Posts Tagged ‘TeachStreet’

TeachStreet Opens Operations in Oregon

August 6, 2008

The Majestic Portland, Oregon Skyline

The Majestic Portland, Oregon Skyline

Note from Paul Jones: It’s not often I get to break news here at The Learner’s Guild. But the good folks at, about whom I have blogged before, have shared this press release with me.




SEATTLE, WA – August 4, 2008 – TeachStreet, the first free website dedicated to helping teachers and students connect with one another at the neighborhood level, today announced that it has opened its virtual doors to the residents of Portland, Oregon. Just as Powell’s is renowned for its extensive collection of books, residents in and around the Rose City will now be one click away from discovering more than 25,000 classes, instructors, and schools currently available on TeachStreet. Whether one wants to learn how to salsa in Sellwood, take belly-dancing lessons on Burnside, or pluck the violin in Vancouver, Washington, TeachStreet offers detailed information on classes and instructors across more than 500 subject areas.


“Everyone is an expert at something and TeachStreet was designed to bridge the gap between those who have something to teach and those with a desire to learn,” said Dave Schappell, founder and CEO of TeachStreet. “Just because we stop going to school, doesn’t mean we don’t want to continue to improve ourselves and learn new things. TeachStreet is about the act of discovery and helping both teachers and students make real-world connections at the local level.”


From the common to the eclectic, there is truly a class for every Portland-area resident: 

  • Need to find your Zen? There are 488 yoga, 188 meditation, and 61 tai-chi classes. 
  • Is the great outdoors is calling your name? There are 117 fishing, 102 climbing, and 31 kayaking classes.
  • Feeling crafty? Try one of 297 knitting, 178 sewing, and 31 scrapbooking classes 

Students can search for classes across hundreds of categories and filter the results according to map-based location, ratings from other students, teacher availability, promotional pricing, and more. For teachers, instructors, or even those who might not call themselves a “teacher” but have a special skill or area of expertise to share, TeachStreet provides a simple yet powerful way to promote and manage their teaching business. In addition, students can submit reviews of teachers, and teachers are invited to enhance their profiles with lesson plans, class photos, and more.  


“I am a choreographer, not a marketer,” says Subashini Ganesan, founder of Natya Leela Academy. “My passion is teaching Bharathanatyam dance — an ancient form of classical South Indian dance — not finding ways to get more students. So I love that TeachStreet helps me fill my class schedule and allows me to spend more time doing what I want to be doing: teaching.”


About TeachStreet

Founded in June 2007, TeachStreet is dedicated to helping students find great local teachers, and empowering teachers with robust online tools to manage their teaching business.  Featuring more than 55,000 classes and instructors in the Seattle and Portland metro areas, the free site provides the information that students need to make an informed decision about their learning experiences, including student reviews and teacher recommendations, pricing information, location, teacher background and training, and more. TeachStreet is headquartered in Seattle, WA and backed by Madrona Venture Group. For more information, visit


An Innovation for Informal Learners

July 30, 2008

Clayton Christensen is the Tallest Innovation Guru Around

Clayton Christensen is the Tallest Innovation Guru Around

Best-selling author, Harvard B-school professor and innovation guru Clayton Christensen has been saying since at least his book The Innovator’s Dilemma, that technology is just about to shakeup the entrenched world of education.



Innovator’s Dilemma, the first in Christensen’s innovator’s franchise, was first published in July 1997.


We’re still waiting.


Perhaps to help catalyze that change in education, Christensen has recently released a new book called Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns.


Maybe one of those disruptors will be the small online education company Agilix Labs, and its social network product… still in beta… called BrainHoney.


BrainHoney allows you to offer a class with text graphics and video using a Powerpoint like interface. Then you can add quizzes, tests and games. In that way it’s not much different from Instructables, WikiHow, and ExpertVillage.


What does make BrainHoney distinct is that they’ll host your courses for a nominal fee and then split the proceeds from the sale of your coursework. You could be teaching a class on your favorite topic tomorrow and earning a little scratch besides.


Already some 230 lessons have been loaded on BrainHoney, including a course on how to make a lemon-battery, how to play a guitar chords, and how to make ice cream that tastes like hot chocolate.


Potentially this is a boon to informal learners and teachers. Unlike TeachStreet, which helps you find people willing to tutor you face-to-face in your own town, BrainHoney represents asychronous learning. That is, you don’t have to be there at the same time as the instructor and thereby opening you to a world of learning.


Who knows whether Agilix and BrainHoney will survive and thrive? A better mousetrap alone is no guarantee of business success. But I whether Agilix does or someone else does, I expect we’ll soon see a huge inventory of courses for informal learners.

Informal Learning on the Street Where You Live

July 2, 2008

\Imagine if thought balloons appeared above people’s heads that told you exactly what they were willing to teach someone like you. 

  • Maybe the gentle-looking white haired fellow you pass in the aisle at the grocery store could teach you about the miracle of forgiveness.
  • Maybe the tattooed and be-pierced kid at the library texting her boyfriend could help you work through a thorny CSS challenge.
  • Maybe the well-dressed woman in the Lexus in front of you could help you understand the Upanishads. Or, belly dancing. 

Now it appears that a Seattle outfit called TeachStreet is doing just that. (Though not exactly with thought balloons).


Presently in beta, TeachStreet links together teachers who are willing and presumably able to teach students in Seattle. They claim to have in their database 25,000 classes, teachers, coaches, instructors and schools just in the Emerald City.


Here’s how it works. Suppose you’re a student who wants to learn, say, conversational Italian. You plug in the term ‘Italian language’ into the site’s search engine. When I did 86 results popped-up. Currently you can narrow the search by geography, class size, ability, schedule, and price.


I selected personalized lessons, evening classes, and beginner status, which left me with a more manageable six results. I clicked on the one taught by a Valentina Preziuso… whose name sounds wonderfully Italian… and it took me to her biographical area. So far Valentina has yet to post anything about her background. There’s a review section as well, but for Valentina that too is blank.


At the page for the class, I found a link to Amazon products and a Google Ads column, as well as information about the class and cost, times, days, etc.  


The class and teacher profiles are free to registered users.


TeachStreet is the brainstorm of Dave Schappell, the founder and CEO, and a director at Amazon from 1998- 2004, who was, as his bio says, a driving force behind Amazon’s marketplace platform.


So far TeachStreet is only in Seattle, but plans are in the works to expand the concept to “San Philayorkizona,” the website reports.


The Buddha is supposed to have said; “when the student is ready the teacher appears.”


Time will tell if there are enough students ready for 25,000 teachers in Seattle.