Challenge 4: Talk Teachers

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Talk Teachers is an innovative platform that aims to diffuse effective academic curriculums, classroom activities, and experiments among teachers around the world. We not only present users with useful content created by influential teachers in the form of a news-feed but also allow users to search for targeted material in the category of their interest. This platform targets teachers who are looking to constantly improve their teaching methods and parents who are homeschooling their children. The positive impact of Talk Teachers is apparent not only in the classroom space with students but also in the career progression of our users. Through our third-party partnerships, influential users, who have developed a large following, are able to leverage this popularity for both monetary compensation from partner advertisements and job discovery. With this foundational business model, Talk Teachers has the potential to expand its horizons into “other things with that were not originally envisaged,” a crucial feature of all major platforms.[1]

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The motivation to initially sign-up and later to continue using the Talk Teachers platform can be decomposed into monetary and professional development aspects. Teachers often have a hard time finding new ways to teach the same material every year, and it’s clear that through discovering and viewing unique content and ideas made by others in the profession, an educator will be able to improve upon his/her standard curriculum by learning new creative methods. As we learned in class, the biggest motivation for sustained learning is need. By collecting profile data on the user’s subject, grade level, and what they want to learn (new classroom activities, science experiments, class management, etc.), Talk Teachers can deliver content that the user actually finds helpful. Of course, triggers are needed on top of motivation. We implement B.J. Fogg’s concept in the form of daily digest emails with trending articles among educators with profiles similar to the user, as well as and recommended-for-you articles in the news-feed. To encourage contribution, users must post an article at least every 3 months or pay a subscription fee to view more than 10 articles a month.

Additionally, users who develop a large following will be able to capitalize on this prominence by advertising for third-party partners such as specific publishing companies or educational technology groups. Talk Teachers also includes an internal reward process that drives user retention. We designate each profile a rank, which is defined by the user’s posting frequency, collected likes, and number of followers, and implement a point exchange system. In this rewards program, higher ranked profiles will be able to more easily receive greater notoriety among the Talk Teachers community, which can lead to job opportunities or advertising engagements, and users can exchange points for trending items such as free textbooks or educational tools. Rising up the ranks will also form smaller milestones that motivate the user along their learning experience.

Platform Sustainability:

The Talk Teachers platform will be financially feasible due to our third-party partnerships that foster targeted and useful advertisements for our users. Talk Teachers has access to unique educational content and user-specific interests that allow third-parties to effectively engage with our users. For example, a publishing company may compensate a user to review and promote a certain textbook to his/her following in Talk Teachers. Another example is that they can effectively target ads at those who are teaching the right subject and grade level. This is high value advertising because if a teacher chooses a textbook, everyone in the class needs one too. Additionally, a third-party may give a user certain education tools in the domain the user is interested in for a post. Talk Teachers will be rewarded by the third-parties for fostering these interactions and lending the user-specific data. This partnership model is similar to that of instagram, which has recently refocused its effort to empower small businesses on its platform [2].

Lastly, because teacher profiles are labelled by their school, the platform could become a useful tool in some parents’ school selection process. What better way to get a glimpse of teaching quality of a school than reading about what its teachers are doing? If the platform becomes an unofficial indicator of the calibre of a school’s teaching staff, schools would be motivated to get all their teachers active on the site, especially private schools that need to market themselves.



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