Why we started RoundPier
It was in Africa where I was struck with the idea that would eventually become RoundPier (www.roundpier.com). One of my previous jobs provided me the opportunity to travel throughout and experience many different parts of Africa. The lack of information about various educational opportunities has been impacting communities there for a long time. As I always believed in the power of educational environment and learning from others, I thought that by offering young people and their parents a chance to see what their peers around the world are doing would encourage them to explore new activities and help their development. After a number of attempts to try and find something online it was clear that while there are a lot of educational applications and platforms none of them really capture the development of the student or allow a student to highlight his or her “real” achievements.
It is surprising to see that young people use social media and technology so much but receive very little meaningful content from it. I agree that Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are fun and there is no better place to post a picture with a puppy face filter. And I also understand that new generation is communicating differently. But kids do spend a big part of their day either in academic or extra-curricular environment yet they don’t have a dedicated platform to explore, discuss, get encouraged and have new opportunities come to them. They have very few resources to learn more about the school they will attend next, various extra-curricular opportunities available around them and the type of students already attending those schools or activities.
With the arrival of our own kids, we realized, as parents, we face a similar problem even in the developed world. From the first days we want to know what other kids are doing at a certain age and how they are developing. While there are plenty of online resources for parents of newborns and toddlers there are very few for active parents of older kids who spend a lot of time on education and development of their children. As a family, we labor over finding activities and educational organizations for our children. This means doing hours of research and endless conversations with other parents. Wouldn’t it be great if a place existed where we could see what others are doing to develop themselves, achieve results and simply have fun while learning something new?
On the other hand, teachers, tutors, coaches and various other education professionals and organizations have a few options where they can communicate, sell their content or offer their services. Yet there is nothing that unites them and creates an environment where they too can learn from one another, discover new opportunities and, most importantly, positively influence their students. Education doesn’t end in class and educators are probably one of the biggest influencers of their students. Why not allow them to continue influence students beyond their classroom?
So, what means can we all use? There a number of online and offline resources addressing questions above including mainstream social networks, marketplaces etc. But a lot of good educational content gets lots on Facebook and in many regions educators are not allowed to use it despite having a potential of being a good educational tool. A picture of the winning debate team on Instagram doesn’t tell the whole story and hours they put in to get there. A profile of a tutor or summer program on a marketplace is nothing until we have someone we know recommending them. We dream of RoundPier as the dedicated community where all of the above can come to connect, share, interact, and learn from one another. We want to eliminate the fear of missing out and increase the hope of better reaching one’s full potential.