Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Save Your Real-Time Search Results Too!

We are pleased to announce a new feature on the mashedge website - saving real-time results from the web into your guide.

One of the challenges of building a good web guide is to find the appropriate, current, fresh results on the topic of your web guide. We have now integrated the APIs from OneRiot into our website. With this it becomes easy for web guide authors to find real-time relevant and fresh results for the web guide. And with the click of a button, the link can be saved into the web guide.

Check it out and do let us know what you think.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nobel Prize winner Ramakrishnan benefits from global education materials

I was watching a TV interview with Nobel Laureate Ramakrishnan on NDTV news channel in India today (Oct 8 2009). He credited his undergrad university and teachers in Baroda, India. And it was not an IIT!

But what struck me was that he said he was very happy with his undergrad Physics teacher, who extended his physics curriculum with materials from UC Berkeley. The point to note is that students can benefit from education materials from across the world.

Sharing education materials has become much easier today, thanks to the internet. Today, immense volumes of high-quality education materials are being dumped on the internet. However, figuring out what would be useful for you is a challenge. To this end, Mashedge is playing a key role.

For example, we have collected top-notch Math and Physics materials from across the world to help students in classes 11 and 12.

So, students and teachers, make one yourself in your favorite topic, or check out these web guides.

Math for Class 11 and 12

Physics for Class 11 and 12

Making a web guide is easy. All that you need to do is to collect links on your topic and organize them into chapters. It will take some time, but it will help your students immensely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Global ranking of students released by US

The US department of Education has released a report that shows where the US students stand in Math and Science when compared to their peers in the world.

There are 3 different assessment tests:
  1. Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)
  2. Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)
  3. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
Countries can voluntarily pariticipate in these assessments tests. For some reason, India did not participate in this.

Here are some results:

  1. In 4th grade math, US stood 8th out of 35 participating countries.
  2. In 8th grade math, US stood 4th out of 47 participating countries.
  3. In 9th grade math, US stood 23rd out of 29 participating countries.
  4. In 4th grade science, US was 4th out of 35.
  5. In 8th grade science, US was 9th out of 47.
  6. In 9th grade science, US was 16th out of 29.
While the 9th grade results are poor, the surprising thing is that countries with less resources than US (such as Kazakshtan, Latvia, Slovenia) performed better.

For parents and teachers who are interested in knowing where their student stands, they can use this web guide to find assessment tests from across the world to benchmark their student.

K-12 Student Assessment Tests and Exam Papers

We have linked in only the assessments tests in English and to those that are available to the public for free.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Review of Chris Anderson's New Book - "Free"

Chris Anderson's new book "Free: The future of a radical price" is a great read. Who knew that the business around providing Free services would be at least $300 billion a year! I read the complete book for free in 3 days flat.

So how do I repay Chris for his service? I blog and I twitter, which compels more people to read and some to even - yes, that's right - buy! That's the magic of providing a free service. You give your stuff for free and you get a bigger audience and more recognition for free. You may not get $$ right now, but you get something more important - reputation and influence that can yield far more monetary returns later than the immediate sales of a book. That's the message of the book.

Not that Chris needs my help in any way - he is a legend already. The point is that this strategy can help any obscure individual or company with a compelling idea or product to reach huge audiences with little or no cost.

Free is the force that is powering through the web and demolishing everything in its wake. Chris provides reassurance to authors, musicians, and businesses everywhere that are touched by the digital revolution that there is hope. Yes, the market price of anything that can be digitized will go to zero - like it or not. You better build high value services around your free product if you want to stay in business. He provides examples of 50 companies that have done so, and so it is not impossible.

To survive and succeed, one must migrate to "abundance thinking" instead of "scarcity thinking". The internet is making anything that can be digitized abundant. He provides the ten principles of abundance thinking that are crucial to evolving a strategy in your specific area of business. The most important of all is that "Every abundance creates a new scarcity". Discovering what that new scarcity is and migrating there is what will make your business profitable.

As an entrepreneur looking for practical ideas and concrete steps on using this business model, it fell short. Granted, there is no one recipe that fits all. However, a detailed case study of an internet startup that struggled until it discovered a practical way to use the Free business model would have been interesting.

I am sure the business models with Free will evolve over time and there will be more articles on the net. To track these articles in a coherent and shareable form, I have created a Mashedge web guide titled Business Models Based on Free. It's work-in-progress, if you know of any great links to add to the guide, please do let me know.

As an aside, aspiring authors can use Mashedge to collect links to online articles as a web guide in preparation for their book. They can share the web guide with their assistants to help with online research and be more productive.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Disaggregation of Education by Internet Techologies

There was a very interesting conference on the impact of Internet on education. It was organized by Union Square Ventures in New York City. Titled "Hacking Education", it brought together venture capitalists, educators, administrators, publishers and many other leading players in the education market.

There was broad consensus that the internet is enabling substantial changes in the way we learn and teach. It has always been possible to learn outside of a school setting. The ubiquitous connectivity and very low cost of content production and distribution seems to enable the unbundling of key components of education.

David Wiley.jpgDissagregation - David Wiley broke education into these components, 1) content provisioning, 2) research - conducted, archived, and disseminated, 3) help provided to a student with a question on the content, 4) a social life, and 5) issuing credentials.

Historically all of these components were bundled together in the experience of on-site education in a K-12 or University context. Already today, it is possible for a student to get many of these services outside the walls of a traditional educational institution.

Further ....

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures is suggesting that the education industry may soon face the same challenges that currently confront the music industry and the newspaper industry. Like those industries, education can be peer produced, delivered as bits, and curated by a community. Like the music and newspaper industries, the cost structures embedded in the education industry's current business models may be very difficult to support in the face of competition from hyper-efficient, web native businesses.

We are already seeing a constant stream of bits of education materials appear on the web.

Mashedge is playing a pioneer role in helping users aggregate these bits of education materials to suit their specific needs. For example:
  1. We have collected the Math curriculum for classes 1-10 based on the Singapore Math curriculum.
  2. We have also aggregated material to help prepare for the Math syllabus for IIT JEE (joint examination material).
If you are a school, university, teacher, or even a student, you can use Mashedge to collect bits of education material and make it useful for you or your students.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update your resume with your Mashedge web guide

In a previous post, I talked about how Mashedge can be used to capture your web footprint and post it on your resume. This will help your potential employers get a first hand look at your web contributions without requiring them to dig the web in search of you.

Joel Spolsky says in his blog post Get a Job:

" I’ve always hated traditional resumes, which just don’t give the right kind of information about a candidate. If you wanted to hire an iPhone developer, would you rather know that person’s Stack Overflow stats in the iPhone tag and read their answers to technical questions? Or would you rather know where they went to college?"

Dan Schawbel ( the author of Me 2.0) talks about the same thing in Leverage Social Media for Career Success

"Social media tools are becoming mandatory for career success. They are free advertising and give you the ability to connect directly with hiring managers, entrepreneurs and recruiters, instead of applying for jobs through job boards, which are black holes. Your digital assets — blog, podcast, and social networking profiles — are your online identity and how people discover and connect with you. You have the ability to leverage one or all of these social media tools in order to present a positive image and be recruited for a position that aligns with your passion."

Dan mentions the following steps:
  1. Conduct a situational analysis of where you stand in the social media
  2. Unearth your personal brand
  3. Select the right tools for the social media
  4. Build your online empire
  5. Market your brand
  6. Monitor your reputation
I would add one last step: Collect your web footprint and make a Mashedge book.

After all your hard work, it's no use if your intended audience is not able to find all the important things you want them to find about you. While the search engines may be good, you have no control in how they present information about you. Besides, your potential employers will not have enough time to dig through all your contributions.

So help potential employers find out more about you easily. Pick and choose the most important ones and add them to your Mashedge web guide. Then add the link to your resume.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mashedge book on IIT JEE Math Syllabus (IIT joint entrance examination)

We are pleased to release a new web book on the IIT JEE (IIT joint entrance examination) Math Syllabus. This web book will help students preparing for the IIT JEE entrance exam find over 150 quality web links on various topics in the Math Syllabus. We have included lecture notes from MIT openCourseWare, demos from Wolfram Alpha, content from Wikipedia, and a host of other web sites.

Check it out.