Building a Safer Social Network for Students and Teachers – Andrew West, UK

When it comes to critical 21st century skills, communication is at the top of the list, and rightly so. But for students and teachers, basic communication – or lack thereof – often represents a significant obstacle to effective teaching and learning.

For one creative edu-preneur and his partner, that challenge inspired an exciting new start-up: WAMedu. I had the pleasure of meeting WAMedu co-founder Andrew West at the recent BETT Show in London, and I learned that smart solutions to familiar communication barriers are close at hand.

“We wanted to build something that answered real-life, daily, painful frustrations that students and teachers have,” West told me. To do that, he and partner Harry Jawanda spent time in schools, holding focus groups with both teachers and students.  

Their research confirmed what many of us already suspect: students not only don’t use e-mail, most don’t have a way to access it quickly on their smart devices. Teachers, on the other hand, see e-mail as the only safe and secure way to connect with their students. The result? Teachers and students simply aren’t connecting outside of the classroom.

That’s where WAMedu comes in. The UK-based company provides schools, colleges and universities with a private social network that enables staff and students to connect and collaborate in a safe, secure environment. It’s a promising approach.

In today’s Daily Edventure, West also describes his journey to entrepreneurship – one that started when he and his partner played competitive field hockey together and continued as they pursued banking careers. In the end, the opportunity to innovative for the benefit of education won out, and I’m glad it did. Enjoy!

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