Online Learning & the Future of Education with Outschool Founder Amir Nathoo
This week’s episode is a conversation with the co-founder and CEO of online learning platform Outschool Amir Nathoo about alternative education models. We talk about why educational alternatives are so critical in preparing all kids for the future, as well as get an inside look into the mission and vision for Outschool, learn more about how it successfully creates community through virtual classes, ways in which classes are designed to support students with different learning styles, and much more.
If this conversation sparks you to explore and enroll at Outschool, be sure to use the code TILT to get a $20 credit towards your first class.
About Amir Nathoo
Amir Nathoo is CEO of Outschool, a marketplace for live online classes for K-12 learners. Amir worked at Square, leading the development of Square Payroll. Previously, he served as CEO and co-founder of Trigger.io, a development platform for creating native mobile apps. He holds an MEng in Electrical and Information Sciences from The University of Cambridge. Amir lives in San Francisco with his wife Kirsty and their two children.
Things you’ll learn from this episode
- How Outschool grew through COVID and how online learning has changed over the past two years
- How alternative ways of learning are helping prepare our kids for the future
- The crucial part that community plays in Outschool’s platform and what it offers families
- How Outschool supports different types of learners and why it has attracted neurodivergent learners from the very beginning
- How Outschool finds and onboards teachers and how they develop their classes
- Amir’s tips for parents on vetting online learning programs to determine if they are right for their child/ren
Resources mentioned for Outschool & Online Learning
- How to Prepare Differently Wired Kids for an Uncharted Future (podcast episode)
- Matt Barnes on Embracing a New 21st Century Learning Model (podcast episode)
- Nurturing Creativity to Help Children Thrive, with Terry Roberts (podcast episode)
This Season’s Sponsor: Outschool
I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for resources that can help differently wired kids build skills in areas like executive functioning, emotional regulation, and better understand how their brain is wired, especially during the back-to-school season. So, I love that Outschool offers tons of live classes like The Power of Impulse Control, Sketchnoting for the ADHD Brain, Mastering Math with Minecraft, Autism Lego Club, Executive Function Skills for Success, Friendship Skills, and much more.
In these and more than 150,000 other classes on every topic under the sun, Outschool takes kids ages 3 to 18 beyond the classroom through small, live classes taught by expert teachers, all through an accessible online learning platform.
CLICK HERE to learn more about how Outschool can support your child’s learning journey, and use the code TILT to get a $20 credit towards your first class.
Debbie Reber 00:00
Tilt Parenting is proud to partner with Outschool, this podcast season. Outschool’s unique approach to education empowers differently wired kids ages three through 18 to dive into their interests in small live classes designed to foster a love of learning, create connections. and cultivate independence. Learn more at outschool.com/tilt.
Amir Nathoo 00:22
You know, we also had this realization, you know, some businesses might think, Oh, well, that’s niche, you know, how many neurodivergent kids are there really. But that’s, well, a, you know, it’s easy to underestimate just how many there’s also like categorical thinking. Like, it’s not just people who are kind of categorized as neurodivergent, who are different, everyone is different. The idea that there’s like, one dominant way of thinking is just wrong. And so you start to realize that by intentionally seeking to serve communities who are underserved and who have unique needs, you’re actually developing the capability to serve everyone.
Debbie Reber 01:07
Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host, Debbie Reber. If you’ve been listening to this season of the podcast, you know that the online learning platform Outschool has been the sole sponsor, I was really excited to work with Outschool because I truly believe in its mission and the learning opportunities it provides for differently wired kids. So I really enjoyed getting to have this conversation without school co-founder and CEO Amir Nathoo, about alternative education models, and why they’re so critical and preparing all kids for the future, as well as to get an inside look into the mission and vision for outschool. Learn more about how they successfully create community through their virtual classes, and ways in which their classes are designed to support students with different learning styles. Before founding outschool, my guest, Amir Nathoo, worked at Square leading the development of Square Payroll, and Previously he served as CEO and co-founder of trigger.io, a development platform for creating native mobile apps. Amir holds an MEeng in Electrical and Information Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Kirsty and their two children. And if this conversation sparks you to explore and enroll in classes at Outschool, be sure to use the code TILT to get a $20 credit toward your first class. And before I get to my conversation with the mirror, I have a quick announcement about a special live event I’m hosting next week. My friend Dr. Devorah Heitner, an expert in screens and technology use and kids and the author of screen wise will be joining me for a live 90 minute workshop we’re calling The Big Tech Reset. This event is for parents who are feeling overwhelmed by their kids obsession with things like discord and social media are worried about their child’s deep interest in online gaming, the impact of screen life on their sleep, access to inappropriate online content and social conflicts stemming from their tech use that is adding to stress. I should note this conversation is not going to be covering blocking apps and parental controls. This is more about navigating and coming up with solutions for screen and tech use in a way that feels better for the whole family. The big tech reset is happening next Tuesday, August 23 at 7pm. Eastern and the recording will be made available for people who registered but can’t attend live. To learn more about the big tech reset and sign up. Just go to tiltparenting.com/techreset. That’s tiltparenting.com/techreset. Thanks so much. And now here is my conversation without school founder and CEO Amir Nathoo.
Debbie Reber 04:01
Hey, Amir, welcome to the podcast.
Amir Nathoo 04:03
It’s fantastic to be here. Good to be talking to you.
Debbie Reber 04:06
Yeah, this is a different kind of conversation than we usually have on this show. But I really think the timings perfect with just what we’ve seen in education in the past couple years. I feel like the world is changing so fast. And what Outschool offers and how it supports students of all kinds, I think is really exciting. So I want to get into that. But before we do that, would you tell us a little bit about yourself? I would really like to hear a little bit of your story and how you came to co-found Outschool.
Amir Nathoo 04:34
Yeah, absolutely. You know, there were many influences on me in founding Outschool. A key one was my own experiences when I was young, of learning outside of school. I went to some fantastic schools. I grew up in England, I went to a selective state school and I studied at the University of Cambridge, but some of the most meaningful impactful learning experiences for me happen outside of School. I’m really grateful for my parents for that, because I was very lucky in having both parents as being teachers. And they supported me a lot, both in my core schoolwork, but also in other learning experiences. And a specific key learning experience for me was when my dad bought me an early computer to play computer games on when I was somewhere between five and seven years old. And he saw my interests over time to actually start programming my own computer games. And he helped me find resources to nurture my interest in computers, not because he thought it was going to turn into a career or an important thing, there was no clue of that back then. But just because he and my mom both believed in helping me to pursue interests. And that was an absolutely key influence, because Outschool is all about enabling kids to pursue their interests outside of regular school. That’s where the name comes from. That was a key influence amongst you know, many others in terms of like thinking about where the world of education is going, and what’s going to be needed for the future.
Debbie Reber 06:01
I’m curious to know how it’s connected to your personal why, like, on a deeper level, what makes you so excited about the work that you do and what you’re doing for kids all over the world?
Amir Nathoo 06:12
Well, you know, I got to think about my own education and to the influences that I just talked about, because, you know, around the time when I was thinking about my next startup, and where I wanted to build next, I was also thinking about starting a family. So that led me down a train of thought, because I wanted to kind of integrate my life and have my work be meaningful and relevant to my family and future family. So I didn’t have kids back then when we found Outschool in 2015. Now I have a three and a half year old and a one year old. And on my three and a half year old on his third birthday, he finally got to take out school classes. And, you know, I was really kind of excited, really worried as to whether he would actually like it because I kind of built the whole thing for him. I’m very happy to say he really enjoyed it. You know, Dad’s over-enthusiasm didn’t put him off. And now he takes like three or four classes a week on top of his part time preschool. And so just like building the kind of educational products that was both influenced by my learnings from when I was a kid, and then also relevant to my own family was very, very important to me.
Debbie Reber 07:22
I’m curious to know what that first class was.
Amir Nathoo 07:26
I think it was one about planets, we’ve done so many senses, actually hard to remember, I took two or three with him on that first day, there’s one about planets, there was one about marine mammals, and one which was just like storytime. So yeah, they were really good. Now he takes one on numbers, he has a weekly show Intel class where the kids kind of show their toys to each other and practice kind of social skills of taking turns, and all of that. So obviously very age appropriate for three year olds. But you know, the great thing is like, we cover classes from age three to 80. So my hope is that this will be part of his education for many, many years.
Debbie Reber 08:06
For sure, that’s awesome. I homeschooled my child. My child is going to be a senior in high school in a few weeks. But we homeschooled for six years. And we took I think it was a Minecraft Outschool class many, many years ago, and there weren’t that many classes to choose from, I think it was earlier on in Outschool. Now there are so many classes to choose from, I’d love to hear a little bit about that kind of growth. And again, in the context of what’s happening in the world. Like I imagine that COVID was a really interesting time for our school and for other online learning platforms. Because I feel like it really changed everything. It changed everything in terms of how we view learning, recognizing that some kids learn better online, some kids don’t, some kids need more interaction, like it’s just a very interesting time. So I’d love to hear a little bit about Outschool through COVID. And kind of what that path has looked like that growth.
Amir Nathoo 09:01
Yeah, you know, it’s been a very interesting time of change through COVID, as you might imagine, in education in general, and especially with online education. And we now have over 10,000 teachers teaching 140,000 classes, when at the start of COVID, we had 1000 teachers, and it started COVID I think we’ve served 80,000 learners and now we’ve served over a million learners worldwide. So it’s been a time of incredible change. When I think about it, I also think about our roots and how we started which is still very, very relevant today. And it’s interesting that you brought up homeschooling because that was also a key influence. You know, I’ve talked about other key influences, the other personal one of wanting something to build something that my own kids will use, and then realizing based on my own experiences the power and importance of out of school learning. Well, when we started we identified a group of families who already did out of school learning and we’re innovating. And those were secular homeschoolers. And we realize that no one had really built a platform for them. And so we conceived outschool as a platform initially, for homeschoolers, and then bringing some of the philosophy and the ideas from homeschooling, and especially kind of unschooling and self directed learning philosophies into mainstream education. And you know, what COVID did, apart from, you know, very much accelerating our business, I think it has also forced parents to really take a hard look at their educational choices first, because they have no choice in doing so everything changed overnight. And of course, what parents experienced during COVID wasn’t homeschooling, it was some variance of school at home for the most part. But in the process of that change, I think it knocked a lot of families out of their default mode of thinking about education, and some forms, learning paths. Others realize the kind of material and methods that were being used inside a regular school and realized that really wasn’t working for that kid. And still others found different ways of learning that did work for their kid. And so I think what has happened coming out of COVID is yes, to a certain degree, things have returned to normal. But the challenges with the school system have been exacerbated, and families’ eyes have been opened both to what the kids really, really need, and to other alternatives. And so that’s why our school has continued to see tremendous growth coming out of COVID. And, you know, in general, there’s been, like big changes in terms of families, adoption of homeschooling, or adoption of alternative education methods. And I don’t think this is just about online learning. It’s also the philosophy of education, and just the realization more viscerally for many families, that what they thought was the default doesn’t work for their family.
Debbie Reber 11:57
Yeah, and isn’t necessarily preparing kids for the future in the way that used to be right. I’ve done a couple episodes on the show about the future of education about the importance of self-directed learning about the gifts that neurodivergent kids have, and how we tap into those strengths through these alternative paths. And also, what is the future going to look like for these kids and knowing that their trajectory is not necessarily going to look the same. And so that’s what gets me really excited about everything that is available through old school, and just all of the new alternatives that are happening for learners everywhere. It’s a really exciting time, I think,
Amir Nathoo 12:37
I think it is, in terms of the options that I think there has ever been a time that there are more options in terms of educational philosophy, access to teachers and subjects, you know, that the promise of the internet was that we’d have human knowledge, and increasingly kind of human connection and other people at our fingertips that that has played out. So it’s transformed various industries. Education has been slower to transform in the light of that, but I think that’s been has been happening and is happening accelerated right now. And it must happen. But as you point out, I think there’s a lot of anxiety and rightly so amongst families, and how can we prepare best prepare our kids for the future, when things are changing so fast, and the standard path no longer seems enough, or you just do the right things, get your grades in school, get a college degree, and you’ll be fine. I don’t think anyone really believes that anymore. It’s not enough, it’s not staying future proof, things will have to change in a much larger and more dramatic way and faster. And there’s limits to how fast that change can happen within very large institutions and the regular school system. That’s not to say it won’t happen. I think schools will evolve too. But you know, there needs to be other methods developed in parallel.
Debbie Reber 13:52
I do think there are some families who are still holding on like, they’re not ready to give up that path. But the way that it’s always looked, but what I see in that excites me is it’s almost like this is democratizing learning in a whole new way. It’s just providing so much more access to so many subjects and interests, you know, ways to dive deep into areas of interest that wasn’t possible before. And that’s, I think it’s really cool. I would love to talk about the social and community piece because that is something that especially for homeschoolers, that was something that was always really important to me, it’s hard to create community, I guess it virtually or it can be but it is you really have designed this to be a social and community based experience. Can you talk about that?
Amir Nathoo 14:37
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, as you point out our online classes on one-on-one tutoring exclusively, you know, there are many companies that focus on one tutoring. We do have one on one tutorial site, but from the get go, this was all about a core of small group classes. And I think small group classes have tremendous benefits. In terms of learners, learning from each other, the engagement that that creates, and also just the perspective widening that it can create, to kind of be in class and get to know people from around the country around the world, people from different backgrounds and from different perspectives. And so we’ve always seen the small group format has caught our school as transformative. And there’s plenty of studies that have been done that suggest the format is more engaging, and small groups, as opposed to kind of large classes, or just content get better results. And then the economics are also compelling was parents can pay less than one on one tutoring for more engaging experience, and teachers can earn more. So it’s always been a key part of it. And that connection between learners and a teacher kind of live is core to what we do, and I believe is the is the future of education, I don’t see a world where families are happy to have their kids learn from an AI. I think that the core value in education is kids coming together with other kids and facilitators or coaches or trained adults to develop together. And how they do that, and what the subjects are, all that stuff will change. And yes, there’ll be some subjects like maybe language learning where you can kind of learn in an automated way through an app. Sure, that will be there. But you know, fundamentally, I think, education learners like exploration of what it means to be human, and what the current state of human knowledge isn’t achieved in a group. So I see that as intrinsic. And yet in a world where it’s more and more difficult to get you genuine human connection where you might not even know your neighbor, or you want to personalize your kid’s education and take homeschooling route, but then where’s your community is going to be more and more important that there is no alternative communities, and we try and create that through through our school around learning, not just in class, but also just in your parents and, and teach groups that’s always been part of our thesis about kind of future of education and what we provide.
Debbie Reber 17:05
So I know that one of our schools core values is to celebrate individuality. And that’s something that again, like gets me excited, and everyone listening to the show is either parenting or supporting neurodivergent kids. And they all have their own unique learning styles and challenges and strengths. And so I’m just wondering, what does that actually look like in action? What does it look like to support different types of learners? And how does that show up in Outschool?
Amir Nathoo 17:35
That’s such an interesting question. We’ve had so many neurodivergent kids and families attracted to us from the very earliest days. And I think the reason is the tremendous variety that we provide both in terms of learning groups, the topics for teachers that couldn’t possibly be available locally, in conjunction with the flexibility that we have, in teachers able to offer age ranges. Rather than set classes that are for a particular age, or grade level, teachers are able to offer unusual classes that will not typically be offered for a particular age level. And thus, through the Marketplace hits particular individualized needs that are very, very difficult to satisfy elsewhere, like the very, very first class on our school. And when we’re just testing the idea and testing a prototype was a friend of mine, who was a grad student at UCSF, studying stem cells. And he offered a class I said, Hey, look, why don’t we try and have you offer a class who’s very charismatic speaker, just trying to offer a class on stem cells for 1212 year olds who are gifted 12 year olds, I will just see if there’s any demand for it sold out. So stuff like that, just unusual topics, presented in interesting ways for age ranges or environments where they’re not typically offered. And that’s the real strength of both the marketplace model, where teachers are free to experiment and meet those unique needs. And both have the strength of the live online format, where it’d be very hard to meet all those unique needs kind of locally. And whereas when you have the whole world at your fingertips becomes much easier. So for that reason, we’re always always always attracted neurodivergent kids and families. And then we also have this realization, you know, some businesses might think, Oh, well, that’s niche, you know, how many neurodivergent kids are there really. But that’s, well, it’s easy to underestimate just how many there’s also like categorical thinking. Like it’s not just people who are kind of categorized as neurodivergent who are different, everyone is different. The idea that there’s like, one dominant way of thinking is just wrong. And so you start to realize that by intentionally seeking to serve communities who are underserved and who have unique needs, you’re actually developing the capability to serve everyone better. And that’s why we’re always focused on serving underserved communities, including kind of neurodivergent families and kids. And that’s intrinsic to kind of how we operate. And so, you know, it’s hard though, you know, as we’ve grown, we need to continue to educate teachers and other families on what it means to be in a class with families and kids from different backgrounds. And that’s a continual area of investment for us to really kind of educate the real world and market about the issues here. And sorry, this is an area that also excites me, so I’m talking a lot. I will say one more thing. Along those lines. You know, one thing I’m personally involved with is donating to and supporting your upcoming documentary called The G Word, G being gifted, which aims to challenge some misconceptions about giftedness. And to kind of explain in a kind of public and accessible way, what it is, and so raise awareness around issues like that.
Debbie Reber 21:01
Nice plug for The G Word. I’m on the advisory board for that documentary. And so I’m so glad you mentioned it, and Marc, or someone from the team, is going to be back on the show in the fall to celebrate Gifted and Talented Awareness Week. So that’s awesome.
Debbie Reber 21:18
And now, a quick break for a word from our sponsor. I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for resources that can help differently wired kids build skills in areas like executive functioning, emotional regulation, and better understanding how their brain is wired, especially during the back to school season. So I love that Outschool offers tons of live classes like the power of impulse control sketchnoting for the ADHD brain, mastering math with Minecraft, autism, Lego club, executive function skills for success, friendship skills, and much more. In these and more than 150,000 other classes on every topic under the sun, Outschool takes kids ages three to 18, beyond the classroom, through small live classes taught by expert teachers all through an accessible online learning platform, to learn more about how Outschool can support your child’s journey at outschool.com/tilt. And now back to the show.
Debbie Reber 22:22
My brain, I want to go in so many different directions, but I’m going to rein it in. But I will just say it is really interesting, I think talking about part of your work is educating families and parents in the bigger community about all the variances, right, not just neuro divergence, but this global community. I just interviewed Dr. Joseph Lee for the podcast. And we were talking about social emotional learning. And it’s just so important that we have exposure to different types of people, and kind of deepen our awareness and understanding of how other people move through the world. So that’s a really cool aspect of what you’re doing. I did want to talk about teachers, you said you have 10,000 teachers, so I’m, I’m just curious, how do you vet and find teachers for all of these classes and get them on board, because the community you’re serving is always growing and evolving. And it’s just kind of a moving target.
Amir Nathoo 23:16
Yeah, you know, we invest a lot of effort there and have teams focus on, you know, our teacher onboarding, teacher approval, class approval, so we can that’s a quality and expertise, for safety with background checks. And then, of course, you know, various professional development offerings that we offer to teachers so that they can both be successful on our platform from a business perspective, but also introducing them to, you know, best practices that we’ve learned over time, make for Metro, great our school class and the inclusive experience on the platform. So we invest there, both in terms of full time team members, and a team focused on all of that. But then also, you know, that expands out into our community. So you know, we have things like we contract some teachers from our community to help with that. So it’s not just like our full time team members, but it’s community members helping with that. And, you know, Ambassador programs where you experience our school teachers share their knowledge, I think our school is a multi-layered organization, whereas yes, there’s the business, but then there’s the community surrounding it. And we really try to integrate our business and our team into that community in order to have the impact that we want.
Debbie Reber 24:25
And in terms of the classes, so, listeners, if you haven’t been on our school’s website, you should check it out. Because like, even in the life skills category, it’s a goldmine, like, I’m just curious how you go about coming up with those classes. There were so many classes in there that are very specific to the needs of, certainly my community in terms of life skills and ADHD and organization, executive function, all those pieces, so any insight you can give us into how you go about developing those classes.
Amir Nathoo 24:56
You know, there’s so many ideas, potential classes on Outschool and also sources of inspiration to tap on, the first place we ask teachers to tap on for inspiration is their own interests and passions. Because we find that, you know, when teachers are truly engaged by the content themselves, that’s when they’re going to offer the best experiences. And almost any niche of interest that a teacher has, they’re going to find a group of learners who, for whom, that’s the perfect class. So the first thing we say, is just kind of almost like follow your heart. What is it that you really want to teach? What is it that you would have wished to have? When you’re a kid, the second source of inspiration for ideas that we tell teachers to focus on, just ask kids ask parents, and we provide features on our site that help with that, for example, we have a Request a Class button, where if you get to the end of a search page, you haven’t found what you wanted, or at the bottom of our homepage, you can type in in just plain text, what kind of classes you’re looking for. And we send that to our teachers on a regular basis. And that can provide inspiration and new ideas that they will never have thought of. And yeah, that’s the beauty of, you know, education and human knowledge is there’s just no end to where you could take it. It’s not like, this is a marketplace of products, there’s only kind of like a various few different types that you can manufacture or a few different variants, there’s no end to the way that teachers can innovate or combine different subjects or teach different materials in different ways. And it’s that kind of playing with the materials, and then coming up with new and interesting ways to approach learning. And that really inspires kids or kids and families to come to our school. So we really, really encourage it.
Debbie Reber 26:39
Yeah, that’s great. I’m wondering what the most obscure classes that you can think of that was maybe suggested or that you guys have created?
Amir Nathoo 26:47
The most obscure? Oh, that’s interesting. I’ve not actually had that question before. Often people want to know the most popular, which is very hard to answer, because like, what’s popular for one group is different for another and etc, etc. Or the most fun? I’m not sure what the most obscure is, but almost by definition, I probably. But I’ll tell you what springs to mind, it’s not really obscure at all. It’s just like cat anatomy, taught by a vet when I could come up with like, Whoa, that sounds cool. Like, I wish biology would be taught that way. When I was a kid, I might still, you know, I might have taken it for a little longer. Oh, another one that I think is absolutely brilliant is a very popular class on the site is the science of fats. And it’s really popular, obviously, because kids love it, but far too hilarious. And but actually, parents really report that the classes are excellent science, but really excellent science as well as being fun. So that’s another kind of perfect example of stuff on Outschool.
Debbie Reber 27:47
First of all, this audience, our kids tend to very obscure interests, my child was really into heraldry for like a good year, year and a half. Do you have any heraldry classes on Outschool?
Amir Nathoo 27:59
I’d have to look when people asked me this, so I do a search. I’m like, Oh, well, we have heraldry classes, I have no idea whether we have 100 classes. So honestly, I’d have to search. So I can’t say for sure. But it’s like one click away, I’d encourage your listeners to go and plug into the search box, you know, the most obscure interest that they had, we really try and bring this idea of interest based learning into the company. And at one of the recent kickoff events, we studied the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which is about taking an object that has been broken, I’m holding one of my hand right now, and repairing it to be even more beautiful than it was before using various techniques. So you know, things like obscure arts or interesting niche history topics. Yeah, that’s what our school is all about.
Debbie Reber 28:51
I can imagine a lot of listeners, including myself being like, I’m gonna see what classes I might be taking on Outschool to because, yeah, pretty fascinating. As a way to kind of wrap up, I’d love to know, for parents listening who are newer to the world of online learning, maybe their kids have been in traditional schools, they’re not homeschooling, and they might want to explore, whether it’s an old school or any kind of online learning platforms for enrichment opportunities, get their kids more excited about things. Do you have any kind of best practices for vetting or kind of identifying programs that might be a good fit for their kids?
Amir Nathoo 29:23
Yes, I mean, I guess the first thing to say is, I think you can dip your feet in the water with online learning, that’s the great thing about it, you can just come to outspending a one time class, or join a program that just meet one time a week and see how it goes. So it’s easy to get started. It’s important to be kind of clear about your schedule so that you know when you’re looking for classes because you know it can be a bit disheartening if you find a class and then realize the schedule is not gonna work. So I recommend coming to the site and being clear about when you’re looking for the class. I think the most important thing by far though, is doing it with your learner. doesn’t have to be at the same time, maybe you take a look and pick out a few classes and then show it to them. But the most important thing is that your learner really wants to be there. That’s what we strongly encourage announced classes, we don’t want learners in classes who are not really wanting to be there and actively participate interested in the topic. So that’s by far the most important thing. There’s a lot of other pieces to it, like, you know, just making sure that you have the right connection, you’ve got a computer with a microphone or a webcam. Thankfully, these days, you know, so many people have access to that kind of technology. But doing a quick tech check is usually pretty straightforward. But yeah, the most important thing is like picking the right or the right class. And that’s really gonna inspire your kid.
Debbie Reber 30:42
I’m just kind of curious because you seem like someone who has a lot of ideas and likes to innovate. So is there something you can share that you’re really excited about in the direction you’re taking Outschool? Something that you are working on? Kind of like, what’s next, where are you going? That’s the big question that you can share.
Amir Nathoo 31:03
Well, there are so many things in what’s next and my rents seem to go in multiple directions at once, and I have learned to kind of rein it in. So I will pick just one. And that is we continue to build more and more features into the product to make it more learner centric, and more learner driven. We had to build it first so that your parents can find classes and pay, and that teachers can offer the subjects that they offer and be successful in managing all the logistics. But at our core, we’re trying to create a product that really embodies what we’ve learnt from the homeschooling community about self directed learning, and giving kids autonomy and putting kids in charge. And while in many aspects of our school, which enable that today, there are also many gaps, like it should be possible for learners to sign up to class directly to search classes to find the teachers, even to be in self moderated groups where they’re learning together with in with moderation and safety, but not necessarily with a teacher leading. And so a lot of our thinking about kind of future kind of strategic direction and product work is putting that control in the hands of learners, I’d love us to get to the point where maybe learners are earning credit for their participation in our school classes. And as a result of accumulating financial power, in order to like make their own choices about their education on our school. Getting to kind of the crux of what autonomy for for learners really means.
Debbie Reber 32:31
That’s exciting. Awesome. Okay, so any last thoughts, something you want to leave listeners with? Before we say goodbye,
Amir Nathoo 32:39
I would just say that the last few years of change and change in the world have been super difficult. But I’ve never been more optimistic about what could happen in education in the next few years. A lot of the innovation that is happening isn’t happening in tech companies like us. It’s happening in families who are experimenting and discovering what’s really needed for the future and what’s really needed for their learner. And from our perspective, we just, we just learned from those families. So I feel really kind of privileged and excited to be part of various communities of families and so excited to talk to you and talk to your listeners today.
Debbie Reber 33:20
Awesome. Thank you. What a nice note to end this on. Thank you for everything you shared and taking us kind of behind the curtains about school a little bit today. And yeah, thank you and look forward to sharing this with listeners.
Amir Nathoo 33:32
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.
Debbie Reber 33:36
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