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Funding4Learning – A Crowdfunding Platform

Funding4Learning Logo Technology is helping millions around the world. The latest trend is crowdsourcing, where a lot of people around the world pool their resources together to complete a task. Funding4Learning takes the immense potential crowdsourcing has to offer and makes it possible for people to contribute towards the education of students who are unable to meet their expenses.

Working as a coordinator, Funding4Learning allows anyone to start a fund raising campaign. The persons starting the campaign are required to state in clear terms the goals of the campaign and the funds which are necessary for their needs plus any information they wish to let others know to make them understand the need of contributing. A reward system must be offered to the contributors although Funding4Learning does not ensure that it is actually realized.

The website uses Paypal for payment processing and takes a 5% commission on every successful campaign.

What they say about themselves

Funding4Learning is the first worldwide crowdfunding platform dedicated entirely to facilitate the financing of studies and educational projects around the world. The numerous financial restrictions and lack of funding for education, specially in emerging countries, is a major problem that hasn’t been addressed by both institutions and the media. Anyone can create a campaign where they tell their story, set a funding goal in accordance with the tuition fee, and offer interesting rewards to contributors. Funding4Learning allows users to create campaigns, share it with the online community through social networks, engage fans, track information about contributors, and collect money.

Why it could be a success

We can think of several reasons why this could be a success but the first thing which comes to mind is the noble idea. Helping students with their finances can make a difference in their lives by allowing them to concentrate on their studies rather than trying to make ends meet.

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Knowledge Notebook – Making Learning Fun

Knowledge Notebook Logo Have you ever wondered about the best medium and technique there is for people to learn? I think when presented with visual data, I seem to focus more and learn a concept easily and quickly rather than reading it in text format. No wonder professors prefer the use of presentation slides in the lectures these days. Students too, take notes in classes which usually result in a lot of cluttered ideas and they are usually a headache to sort out and review.

Several software applications are available which help to organize and file the notes so that they can be of use later. We are going to talk about Knowledge Notebook. This software lets you take notes like you would in any word processor application. The notes can be filed using multiple tags. Now this alone would not make it stand out from the crowd.

What makes Knowledge Notebook great is the ability to make connections between different notes either using a visual or a textual approach. Helping you organize your notes into different categories, allowing you to create flash cards for quick memorization of ideas and examining and grading your learning by taking quick assessment tests makes it a truly unique application.

The price tag is $38, which in my opinion is a little high, specially for students on scholarships and lower financial status. Maybe they should incorporate some kind of support for these students as well.

What they say about themselves

A software that accelerates student learning. The starting point or the focus is on learning instead of the activity of note-taking. For business people and journalists the application is simply for note-taking.

Why it could be a success

Easy to use and can help in the final days leading to the exams by presenting a clean, summarized and comprehensive review material. Overall a solid application although I am not too enthusiastic about the price.

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Babbel – Learn and Improve Language Skills

I’ve given this site a thorough testing as I’m a bit of a language-learning fanatic. I tried it with Italian, which I speak well, and with German, which I’ve almost forgotten, to see how it would work for beginners and skilled students. It strikes me as an excellent language learning resource for a few reasons. First of all you can try it out for free to see if it’s helpful to you, secondly the rates are incredibly reasonable compared to other language courses, and thirdly it also has a social networking side so you can chat with and friend people in other countries who speak the languages you want to learn.

The actual learning methods are fun. I tested German for beginners and was taken through the opening class, which combined instructions on the basic ways to greet people with simple sentences you would use every day. This was taught using step-by-step fun methods – listening to the words and phrases while looking at pictures, then clicking on the pictures on the next screen to match them to the right phrase. These phrases were then jumbled and I had to put them in order, and also words were provided as anagrams which had to be rearranged by clicking on the letters. Each time the word or phrase was then given in voice. By the end of the lesson I had had fun and the method really put the words and phrases into my memory.

With Italian I tried a slightly higher level and was presented with similar methods but the phrases were more advanced. They were still the types of phrases you would need when travelling or meeting people for business reasons. The more advanced lessons included extra tasks including writing about set subjects although I’m not sure how those would be corrected.

This site would be handy not just for adults but also to help children with languages they’re learning as the voices are all native speakers. Along with the lessons there are sections with a complete vocabulary of the most important words, both basic and advanced, and a section with useful sentences.

Even as a free member you can test one class in each of the languages (German, French, Italian and Spanish are available) and also join the social network side of the website. The community is very friendly with chat going on continually and you can join in with whoever is in the chat room or go into private chat. You can also just watch and mark yourself unavailable. There’s an option to filter the members by age and language so you can find contacts to friend and communicate with to improve your skills, and it does look like a community where good international friendships could be made with people genuinely studying languages and wanting to talk to others to mutually improve. The price is 8.95 Euros per individual month, reducing to 5.95 Euros per month for 3 months membership, or 4.95 Euros per month for 6 months.

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TranslationsPal – Making Translations Quick and Affordable

translationspal-comOnline translation services have made it possible for everybody to work in various languages for international communication. This is particularly important as the internet community is global and easy translation makes it possible to use it to full advantage for business, study and friendship. From automatic services, mainly Google Translate, to professional agencies, everything is available so that languages don’t need to be a barrier. It may seem there’s no gap in the market, but TranslationsPal takes a slightly different approach to the others, making it possible to find a translator quickly and at an affordable price.

The system works by ‘crowdsourcing’ the work to translators who register with TranslationsPal. The organisers quickly give a quote for the work if it’s a lengthy document, otherwise there are standard rates for shorter translations. The system can even be used for extremely short communications such as emails, correspondence, instant messages, chat and social networks. For many of these Google Translate would be good enough, and it works instantly if you type your message in one language and select the one you want it to be translated into. However, Google Translations will give a word-by-word literal translation that’s easily understandable but may contain errors. When dealing with business or academic contacts a perfect translation could be preferable, even for emails and chat.

Crowdsourcing should mean that a translator will be available immediately to deal with the task. Rates are reasonable and paid by Paypal or credit card, and there’s a 30-word free trial for new users. It seems like an excellent approach for when translations are needed urgently, for short communications where you want to sound like a fluent speaker or competent professional able to have an interpreter, and also for longer documents at a fair price.

Translators can also register for work on the website, where their qualifications and experience will need to be supplied, and priority is given to those with the right credentials when work is allocated. Payment is less to translators without qualifications, native speaking ability or experience. As a client I would want to know the translator allocated was a native speaker and would want lower pay rates to non-native and less experienced translators to be reflected in my charges.

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GameClassroom – Educational Games for Children

gameclassroom-comThis is a fun site that combines enjoyable games with learning that fits in with schools for the years from nursery to year/grade six. It’s designed with the attractive colours and images that would appeal to children and it looks like a standard computer games site. Each game is aimed at helping with skills – particularly English language and maths. The games include some brain-training type intelligence activities, needing hand and eye co-ordination. Others are more specifically for the maths and English classes taught in schools.

Racing cars are used to teach fractions, ability with numbers and patterns comes into stacking and other games needing calculations. Basics, such as months of the year for nursery-age children, lead up to more complex games including story starting techniques and prompts to get children writing. Along with the games there’s a homework help section with more detailed information and guidance on the subjects children will be studying for these important 7 years. Parents have been willing to pay for this kind of series on CD so the website should be a useful and entertaining resource, and something parents can do with their children to help them understand their studies.

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