School of Everything quietly launches alpha site

School of Everything, designed to connect anyone who can teach with anyone who wants to learn, has quietly launched an early public alpha version of its site.

The site is set up to serve the thousands of people in the UK who now work as independent, self-employed teachers.


Co-founder Mary Harrington told me via email: “We’ve tested it out with some teachers and learners; we’re getting positive responses (and some successful matches!) and though technically we’re still changing very fast it’s time to open it out a bit more so we can grow and work more with the community.”

SoE has taken its inspiration from learning exchanges like the Free University in Palo Alto in the 1960s and Ivan Illich‘s Deschooling Society (1973), which pictured “webs of learning networks” to connect learners and teachers.

The site was developed originally with the support of the Young Foundation, a non profit which runs the Launchpad programme. In September 2007 SoE was chosen as one of 20 early stage start-ups to appear at Seedcamp, which was covered by TechCrunch UK.

The co-founders are Pete Brownell, Mary Harrington, Dougald Hine, Paul Miller and Andy Gibson. It also has an impressive group of advisers who include people such as Charles Leadbeater, Euan Semple and Tom Steinberg among others.

It’s early days for the site and users are still thin on the ground, but it’s Google map with teachers marked on it is useful. However, I just hope the maps aren’t totally accurate, as this would worry me if I was a teacher. No doubt they’ll sort all this out when the Beta version arrives…