Crowdsourcing has a long history. Here are two important crowdsourcing stories that changed the way humans eat and travel.
This brief history tells two stories giving the challenge, prize, community, and outcomes.
Napoleon and His Hungry Army
The Challenge. In the early 19th century, Napoleon was conquering of Europe. He employed vast armies, fighting long campaigns. The problem was feeding them all. Keeping his armies fed throughout the year was made more difficult by harsh European winters in which fresh produce was scarce and hard to transport with spoiling.
The Prize. The French government offered a 12 000 franc prize to anyone who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food.
The Innovator Community. Inventors, bakers, and restauranteurs throughout Europe.
The Outcomes. Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner and brewer, observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked. He developed a method of sealing food in glass jars. He is known as the father of canning. His technology paved the way for what we know of as canned food.
So think of Napoleon and his hungry army next time you are enjoying a can of tomato soup!
Raymond Orteig, A Guy Who Accelerated Transatlantic Travel
The Prize. In 1919 Raymond Orteig wanted to push the limitations of what humans believed was possible. He created a $25,000 reward (equivalent to $353,000 in 2017) called the Orteig Prize. The challenge was simple and daring.
The Challenge. Fly non-stop from New York to Paris. No one had ever accomplished this in the year 1919 nobody did for many years.
The Innovator Community. Aviator’s within the Allied Forces.
Outcomes. Orteig said his offer would be good for five years. Five years came and went. No one accomplished the feat. No one even tried. In 1926, Orteig extended the term of his offer another five years. This time around aviation technology had advanced to a point where some thought it might actually be possible to fly across the vast Atlantic. Six men died in the attempt.... Charles Lindbergh was not one of them. He flew across the Atlantic, won the prize, and forever advanced the state of human travel.
Interested in building your own challenge? Learn the process and get helpful resources here.
The world is undergoing aggressive transformation. As the information age quickly transforms the way the world works, organizations and people are using a new model to get stuff done. This new model is quicker, cheaper, and can achieve higher quality output. You may not see it around you, but crowdsourcing is everywhere.
Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a group of people (or crowd) to complete a common goal- often a task, challenge, or project. Learn more here.
How do you think Wikipedia gets all of their information? How does Uber transport millions of people around the world or Airbnb give millions cozy places to sleep? They use a crowd of digitally connected people. This method will be a driving force in the coming 21st century and for this reason it is critical that our students understand what it is and how to use it. Here are 5 reasons crowdsourcing belongs in our schools.
1. Digital collaboration is a mandatory skill
In a globally connected world, the ability to collaborate with many people will be a requirement to enter and compete in the workforce. Students need these skills to be successful in the future. According to the Institute for the Future’s 2020 Future Work Skills Report, Virtual Collaboration, Social Intelligence, and Cross-Cultural Competency will be some of the top skills needed in the future workforce. According to World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, People Management and Coordinating with Others are key skills needed in 2020 and beyond.
If a student learns the practices, concepts, and methods of crowdsourcing, they will be well positioned for success in a digitally collaborative future workforce.
2. Crowdsourcing competency is already a required computer science education standard
Based on the revised 2017 Computer Science Teacher Association’s education standards, crowdsourcing is a new addition included in the Impacts of Computing and Social Interaction sections. For students in 6th-8th grade, the standards require students learn the ability to “collaborate with many contributors through strategies such as crowdsourcing or surveys when creating a computational artifact.” As we progress into the 21st century, the computer science education standards will continue to evolve in the direction of collaborative computing and by extension crowdsourcing.
The International Society for Technology in Education does not directly call for crowdsourcing competency, rather generally explaining that “today’s students must be prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape.” And as Global Collaborators, students must learn how to use “collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts, or community members to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.”
Education standards recognize the power and educational benefits of crowdsourcing and global collaboration.
3. It’s a tool for student participation, classroom creativity, and accelerated research
How can a middle schooler work with NASA? How can a classroom raise thousands of dollars for a community project? How can a pair of students enter a prize challenge and win scholarship money with an app idea? All of these things are accomplished using different types of crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing has many different applications in the classroom setting.