We would like to propose the implementation of a learning platform on which people would be able to record themselves teaching certain skills, like foreign languages, computer sciences, drawing, cooking, etc. Those videos would be preserved so that any other visitor coming on our website would have the possibility to review them, and hopefully, to show his/her gratitude by recording a video as well. We also organize seminars, in person, and we would like to make them easily accessible. Entire project would be attached to our website, www.danaucime.mk.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The educational platform in Macedonian language has been in the list of our ideas since the seed phase of our company, but unfortunately set aside since we did not have enough assets. Recently, we got contacted by Macedonian twitter community that promised us support in case we implement the project. The community wants also to participate in the creation of educational videos.
The videos would be useful for students wanting to expand their knowledge of diverse topics, especially those not fluent in English.
Students in Macedonia show great interest in a platform like this. Our survey indicates that 74% out of 1013 students would DEFINITELY use a platform like this, while 13% are LIKELY to use it. 97% of interviewed states they feel quite familiar with internet.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
The basis for the implementation of the project is a firm Danaucime DOOEL, a firm based in Macedonia. Behind the project is Sanja Apostolska (https://www.facebook.com/sanja.apostolska?ref=br_rs), a long time professor of Italian language on European University, who also founded a language school Friends. We highly leverage on her knowledge of local educational scene.
Second person in charge is Igor Dautovic (https://www.facebook.com/igor.dautovic.5) currently a CEMS MIM student on University Bocconi and University St. Gallen. He is our consulting advisor and strategy developer.
The rest of the team is comprised of highly motivated volunteers that we were able to recruit over several student associations that we cooperate with. Currently they are 22, and they operate in teams.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Part of our website, namely http://magazine.danaucime.mk, serves as a student magazine where we post educational news, tips and tricks regarding studying in Macedonia and abroad, interviews with notable macedonian folks, workshops, seminars, etc.
We believe that the platform we are trying to implement is in correlation with the model of our website.
Furthermore, we have 750 private professors in our database that would be willing to record their own lessons.
The idea is to make accessible videos teaching languages, it services, cooking, dancing, etc. We will constantly gather feedback from the users, and we even plan on organizing voting, on monthly basis perhaps, which topic should be covered next.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
Our firm has, already, established relationship with over 10 most notable student associations such as EESTEC, ESTIEM, BEST, AEGEE, EMSA, etc. We also have a very good connections with the twitter community that already promised us its support in case of implementation of the Educational Platform. Furthermore, we collaborate with several universities, such as American University, American College, FON and MIT, and several high schools.
In addition to that, we have 4 language schools, and 2 business incubators in our network of associates that might be of an asset in case of the launch of the Platform.
We are currently working on establishing cooperation with Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, and expanding the network of universities and schools.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
Having on mind the survey that we performed, we believe that there will be a huge interest for the Platform, but we cannot know the exact numbers. We do, however, plan to spread the word, as soon as the Platform becomes operational, using all our resources, thus the response can be very positive.
We want to spark positive emotions and the sense of community within our customers for receiving the knowledge for free, so they might want to return in kindness by recording their own videos. We do not exclude the possibility of paying for the videos as well. People with extraordinary knowledge of expert topics can receive funds for their videos, but we are open for any suggestion on how to approach this matter.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
We as a firm provide a platform for others to use freely. We also want to record our own videos on several topics where we think we have the required expertise such as Word Press, internet marketing, entrepreneurship, Italian and French language.
The beauty of this project is in that everybody can contribute. The entire community provides its own set of various skills.
Furthermore, the twitter community promised videos regarding several area, mostly digitally focused.
The Macedonian average monthly salary is about 300 euros and people are demotivated to spend part of their income on classes and courses. Our platform would provide free knowledge to those who feel hungry for it, and this is why we believe this technology would be most appropriate.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
As mentioned before the Educational Platform will be completely internet based so users must possess computers and be online. This is not a challenge judging by official numbers – there are 1,180,704 users of internet in Macedonia (source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats4.htm).
However, we do hold workshops in our facilities apart from the Platform project. These are unrelated to computers, hence we don't need them. Most of the workshops are related to entrepreneurship and education.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
We already have infrastructure set in place that already showed results. Students are coming to our website in search of private professors, which we have 750 in our data base, and we got numerous praise for this since we are the first website in Macedonia that gathers private professors at one place. As already mentioned we post educational news, and we offer a discount card specifically for our targeted community – the educational layer of society.
We believe that the Platform represents logical extension of our firm that would be in perfect correlation with our firm.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Possible difficulties might be that people from the community wouldn't be so keen on recording their own videos, the videos might be of bad quality, and we might be low on number of videos.
As far as quality is considered, we will check every single video before making it public so there will be control. We think that even if 0.1% of the community decides to help out with the videos, we would have sufficient number of them. Also, among other things for which we ask for funding, is that we are prepared to pay for video creation. We would use this only in case of extraordinary teachers i.e. proved professional.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
We would read website analytics that would be one of the major key performance indicators, as well as comments posted. Also, videos that would be recorded within the community would definitely be a good feedback. Similarly, since Macedonia is small, news would be spread easily, and we would be able to hear the word of mouth, the same way we hear it already about our website.
We would regularly make polls, the same way we do already, asking people about how do they like the project, what would they change, what are needs that it satisfies, and which are those that are not satisfied, etc.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
If the announcement of winners takes place on the 7th of May, we might assume that the funds would be transferred by the 20th of May. In case of winning the prize, we can get our programmers to start working on the project instantly. Since the project is not complicated, we might expect it to be finished within 10 days, just in time for payment. Furthermore, we can start recording videos even before the finish of the Platform, so we would be able to post several of those the moment the Platform becomes operational.
We would start with the marketing at the moment of the nomination, to prepare the public for the Platform. We would print out leaflets and posters and would deliver them to schools and universities. We would start writing news about it on our website, and on the partner website, www.grid.mk.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
1. Manufacturing of the Platform – approximately 600$.
2. Marketing – approximately 500$ (leaflets, Facebook ads, Google ads, website banners, posters, etc.).
3. Recording of videos – 50$ per course (we are prepared to spend approximately 500$ to have a starting base of high quality videos, which might get others to record their own videos).
4. Offices in which we hold our workshops and trainings cost 300$ per month.
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
We can approach other websites and radios telling them how we got supported by your organization, which would have a very positive image in Macedonia, which would make us more visible. Similarly, we would like the word to be spread among young in order for them to see that they too can apply and get help. In addition to that, we can approach the Ministry of Education showing them that foreign funds have its faith in us, and so should they.
Basically we do possess the infrastructure to make everything happen, but we lack funds. We wouldn't ask for anything else from you since we know there are may other projects out there that require your aid.
Da Naucime DOOEL