From inception, the founders of
saw their online practical skills consortium reaching a range of professionals. The Drexel-based startup continues serving legal education with LawMeets
and is now piloting K12Meets
, a parallel tool for teachers. They seek full- and part-time web developers and a business-development expert.
At virtual ‘meets,’ a user posts a specific work-related problem and receives feedback from a network of peers as well as advice from experts. Top peer-reviewed responses are catalogued in a resource library. The 'meets' format is based on the teaching method of Karl Okamoto, a professor at Drexel’s Earle Mack School of Law,
who cofounded ApprenNet with Emily Foote, a former student, and Paul Tzen. It may prove invaluable for teachers, who encounter social and structural complications when they enter the classroom and have little time or financial resources to seek outside support. K12Meets could help with a classroom managment issue or with eveluation of teacher performance.
“There’s a disconnect in graduate school, where teachers are trained, between practice and theory,” Foote, who is a former public school teacher, says. “There tends to be more of an emphasis on theory and when you get into the field you’re kind of on your own. K12 meets provides an easy way to gain more practical experiences.”
ApprenNet is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation
and anticipates multiple revenue sources: providing continuing education credits, sponsorship from related institutions, selling archived meets as graduate education-material, and small fees for user participation. Foote, who participated in live meets in Okamoto’s classroom, believes the opportunities for low cost, scalable apprenticeships are limitless.
“I never had an educational experience as rich as I did in law school through how Karl taught,” she says.
Emily Foote, ApprenNet