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Education Marketplace: Crowdsourcing Classroom

A social learning platform that connects students, teachers, schools and crowd sourced content providers.

Photo of Bo Li
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In order to get the next generations of students ready to face the fast changing world, we need to transform the traditional education system, which does not have the toolset to provide the schools, teachers and most importantly the students to pick the topic, method, media, pace for knowledge exploration and learning.  

Today's technology offers the learners many fun and effective ways to explore, learn and share, such as youtube videos, educational games, online courses, knowledge sites such as wikipedia.   People especially college students already utilizing these toolsets to gain and share knowledge.  The crowdsourcing classroom will bring these contents and toolsets to our colleges, teachers and students by:

1. Enable digital educational content providers and businesses to

  • Register their content sets, platforms, apps and websites 
  • Tag content with target age group, learning subject, and other meta data for cataloging and searching
  • Submit ways to validate if a learner meets a learning objective, such as simple survey type of test
  • Receive feedbacks on the platform from the users (teachers and kids) and use them to improve

2. Allow Departments of Education in Federal, State and Local Government and Schools to sponsor and participate

  • Review submitted content sets, platforms, apps and websites to make sure the contents are educational and appropriate for the target age group of children and provide certification for approved contents
  • Sponsor the platform by award educational funds to approved service providers and businesses
  • Review and monitor feedbacks from professors, TA's and students and take actions as needed (e.g., revoke certification when a provider's content/toolset does not meet education goals)

3. Equip Schools and College Staff with

  • Certified content set, platforms, apps and websites to transform educators from "knowledge feeders" to learning facilitators/guides who guide the students to the forest of knowledge so each student could achieve the same learning objective using the method, channel, and styles best fit her needs
  • Ways to measure learning progress.  As the provider already provided ways to validate learning goal, the educators would know if a student mastered knowledge and skill for a particular level.  For example, once a student finishes 20 hours of rosetta stone course, the teacher knows that he mastered a level vocabulary requirements for a college course
  • Ability to provide feedback to the government as well as the provider

4. Empower the students with 

  • Fun, interactive, variety of choices of content sets and applications so they can learn anytime, anywhere, using the preferred channels and methods 
  • The ability to earn credits and points toward their higher education degree 
  • A way to share favorite contents, apps and toolsets with peers - we all know how much young people especially college students are influenced by their friends
  • Ability to provide feedbacks.  Hey today's technology tracks user behavior and the best feedback would be complete a content set (finish watching a video or reach a level in an educational game)

In addition to provide all great capabilities listed above to government education agencies, schools, teachers, students, education businesses owners, most importantly, the Education Marketplace - Crowdsourcing Classroom Platform will -

  1. Transform the whole education system from today's slow to change, hard to adopt engine to a fluid system so it has the latest, best, fun content and toolsets for colleges, teachers and students to use
  2. Teach and encourage young people to explore, try, learn, and share so they learn the most important skill of their life: identify their own exploring and learning style so they can be a lifetime learner 

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

My idea's key target customer is the kids of the future. Like Amazon Go will change how we shop, self-driven cars will change how we go to places, the Education Marketplace will change how we educate our kids in schools with certified, social enabled, most relevant up-to-date content, using the most updated, fun and interactive styles.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

In order to get the project started, I'd love to hear from the community on educational websites, apps, online courses and other toolsets that young people love.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Educators, especially the younger ones already start bringing other contents to classrooms. I would like to reach out to them and see if they are interested to provide variety of sites, toolsets that have the same content and allow students to explore and pick the best they like. Then give the students a test to see if most achieve the same result.

Tell us about your work experience:

I have 20 years of working experience in technology, mostly focused on enterprise application. I have extended experience with all stages of software development. Recently I have been doing work as a Product Manager in a FinTech company.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez

Hi Bo,

The idea of this crowdsourcing classroom is great! ... I share your interest for CONNECTING existing content, and add value; it's also value to take into account different stakeholders.

I would recommend you think on ways to make this connections meaningful (for instance, from my experience I've found that challenges are good ways to make your realize the need of knowledge, so gives you the urgency of an active search of content).

Perhaps you might find some insights in my idea of an OPEN Media Lab . Any feedback or question would be highly appreciated.

Photo of Bo Li


Thanks for your input - there are many ways of making this connection more meaningful to invite people coming to the classroom for learning. We need more active "pulling" and "calling" - for example, I came back to OPENIDEO's site today after receiving a "We missed you" email from OPENIDEO.

Photo of Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez

Exactly !

And I would like to see the whole world as a 'classroom', or instead of 'invite people coming to the classroom' perhaps we can have a different approach: How might we bring a learning experience to the places (or platforms) where people prefers to be?

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

Hi Bo!

One thing that I've used in my own education is Code Academy.
My teacher would actually have us go through this for homework or practice and then come in with questions.

Another thing I've used a lot is the app duolingo for learning languages (me, trying to re-learn a language)
I've heard crazy stories of people becoming fluent from duolingo. One person telling me her dad did it, never knew English, went through it all and can speak it now. Insane!

I'd love to see how you move this idea or refine it more!

Photo of Bo Li

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for sharing your comments - yes, there are plenty of awesome websites and apps for learning. I'd love to start with them for prototype of the marketplace platform.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Bo!

It is great to see you in the challenge.

Would your platform allow students to easily pick and choose modules to create their own 'degree' or 'degree-like' qualification like Hacking a Credential bringing ownership of their educational journey back into the hands of the students?

Photo of Bo Li

Hi Kate thanks for your comments- yes I would love to add it as the platform matures. In addition I think the colleges could also contribute and share online courses- especially the basic courses like economics 101 or calculus 101. The platform would act as an exchange place and promote best educators around the world and students could earn credits from online classes offered by other colleges.

Photo of Teo John

Dear Bo Li,
Your crowdsourced learning contents could be of use to my posted idea on 'learning on demand(anytime,anywhere)' for higher education and lifelong learning.

Photo of Bo Li


Yes indeed, please keep me posted as you further develop your idea and I see great synergy between our ideas!