About FutureUp Lab

The problem your project solves

1. Teachers’ well-being is currently at stake

  • 90 million teachers globally are disrupted for attending school and have to teach remotely
  • Mental well-being and stress are already a global epidemic, and are expected to increase

2. Teachers’ time is scarce:teachers in quarantine often are also parents, they have to attend to their students while taking care of their own kids

3. Current personal/professional development solutions for teachers, that could help them keep control of mental well-being and navigate the current situation are proving challenging:

  • The offer is scattered across a wide variety of platforms; formats and lengths prove inconvenient; they lack customizable tools; Source: netnographic research on social media and reddit teacher forums link
  • Lack of effective peer-coaching/learning loops (source: Vuorikari, Innovating Professional Development in Compulsory Education - Examples and cases of emerging practices for teacher PD, EUR 29005 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018)

The solution you bring to the table

1. A mindset development platform that empowers teachers to be proactive and take control instantly, providing:

a. Bite-sized content that can be done in minutes (not hours or weeks)

  • Each topic covered in under 10 minutes

b. Customizable cheat-sheets that help teachers apply knowledge instantly

  • Can be used in minutes as a self-reflective or reminder mechanism

c. Email-based coaching, to help them customize their own experimental learning journey – designed using adult learning theory, agile development principles and innovation-inspired experimentation loops

  • Last 2 weeks, 3 emails per week, guiding teachers on how to set micro-goals, design, measure and evaluate various experimental learning that can help them make incremental progress in the chosen topic

2. Curated micro-courses and content that specifically enable teachers to take control of their mental well-being during difficult times, while helping their students thrive:

Currently focusing on 3 modules, with 3 micro-courses each:

A. The Positive Mindset 3-Pack: 01: Emotional Intelligence for Educators (Ready for Demo) 02: Busting Self-Limiting Beliefs 03: Worry & Stress Management

B. The 21st Century Skills Catalyst 3-pack: 04: Unleashing Creativity 05: Applying Critical Thinking 06: Elevating Collaboration

C. The Effective Classroom Management 3-pack: 07: Mastering Communication 08: Building a Resilient Classroom 09: Problem Solving Principles

3. A peer-coaching and learning community where teachers can support each other and share their learnings and tips, both within same school and across other schools in the country

What you have done during the weekend

1. Validating the value proposition of micro-courses & email-based coaching with:

a. 3 skill mentors (a coach and two former teachers; Spain, Greece, Belgium)

b. 1 former teacher from the UK from my network

c. 2 current teachers from Romania from my network

Outcome:

o positive reactions to the value proposition o validating and adjusting the 9 micro-courses offering o adjusting the coaching methodology and sharpen it

During Sunday night i've managed to hear great feedback from a teacher development expert and education influencer who also runs their own school The feedback: _"I looked at your first micro course on emotional intelligence and I think the information you include is excellent. I'm also completely in agreement with your experimental-iterative format, which is basically what I do with my teachers in PD. I love the idea of a guided process that lets teachers set goals for themselves and work through them.

On the other hand, I feel that your course goes through a great deal of info, very quickly without giving teachers time to reflect on it or assimilate it. Personally, I think you might want to make your courses more interactive and have teachers work on action tasks throughout the course. I feel that without this component, teachers will come to the end of your video and not really understand what they've watched. [...] I especially like your template for setting goals and experimenting. I just think it would be better to do this throughout the video, rather than tacking it on at the end."_ Improvement points suggested:

  • keep the explainer videos 1 and 5 outside of the actual course
  • make course more interactive to include teacher participation and reflection pauses
  • add a speaker visible in the video if possible

2. Deep-dive into the Business Model Canvas and Value Map, and structuring Hypotheses testing

3. Market segmentation & high-level business case: see more info in next sections

4. Building the product for the demo, including:

a. Website and video content (only tasks started 1-2 weeks ago)

b. Coaching methodology, supporting content and templates for teachers

5. Short & medium term Go-to-Market strategy, including validation tests & school pilots

The solution’s impact to the crisis

With the hands-on micro-courses, cheat-sheets and email coaching facilitation, the platform enables teachers to act instantly over their well-being and help their students too. This addresses the growing mental-wellbeing challenge globally.

Having teachers that are better prepared to handle difficult situations and being more resilient, can help with improved effectiveness both for themselves, and for their students. From general well-being promotion, to burnout prevention to improving students’ classroom effectiveness, there’s a wide range of positive impact that mindset development for teachers can have. For example, this source documents the huge impact that high Emotional Intelligence can have in class: link

What is the impact to society if the idea is implemented at scale? It can create better and more effective teachers, which in turn has a positive effects on students, enabling them to thrive and become fulfilled adults.

Since the focus is on micro-courses that are non-school curricula focused, the relevance of the FutureUp Lab solution is global and universal. Whether the teacher is in the UK, Romania, India or Brazil, tackling ever-green topics revolving around Positive Mindset, Self-limiting beliefs, 21st century skills, etc. addresses many of the most pressing topics of the 21st century.

Does this offer something that hasn't been solved already? What is unique about FutureUp Lab is the approach to learning and content, to maximize instant application and experimentation. We want to help teachers learn by doing. We’re inspired from the Adult Learning Theory, Agile development sprints, coaching and leadership development. By blending the best of all these worlds, we aim to help teachers make an impact NOW…not after they’ve finished their 3 weeks long e-learning on various platforms...

By focusing on micro-courses, we ensure we capture the maximum attention span, and motivate completion (around 90% of e-learning is never finished or done superficially just for getting the badge award: link ).

Through hands-on cheat-sheets, we ensure we give teachers just the right amount of info. And with the email-based Coaching, we give teachers a structured process to implement learning and experiment, while keeping the “distance” to give them the space and freedom to run it on their own terms (each teachers and classroom is different, so providing flexibility and customizability is key).

If it has been solved, does this offer something different? There are numerous e-learning platforms available on the market e.g. global providers of MOOCs like Coursera, EdX, FutureLearn, e-learning marketplaces like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning, or other more niche-oriented platforms. They could, of course, start providing micro-courses too. Yet what seems to be the trend there is quantity over quality, which triggers choice paralysis.

FutureUp Lab will be deliberately surgical about the number and focus of the courses, to ensure we provide only what’s truly needed. On top, through the coaching and peer-coaching community, we aim to provide more than “just another e-learning platform” – the world already has enough of those. What FutureUp aims for is to be a platform of 21st century skills catalysts. Because we believe teachers are irreplaceable.

Can it be scaled to meet thousands or even millions of people? Yes. The primary hurdles would be localization/translations and having native platforms and/or servers where legislations require that. Yet like any other EdTech, the irony is that another barrier to scaling are the schools themselves, due to bureaucracy and competing priorities and curricula link However, we believe that with the right pricing model, and backed by compelling pilot results, the incentives and value created for schools will be too good to pass. The US is spending 18,000USD per teacher per year on development, while the UK around 1,000GBP per teacher per year.

Currently exploring how to tailor a combo of one-time fee for content access and recurring subscription for the peer-coaching community, while targeting it as a B2C service to teachers who want to pay out of their own pocket.

Not the least, the One-for-One social entrepreneurial approach is aimed at scaling it twice as fast, by providing free access to teachers in need, for every course bundle sold (e.g. in on-going and positive dialogue with TeachforIndia).

The necessities in order to continue the project

*1. Short-term plan: *

Next week: Validate with UK teachers

May-June testing via UK school pilot(s):

  • Recruit schools
  • Content curation and creation: Finish 2 more micro-courses
  • Load the coaching-methodology into the automated email platform
  • Social media, direct marketing & PR

Estimated budget need: 7-10k GBP

i. Platform costs: 300-350GBP/month ii. Social media budget, including content: 2/3k GBP iii. PR budget, including content: 2k GBP iv. Direct marketing: 1k GBP

2. Medium term: June – December

June-Aug: content curation & creation: 6 micro-courses – including contracting freelance help

Prepare UK launch:

  • Direct marketing to schools
  • Social media content & campaign
  • PR campaign

Prepare free pilots in US, FR, DE, IT (consider prioritization of US only)

Estimated budget: 17 – 50k GBP (17k is with US pilot only)

i. Platform costs: 1200GBP for 6 months (cost optimizations expectation) ii. UK launch campaign marketing, including content: 5k GBP iii. Freelance hire for content creation, UX/UI optimization etc. 2-4k GBP iv. Translations if foreign language pilots prioritized: 3-5kGBP per language v. Pilot scout, seed, start costs per market: 5k GBP/market

3. Long-term: TBD

The value of your solution(s) after the crisis

The platform provides future-ready content, tackling ever-green topics which are universally and globally relevant, both for the future of the education system, teachers’ well-being and effectiveness and the future of kids.

In the UK there are approx. 800,000 primary and secondary school teachers and 30,000 schools, while in the US, the number is around 3.2 million teachers and 130,000 schools. (in the EU27 numbers are approx. 6M teachers and 150,000 schools, but data is fragmented and inconsistent).

The numbers of teachers is estimated to increase steadily and as a result, there’s large market opportunity to be leveraged.

At the same time, EdTech is expected to continue growing. HolonIQ: less than 3% of total global education expenditure is currently digital, which is a significant potential for transformation. The global EdTech market looks as follows:

  • Market: $10tn by 2030, up from $6tn in 2018.
  • EdTech spend estimated to grow +12% per year to $342bn by 2025.
  • While still less than 5% of overall education expenditure, this growth is expected to coincide with the increased use of technology in existing and new teaching methods. link

Don't forget to try out the platform: link

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