Just started five years ago, Taiwan based Uschool (www.uschool.com.tw) has already found their recipe for success. Uschool essentially is Facebook for elementary school and junior high school students. Their secret to success lies within their strict target user base of 5-12 year olds. As to date about 80% of all elementary schools and junior high schools in Taiwan use Uschool as their official social-networking platform. The general idea is to create a safe online social-networking platform in which the teachers can use to bond with their students even when they are not at school. Uschool provides their services freely to schools where teachers can create an online class board and students can have their own little blog spaces. Parents can also register and essentially be involved in the happenings of their child’s education. Students are encouraged to utilize this online space for school and for social purposes.
In order to provide a safe and clean online space for children, all pages and blogs are filtered and removed when inappropriate context is found. Uschool enables students to still participate in online social-networks without the common worries that parents would have. Uschool strives to become the first social-networking platform that children will get to use. Because of their concentrated student user base with the older teachers and parents; Uschool is able to attract many advertisements and sponsorships (their main source of profit).
About three years ago Uschool has since branched to offshore countries such as China and Vietnam. In Shanghai about 50% of their elementary schools and junior high schools have already started using Uschool. Teachers were able to search for curriculums and teaching aids that were posted from each other thus improving their own teaching curriculums. Just last year the English equivalent of Uschool was launched in the US.
This was a very interesting example of how schools and parents are adjusting to the technology around them. Before it might have been easier for parents to just deny internet access to their children but that is no longer possible in today’s day and age. Uschool’s platform creates a great way for children to become familiar with online social-networking at a very young age as part of their ‘education’.