Sasa Popovic - Uci Slobodno Academy, Free Education for Everybody


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Sasa Popovic's presentation on the International Conference 2012, held annually in Skopje, Macedonia, entitled "Open Education for an Open Society – Let’s Share the Knowledge!"

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  • Hello everyone. I’m Saša Popović of the Uči Slobodno Academy. I come from Nis, Serbia where I work as an IT teacher in elementary school. And I was invited to this great conference to speak about project I’ve started more than two years ago. But before I start talking about the project, I would like to show you what is it all about, and for this I prepared a short video. So let mi show you how it looks.
  • This is a montage with some of my YouTube videos. The project started back in 2010 as a YouTube channel. As you can see the project was later called YouTube preparation for elementary school final exam in Mathematics. I’ve recorded more than 400 videos that explain certain task for exam preparation. One problem one video and no video is longer than 15 minutes. Till now more than 25.000 students have prepared themselves for the final exam in Mathematics. To all of them project delivered almost 4.500.000 lessons. In Jun 2011 it was the biggest online campaign for Mathematics learning. In a week before exam my YouTube channel was more viewed than channels of MIT, Stanford University even famous Khan Academy. In that week it was the most viewed educational YouTube channel in the world.
  • So far the project evolved in Uči Slobodno Academy, the first free of charge online academy in the Balkan region at Up to this point academy only supports the final exam… But I have a bigger plan - a vision about academy containing thousands of videos covering elementary and high school curriculum in subjects like maths, physics, chemistry, biology, Serbian and English language and so on… With all of this material no student will be left out. Even if the reason for passing lesson is absence caused by sickens, sport or art engagement, not paying attention on the class, or student is too shy to raise a hand and stop teacher to explain him something he doesn’t understand. Hi will go to the Academy to find lesson he just missed and stay on the a same track with his classmates. I also have a plan for non school students, and for them in following months I’ll record free basic computer courses covering subjects like Windows, Word, Excel and Power Point. Only in Serbia there’s a million unemployed people, and most are aware of the fact that without IT competencies it will be very hard to find a job. For now the academy operates as one man show but I’m seeking for great teachers willing to help me in my mission. Because of this I would like to share with you foundation of how to create successful online content for education.
  • Good SEO The main idea of sharing educational contents is to find the best teachers so they can transfer their lectures from the classroom where they are available to a few number of students to the internet and share them with the world. Even if you are the best teacher who created and uploaded the best education material, this material will be worthless in some way because it will be available to certain number of students whom you aim at . 90% of people start using internet by typing keywords in search field of a search engine. In the past few years I’ve been researching video educational materials in Serbian and you won’t believe what great videos I’ve found. But most of them have a flaw – it takes a lot of time to find them. My students don’t use address bar in a browser. If they want to go to Facebook they just type F in Google, for YouTube they type Y and hit enter. So they save their time to get certain site or content. Without good SEO it’s like shooting in the dark. For a certain period of time you will continue creating your materials, but if not being watched...your motivation can fade away and you will turn to something else. Internet trends in education For some groups of Serbian teachers standalone PowerPoint presentation is state of the art technology in education, and YouTube is a site for music spots and funny videos. We cannot expect them to create any contemporary educational materials. If you want to be an educational material creator and you want to follow trends and be innovative, video should be your content of choice. My students like using videos because they can learn when they want and at their own pace. For some of them using videos feels like one on one class with the teacher. And as they say for the first time they are relaxed with the fact that they don’t know or understand something .And if this is the case they can rewind video again and again to a section that is difficult to understand. If a part of video is familiar or boring they can forward. Most of the video hosting platforms out there support comments and some answers can be found there. So video can engage students, it can spark conversation and brig lessons to life. I suggest you watch videos from world leading organizations with interest in education. Go and visit Khan Academy, YouTube EDU and TED EDU. Use Twitter to follow best world teachers and schools so you can always be up to date. Quality and consistency Quality is definitely the most important part of any educational content. There is a lot of junk up there with small or no educational value. If you are serious in intention to be educational content creator you need to be entertaining, you need to tell stories and make students laugh. You need to engage them mentally and emotionally by showing your passion. And before you start doing any materials, check out if there something similar has already been done. Feel free to copy good examples and spice them with your own creativity. Never do one lecture content only. I’ve learn this from my own mistakes. Make a whole plan. Make material for entire topic. It’s the only way to have consistency in style ad quality. And if you do this students will coming back to your lectures and your material will be shared more. Knowing your audience I come with the idea for starting my project by watching my students use internet. They spend most of the time on the internet on Facebook. If they are not on Facebook you will find them on YouTube. So I figured out that the best place to serve them educational materials will be some social network an environment they are familiar with. So instead of using complex Learning management systems I’ve chosen YouTube mainly because it is a well known video platform with good Facebook support. It is also very important to know their problems, and if you want to be successful online teacher you mast offer a solution to their problem. Just like in business if you solve someone’s problem you will have a happy customer and your business will grow. I managed to solve a problem Serbian student have with elementary school final exam in Mathematics, and there are plenty of problems waiting to be defined and for this reason you must know students you are making material for. I know all of this maybe looks hard to achieve, but I believe it’s our mission to teach millions in this region in order of its prosperity. And for this mission there are already tons of free materials waiting for us to learn and then share our knowledge.
  • Sasa Popovic - Uci Slobodno Academy, Free Education for Everybody

    1. 1. Uči Slobodno Academyfree education for everybody Saša Popović
    2. 2. YouTube preparation forelementary school finalexam in Mathematics• 400 videos• 25.000 students• 4.500.000 delivered lessons• Most viewed YouTube educational channel
    3. 3. • Click to edit Master text styles – Second level – Third level • Fourth level – Fifth
    4. 4. Successful online contentfor education• Good SEO• Internet trends in education• Quality and consistency• Knowing your audience
    5. 5. Uči Slobodno Academyfree education for everybody Saša Popović