Category Archives: Community

Community, collaboration, content and conversations

We all watch Netflix and Amazon Prime at home why can’t we watch work related videos at work?

The way we do business is changing. Phones are becoming redundant from desks. Less people are doing the daily commute to the office as home work becomes more widely accepted. In marketing it use to be about position, placement and price. It’s now about building community, creating content, collaborating and conversations.

With this in mind the business tools we use on a daily basis need to measure up to these changing needs. Employees need to start creating content in communities with customers. The lower value information can be gained on demand at the point of need. Live video calls can then be used for the higher value interactions.

Watch and Learn is a catalyst to all this. Meeting face to face is important but what happens before and after? Take an annual event there is a spike of interest and then conversations die down. People might connect on LinkedIn or email and arrange follow up meetings. However this is only a small fraction of the total potential when it comes to conversations. Indeed at these events there is no smart matching of individuals to enable partnerships or customer transactions.

Watch and Learn builds rich communities which harvest people’s voices and videos making interactions feel more human. This gets away from the sea of emails which don’t build lasting relationships.

Private groups, timelines, playlists, profiles, direct messages allow for content creation, collaboration and conversations. Building community is the new smartest way to do business. It is more targeted, more convenient and a richer experience. Traditional phone calls after all are being replaced by video calls. The truth is we have to keep switching tools from video conferencing software, to email, to CRM and chat apps.

Watch and Learn is one platform where you can build community just in time or in real time. You communicate to people using their preferred method of contact be it text messages, voice messages, video calls, screencasts or live video calls.

Activating all of this leads to a more enjoyable and memorable business culture. Everything is transparent and relationships are built with full accountability and responsibility. There is no he said she said and it’s like a gold fish bowl with clear water. Most businesses are currently operating in an opaque world. Even if an organisation is open and transparent in outlook their systems don’t give this level of transparency all in one place. We all watch Netflix or Amazon Prime at home why can’t we watch more videos in the workplace? 

Learn more at

EdTech Europe 2015 Review, Kings Place, London

EdTech Europe 2015

EdTech Europe 2015

This year’s EdTech Europe was held at King’s Place in London near King’s Cross. The event sees investors, entrepreneurs and companies come together to share stories and to discuss the latest innovations, trends and solutions to the big problems facing EdTech.

IBIS Capital explained that education technology is the reset button for global economies. The jobs of the future need people to work with computers and some jobs are more at risk to the digital revolution than others.

The Head of Google Education, Liz Sprout, focussed her talk on what skills business leaders need in the modern workplace. Google conducted an extensive worldwide survey of business CEOs. Problem solving skills came top closely followed by teamwork, communication skills and critical thinking.

Google expeditions is driven by a new phenomenon called Google Cardboard. In essence Google Cardboard is a headset made out of cardboard and lenses with a smartphone attached to enable virtual reality experiences in the classroom. Kids in classrooms can be taken to places they have never been before. The cheap wearable devices can be purchased cost effectively for whole classrooms and change pupils entire outlook on learning through immersive virtual reality. Kids can go to up to 50 different world locations and teachers and can teach lessons in ways they have never done before.

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Sean Gilligan at EdTech Europe 2015, Kings Place, London

Another talk involved Rob Grimshaw of TES Global, Karine Allouche Salanon CEO of Pearson English Business Solutions and John Martin CEO of Sanoma learning focused on the teacher being at the centre if the education system. According to the panel, it’s the teacher that is the killer app. Finland’s PISA scores are significantly higher than that of the UK and France and thus there living standards and earning potentials are higher. Apparently a 25 points difference in PISA score represents $100,000 of lost earnings over a workers life time.

Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet  Co-Founder  EdTech Europe

Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet
EdTech Europe

2U’s founder Rob Cohen talked about their services to take top universities in the USA online. They explained how student enrolment and attraction tended to have a local bias. Prospective students living further away from a campus were less likely to enrol, even if the course was online. 2U are offering online degrees for universities at the same cost and with same certificate. Whilst the university is in control of enrolment and certification, 2U provides the content, recruitment service and enables the traditional universities journey to widen their reach online.

SOLE Self Organised Learning Environment

SOLE Self Organised Learning Environment

A further panel involved Maurice de Hond, the founder of the Steve Jobs School based in The Netherlands, A French School Lycee International de Londres and Anne Preston, a Researcher from SOLE Central at Newcastle University. Maurice de Hond explained that simply adding new technology to old schools is an expensive exercise. What is actually needed is a new learning experience and classroom environment. Sugata Mitra is resident at Newcastle University and has been spending many years on his School in the Cloud project which is all about SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environments). In SOLEs, the role of the teacher changes from the transmitter of information to more of a coach and a researcher of data analytics. This new model allows for self paced, personalisation of learning and adaptive learning which is tailor made to the needs of the learners. There is no lesson plan and the learning is unstructured i.e. self organised. This way if one pupil is struggling they are given more time to catch up with the rest of the class. This is what some people believe will be the smart classroom of the future.

Solar Powered iPads for Learning

Solar Powered iPads for Learning

OneBillion is a project help provided learning and teaching solution to children in Malawi. In Malawi there are usually 9,000 pupils in a school with classroom sizes of 250 pupils per class. OneBillion use solar powered iPads to increase the learning opportunities for these children, and the curriculum is delivered in the local language. A similar project running in Kenya by Avanti Communications Group beams broadband into schools using satellites. Often the developing world is moving quicker towards a mobile first, cloud first approach to teaching and learning, given the lack of fixed line internet and the availability of 3G and 4G. These stories are touching ways that education technology can make a real impact on the life chances of people in poorer nations. Certainly, the much shorter school days on the African continent can be extended by the use of digital technology. EdTech can be an education leveller, and can reach students less fortunate than ourselves.

Khan Academy Self Paced Learning

Khan Academy Self Paced Learning

Indeed Sal Khan of Kahn Academy was then beamed into the lecture auditorium to talk about his massively successful not-for-profit education platform. Khan Academy first came under the spotlight when Bill Gates mentioned the project in a TED talk a few years back. The platform allows millions of students globally, in different languages, to study self paced Maths, Physics, Biology and Chemistry. The idea started when Sal was teaching his cousins Maths over the internet by posting Maths videos to YouTube. The most touching story was to see a Princeton STEM graduate come top of his class using Khan Academy. The student went on to state that he would not have made it to University if it was not for the Khan Academy and that the platform had changed his life. He had been failing time and time again in the traditional classroom and it was only the introduction of Khan Academy that saved him on his learning journey. Khan Academy is now in the process of broadening its reach, both in terms of subjects and in terms of languages.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity is life long learning; mapping the skills needed for graduates and the workforce at large to learn the skills needed for their ideal job and then to stay in that job. Understanding what the consumer (i.e. the learner) wants and then mapping out a learning path for these individuals would provide the personalisation of learning needed for career success.

Education spending continues to rise without a proportionate improvement in standards and learning outcomes. Education technology has the power to change this as long as the software, content and devices are easy for teachers to use. Shifts are happening in learning. Technology does not equal engagement. Information is all around us, Google can tell you the answer to anything. What is more important is how you understand the information and how you apply it.

Questions are more important than answers. We don’t know what the future will be so how can we teach for this? We know that graduates today will have 27 different jobs in their lifetime. The boundaries between working and learning are merging. Industry aligned curriculum is needed at the pace that the tech industry moves. Everyone is a tech company; Goldman Sachs now has more developers than Facebook. Industries are going digital. This means we can reach more people and we can engage them in different ways. Learning technology has to have great user experience; it must work on mobile phones and fit around people’s lives. Once this happens we will have passionate, excited audiences, who from their personal dashboards and feedback will be able to change the world.

Following EdTech Europe we will be hosting an EdTech Conference in Leeds more details are here:

Create your Character Competition

Judging our Create your Character competition

I Judging our Create your Character competition

It’s not X Factor nor is it Strictly Come Dancing but judging our Create your Character competition is a great honour to undertake. Children from up and down the country have spent many hours inside and outside of school creating their own inspirational characters. Imaginations have run wild and the best characters will be included as avatars in our Learnanywhere learning platform. It’s great to see kids using Learnanywhere but it’s even better getting pupils to contribute back to the product itself. Good luck to one and all who have entered the competition and may the best characters win!

Sean Gilligan speaks to Invest in Bradford

I would like to share with you a video I filmed recently for Invest in Bradford, an organisation that we are proud to work with as a fast growing business in our local community.

Here I outline some of the reasons for Webanywhere’s growth, and the role of local community community support in that growth.

From organisations such as Invest in Bradford and The Bradford University School of Management to individuals such as Tony Reeves, CEO of Bradford Council, and local MP Chris Hopkins, Webanywhere has benefited tremendously from the energy, resources and knowledge contained within our local area, and are proud to repay that support by creating high value jobs and opportunities.

As I mention in the video, we are fast approaching our 10th Anniversary – watch out for upcoming announcements on our birthday celebrations!

Leah’s Road to Rio

The greater the challenge, the greater the motivation

Leah Moorby & Sean Gilligan, Webanywhere

One of my core values has always been engaging with the community. Webanywhere seek to create high quality employment opportunities in the Keighley area, build on our strong links with local schools and faith organisations, and also support outstanding individuals and causes in the community as they strive for ambitious goals.

As part of this Webanywhere are sponsoring Leah Moorby, a local secondary school student with incredible Taekwondo talent. She has quickly risen to international standard, and is experiencing great success on the European tournament circuit, recently winning gold in the Parks Pokal Taekwondo Open Championship in Stuttgart and the Dutch Masters in Rotterdam.

Her aim is to get to the Olympics, to Rio in 2016, or elsewhere in 2020 (at which time she will still be only 20!), following in the footsteps of Jade Jones, who captivated the nation in winning Taekwondo gold for Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics.

This is a huge challenge, but Leah is up to it!

The road to the Olympics is an expensive one, which is why I am delighted to be able to contribute to the costs involved in traveling to international tournaments. Leah has a great support team, (including her father Gary, a former professional Rugby League player and coach of Keighley Cougars), and has a fighting chance of achieving her dreams.

I will keep you posted on how Leah progresses – good luck from the Webanywhere team!

Leah & Sean