We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory.
–R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience
Hello there, welcome! Have you had a good holiday break? Ok then, you must be rearing to start off your new year by getting some serious work done, so let me cut to the chase.
In this post I want to introduce a new mobile app for learning we are developing. First of all, let me submit to you that this is no ordinary learning app. This is not an app where there’s a single teacher explaining concepts and others are listening in—we have MOOCs for that—nor is this a massive search engine organizing knowledge —we already have Google and Wikipedia for that, why do we need anything else? So what is it?
A real quick background. Over the past 20-odd years in Silicon Valley I’ve tried to do many things in my life. Apart from my day job doing product management at various semiconductor companies, I am a published novelist, a translator of poetry, author of two books on high technology product management, created a 30+ video Udemy course on product management, and I run a small publishing company (please go on over here for my full biography.)
Along the way I became increasingly convinced that the best teachers in our lives are not textbooks. The best teaching moments in our lives are when we are moved emotionally. But textbooks do not move us emotionally. We are moved emotionally mainly when other people are telling us things—and telling us how the world appears to them.
After that I became obsessed with one idea: that the most interesting teachable moments, the fascinating moments of understandings happen to us when we are listening to people when they are talking about what stuff means to them. This “stuff” could be anything, i.e., how they interpreted a concept, a flash of insight only their cultural background could’ve brought in, a recollection, a dream, a lesson learnt, a lucid understanding of something, anything.
This way of sharing experiences, insights, teachable moments, moments of understanding, and knowledge, will then become a most stimulating, always-on real-world classroom for everyone—regardless of age, race, culture, gender and class.
That is Riffiti, our mobile learning app. Needless to say, I am excited but plenty nervous—I have no idea whether people will find it useful, but there’s only one way to find out! In a few weeks we will have a version (MVP) ready for you all. Please give it a try! Signup here—http://www.riffiti.com.
And let me ask you, no, beg you, saying please, please, please, to help spread the word about it: tweet it, put it on your Facebook, send it to everyone in your network, especially teachers, parents, educators, coaches, trainers and generally anyone with a passion for learning in their heart. Thank you!