers and students in underserved communities who seek to be engaged in online collaborative educational projects. The result is an intuitive, secure, expandable, and totally collaborative online space in which millions of teachers and students will be able to learn with the world, not simply learn about it.