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We want to empower all the potential prodigies out there to solve, discover, create, fascinate and inspire. For all of you who would if you could, this is for you.

Above all else, Prodigynet is an idea. It is the idea that education can and should reach everyone, cost nothing and that no knowledge resource be withheld from any student.

Prodigynet has two guiding objectives. The first is to improve availability of educational resources, second is to improve quality of those resources. Our vision is simple enough. We see a system where all users can contribute their expertise and knowledge to the constant improvement of shared publications, and we see one where no access limitations exist beyond minimal Internet access - where all users have full access to all publications.

Resources

Educational resources, when looked at fundamentally are not schools, desks, libraries or even books. They are the knowledge in those books and the knowledge, experience and interactive ability of those who teach. One could argue that the entire system of schools, desks, libraries and books - plus procedures, rules, laws and traditions are educational resources. They are necessary elements of the current system, but the act of teaching, of learning, can happen in many different ecosystems.

The Social Need

The desire for an education is a universal feeling. It comes from the desire to be prosperous, to have some status, some comfort, some security, something to eat. But education is not just knowledge, it is the knowledge of society - in both senses. It is the collective skills and experience of a group, as well as its language, culture and history. These things bind societies into communities and constitute a gift, a responsibility to its members.

The need for education is simple. Even if members of a community are not productive, they still consume resources. Not everyone can be equally productive all the time, but an educated society has the best chance of stability and productivity. One that fails to teach its people, fragments into classes, destabilizes and eventually collapses.

But why is there a particular need now? Western education systems are simply failing to deliver. Under the weight of weakened economies around the globe, and the strain of a very old and institutionalized system - western education is in a state of collapse. Developing nations are in even worse shape. With less funds to feed the institution, the result is marginal at best. And it continues to get worse. In the poorest nations, economic instability translates directly into food instability, skyrocketing population growth and social unrest. Education has no hope in these environments.

Improving Availability

The objective of improved availability starts with a redefinition of the delivery system of resources. The best medium for this job, as we all know, is the web. But can it really reach those who need education the most? Wireless networking technology is beginning to connect the masses in the same way that mobile phones spread around the world. Like cell phones, wireless Internet has many social advantages and is less expensive than the alternatives. The network only gets us half way, the end point of this solution requires mobile computing. Not laptops or netbooks - these are still inadequate. Tablets will solve the problem. Seven inch tablets are beginning to break the $100 barrier, but that's an extraordinary understatement. Consider the alternatives - books, buildings, desks, PC’s, and the transport and manufacturing of these things. Even the need for a power grid becomes unnecessary. These devices can be charged with a hand crank or portable solar charger. Wireless Internet plus cheap tablet devices provide an unprecedented drop in the base cost of an education - if the application was there. This is the second aspect of availability. A simple, complete, light weight, mobile optimized web application that accesses a system of educational resources.

Prodigynet endorses these technologies and the Prodigynet Foundation will work toward enabling communities with them, but we’re not the driving force. Our strategy is to take advantage of the web and related technology - this puts us in the best position to reach the most people.

Improving Quality

Quality means everything. We’re not attempting to make some marginal improvement, but a radical fundamental change that will change the very definition of educational quality.

What defines the quality of an education? It’s often defined in years. Many Sub-Saharan countries in Africa can only pay for education up to sixth grade, after which families must pay. Many can’t. Even in North America, students who achieve a grade 12 level, can’t pay for post secondary, or they acquire large debt to do it. This is in an economy with no guarantees of employment to clear that debt.

So the means to complete ones studies - is financial. We can’t hand out money so Prodigynet focuses on reducing cost. We do that be using existing technology, infrastructure, and platforms; by bringing administration into the 21st century with automation; by virtualizing the Prodigynet web app and all knowledge resources; and by employing strict scalability. Cost is also marginalized by giving Prodigynet to teachers and students entirely free of charge. Only certification and administration tools will ever carry a fee, and only to institutions.

What else defines quality? Well we don’t really know, so Prodigynet was designed to let quality define itself. Usage stats, weighted ratings, and success levels will give books and lessons visual prominence. Every publication can be adopted and adapted by any user. A teacher can attempt to improve upon and republish any existing lesson. This model defines an environment of naturally escalating quality, however the users define it.

Why

Our reasons for creating Prodigynet may be important to note, you can decide. We believe that education is in danger of major degradation, but is on the cusp of a fundamental transition. Because the greatest investment a society can make for its people is in its people, we want education to thrive. We want to empower all the potential prodigies out there to solve, discover, create, fascinate and inspire. For all of you who would if you could, this is for you.

 
Teachers
Every good teacher knows that one pace does not suit every student. So why not teach every student at their own optimal pace? There just isn't time. What if every objective assignment corrected itself, kept its own records and handed itself out? What if you had a detailed real-time analysis of each student's difficulties? What would you do with the extra time, knowing exactly which students needed what help?
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Students
Most students are either under-challenged or over-challenged. We're all too unique to be otherwise. Both cause frustration. So what if every student could learn at their own optimal pace? No more frustration, only excitement. No more anxiety, only success. It may seem logistically impossible, but the solution should not be a surprise. It's all about games, and why we're all drawn to them - especially as kids.
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Supporters
Parents are the greatest untapped resource of the education system. We want to hep our kids succeed, but are left effectively helpless. The problem is no secret. Teachers have limited time. They try to involve parents but all we get are rubber-stamp report cards. What if parents knew of every assignment ahead, and all the results in full detail - with some trend analysis thrown in — every day? NOW we can help!
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Resources
How many books can you fit in your pocket? Effectively, the answer could be: the entire collection of Project Gutenberg. How many academic lessons can you hold in your hand? As many as every teacher with Internet access can produce. Students can take any active lesson in Prodigynet without restriction. Teachers can assign any lesson to their students, can adopt and redefine any lesson in Prodigynet.
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Interested benefactors to the Prodigynet Foundation can request additional information and secured access by emailing us at inquire@prodigynet.org. Teachers who wish to participate in our Beta Test Program can Register Here. Your participation is important to us.