I take for granted that I can sit down at my computer every morning at around six a.m., set my latte down on my desk and read through dozens of articles about what is going on in the world in politics, tech investments and education reform, and feel informed.
But I am rather uniformed, compared to the witness my network bears to the shifting technologies and evolving practices of education.
So much of what happens in the world of my passionate interests does not make it on to the web. It sits out there, doing its thing, in the great wide world.
I have decided, on principle, to travel out into the world and find it. With the help of some great clients, some great friends, and the fine folks at Airbnb, where I rent out my apartment to global nomads, and Hipmunk, I am able to craft an international traveling itinerary at a moment’s notice and travel at least 30 weeks out of the year, to meet the people I only read about on blogs, or never read about at all.
To build a global network of informed and passionate bloggers who are interested in and who are creating the ed tech revolution space. I call them the Technicians of the Evolutionary System for Teaching, or TESTs. And there are thousands of them.
Over the past two years, I have dutifully built a network, gathered a database of constituents, partners and advocates who, starting in New York City on February 28, will come together regularly to talk about their ideas, showcases new innovations, and highlight the growing evolution of education in our world.
Why I am Doing This
Educators, students and their communities “hire” education to complete the job of training and socializing our youth. But there have been several recent innovations in the past thirty years that have diminished the role that the formal education system plays in completing that job.
To put it bluntly, education in the formal and traditional format does not teach our youth anything that they cannot learn outside of that system.
Teachers, too. Stuck in jobs teaching and administering students disinterested in the education system — NOT learning — educators are forced to complete tasks and mindless busy work, the same kind of thing they would be loathe to foist upon their constituencies.
So, I am going out in the world to bring the best of what is happening in this shadow education system into our consciousness, by talking to local leaders, technologists, entrepreneurs, and students. I am writing their story, and encouraging others to write their own stories. You will begin to see the results of such writing on this blog and on several other platforms on the web, including: my Google+ profile, my Facebook profile with its 32,500 subscribers; Fast Company, where I write about social tech, ed tech, and do-good social web projects; on Twitter, where I tweet about my global travels and have open conversations about education, travel, the global sharing economy and more.
David Christopher, who runs Oracle's social business group, gets it, too.
Other platforms are in development, including a project I am working on with Sumaya Kazi, founder of Sumazi.
Today we launched a beta version of an Ed Tech Entrepreneurs platform of her smart connection engine in allegiance with the Ed Tech Entrepreneurs Meetup in NYC on February 28. The global network will operate in India in three cities, in Kenya, Morocco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile, Brazil, the United States and China in 2012.
The Sumazi beta test looks like this:
With Sumazi, you can link up with people you don't know you should know, but who are within reach
I’ve also put together a quick video to show you how to use the platform to find education technology advocates, enthusiasts, and investors whom you would like to meet, but who are probably not visible to you in your current network.
You’ll be surprised to find people you never knew existed, who are only a click away.
You can watch that video on my YouTube channel here, and I have put the whole video below so that you can watch it.
I look forward to building this network with collaborative partners, including Saad Alam, who co-founded note-taking startup Citelighter, and who is helping launch the meetup series in NYC next week.
If you have questions, you can find me. I am most easily reached on Twitter @douglascrets. I’ll be listening.
About Douglas Crets
A former educator and current entrepreneur and global nomad, Douglas Crets runs a global private journalist network, kind of like a business intelligence agency and social media advisory group for the tech, venture capital, consumer goods, and travel industries. Hallmark talents include: Reporter, social media strategist, communication advocate for companies and brands, friend, connector of people. Founder of dB C Media, which exists on no particular web site. He spends time meeting people where they create and curate on the web, and where they socialize and live in the real world, to help them get jobs done in social media, content and web strategy. He has lived, worked, traveled and operated networks in 45 countries.