What is a Zulama Learning Ecosystem?

—Nikki Navta, CEO Zulama

It doesn’t take students long to discover that for most of Zulama’s courses, there is no final test that they can read a book for. Then they think, “Wait, what are we here for anyway?”

We view each of our courses as a chance to build a community of like-minded students and teachers. A certain level of “forced participation” exists, since students must demonstrate a certain amount of competency to pass a course. But nobody can force participants to commit. And commitment is the glue of an ecosystem.

Our students and teachers come together to study topics in which they have a common interest. Students may want to figure out if video game programming is a possible career path, so they try it out. Maybe a student who loves to read horror fiction wants to try writing their own original stories. Choosing to participate in a Zulama course implies a certain level of commitment, resulting in a quality experience that can be life-changing.

Anyone who is forced to be there, we don’t want to have them there anyway!

Fundraising Idea for Schools

Those of us in the “older generation” often turn to our children and neighbor’s kids for help when we get stuck with a technology problem. From programming the VCR to learning about new online services, kids just seem to intrinsically “get it”.  Seems as if that’s a vast resource of wealth and knowledge that could be tapped by schools for a variety of reasons.

Suppose, for instance, that middle and high school students were available during certain hours of the week at their computer lab to help community members with their tech problems. Not hard drive problems or other hardware issues, but rather teaching the old fogeys how to use Facebook, or share their photos with Flickr, or video conference with their grandkids on Skype. Students learn how to tutor and teach, and the whole community gets more tech-savvy. Maybe the help provided seems worthy of a donation to the computer lab, or to the students for their college funds.

I know I’d pay for an hour of a high-schoolers undivided attention to help with those computer problems that I generally work around but would actually love to solve!

Many of our local schools love Zulama’s courses and are planning to pilot us in the fall, but are worried about how to continue funding them after the pilot pricing expires. Wonder if Zulama could help. Any ideas?!