Former Google leader offers online education solution at Net Zero Cities conference
No, he hasn’t stumbled upon a top-secret lab in a Third World country. But he has recognized an undervalued resource that has too often gone to waste: people.
Ram is the founder and CEO of Gooru, an education-based search engine. He spoke Wednesday at Net Zero Cities, a two-day event featuring panel discussions and speakers on topics related to renewable energy.
The former head of Google India R&D started Gooru, a grant-funded, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in an attempt to streamline online educational content in a way that is both accessible and effective for kindergarten through 12th grade students worldwide. For free.
The search-engine format allows users to search for a topic, check out collections of learning tools compiled by educators on that topic, and interact with other students working through the same material.
“The challenge is that for a developing nation, education is the only way to stay competitive,” said Ram. “We have an abundance of content, but we’ve found that we spend more time searching than learning.”
The search engine is still a work in progress. Since its founding in 2011, Ram and his team have collected input and insight from more than 1,000 students and teachers and organized more than 50,000 multimedia resources, creating the 2,600-plus collections offered.
Before the engineering of Gooru began, Ram spent hundreds of hours in classrooms himself, researching education methods.
“Can you imagine me coming home to my wife and saying, ‘I quit Google.’?” he said. “I had to do some research before I could do that.”
Ram’s talk, which included a demonstration of Gooru, preceded a panel discussion on science, technology, engineering and math education for the millennial generation, led by local educators.
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