WEquil.School has a goal of creating the best virtual Flutter class for kids in the world. We are well positioned for this given our success in helping kids learn to build Flutter apps during the pandemic. Our challenge now is in scaling what we have learned into a partially automated learning environment that can scale to thousands of students or more worldwide for free. Schools and families from anywhere are welcome to sign up and try out our Flutter classes by joining WEquil.School through our websites.
Flutter is growing in popularity because it's flexible and powerful. New and experienced developers can quickly scale their imaginations into useful apps! We know because our school's founder Sumay Lu has helped kids as young as eight years old build simple apps in a couple weeks. Success helping kids with Flutter was a big reason for why leading developers and YouTubers have been interview Sumay about Flutter and WEquil.School.
Developed by Google, Flutter is an open-source framework used for developing mobile applications and desktop versions for the same app using a single codebase. Flutter allows a growing number of widgets, motion APIs, and scrolling, navigation, fonts, and icons that function across platforms allowing high performance for both Android and iOS phones. Flutter applications are natively compiled, thus highly performant and fast. This is why innovative software companies like KDAB are starting to build more in Flutter. Here is Sumay's interview with KDAB talking about the importance of programming in childhood education.
Kids love the fully customizable framework for many reasons...
Expressive UI that allows customization.
Write-once approach lets you compile native code from one code base.
Hot Reload ... allows developers to view code changes as soon as they are saved.
Great community and support both inside and outside of WEquil.
Animations options are growing like 2Dimension Flare.
Support provided by many IDEs like VS Code and Android Studio.
Perhaps most importantly...the most kids are learning together the more they can help each other. You can see the cross learning in some of our demo days...
Our Vision for a Better Classroom...
Our Big Idea is to develop a strategy to create greater awareness of the value of these free, virtual, self-directed Flutter classes and work with schools across the world to showcase our online course to their students. By doing so, we strive to grow our own class sizes, enabling our students to meet, collaborate and learn together with a large and diverse international body of students!
Future of Education...
We talk a lot about the future of education. It was the theme of our Demo Day on November 6th in which we featured discussions from our students, parents, and some young adults. Key challenges included the cost, lack of flexibility, time commitments, and also the lack of more micro-degrees to help discover interests. We are solving this with WEquil.School by creating more opportunities for kids to learn and signal their value through demonstration.
By teaching children to communicate and create we are enabling them to signal to higher education institutions and potential future employers. Out Flutter class will be the tip of the spear for this objective because the value of this skill is widely acknowledged and growing. Several of our students have received employment opportunities before graduation for this reason as we discussed during this podcast.
WEquil's Flutter Class
Our leadership team and several students have created a virtual classroom for Flutter that is available 247 - 365 ... and supported by teachers from across the world. We help students get started, download the appropriate software and provide them with a range of videos and project examples with which to explore. We then help them develop their own apps so they can learn by doing and then demonstrate to other students. Students that demonstrate competence then receive certifications in various Flutter skills that we can link to their certificates in order to give them more value.
There are five "Classroom Principles" that we believe create big improvements over the standard virtual classroom. We discussed these during our last team meeting and spell them out below.
1. Proof by Demonstration - We will provide certifications for students in the class based on their ability to apply knowledge they have to create a Flutter App. For example, Aila build a simple Flutter App and demonstrated it to WEquil.School. She was awarded her "Flutter Basics Certification" which included links to her creative project and presentation. She did not need to prove she watched the materials provided by our classroom. All she needed to do was prove that she could use her knowledge of Flutter Basics including the widgets specified in the curriculum to create a Flutter App of value to others. Our classroom will need to make it easy for beginners and experts to use our materials or ignore them if they so choose...but easily submit their Flutter Apps and video presentations showcasing these to demonstrate proof of competence to move forward through our class.
2. Learning by Doing - We will have a mix of video presentations, written lessons, and example Flutter Apps with which to download, modify and improve. Videos and written lessons are common in other virtual classrooms like Khan Academy. The growing number of student generated example Flutter Apps and their videos presenting them is our improvement. We want students to learn Flutter by doing Flutter so as they learn they will be publishing "Creative Projects" just like students do for all subjects at WEquil.School. Their creative project can be written articles on how to debug code, Flutter resources they like, simple apps they build, strategies for using social media to solve problems and connect with other developers. These projects are better then periodic quizzes which are easy to game and don't require creating anything of value. Learning by doing is powerful because it creates a growing body of work that students us to defend their request to receive certifications on related Flutter courses we are offering.
3. Collaboration - We will be providing a range of services to help students and our instructors learn, grow, and create together. One is a Slack like group in each Flutter classroom that allows everyone to share questions, notes on lessons, share their apps and other projects, and build relationships. Other virtual classroom offer some of these to limited degree, but are often ignored because collaboration is not necessary for completing quizzes and tests. Collaboration is critical, however, when trying to create something novel and discover if it is useful or interesting to other people. We have members of WEquil Group that are involved in our Flutter classroom from around the world...including children, college students, entrepreneurs, professional developers, parents, and new visitors who may just want to learn more about the technology. We want the collaborative functionality and services within our Flutter Classroom to facilitate a wide range of potential opportunities such as collaboration on creating games, new startup ideas, creation of new classes specializing in particular aspects of Flutter and related software, find core users for minimum viable projects, and building a reputation for teaching and helping others that can be measured and leveraged to give more permissions and control to those who show proof-of-stake in our community.
4. Learning by Teaching - We will be requiring some degree of student teaching as part of our requirements for receiving some certifications. Our professional instructors are available 247 / 365 to assist students with questions, but the first round of answers will increasingly come from students who demonstrated basic competencies. Teaching is one fo the best ways to learn so including teaching and having means of tracking success and value from users that are helped will be a powerful improvement over traditional classrooms that rarely incorporate elements of problem solving and teaching into their curriculums. Teaching is also a powerful way of showing Proof by Demonstration. We with to incorporate teaching in multiple ways whether it is answering tickets that can be directed first to students working toward related certifications, creating new videos and written lesson materials, creating entirely new classes with their own certifications for specialized areas of Flutter, providing upvotes and others measurable inputs on other answers to questions like in Stackoverflow, and providing suggested notes and improvements to existing materials.
5. Iterate and Improve - Our Flutter Class will be in a constant state of iterative improvement. To achieve this will need the mechanisms and incentives without our Flutter classroom to help everyone participating to share feedback and take initiative to build improvements. Creative Projects to receive certifications is just one example where students are helping to improve the classroom itself by creating example Flutter Apps, new lessons, and adding resources. We also need to empower users that are adding the most value to the class through measurable indicators like upvotes, Certifications, and published projects to have more power to improve the classroom. That means giving them the ability to elevate certain example apps to become featured, removing outdated notes, and even potentially awarding them by featuring on podcasts and helping them receive employment opportunities inside WEquil Group.
Our WEquil.App team is meeting on November 12, 2021 at 7:30am EST to discuss our ideas for achieving these Five Principles in a "Minimum Viable Classroom" by November 19, 2021. All members of WEquil Group are welcome to attend via Zoom link through Slack.
How to join WEquil
Those outside WEquil with interest in developing or using our Flutter Classroom can participate by joining WEquil Group. We are free to join by going to WEquil.com and clicking the "Join WEquil" button. This will take you to the "WEquil Slack Group" which you can signal your interest in joining the class and receive a Zoom link to office hours from our teachers. You can also join by submitting an application directly to WEquil.School on the home page. Within the next few weeks we will also be able to take on new students directly through our own Flutter app located at the URL WEquil.App.
We welcome all new members with an interest in learning Flutter to join! If you have questions you can email us directly at WEquilGroup@gmail.com. Sincerely, Rishi Daryanani, Chief Strategy Officer at WEquil Group
Vishal Daryanani, Chief Operations Officer at WEquil Group
Mboya Michael, Chief Technology Officer at WEquil Group
Sumay Lu, Flutterista and Chief Executive Officer at WEquil.School