|August 11, 2011: Our first Skype conversation|
|August 2012 - visiting the team in Palo Alto, CA|
|Visiting Facebook: Erin Klein & Jack Hanford 2012|
Eric is an adventure seeking - risk taking - full of life with a love of learning kind of guy!
Stop Reducing Education to Employable Skills
This dismayed my parents and frustrated my teachers. Then, during my junior year of high school, my chemistry teacher pulled me aside and asked the question that changed the focus of my life: "What would make you interested in learning what I’m teaching?" I was stumped. She didn't ask me to try harder, she didn’t ask me to stay after for help or study more - she asked me to figure out how she could grab my interest. No one had ever bothered to ask me that before. A few moments later I replied, "let’s get everyone working together on computers – I'll even build the software for us to use".
I'm reminded of the words Yong Zhao uses to describe entrepreneurs, "black collar workers - inspired by Steve Jobs." He defines entrepreneurs as people who are unhappy with the current situation and choose to change it. Zhao explains that these people don't wait for someone to create a job for them, they create the job for them self. This is precisely what Simons was doing in California.
I recently had the pleasure of spending nearly a week in California with the ClassConnect team, including Eric's mom, Pat. The first night I arrived, Pat and I stayed up for hours talking. She described Eric as a child who was interested in learning everything about the world he was growing up in, except what he was supposed to be learning in school.
Claco offers a space for teachers to create and share curriculum across the globe. Eric's dream is for teachers to network together to find the best possible resources for each specific student. Imagine if we shift the educational focus from fixing deficits and move towards enhancing strengths. How much more creative potential and confidence would children share with the world?
From ClassConnect to Claco
Eric launched ClassConnect and received an overwhelming positive response from teachers around the globe. Nearly every popular #edtech blog on the web from Hack Education and Edudemic to FreeTech4Teachers and Web20Classroom was sharing his product with their readers.
If you were to invest in a company, would you invest in someone that closed up shop and went home or would you invest in a person that against all odds figured out a way to pull everything together when everything was literally stacked against them?
Tell me & I forget. Teach me & I remember. Involve me & I learn.
- Benjamin Franklin -
Each member of the Claco team shares these characteristics. It was such a refreshing trip to visit these young and passionate people. We shared many laughs together over the delicious lunches and dinners that Eric's mom would make. Their commitment to their work was admirable.