Global online education is booming
European Union and e-learning
The European Union already recognised in the first half of the 90s that the rapid spread of information technology will make revolutionary innovations possible. The member states agreed that in this speeding world, the continuous up-dating and training of the labour market is an indispensable element of the continuous development. Therefore, to have more adaptable and dynamic workforce available for companies, more versatile trainings became desirable. One of the bases of this is the support of the opportunities provided by the possibilities that e-learning opened.
Through the White Book of 2005 till the eEurope–Information Society for Everybody initiative, there have been several strategical plans in which e-learning played an important role, emphasizing that the entrance of young people into the digital age must be provided. Viviane Reding, a member of the European Commission responsible for educational and cultural matters advocated the e-learning initiative, which also places emphasis on the boosting of education and training.
In the light of this, the role of computers and the internet must be increased in education. Separate emphasis must be placed on making the readiness and willingness for life-long learning – and along with this, for the use of IT tools – one of the pillars of the future of young people in Europe as well as an indispensable social competence.
Distance should not be an obstacle
In order for online education to work, the creation of appropriate and functional platforms is indispensable. For this, one good example was the ITeach.world, which is not only an online educational platform, but also a Hungarian start-up initiative, which was born out of a Hungarian-American cooperation. Its main goal is to take education to a higher level.
We believe that anybody who teaches, either at primary school or at university is changing the life of people and with this, also the world! – said Zsigmond Bodnár, the co-owner and managing director of ITeach.world. The only problem is that knowledge is not fully accessible to everybody. The main obstacle for this is the physical barrier that is normally present between a teacher and his student, since a teacher can only be present in his own environment. The goal of the education platform is to bridge this gap and through this, to prove the efficiency and necessity of education.
The development of the new education set off in 2012. Zsigmond Bodnár started the project with his project partner, Jean-Pierre Guittard. Previously, Guittard was active as a lawyer, but after 23 years, he left his career as a lawyer and set up a language school in San Diego and later in San Francisco. His schools have become market leaders since. He founded a company with Zsigmond Bodnár in Hungary, where they developed an innovative knowledge base involving Hungarian developers. With this, they did not only aim to revolutionise education, but wanted to make it available for everybody from everywhere.
Hundreds of teachers, schools and universities – amongst many others, the Corvinus, ELTE and the University of Szeged helped them to overcome problems that made many people sceptical of online education and because of which they did not make the most of the opportunities inherent in it.
They developed a system, where teachers can freely create online courses, private lessons and live online classes that a maximum of 12 people can attend in a virtual classroom. Moreover, at the same time, everything is available in the online classroom that is normally present in a real one. Within the frames of the “E-learning Educational Program”, they are supporting teachers to make classes more efficient and enjoyable by making every tool (written materials, videos and personal consultation) available for them.
The use of the system is comfortable and useful for the students as well, since they can, for example, take part in a full preparatory course for a language exam without having to miss anything. With the developments, Zsigmond’s team is aiming to make the platform easily usable for the teachers as well.
Make money out of your knowledge!
The founders give freedom to everybody – individuals and organisations alike - to develop their own online teaching businesses. Everybody can create their own platforms and organise private classes and courses.
The platform gives teachers the opportunity to, for example, tutor several students from Pécs. The use of the system is free for students, but for courses and private classes, they have to pay.
The vision of the founders is that by the end of the year almost one million people will be teaching and learning with the help of the system.
Written by Zsófia Tupi
Translated by Judit Molnár