Be sure to Bookmark: www.ContinentContinent.cc

“We should not only use the brains we have, but add to it all that you can borrow.”
–Woodrow Wilson

Take a few minutes to visualize an elegant, 17th century Château salon where after a rigorous morning walk, and spending several hours revising your latest play, you’ve stopped to visit your dear Parisian friend Madame de Rambouillet whose graciously extended invitation to take tea. She’s also invited several philosopher/author friends: Voltaire, Émilie du Châtelet and Rousseau-it’s an intimate gathering this afternoon.  The chatter skips merrily between politics, the latest Sorbonne art exhibitions, and of course whose writing what next, or rather will so-so ever begin a new project that’s even more enlightening than their last one? The soirée concludes with a flurry of bon après-midis as everyone bids good day to one another.

When one visits the latest academic online salon – www.ContinentContinent.Cc – a rather unusual, antiquated feeling begins to make the reader feel as if they’ve instantly traveled back to a time when great enlightenment went sweeping through Western Europe faster than a bubonic plague. Fortunately however, this cultural epidemic produced more positive outcomes.

Strange things start to happen when one’s conducting thesis research because at some point along the research journey, I haphazardly bookmarked this fascinating site.  Upon first glance, it’s not toting headlines addressing South American higher education or anything relevant to Latin America whatsoever. But appearances often deceive and many times it pays to look beyond the landing page when searching for relevant articles.  Coincidentally, this academic journal published an outstanding exposè featuring University of São Paulo’s brilliant faculty Dr. Gilson Schwartz who discusses his latest Media Research project that’s engineered a ‘Creative Currency’ project to support young Brazilian filmmakers.

This site without question earns a well-deserved A…
Pros: Distinguished Editorial Board, Expansive/Admirable Content conversations, Engaging/Aesthetically creative site design/navigation, Global readership.
Cons: To say the least, if you intend to submit an article feature, the process will requires one to practice seriously saintly patience. Also, for a site with international credentials, their Twitter/Facebook channels tote low numbers.

Again, to reecho what the above chart explains using extreme detail, getting published by the .Continent Editorial board requires one to submit meticulous academic reporting that cuts into the many nuances surrounding art, technology, sociology, economics, etc. It’s also advisable to secure a divine intervention blessing whenever possible; that’s a caution but better safe than sorry right?

While the site www.ContinentContinent.Cc, comes across as an entertaining platform, written exclusively to bemuse an intellectually superior audience, there’s really a underlying whimsical and light-hearted tonality if one takes the time to move past the wry first impression. And although it’s certainly not kindred to a Conan O’Brien Tumblr, on occasion the .Continent crew knows how to cut loose and enjoy a much needed laugh.

I’m not sure that I’ll make it over to Tirana, Albania for the June 6-8, 2013 ‘Pedagogies of Disaster’ Conference, but I’d pay seriously big dollars to receive a legendary invitation to their Holiday Christmas party.  Hopefully they’ll post those details  to Twitter ASAP.  Tis’ the season tis’nt? 🙂

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Brazil/Chile’s Main Ministers fostering Higher Education Reformation

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation
with the bricks that others throw at him or her.”
  –David Brinkley

Courtesy of RedCuba.Files.Wordpress.com

When assessing the best way to possible to rebuild Brazil and Chile’s higher education model, the Ministers of Education will need fast-acting, logical ideas that support sustainable efforts to reconstruct an outdated university infrastructure. The current dysfunctional system which students continue to protest, minimally prepares those enrolled to enter a competitive, financially delicate, intricately complex, technologically advanced marketplace.

Of course in time all of South America’s ‘higher education’ head honchos will face a challenging transition as they revise how and what their campuses will teach the modern, digitally geared learner. So as these countries begin such a hefty urban overhaul, get to know the two main Ministers managing this reformation:

Chile’s Minister of Education …….. Harald Ricardo Beyer Burgos
Age- 48 ; Born in- Osorno, Chile
Alma Mater- Universidad de Chile
Political Affiliation- Independent
Entered Office on- December 29th, 2011
Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) website- www.MinEduc.cl/

Before he was Minister…
Prior to his new political position, Beyer previously served as Deputy Director for the Center of Public Studies (CEP), a public opinion poll company. He’s also served as Education Committee Coordinator, working with Chile think-tank organization, the Tantauco Group. In 2008, Beyer also worked closely with the Council Rectors of Chilean Universities delegation. But most importantly, in 2006 Beyer sat on the Presidential Advisory Council, convened at the time by President Michelle Bachelet, to help address the ‘Penguin Revolution’ student protests.

Students leaders fear concern that… although Beyer possess genuine academic leadership expertise, his background includes little political experience; therefore it’s likely that his committee will be unable to meet their demands for an end to Chile’s class-based education system.

Challenge(s) ahead… Planning/executing a proactive strategy that diplomatically albeit efficiently resolves how to deal with mounting student protests, which polls show carry a 70% national approval rating supporting their demands.

Courtesy of Imguol.com

Brazil’s Minister of Education …….. Aloizio Mercadante
Age- 58 ; Born in- Santos, Brazil
Alma Mater- BA-Economics, University of São Paulo ;
MA and PhD- Economics, University of Campinas
Political Affiliation- Workers’ Party
Entered Office on- January 24th, 2012
Ministry of Education (MEC) website- www.Mec.Gov.br/

Before he was Minister…
Mercadante’s political career really began when he helped establish his political party system ‘The Workers’ Party’ in 1980. He was later nominated to office as a São Paulo State Senator between 2003 and 2010. After accepting President Rousseff’s 2011 cabinet bid nomination, he served as Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation until 2012 when he changed responsibilities.

Students/Professors/Academic leaders fear concern that… Mercadante’s committee will fail to create an education environment that helps two million voting teachers gain access to more adequate resources, professional training, and technological skills. Sustainable, improvements will only take place when national structural polices begin to change.

Challenge(s) ahead… Designing/implementing unprecedented reform to improve almost every aspect concerning education that will better prepare Brazil to handle the 2014 World Cup, and 2016’s Summer Olympics. Mercadante will also need to build programs that help Brazil reach a 30% university enrollment target and a 98% goal to put lower education children into school by 2022. There’s also a huge ‘regional inequality’ discrepancy between the country’s Northern and Southern cities and anxiety about the 1.7 million 15-17 year-old students currently not attending school.

Tackling the many issues causing bureaucratic rift between a government and the country’s academic institutions will understandably require patience, confidence, and several Ministries of Education entering and exiting office terms, but it’s the gradual cost necessary to make long-term reformation a reality. However, if Beyer, Mercadante and Latin America’s other representative candidates initiate a pledge to collectively start making a effort to fix higher education, then the entire region’s academic communities will be better served by their collaborations. Because after all, it’s not a true ‘reformation’ until the Ministers decide to play a leading part.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Research Reading Rec: The Media in Latin America by Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando

“A book’s worth should be measured by what you can learn & carry away from it.”
— James Bryce

Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Media in Latin America ; Released April 2008
As Latin America media systems continue to study and utilize the latest trends/technology to build stronger digital networks across the entire region, at the same time both governments and corporations have been examining different ways this revolution will benefit their specific individual interests. In his latest manuscript, Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando approaches this exact subject with a country-by-country analysis that explores relevant aspects of the media in each society.

While analyzing the interrelationship of Latin America’s regional media to issues involving ownership, regulation policy, film, music, advertising and digital networks remains a Herculean task –Dr. Lugo-Ocando rises to the challenge and provides exceptional observations. Indeed, any student, professor, or researcher that’s pursuing research addressing international socioeconomic issues or foreign diplomatic relations needs to order this title post-haste.

And because Dr. Lugo-Ocando’s book provides such an extensive, comprehensive and critical overview of Latin America’s most important media systems, renown academic leaders were eager to voice their enthusiastic praise. Ramesh Jaura, Chairman of the Global Cooperation Council, has toted the book as a fascinating text which “provides a comprehensive insight into the modern Latin America media landscape.”  Additionally, University of Glasgow Professor Philip Schlesinger testifies that, “For those who want to understand the current realities that shape media performance from the Gulf of Mexico to the Tierra del Fuego, here is the ideal beginning.”

Other works written by Dr. Lugo-Ocando include such titles as: Statistics for Journalists (2011), ICTs, Democracy & Development (2009), and Glosario para Periodistas (2001).

About Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando ;
Lecturer in Journalism Studies @ The University of Sheffield
Although he practices as an internationally known faculty expert, teaching Journalism Philosophy and Practices at one of the UK’s leading communications programs, Dr. Lugo-Ocando formerly worked as a field correspondent for numerous newspapers, magazines and radio stations in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. He received a MA degree from Lancaster University, then his PhD from the University of Sussex. His main research interests include examining ideas addressing South American Media Democratization and the interrelationship between the developing World and ‘Digital Technologies’.

Outside his academic work, Dr. Lugo-Ocando currently sits on the advisory board of OXFAM-GB’s ‘Asylum Positive Image Project’; serves as an Associate Editor to the Journal of Latin American Communication Research, and the academic journal Temas de Comunicacion.

In between research projects or teaching, Professor Lugo-Ocando travels frequently to speak at global conferences and has recently delivered guest lectures at various campuses including: Columbia University (New York), the Universidad de los Andes (Venezuela), and IQRA University (Pakistan). Keeping in trend to engage inquiring audiences both on and offline, one can connect with Dr. Lugo-Ocando via LinkedIn or follow his Twitter feed – @jairolugo.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Student Spotlight: Camila Vallejo’s Commitment to reform Chilean Higher Education

“Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?”
— Anne Frank

Courtesy of K12.KN3.net

The first time one sees a picture of Camila Vallejo, it’s an easy mistake to think that she closely resembles Catherine Zeta-Jones, or perhaps she looks like a distant Chilean relation to newly-minted royal Kate Middleton.  The 24-year old, Universidad de Chile student looks poised, bright-eyed, conversational and mostly nonchalant despite a growing paparazzi following that began documenting Vallejo’s life ever since early 2011.  This spotlight attention which constantly exposes her leadership efforts to bring change to Chile’s higher education system, echoes a true-to-life reality that history’s most admired figures all learned intimately: for those who enjoy substantial privilege, there comes a great responsibility.

Last spring Chilean college students started organizing the demonstration in order to voice their discontent about the country’s universities shortcomings to policymakers, and quickly nominated Vallejo as the movement’s premier spokesperson. Aware that such a role required one to stifle their anxiety, maintain composure and act peacefully, she eagerly pledged a commitment to support the initiative. One year later, her involvement receives international media coverage whether she’s traveling to meet with other Latin America students or just grabbing a coffee while waiting to begin the next speaking engagement.  A interview feature for UK-based, The Guardian, reports that the events concerning Chile’s higher education carry big political implications, “Sebastian Piñera, Chile’s president, has just 22% public approval ratings, the lowest ever in Chilean history.” Apparently the girl from Ipanema needs to take the back seat, because the world’s attention recently shifted to studying a young reformer hailing from La Florida.

Courtesy of http://www.Lupa.Io

Comparatively, although the ‘@GurlFromIpanema‘ describes herself as a ‘world traveler/saleswoman,’ who loves art, cocktails, and salsa; @Camila_Vallejo’s credentials date back to 2008 when she began acting as a prominent counselor to ‘Fech’ – also known as the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile.  Shortly after this, she was voted the organization’s November 2010 President.  It’s a shining testament to her character as the 105 year-old student union nominated only one other female president. Although her bid to win another presidential term failed, her growing web presence will certainly prepare one to endure a political career long term. In addition to building an extensive YouTube archive, her Twitter account alone connects with 590,000+ followers.

Moreover, Vallejo’s online presence also expresses the empathy she feels toward similar movements taking place all over Latin America. This past summer when Mexican university students kicked off the ‘#YoSoy132′ movement to contest recent Presidential election results, Vallejo made a trip to the capital, ready and willing to lend assistance wherever possible. These collaborative moments reassure the lingering doubts she maintains about creating truly sustainable changes.  She frequently points out how “in Chile we are constantly hearing the message that our goals are impossible and that we are unrealistic, but the rest of the world, especially the youth, are sending us so much support. We are at a crucial moment in this struggle and international support is key.” Indeed, such efforts to band together as Latin America students proves an advantageous strategy as they try to overcome every new challenge involving higher education reformation.

So how will a University of Chile alum turned ‘media powerhouse’, with such an extensive, international reputation play her next move? A book deal seems more rewarding than a reality TV show, so that’s exactly what Vallejo set to accomplish right before the year’s end. In Janurary 2013, Vallejo’s new book entitled Podemos Cambiar el Mundo (We Can Change the World) will come out highlighting a collection of op-ed pieces she’s written, that outline the many problems plaguing Chile’s incredibly dysfunctional higher education system.  The book also discusses what Vallejo predicts will need to happen if South American countries want to adequately prepare future students to enter an increasingly, competitive, global financial market.  Not including the book pre-orders from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. the title already pre-sold 3,000 copies when launched earlier this fall.

Fortunately, modern emerging media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogs allow a person to track the spotlight highlighting innovative education student leaders like Camila Vallejo, and support their efforts despite one’s physical address. And in watching Vallejo’s influence gain recognition more and more every day, it’s encouraging to know that her digital footprint serves as a positive reminder… any great change starts with a single, small action.

Buena Suerta mi Amiga y Continuarse!

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Brazil’s 2013 Plan at Hand: Fixing the Education Gap ASAP

“In the long term, most plans are of little importance but that said,
thoughtful planning is always essential.”
— Winston Churchill

This past summer, when the last 2012 London Olympics athletes finally left England with their medals in tow, and after the last Confetti gun was fired at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the whole UK let out a collective, appreciative sigh. Understandably worn out, her majesty’s government wasted no time in passing on the ‘Party Host’ torch (pardon the pun) to Brazil.  Their Southern Atlantic neighbor will spend the next four years serving as the official ‘Celebration Nation’ not just to the 2016 Olympics but also to the 2014 World Cup community.

Never mind Brazil’s infamous reputation concerning the ability to throw one fun carnival; that’s not exactly helpful when it comes knocking out a housekeeping ‘To-Do’ list many miles long.  Every Culture,  Tourism, and Engineering office continues to spend day and night strategizing ways to accommodate a guest list exceeding millions.  And forget the tea candles, place cards, or pressed napkins.  For now, the country’s education leaders will spend next year’s majority trying to fix the education gap that’s holding back amongst other things Brazil’s booming growth spurt.

While in São Paulo for BBC World News, Katty Kay’s latest report on this topic explains how looming concerns over slower economic growth, inflation, etc., stand to nullify every progressive educational benchmark Brazil’s surpassed since the early/mid 90s.  Moreover, the leading international research firm PISA, recently profiled national education systems, ranking Brazil 53rd.  It’s a concerning placement, taking into account that Brazil’s economy -now the world’s #6 GDP- just bumped the UK to spot #7 not all that long ago.  To point, Kay notes that if Brazil wishes to sustain noticeable progress, “it will require more than muscle to lift a country into modernity; they will need human resources too.”  And while it’s not an exact science,  the process to improve a nation’s ability to educate their domestic population needs to begin with reviewing all teacher feedback.

It’s extremely risky when a government, underestimates a teacher’s role (no matter the grade level) and their ability to influence the educational community locally, nationally, and abroad.  Speaking candidly with Kay about the subject, Priscila Cruz, a prominent Education Campaigner, reiterates that Brazil’s 2+ million teachers posses a great voting power.  In serving as the Executive Director to the organization, Todos Pela Educação, Cruz operates an invaluable company, using the latest technology and media to distribute countless necessary resources, in order to help any Brazilian teacher receive better professional training.  As a result when it comes to electing senior officials who have the power to change government policies concerning education, more teachers will cast knowledge votes.  Any social, economic, or political change relies upon the individual citizen’s ability to maintain a versed political understanding- all party loyalties aside.

As Kay’s article for BBC points out, it’s true that “over the past 20 years Brazil has done an impressive job of getting more students into the education system.”  However that success translates to a different problem, as enrolling more students, now requires schools to expand their class availability.  Furthermore, if teachers fail to receive extensive training before they actually start teaching their classes – the negative impact gradually trickles down and directly impacts every Brazilian student.  Although sophomoric, many young students voice their genuine understanding that gaining even the most basic education, acts as a passport that will eventually grant access to creating a successful future.  Such enthusiastic, insistent student potential deserves far more than an educational environment that underserves the teachers and their instructional materials.

Failing to implement such serious changes will not only hurt Brazil’s academic reputation internationally; there’s also weighty financial implications to consider.  It stands to reason that if Brazil’s working demographic isn’t sufficiently educated, then it will force the present and future commercial development to hire a labor force – not locally from Brazil – but more expensive professionals, eager to relocate overseas.  A Brazilian workforce lacking transferable skills, also jeopardizes the ability to diversify the nation’s economic activity.  It’s exceptionally dangerous for any country to rely on a single trade exchange, i.e. only exporting natural resources or supplying commodities to China.  Hence, if Brazil wishes to evolve past the ’emerging leader’ role then they must prepare to keep pace with Asia/US/European competition.

Without question, luck, timing and a rare geographic/coincidental proximity between two such monumental events like the Olympics and World Cup all give Brazil premium opportunity to show off the nation’s historic legacy and other strengths.  But in order to make this global presentation a truly successful, resonating performance they must first figure out how to redesign the way both lower/higher education rouses the population.  Once this internal enlightening begins, it’s only a matter of time before Brazil’s talent pool will flood into the market place.  It will serve Brazil well to follow their national motto more closely than ever over the next decade.  It’s an unremitting philosophy… Order first, then Progress.

Verdade, meus amigos, muito verdadeiro. // True, my friends, very true.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

@OliverStuenkel: A+ Media All Star and Int’l Relations Professor at Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas Institute

 “When you learn from great teachers, you will grasp much more from their hard work
and commitment than from their lecture style.”
― William Glasser

Courtesy of PostWesternWorld.com

Before discussing the brilliant Dr. Oliver Stuenkel and his on-going contributing efforts to improving one of Brazil’s premier universities, the Fundação Getulio Vargas or FGV as it’s referred to abroad; let’s briefly review some historical context.  Flashback seven decades ago… give or take a year… to 1944.

Overseas, the Allie/Axis national leaders so anxiously desperate to resolve World War II’s problematic consequences spent the year’s majority drafting/revising/finalizing numerous surrender treaties.  But several thousand miles across the Southern Atlantic, FGV’s founding advisory board gathered at the very first assembly to discuss an entirely different world issue: how to sustainably improve their nation’s higher education industry. It’s a relentlessly complex subject yet today -now well into the 21st century- FGV’s current leadership still upholds that earnest commitment to maintaining an exceptional standard when it concerns their nation’s education rankings.

The FGV campus continues to explore, develop and execute progressive ideas, all influencing how a higher education infrastructure, adequately prepares students to begin post-graduate life successfully.  Every class gives students numerous opportunities to interact with invaluable resources, teachers deliver inspiring lectures about how to apply classroom instruction to careers beyond academia; Perhaps most importantly FGV continues to recruit top industry talent ‘turned’ professors, as the newest additions to a fast-growing, remarkable, faculty roster.

Courtesy of FGV.Academia.Edu/OliverStuenkel

In Spring 2011 when FGV approached Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, International Relations Professor extraordinaire, to join their convivial teaching troupe, his reply to their position inquisition was an emphatic yes.  It’s advisable to colleges worldwide, that whenever possible, hiring multi-lingual, internationally versed PhD, media savvy, all star candidates like Stuenkel will only help ennoble education’s foremost audience, the students.  Indeed, any student entering the lecture hall will undoubtedly realize upon finishing his semester course (as long as they’ve gone to class), that they’re all the more wiser, mindful, and discerning thanks to the good professor’s knowledgeable instruction.  Beyond the classroom, Stuenkel’a main media website PostWesternWorld.com, openly shares his latest research findings, thoughtful article readings, and other links to his recent contributing writing.  It’s a tremendous library that continues to curate new, enlightening materials.

Comparatively, PostWesternWorld.com’s social media presence needs a slightly bigger fan base before reaching notoriety similar to Sir Richard Branson’s or Elon Musk’s.  However, its overall audience engagement isn’t terribly shabby when it comes to their Twitter, and Facebook accounts.  Stuenkel often posts extensive information about how to help support diverse philanthropic endeavors, and shares interviews he’s given while attending different conferences worldwide.  Take a few minutes to check out his recent discussion with the GEG Africa Project, while attending at a policy-making symposium at South Africa’s University of Pretoria earlier this fall.  The conversation highlights his recent observations about Brazil’s evolving philosophy toward the changing dynamics impacting global economic governance.

Courtesy of GegAfrica.com

In the same way an apprentice painter hopes to study under an industry master like Henri Matisse, Oliver Stuenkel’s online/offline teaching will better prepare all scholars intent to make their life’s career achieve prominence as a CEO, Engineer, Diplomat, etc.  More importantly, a first-year FGV undergraduate stands to learn as much from Stuenkel’s expressive media presence, as does a corporate Vice President with twice the work experience.  PostWesternWorld.com exemplifies a truly creative way to disperse expert information to the masses, when one makes a choice to work diligently at featuring only the most reflective content using the right emerging media platforms.  Each tutorial reviews provoking question that any future leader needs to contemplate and debate.

Realistically, there’s no possible way to design a truly comprehensive course load that will provide all the ‘right’ answers to future generations.  But if campuses like FGV continue to appoint such influential educators like Stuenkel, then higher education will improve all the more quickly.  It’s equally important that professors also keep a healthy balance between developing their academic work while also helping to advance their respective fields.  Hence, partnerships that connect leaders like Stuenkel to international organizations such as CEBRI.org serve a larger social purpose.  The resulting conversations ideally bring up new suggestions to improve such community issues like urban planning, international relations, and education.

When reading over the numerous achievements Dr. Stuenkel’s CV outlines, its encouraging to know that his leadership continues to engage the commercial and academic environments simultaneously.  It’s largely inconsequential as to whether one absorbs his mentorship online via a podcast session or spends a semester abroad to take his classes.  In time, the students who understands why Stuenkel stresses that all lessons carry a global, applicable context will start a career, already significantly more observant than their less insightful peers.  This fact alone makes all of Stuenkel’s previous pupils a powerful force to contend with; and really who’d expect anything less knowing they’ve spent ample time studying under Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, a clear reflection to FGV’s best.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

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
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

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