A new learning system
“What we decided to do,” Lyinoluwa Aboyeji, co-founder of the new collaborative learning program Bookneto said, “was re-imagine the entire learning system itself.
So we thought, how can we create a platform that allows people to collaborate and exchange ideas the same way they do regularly? So we created Bookneto.”
Bookneto is an online learning platform, similar to the MyLearningSpace program, in the fact that it allows students to share information, discuss texts, form discussion groups and ask questions.
However, Aboyeji stresses the fact that Bookneto is not the same as other platforms.
“Anyone on the platform can create groups,” he said. “This is how we’re radically different from [competitors]. They will give that power to the school administrator or the profs, but we think that the roles interchange a lot. We allow everyone the ability to create groups. Internally we call it project ring.”
The Bookneto site is easy to use and Aboyeji added, “The platform is really simple with an easy interface. When you first log into the system you have your own personal library and you put things like objects, documents, links, videos, whatever you see that pertains to a particular subject area you’re in.
You can take that and label it and then put it them your personal library so you can have access to them any time—and also be notified if things change or anything like that.”
“The really interesting thing about the platform,” Aboyeji continued, “Is that we actually have our own reader.
“This is a key theme that other platforms don’t have. So usually, if you upload a doc you’ll just upload it then other people download it, but we actually allow you to upload it directly to our reader,” he said.
From there, the reader allows users to decide on whether or not people can remove material from what they’ve uploaded so it’s protected.
It also allows the user to remove single snippets of an article or a math text without uploading the entire thing.
“Students already do this,” Aboyeji said, referencing the fact that Bookneto may appear similar to other sites with these advantages. “They create Facebook groups, they create shared accounts on Dropbox, they chat on IM and Skype to do group work.
So basically, what we’re doing is providing a one place destination for all this to happen.”
The creation of Bookneto began when Aboyeji and his co-founder Pierre Arys, when each had taken a sort of sabbatical from university and came back trying to find ways to improve the system.
“We both have a very close interest in education,” Aboyeji said.
“And both of us almost dropped out of school. A lot of people think about school as a cost issue, or as a quality issue, and we sort of think of it as a user experience issue.”
“You have a lot of trouble with school if you’re a certain kind of person,” he continued.
“So basically when we set out to start Bookneto, my concern was getting everyone to read textbooks, and Pierre’s major concern was that the entire idea of school was just a top down system.
So we thought about how to combine the ideas and about how we could create a platform where people could share documents securely and easily.
“So we put the two ideas together and came up with Bookneto.
“Basically,” Aboyeji concluded, “we’re forcing students to think differently about how they educate themselves and how they think of themselves as self-directed learners.
For us, the real revolution is user experience and user education. Saying to students, hey, you’re not just in school to swallow and part of the learning process is teaching people.”