Why we make the Learner's Block

A Learner's Block is free, feature rich, adaptable, durable, technologically advanced and built to be as simple as humanly possible to operate (see our website for more details). But it is more than just its features, it is about the way we operate.

EdTech has become big business, especially in the humanitarian and development world. Private companies, technology experts and even non-government organisations (NGOs) - many of which inspired and informed by San Francisco start-up philosophies - have been burrowing away on their EdTech interventions. While adding value, and certainly admirable, this drive raises concerns. It is clear that certain actors in the EdTech industry are treating EdTech, and the COVID-19 crisis as a business opportunity. For others, it is erroneously seen as a panacea for education around the world or substitute for the right to education.

Understandably, educators - many of ourselves included - are still wary of being involved in EdTech. We are still trying to identify how or if EdTech should be blended into learning. This however, does not permit our absence from the conversation. The world is currently writing and cementing a new chapter of education interventions and it is vital that this one is written in concert with different authors than those who wrote the last.

How? Well, a new breed of organisation is changing the shape of industries the world over. Community built, community led, community focused projects leave behind the market-based principles and politics of the private and NGO world that have so often constrained the education sector and left control of our education interventions in the hands of the few.

The Learner’s Block adopts this community organisation philosophy from start to finish. All of its features are chosen by the community through our voting platform and funded by our community through a completely transparent Open Collective initiative. It is built on the principle that EdTech can best fulfil needs when it is adaptable, as simple to use as humanly possible and is free, easily accessible and controlled by the organisations, educators and learners that use it. Through the Learner’s Block we thrive to keep EdTech in the hands of the education community.

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