Will TomoClases.com steer Chile’s Universities to a Tech Savy Future?

   “Serving others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Mohammed Ali

Courtesy of S3.AmazonAws.com

Trick Question (it’s Halloween season folks) — Name two people receiving more Chilean press than a Miner Survivor preparing to enter the Presidential Race?
Answer: Meet the dynamic entrepreneurial duo, Guimar ‘Vaca’ Sittic and his CTO sidekick Eric Denovitzer, the latest Chilean startup all stars hoping to lead their country’s – and in time all of Latin America’s – entire education industry to embracing the 21st century.

So when/where and how exactly did these head honchos brainstorm such a progressive concept (seemingly overnight) that in the last six months they’ve recently joined Argentina’s top idea incubator NXTPLabs.com and began site expansion to the Argentina, Brazil, and Colombian markets?  For starters, they’re both alumni to notable US Universities – the University of Chicago and Princeton respectively.  Then combine this top-tier higher education experience with a multi-lingual/international business sense and it results in producing two civic-minded leaders perfectly ready to embrace the challenging landscape, when it comes to designing an online learning community that will change all future generations.  Vaca Sittic’s previous stint, helping cofound/sell restaurant booking website CenaPlus which raised $3.2 million in funding by February 2011, also gives the team an advantageous, competitive edge.

To quote an old Texas adage, this is not the boys’ first rodeo.

Courtesy of TheNextWeb.com/LA

In describing the company’s site premise and overall purpose, TheNextWeb.com’s reporter Anna Heim highlights how TomoClases.com takes the “offline classes and workshops marketplace model,” that’s comparable to the already popular domains like Khan Academy or SkillShare – but will concentrate their ambition more to specifically improving Latin America education.  Understanding certain, culturally relevant elements also matters a great deal when analyzing how the site will provide sustainable content long term.

During his interview with Heim, Vaca Sittic points out how, “Countries such as Argentina and Brazil have a strong culture in terms of hiring tutors for children. Moreover, people are constantly learning something new ranging from a new sport or an eccentric hobby. Hence, Tomo Clases will have a big impact in this countries in 2012 – we shorten the gap between professors and students from any field, and also encourage everybody to become a professor by teaching what they know.”  

Completing such thorough, primary, in-depth due diligence understandably generates ample, invaluable rewards.  It’s exciting to watch where TomoClases.com will go next, especially considering that even since last April’s beta launch when they first introduced the site to only the Chile/Mexico markets, the community now shares 600+ online classes to a 1,250+ user database.

Courtesy of Blog.TomoClases.com

So just how far will this online mercado, that openly shares an interactive knowledge source to one of the world’s fast-growing regions go? Well if the developing team keeps up their current work, it’s likely that TomoClases.com will evolve far beyond the founders’ initial vision and aspirations. It’s interesting, that where so many online platforms fail to maintain a strong, online brand community presence, TomoClases.com’s Blog, Twitter, and Facebook channels all display enriching, supplemental content. It’s a smart strategy that will only help the founders as they plan to court students, professors, and select education leaders’ participation more aggressively.

Anyone who still stands with both their initial entrepreneurial project and body intact despite enduring numerous, relentlessly searing VC investor screenings certainly posses a natural ability to demonstrate creative, charismatic leadership. But it’s also arguable that certain things succeed because on only the most select occasion, Lady Luck will opt to shine favor toward endeavors she deems worthy.  TomoClases.com’s serendipitous, timely beginning hit the web not long after several reports announced that Latin America’s current informal education market, a sector where 18 million users already spend $5+ Billion USD annually- was growing by 16% every year. Indeed, this proves point to international journalist Henry Golden’s now legendary business philosophy, “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”  As TomoClases.com continues to circulate their initiative worldwide, hopefully this winning streak will keep pace.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/TomoClases

It’s almost hard to believe that in just a few short week, students everywhere will rejoice to celebrate another semester’s end, yet the duo will not spend the remainder of 2012 enjoying a leisurely holiday season.  Far from it in fact, as they’ve expressed that their next major milestone will mean securing 10,000 classes and expanding the user-audience by at least ten-fold.  However while the weary TomoClases.com team soldiers on, a hard working holiday now will hopefully mean magnitudes of vacation time to themselves later, after they’ve managed to successfully create one of Latin America’s most lucrative, extraordinary businesses.

As Chile’s national motto so wisely expresses ‘By Right or By Might’ – it’s a tough, tedious road to creating a movement that will forever impact a region’s education industry.  Yet every new accomplishment brings TomoClases.com just a little bit closer to that truly admirable goal. Keep the course dear friends – the world’s already anticipating your next exciting announcement 🙂

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com


Learn through Video Lessons / Revised Collection

‘1947: Making A Book’
When users posted this video, they were actually giving student an extra bonus because this video clip shows two important lessons: The first lesson is more related to the history of how a medium (i.e. the book) was made, & the 2nd lesson is how you can share any lesson virally using free tools like YouTube.

‘Tate Tracks’ 
This video clip, although related to a B2B marketing lesson teaches viewers how to think beyond the restrictions of an iPod, or other portable music device. Learning about art, culture, music, and society constantly overlap so naturally it makes sense to blend sound and image media lessons at museum environment like the Tate.

‘The Halcyon Gallery Presents: Bob Dylan’s Drawn Blank Series’  
When the Halcyon Gallery made this video, Curators went a step beyond giving the viewer a lesson from the side historical notecard; Professor Maurice Cockrill, Head of The Royal Academy School actually conducts a mini art history lesson & demonstrates certain brush strokes Dylan used.

‘LipDub’ from Vellore Institute of Technology
This particular Indian university’s ‘LipDub’ is actually part of a larger university movement that has solicited over fifty responses from campuses around the world. A remix is one thing but when a group of students tour their university and lip synch while adding in some Bollywood dance moves .. you can’t deny that their efforts took collaboration.

‘A Nightmare on Selwyn’ from Queens University of Charlotte
Collaborative Consumption on a campus often means sharing resources amongst students, teachers, faculty, and staff. During the Swine Flu epidemic QUOC designed this quirky video to engage students but at the same time offer them valuable information about symptons, signs, and solutions from a campus nurse who could offer assistance.

‘LTU Strategic Plan Interview with Paul Johnson’ from LaTrobe University
In researching LaTrobe, when it comes to campus community they do a great job in bringing both administrative leaders & senior faculty in touch with the student population so that an active dialogue can take place and then be streamed into an online space and shared with the rest of the world.

‘NYU Professor Jeffery Carr Addresses Social Media & Customer Retention’
Enterprise Magazine conducted a interview from the New York University campus and spoke to leading industry expert and professor Jeffery Carr about how social media initiatives must be administered at the proper frequency with powerful content if a brand ever wishes to see a return on relationships and more importantly a return on investment.

‘Kickin’ It Scholastic Journalism Week’
Raising social awareness is a commonplace today but as history proves in this video, times were not always so proactive when it came to respecting individual’s beliefs. This video also ties in nicely to a message about how younger student interested in journalism should consider the evolving role of a media representative and what does it mean today?

‘Junior Achievement Teaches Lessons Beyond the Classroom’
The Junior Achievement Worldwide Volunteer Program exemplifies a successful non profit model which teaches each individual (both those in a class and those volunteering to teach class) how important serving one’s community is and other valuable lessons related to professional development, jobs, personal finance, team work, practice, integrity and citizenship.

‘No Right Brain Left Behind Initiative’
During Social Media Week 2011, founder Viktor Venson expressed a concern to his industry and used the power of networking, to not only raise awareness about a terrific cause he recently founded, but at the same time brought up a significant concern about how creative lessons are fading from the curriculum plans in classrooms across the US.

‘The Seed Foundation: An Institute for the Future’
This Washington D.C. charter school acts on an idea that every academic institution should embrace; the guiding philosophy behind the program at SEED teaches each person that they are accountable for their decisions, can achieve any level of success if they’re determined, and can always work hard at whatever endeavor they pursue.

‘The Future of Education’
The specific focus of this video’s lesson is to teach viewers about the slated extremes that different students endure when it comes to a comparing variety of factors including tuition rates, long term cost benefits, and student loans. Financial lessons like this also help raise awareness about which schools need more federal aid.