Google 10 to the 100th

Electronic Mentor Proposal

1) Jack Alpert
2) 13617 West 48th Street Shawnee, KS 66216
3)        913 708 2554
4) English
5) Jack Alpert
6) Shawnee, KS
7) USA
8) Electronic Mentor
9) opportunity for education

10. What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)       

        An electronic mentor (EM) can help any individual learn whatever he or she wants, whenever she wants, to the breath and depth any project requires.

11. Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Project based learning out performs classroom learning. Schools haven’t transitioned because project based learning often requires a mentor. A mentor listens to a learner’s questions, understands them in the context of the learner’s goal and existing abilities, and creates hierarchical subtasks, which fill the space between the learner’s knowledge and skills and project completion.

In the real world, it would take an army of mentors to be knowledgeable in all domains. It would take 3 armies to cover the 24/7 needs of just one student. And there are billions of students. The costs and logistics of providing each a human mentor are unthinkable.

However, the “Electronic Mentor” I envision could provide “mentor-supported” “project-based-learning” environments to billions of students for pennies a day.

These low costs can be accomplished by having:

1. the actual mentoring be delivered through a web interface,

2. the node content creation to be distributed among millions of almost self rewarded master teachers each supplying small components of the student’s larger learning project, and

3. a digital administration and facilitation among the nodes.

Building such a mentor depends on ways to:

a) have these master teachers load their abilities into web nodes that operate (ala Turing) pretty much as the teachers might operate one on one with students in a help session.

b) creating a digital administrator that acquires the student’s project objective and dynamically maintains a pathway through these nodes.

These two tasks can be accomplished if we build 5 protocols. The first protocol allows the master teacher to convert his or her knowledge and process into digital form. The second creates a standardized user/EM interface for all nodes. The third provides a digital description of a learner’s knowledge and abilities. The fourth provides a digital description of the learner’s objective as defined in the previous node. And the fifth provides a way of maintaining for each student a dynamic learning tree of nodes completed and those left undone.

12. What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)

The inefficiencies of the classroom are well known. The best teacher is by design covering material too fast for half the class and two slow for the other. The duration of the lesson is too long for half the class and too short for the other. The starting point of any curriculum must be at the knowledge of the weakest student or that student is just left behind and will need remediation. Most students, in most class time, are waiting for new material. Finally, the current accountability standards, means what is being taught probably matches only the coming test and not the immediate interests of any student.

For all these reasons, the educational dollar for each student is being used inefficiently and most students are being tortured. And as long as the cost of education rises faster than salaries, inefficiency and student discomfort will increase.

13. If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)

1) Learners,

with access to the Internet, will have a pathway to learn anything they want or need, at an extremely low cost, using the most obliging and motivating learning environment.

They will be able to choose the content, the time, and the duration of the learning activity, because the “electronic mentor” EM is ready and willing to run compatibly with the student’s learning needs and abilities.

2) Teachers,

who create nodes will gain enormous self worth from seeing millions of people use them. Financial rewards may include pay per hit user fees, screen advertisement contributions, or direct payment from government, foundation or corporate node sponsorship.

Teachers will be released from their task as de facto torturers. And they can take on tasks that make better use of their time.

14. What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)

Creating an electronic mentor requires protocols that ALLOW millions of master teachers to build nodes that interact in a logical and seamless way.

The first steps in building such a mentor is to build 5 protocols that:

1) allow a master teacher to structure his or her knowledge so it can be loaded into an EM node and be presented through a standard EM interface.

2) describe the interface used by EM nodes.

3) allow creation and maintenance of a digital description of the student’s knowledge and abilities. The digital description accompanies the student on his learning path. Each node reads and updates this description.

4) describe the knowledge/skill needs of the sending node to the receiving node which the sending node chooses.

5) keep a map of the learning tree, which includes pointers to nodes needed but not yet traversed.

15. Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

How much would be saved if 80% of what was learned in Kindergarten through Graduate school could be delivered to higher standards of success for 25 cents a day per student?

How much time and money could be saved if the student only had to travel to their computer to have access? How much could be saved if most of the school infrastructure and administration costs could be eliminated.

How much improvement in learning efficiency results when the student can get access to a learning environment when he or she had time and energy to participate in an activity that they chose for their needs and thus is self-motivated to learn it?

How much would life be improved if anyone at any age could learn anything they needed to complete their desired tasks?

One measure of success of the electronic mentor would be the number of people who opted out of classroom learning because EM provides a better service.

16. I agree to Project 1010

17. You may also submit 1 You Tube video (max 30 seconds long) explaining your project URL

text of 30 second video:

So you want to send a man to the moon. To accomplish this, you’ll have to build a vehicle navigate it, propel it and support life on it.

You don’t know how to do these? Let me help you learn.

To support life, you will have to maintain a climate, provide food, remove wastes, allow people to breath.

Breathing requires removing CO2, delivering of oxygen.

Oxygen delivery requires knowledge of gas laws, and chemistry.

Chemistry requires, writing and balancing equations. Balancing equations requires algebra. Algebra requires knowledge of, simple math.

You already know simple math. I’ll help you learn algebra.

An electronic mentor can teach anything to anyone at any time.

18. If you'd like to recommend a specific organization, or the ideal type of organization, to execute your plan, please do so here. (maximum 50 words)

I probably have crossed paths with a few people at Google who would find writing the electronic mentor protocols with me both the ultimate contribution to society and the high point of their careers


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to:      (homepage)      Other position papers

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