Myles Klynhout is a versatile EFL teacher and Community and Product Specialist at Freeed. Find out how EdTech is changing the EFL world and how Freeed can help you as a busy teacher.
1. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview. Can you start off by telling us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?
I’ve been an English Language Teacher for over 10 years. I started teaching teens and adults in Barcelona, Spain and later worked as an Assistant Director of Studies. I joined Serveis Lingüístics de Barcelona (SLB) and started teaching Freelance in 2015. I now live in Helsinki, Finland and teach online.
2. Can you describe a typical day?
Every day varies quite a bit. I’m currently studying international business part-time a couple of mornings a week. This means I’ve been able to dedicate 3-4 days a week to Freeed. I still teach 10 hours per week online mainly in the evenings. I feel it is essential for any teacher venturing into EdTech to continue to teach.
3. Teacher self-care is so important. How do you relax?
Good question! In the start-up world, you can quickly get caught up always trying to read the latest books about lean management, sprint methods and idea creation. They are useful, however, reading a good novel every now and then can put your mind at ease. I’m also a keen cyclist and jumping on the bike for a few hours every Sunday does wonders to help me relax.
4. You manage to balance teaching and Freeed? What is your best productivity tip?
Invest time in building your network of fellow teachers early on. Share ideas and resources outside of the walls of your own school.
5. You took on the tremendous task setting up a community for English language teachers on Freeed. Can you talk a bit about it?
My journey with EdTech started nearly 10 years ago. Teaching English on my first day in Barcelona, I remember suddenly having to learn how to use the school’s interactive whiteboards, Learner Management System and coursebooks with CDs and DVDs.
I felt that my students were overwhelmed by all this tech, so I started to take a less-is-more approach to materials in the classroom. Increasingly, I broke away from this and looked for materials on blogs mostly written by teachers under a creative commons license so I could adapt them to my students' needs.
At the same time, along with fellow members of the cooperative Serveis Lingüístics de Barcelona (SLB), we set up an in-house materials bank. Our team of 20 teachers actively used this to exchange ideas, create materials and discuss how best to implement them in our different contexts. It got me thinking - could this work on a global level? In 2017 I moved to Helsinki, home to a thriving Nordic EdTech scene, with innovative teachers and pedagogic advisors. After coming across Freeed at educational conferences in Finland, we started sharing our ideas and it wasn’t long before I joined the team!
6. How can teachers join the Freeed ELT community?
Step 1: Go to the Freeed website and Get Started.
Step 2: Quickly create your free account and join the ELT community (Freeed will always be free for teachers!).
Step 3: Start sharing ideas with other English teachers. You might even find the perfect materials for tomorrow’s lesson.
7. Where can we find Freeed on social media?
8. How can we get in touch with you Myles?
9. How do you promote or market your platform?
The simple answer is word of mouth. Nowadays that might mean contacting everyone you know on Facebook and Twitter to share your ideas and ask them to contribute. In fact, that’s how we first met I believe Patrice!
If your product or service cannot organically reach and excite 100 users, you may need to re-tweak your business idea. We are making changes to the platform every week based on the feedback from these users. Teachers continually drop me messages on Twitter to suggest things they would like to do on Freeed.
In October we will start to partner with teacher-authors to run a series of book giveaways to say thank you to the teachers who were early adopters of Freeed. We aim to incentivise teachers to continue sharing ideas and resources.
10. Do you do everything yourself or are there people with specific skills to help you?
Taking the leap in EdTech has been a steep learning curve. Studying International Business Administration with a focus on agile project management and product development has made the process a lot smoother. However, it is my classroom knowledge that is most that I draw on most. I would encourage any teacher thinking about moving into EdTech not to doubt their own abilities.
The team at Freeed consists of teachers and pedagogs, as well as developers and designers. The startup’s commitment to being a true educational platform is clear. I feel just as at home as I do in the classroom.
Thanks so much for telling us about Freeed! Looking forward to more updates in the future.
Interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started? Here are some resources:
My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., CPP. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer. I spent seven amazing years teaching in Hong Kong and have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs. I now work as a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing books, courses and teaching materials; coaching teacherpreneurs, travelling at any time of the year and applying the science of positive psychology to all my work (www.patricepalmer.ca).
Contact me [email protected]
|Watch for my new book Teacher Self-Care Manual: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Stressed Teachers by Alphabet Publishing. Click for more info|
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