That Factory Model of Education.
That’s what it’s called, the way we educate our youth today. No matter where you’re from in the world, it’s likely to work the same: You pile a largish group of children into a room with a teacher. The students listen to the teacher and take notes, only occasionally discussing or trying things out for themselves. Periodically they are tested on more-or-less objective measures to see how well they are progressing in mastering the curriculum. When done, they often forget what they learned as soon after the test as possible.
It may be that this model has worked well for some people at some places or points in history, but for most of us who have been through it, here’s what we remember most: boredom and frustration. Worse, when we found ourselves finished with 8, 12, or 16 years of schooling, all-too-often we found that the knowledge and skills we toiled so laboriously to gain didn’t have any real-world application that a company would be willing to pay us for.
The real tragedy is that the factory model is actually holding millions back from achieving their dreams goals. For example, a girl from Buenos Aires from a poor family may want to go to university – but the cost is very high for her, it takes time for her to get to the campus, she can’t be sure that the classes she’s taking are really giving her what she’s going to need, her teachers are uninspired and uninspiring (they are no less victims of the system itself), and after a while of struggling, she drops out.
Even most of the modern e-learning systems that have cropped up in the last decade suffer from some of the same problems – namely of retaining student enthusiasm, fostering teacher talent, and connecting companies with a need for specific skills with the people who fit their needs exactly.
Tutellus is an e-learning company that has been in operation since 2013, and this is exactly the educational Gordian knot that they are setting out to solve. How? They aim to build a distributed network of students, teachers, and employers who will work cooperatively to bring education into the 21st century.
Who Are Tutellus?
They are the creators of one of the largest online learning systems in the Spanish-speaking world. They have a community of over 1 million users across 160 different countries. Their system hosts more than 130,000 educational videos.
Started only five years ago, the tremendous growth they have seen has allowed them to clearly identify the problems students, educators, and employers face. And, utilizing the technologies and contacts they have already developed, it has positioned them to see and implement a unique solution.
The Solution: Reward Everyone
Tutellus is planning to create two new tokens on the NEM cryptocurrency blockchain, the TUT and STUT.
The TUT: This token will be the heart of the system. All courses and products will be purchased using the TUT, which can be earned, traded, bought, and sold.
Not only will the TUT be fully integrated into how the system works (which I’ll go into below), it will also allow individuals living anywhere in the world to use the system no matter what their local money or financial system is. An added benefit is that those who buy services with TUTs will get a 10% discount!
The Smart TUT (STUT): This token will be a kind of ‘reputation point’ for students and teachers. For students, if you complete assignments and exams, submit projects, ask good questions, answer others’ questions, propose a new idea, etc. and you get rewarded with STUT. For teachers, if you create good content and help the students learn, you too will be able to earn STUT. Those with high amounts of STUT, will be known as people who contribute proactively and productively to the community.
The STUT isn’t just a gold star, though. First, though it won’t be salable outside the platform, at the end of course, students and teachers will be eligible to trade up to half their STUT for TUTs. The TUTs will be tradable for services on the platform, or can be sold for the market rate on exchanges or peer-to-peer.
That means that smart, engaged, enthusiastic students who contribute actively with their community can potentially turn the good reputation they have with their faculty and peers into cold, hard cash. It also means that smart, engaged, inspiring teachers will get rewarded beyond the basic fee they get for the class for being great teachers. Both teachers and students will have the incentives in place to be the best teachers and students they can be.
How Do Employers Factor Into All Of This?
When an employer is looking for a person with particular skills, they will buy TUTs and use them to buy access to student profiles on the system. By requesting certain kinds of skills, they will be signaling to both students and teachers that these are the kinds of skills in demand, prompting more students to study that skill and more teachers to create courses to help the students. No longer will there be any doubt about whether what they are studying is really useful.
The employers will check the STUT holdings of students to who the best students have been so they can contact them and begin the hiring process. So, while the students can trade their STUTs for TUTs, they will also want to keep a good supply so they will stand out when it comes time for employers to check them out. This is why students and teachers can only convert half of their STUTs at the end of a class to TUTs.
Creating a Virtuous Cycle
The way Tutellus has arranged their system, the rewards keep coming. When a company pays to see the profiles of students with particular skills, if a particular student’s profile is shown because of their excellent STUT holdings, part of the TUT fee the company paid is distributed to the student, and another part is distributed to the teacher. Success is continually rewarded in this system which can do nothing but keep both students and teachers motivated to keep getting better. This is a win-win-win.
How Can We Trust Tutellus?
You don’t have to. Everything described here is handled through feedback on the platform itself, and the distribution of funds is handled via smart contracts on the NEM network. Everything will be open, automatic, and auditable.
There is a lot more to know about Tutellus. They are currently in presales of their TUT token with official sale beginning June 18. To know more, you can check out their website here and their whitepaper here.
*Note: US citizens, green card holders, and residents are not eligible to participate in the coin sale.