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20141129-DSC_5927One-line Bio: Edtech evangelist with a passion for all things geeky.

Twitter Handle: @ProfessorJosh

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What I Do for Work: 

I’m an Instructional Designer & Associate Professor of Education and Social Networking at Valencia College. I’m also the founder of ProfessorJosh.com, which is a blogging, consulting, and training company. Other roles I play include being the CTEO of GottaGetBlogging, producing a featured segment on The Blogger’s Lab on BlogTalkTV, organizing the Edtech Orlando Meetup, and being an active Orlando EdTech Community Leader. In a nutshell, I’m a Teacher of Teachers, Troubleshooter of Problems, and Designer of Learning.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy going to theme parks with my family, participating in geeky activities around Orlando, exploring the outdoors of Central Florida, surfing some waves, building Legos with my son, and being a foodie with my wife.

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If you could have any teacher (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be and why?

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien were both Oxford professors around the same time. Wouldn’t that make for some interesting coursework in mythology?

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs?

I was on the Organizing Team of the very first Startup Weekend held in Orlando. Our team also helped launch the first Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) in August 2012, which I believe was the first of its kind in the Southeast region of the United States.

What’s been your involvement in Education Entrepreneurs to date?

I’ve been a Mentor at eight Startup Weekends/SWEDUs, Organizer of two (including the first SWEDU: College Edition at Valencia College), and a Facilitator of Workshops that covered the topics of Business Models in Education and Prototyping for Non-Designers. I have also attended both the global UP Summit and regional UP America Summit where I got the opportunity to meet other incredible Community Leaders from around the world.

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What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer?

The hardest thing is to get people, especially educators, to give up their weekend to learn about what it’s like to become an entrepreneur. Many educators haven’t had an experience like this and don’t understand the impact of the weekend, until they actually go through it.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer?

I love knowing that you could have changed someone’s path in life. You could have helped them have an impact in education that they would have never dreamed about, until they got the push to make it happen. I’ve never had anyone tell me they wasted their time by attending Startup Weekend.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to those trying to build an education innovation community?

No matter the size, big or small, building a community is needed to truly affect change. Great discussion can result from involving a variety of stakeholders in education (e.g. educators, administrators, entrepreneurs, or just those interested in education in their community). It’s amazing to see how rich the conversation can be when you bring together 20 to 30 people with different viewpoints and experiences.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to people trying to create edtech products?

Get out there and talk with real people, including educators, students, parents, and administrators – all people who have a stake in your edtech product or service. Watch and understand how they utilize your product or service. Bring an educator on board with your team, or develop a great group of advisors who are in the trenches everyday to help make your product the best it can be.

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What’s the legacy you’d like to leave in education?

I want to impact individuals who will make a difference in education and are willing to think in a different way about how education can work in our society. Impacting current teachers, future teachers, students, and communities can have a vast ripple effect on changing lives one at a time.

What’s your favorite edtech company and/or innovative school, and why?

I’m involved with so many edtech companies and have seen several that are making an awesome impact on education, so it’s hard to name just one. It’s amazing to see the passion and dedication many companies have to innovate beyond just profit. 4.0 Schools is just one of those that is a non-profit who is striving to make a huge impact by educating educators to become entrepreneurs. It’s been amazing to see the experiments and ventures that are formed when educators get a bug to try something different to help learners succeed.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would …

…be test-free!

What are the books, events, videos, etc. that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?

Attend or Organize a Startup Weekend Education or Edtech Meetup. Watch a TedTalk at least weekly to remind yourself that one individual can have amazing ideas.

EdTech Orlando Meetup

Anything else you’d like to share?

The hardest thing about building any community is to have people understand it’s worth it to give up their time to be a part of that community. Make sure you are spreading the word to colleagues, friends, educators, administrators, and companies to become a part of your edtech community. It’s important to have voices from all sides in the room working together to make an impact on education.

 

More about Education Entrepreneurs

Education Entrepreneurs is the largest initiative in the world focused on helping people use entrepreneurship to improve education. Its suite of offerings include Startup Weekend Education, Startup Digest Education, Workshops, online resources, and a global network of Community Leaders. Spanning six continents, Education Entrepreneurs has created an unprecedented opportunity for anyone, anywhere to shape the future of education.


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Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Mandela Schumacher-Hodge
(@MandelaSH) A former public school teacher, education policy researcher, and PhD candidate, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge co-founded Tioki, the “The LinkedIn for Educators,” in 2011. Funded by Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, and Imagine K12