Hong Kong Education Sites that Matter

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The following post is to highlight a few preferred online educational sites. WiseKangaroo, TutorsinHK, TigerMom and Blue Marble Education Services each offer something unique to the current online learning revolution. Each is distinctively awesome. Each is less than two years old. Each inspire me to believe that our site www.gobelearning.com is on the right track.

WiseKangaroo, started by my mentor, Atul Pandey, is based in Sydney Australia. Wise K is a tutoring site that helps clients learn English via Skype. Students learn key strategies to pass Australia’s IELTS test. WiseK has served over 500 students and I imagine it is a matter of time before it conquers the Hong Kong English language learning market. Atul is a leading member of Sydney’s Edupreneur surge. He posts that: Wisekangaroo offers a revolutionary new approach to English language learning that allows students to study conveniently from anywhere, anytime, be it home or office and to avoid long commute times, high tuition costs, and outdated books and CD-ROMs.”

TutorsinHK.com is an online platform that offers tutors “avenues to find new clients” They help tutors advertise their services in an incredibly easy format. The goal of TutorsinHK is to: “contribute to this fantastic tradition of learning, creating a social network in which students can find tutors based on their own tailored needs, while tutors can find students based on theirs. It is free to join for both students and tutors who are looking to become part of the tutoring community in Hong Kong.”

TigerMom.com is a fascinating site in that it offers users to candidly compare, review, and rate Hong Kong schools. Tigermom.com also offers parents a way to connect online and share their own experiences of the incredibly confusing labyrinth that is education in Hong Kong. Tigermom.com is an invaluable resource for expat parents of school age children.

Finally, BlueMarbleEducationServices.com assists expats, teachers, care givers, schools and organizations overseas. BMES “consult with parents internationally and locally who have children with special needs. We collaborate with organizations that have care providers who frequently interact with people with special needs. Our services vary from one-on-one to small group trainings. ”  Their mission is: to use evidence based practices to support as many people as possible with varying disabilities world wide.  Our services focus on using efficient individualized, scientifically founded teaching procedures that can be applied directly to the individual with special needs.  We provide supporting care givers, expats, teachers, schools and organizations with the appropriate skill sets to navigate challenging behaviors and barriers to learning.

In short, the above sites rock. Each site needs to become a player in the Hong Kong educational marketplace. I urge you to check each out and follow them on Facebook.
References:

Harris, A. (2013). Global learning for life. Retrieved from https://www.bluemarbleeducationservices.com/home.html

McClure, A. (2013). Hong kong’s premier network, connecting tutors & students. Retrieved from www.tutorsinhk.com/about

Pandey, A. (2013). Wisekangaroo online tutoring. Retrieved from http://www.wisekangaroo.com/

Sonderhoff, T. (2013). Tigermom: parents talk about schools. Retrieved from http://tigermom.com/


 

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Teachers…What are You Waiting For?

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Luke Johnson’s book, Start It Up: Why running your own business is easier than you think, is recommended reading for all edupreneurs.  Johnson’s plainspoken views and insights help me find the courage to move on with our little, Hong Kong learning service company. This book will most definitely be passed on to my fellow directors, starting tomorrow.

Below are a few tidbits, connections and realizations that I found most meaningful. Direct quotes from Johnson are in bold and italics:

  1. Eduprenuers are in the business of supporting families. There is no getting around this fact. We must embrace it, listen to our clients’ individual needs, and then act.
  2. Our company will be successful only when we give impeccable service unmatched anywhere else.
  3. I need to listen to my partners. I need to move even slower.
  4. “Intellectuals rarely make great leaders” Thankfully, no one will accuse me of being an intellectual!
  5. Startup entrepreneurs are rarely motivated my money. My sole reason for working on our project is to put good money into outstanding teachers’ pockets.
  6. Hire nice people. Finding excellent tutors has been the easiest part of the labyrinth of starting a learning service company. I am a firm believer that there are no better people in the world than professional teachers.
  7. “Everything has to be learned from scratch.” This is so true. I would add that everything takes twice as long to get done, than previously planned. That said; starting a business is not that difficult, in the grand scheme of things.
  8. there is no single gene for success I would add that there is no single gene that makes an effective teacher, either. The parallels between business and teaching are more clear with each passing day.
  9. Entrepreneurs have a mission and a skill that they have an overwhelming urge to pursueI can begin to tell you how many hours we have put into this project. Our faith that families will love our service keeps us moving forward. Overwhelming is the perfect adjective in this instance.
  10. Do not go ahead if your spouse or partner is against it. My wife has been the backbone of our company. My partners’ spouses have been amazingly supportive, as well.
  11. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely affair, and that is one reason that I work with partners my entire business career The smartest move that I made was to go into this venture with fellow directors. I will not make as much money, perhaps, but it is entirely more fun when we make moves together.

I highly urge all fellow teachers looking to start their own business to read this book.

 

References:

 

Johnson, L. (2011). Start it up: Why running your own business is easier than you think. London: Penguin.

The author is a founding director of www.Gobelearning.com Gobe Learning is a Limited Company based in Hong Kong.

 

Thoughts of a Budding Edupreneur

 

“Online education is not an enemy of residential education, but rather an inspiring and liberating ally.”  -MIT President Susan Hockfield

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of a competence.”- Eleanor Roosevelt (Johnson, 2011) 

“The internet won’t change the way we chew gum.” -Warren Buffett (Johnson, 2011)

 

Today I spent a good deal of my time reflecting on what I want our learning service, www.gobelearning.com to be all about. I thought on what we truly hope to gain. I thought about my beliefs and my need to grow as an educator. I searched for answers and came up with more questions.

 Below is a list of thoughts/ questions as to Gobe Learning:

  • We do not intend to go “big.” Rather we intend to do well by our students, tutors and parents. How can I get this message across to prospective stakeholders?
  • We are inspired teachers, first. We are not hamstrung by quarterly reports, pensions, nor profit margins. How do we stay solvent
  • Will we build a learning service that truly differentiates?
  • Brooks Brothers charges what they do primarily due to impeccable dedication to service. What can we learn from the early days of Brooks Brothers?
  • How can we plan for service rather than for profit?
  • What are ways I can cultivate a sense of shared purpose among our tutor partners?
  • How can I simplify the entire Gobe Learning experience from first click on our website to completion of a client’s learning module?
  • How can I make myself into an entrepreneur when becoming one has never before been a priority?
  • Master teachers are not run of the mill human beings. How can I support their creativity, passion and craftsmanship?
  • We are in the family business: How can we attract nice, responsible, trailblazing parents, students and tutors?
  • Now matter the venture, clients will seek value for money. How can we ensure a seamless learning experience that values individualized instruction?
  • Parents are overwhelmed and a little terrified with so many learning options? How can Gobe earn parents’ trust with such a novel experiment?

 Back to work for me. If you are intrigued with Gobe Learning, feel free to sign up for a free consultation here: http://www.gobelearning.com/why-choose-gobe-.html

 Questions/Comments/Suggestions?

You may email the author: bmernin@gobelearning.com

 References:

Chandler, D. (2012, May 12). MIT and Harvard launch a ‘revolution in education’. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/edx-launched-0502.html

 Johnson, L. (2011). Start it up: Why running your own business is easier than you think. London: Penguin.

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Enter Gobe Learning

Living in Hong Kong, we have picked up a lot of the cultural nuances that make this city so incredible. So many people here work hard to earn their riches. It is pretty much impossible to live here and not be bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

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As teachers and school administrators, we watch colleagues work ten-hour days at school then visit Hong Kong homes to rake in hundreds of dollars an hour tutoring on the side. Hong Kong parents take education seriously and will pay top dollar to get the finest teachers possible. They compete furiously to secure English-speaking tutors from the most prestigious international schools.

Enter Gobe Learning.  We are an online learning service that connects your family with outstanding teachers from our vast professional network. Our directors have over 60 years experience helping students get the education they deserve. You choose a course and we find the right tutor for your child.

Currently, we have over twenty-five course modules. We have chosen our most trusted fellow educators and challenged them to build courses that will highlight their ability. Each course is about eight sessions long. From these modules, you will begin to cultivate a relationship that we think will be long-lasting and profitable for both parties.  You may suggest course modules on our site. It is our goal to offer sensational customer service while maintaining a commitment to excellence.

Essentially, we are an online international school. Alas, you pay solely for access to premier teachers. With Gobelearning.com, you do not pay for mandatory busing, security guards, food services, bus drivers, secretaries, curriculum coordinators or “learning specialists.”

All you need is a computer and a child that wants to learn. Join our contact list today and find out more what we are all about.

Why Hong Kong is Following Gobe Learning

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The following post was cross posted on: Expat Teacher Man and Gobe Learning. You can read other posts from the author at Teaching Your Way Around the World.

For the past three weeks, teachers, parents and my mom have asked me what makes our learning service, Gobelearning.com unique. This I took as a challenge. Below is a body of thought on what sets Gobelearning.com apart from our competition.

  1. Rather than simply make a profit, we aim to transform what learning is for both student and teacher
  2. We know how difficult it is to catch a taxi after school
  3. We understand the pressure International School students experience
  4. We believe that Hong Kong is a burgeoning startup hub
  5. We are future-obsessed educators
  6. At the end of eight sessions, both you and your child may evaluate the quality of the sessions
  7. We feel that the cram school culture in Asia needs a “makeover”
  8. We believe that word of mouth still matters most when building a brand
  9. We are parents too
  10. We are professional, connected master teachers
  11. We are convenient
  12. We understand the difficulties expats face
  13. We love technology
  14. Teachers you meet through GoBe Learning are hand-picked from the most prestigious international schools in the world
  15. We have a professional learning network in the thousands
  16. We are lifelong educators
  17. We are building a learning service that matters
  18. We are in the business of helping families ease the burden of finding a qualified tutor.
  19. No waiting lists…yet!
  20. No mandatory busing
  21. No waiting to learn
  22. You can feel safe that your child is in the hands of a professional certified in his or her country of origin
  23. Our convenience offers kids more time to explore, be curious, practice the violin, read a book
  24. All sessions are personalized 
  25. We set equally high expectations
  26. We provide élite level educational services
  27. Each student learns in a one to one environment. We abhor cram school classes taught by college or HS students
  28. You can suggest which modules to you want
  29. Our celebrity tutors have impeccable teaching credentials
  30. Your kids will think you are cool!
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Boosting Reading Comprehension

I learned to read in church. No, my Sunday School teachers didn’t have flash cards or have me sound out words. But each of my Sunday School teachers asked me this question: What is the story really about?

I learned that a simple story like Noah’s ark might really be about keeping promises and finding blessing in obedience. I learned to decipher parables, carefully analyze every word in a verse, and visualize proverbs. Good readers use those same skills when confronted with novels, short stories, and poems. If you look for what a story is really about, you’ll quickly discover that most picture books are as suitable for adults as for young children. Good readers find meaning in any story they read.You can help your child become a better reader by doing the same at home. Students need guidance to think more deeply about texts.When your child finishes a book or chapter at home, try asking them some of these questions:

  • Can you show me words on the page that tell you how the character is feeling?
  • Who wants what?
  • How do the characters struggle to get what they want?
  • What is important to the character(s)?
  • What are the internal/external traits of the character?
  • How do others view the character?
  • What objects or things are important to the character? Why?
  • Why did the character act this way?
  • Was it right or wrong for the character to act this way? Why?
  • What did the character get from acting this way?
  • How am I like or unlike the character?
  • What lesson did the character learn? (Note: The lesson the character learns is the lesson that the author wants the reader to learn)
If your child has difficulty answering the questions above, consider giving your child personalized sessions with a teacher by registering for a GoBe Learning course. 
 
 
What is your child struggling with as a reader? Let us know and we’ll offer some suggestions!
 
Janet Abercrombie, Director