ELearning and education technology are two of the hottest areas in the tech industry currently. Startups are attacking this area from many different angles. While some companies, such as Coursera, are trying to transplant the traditional experience of college-level education onto the Internet, many other companies are trying alternative methods to propagate learning on the web and through technology. One such cool person who is working to accomplish this is Emily Foote. Foote is the co-founder and vice president of curricular design at ApprenNet. ApprenNet is a web-based learning tool that Foote and her colleagues designed to promote educational discussion about a variety of topics. Foote is a co-founder of the company and an originator of the idea. She handles the curriculum and the application of it ApprenNet programs while her partners and other co-founders—Karl Okamoto and Paul Tzen—handle other aspects of the company. Okamoto works with business aspects as CEO and Tzen is the engineer who builds the backbone of ApprenNet’s software. Since Foote and her team designed the ApprenNet product for use in large institutions, organizations that want to use the product will need large-scale computer support help to integrate and maintain it.
ApprenNet works by creating discussion groups that respond to both videos and text posts. First, there is a video depicting a real-world scenario. Students create short video responses to the scenario, expressing what they think or feel about the subject. Foote’s product then lets students create video responses to each other and propagate discussion on the subject. Using video replies as opposed to standard text posts is important to ApprenNet’s model. The video replies create a more personalized discussion. They also allow for more engagement than the pseudo-anonymous feel of text posts on the Internet. ApprenNet also has experts on most subjects as part of their network. This allows students to both watch what experts have to say and read their textual responses, giving them new perspectives on subject material. Any students who have trouble accessing these features likely need online tech support assistance.
Before founding ApprenNet with her business partners, Foote worked as a special education attorney for McAndrews Law Offices. She received her law degree from Drexel University in 2010. Before becoming an attorney, Foote worked as a teacher in Philadelphia. She is also a Teach For America alumna, having participated in the program from 2002 through 2004. With her extensive background in education, Foote certainly has the tools to succeed in her current position at ApprenNet.
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