Ruta (27) from Lithuania, living in Dublin
Ruta – Entrepreneur and Growth Hacker
She calls herself an ‘Edupreneur’. Ruta loves working on technology ideas that empower people to have better lives and she wants to change education and the learning experience. We met Ruta to discuss her dream of a new social network and how technology is changing our lifes.
Ruta, what is your dream?
My dream is to create a different kind of social network. Think Facebook for learning – a personal learning network.
Why do you want to change the learning experience?
Learning has already changed. We learn by browsing Facebook, chatting on Twitter or watching a video on Youtube. We learn without realising it. Those news articles, marketing stories and friends’ holiday pictures stay in our minds. The problem is what do we spend our time on?
Many people don’t see social media as a place to learn but some do. Lets take educators for example. I learned so much from how they use Twitter as a learning resource. “Twitter is my professional development,” they say. There are thousands of educational chats on Twitter. Join in, make a comment or just simply listen to what others say. Read an article, watch a video posted by your virtual friend, and here you go, it sparks your creativity.
Learning for many people is boring. Social media by nature is entertaining. If we mix the two, more people might start learning new things. We keep talking about life-long learning but who is actually “doing” it? Technology can help, if we use it with such purpose. At the moment social networks collect our online behaviour data to show us ads. Why can’t social networking be applied for self-directed learning instead of advertising?
What is fascinating you about this kind of self-learning experience?
In some ways technology allows us to learn as we used to when we were children — explore, try, discover, follow our curiosity. There is so much interesting content out there for all tastes!
Moreover with all the knowledge at our fingerprints we can become experts in the field and create new opportunities in our lives simply by learning what we are interested in. Follow your passion and make a living out of it! Isn’t that the purpose of learning?
What do you think are the reasons for this kind of change in society and education ?
Technology has opened many doors for all of us. When so many people around the world use the same platforms (think Facebook, Twitter or Youtube for example), it’s a massive opportunity for knowledge exchange. You don’t need to enroll in a few year long course to build up your skills. Now you have an option.
Education and learning is changing, because our habits are changing. Society is changing. We will need different kind of products and services. We will need different kind of people creating those products and services. Media says that the future of jobs have not been invented yet. The question is who is going to prepare the future workforce?
Education has to change but education is an institution. It takes time to change institutions. I think it’s time to give learning back to people’s hands. Technology can make it happen.
How are you going to create this social network that would support self-directed learning?
When building any type of technology, community is a starting point. People always come before technology. In my case, people who create, make something. Whether you’re a freelancer, a talented student, a startup founder or an educator, the work you do is important. It makes a difference. Unless you don’t know how to promote your work online. “Creators Network” is a place where people like you learn how to build an online audience. Moreover it’s a global movement celebrating human potential and connecting creatives, entrepreneurs, educators and creators, people who stand up and share their talents with the world.
What would you recommend to other people that might have a dream, but don’t know how to realise it?
Just talk to people! That’s the best advice I’ve ever got. Go to events, meetups, or organise events yourself, meet potential co-founders, mentors and most importantly potential customers. Talk about the problem you want to solve. It will help you to narrow down your idea and to evaluate your skill set as well as the market opportunity. One tip from my side, take notes, document everything, whether in your paper notebook or in your Evernote on your phone. It will help you to draw conclusions and make a clear roadmap to make your dream a reality.