A world of peers

I was born in Uruguay 38 years ago, exactly in the year 1973 when the military dictatorship began there. Some members of my paternal family were involved in the opposition movement (called the Tupamaros), so at that time my family diaspora began, some of them simply to save their lives (an uncle was not fortunate enough), and and others, like my father, because he suddenly lost his job and without the possibility of finding another … so in the year 1976, my father, my mother, my little brother and me were in the middle of the jungle in Formosa, Argentina. That was a turning point, where my family ceased to belong to the middle class and began a journey of about 10 years, knowing the vulnerability associated with poverty across Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. One of the memories that I will never forget from those times, is of myself, a lively squirrel with the shape of a skinny kid of 10 years, selling cakes in the hot and dusty streets of Asunción to help with the household economy.

For my parents the experience was devastating, especially for my mother, who from that time began to suffer serious health problems, but for me the situation was normal, as I basically didn’t know other. Paradoxical as it may seem, those were good years for me, my world view and my personality too, were formed in an unstructured and chaotic environment made of the interactions with all sorts of people, situations and landscapes. I was also lucky enough of having parents educated and with taste for reading, so in that period, they took care of my education and handed me passion for the books … and more importantly, they give me a lot of love and the conviction that the future can always be improved through our actions.

From the experiences of those years, a seed was planted inside me … but it took some time in order to begin to grow … when we returned to Uruguay, life slowly began to normalize, well, normal by the standards of my parents, for me it was a strange period, where I had a hard time adjusting to all the new rules I was suddenly exposed, but the human being is extremely flexible, so I went adapting again … the time passed, I finished university as an engineer, and started a normal life of middle class in Uruguay. But really in my heart I was not satisfied. Safety and comfort are good, but the price paid for them is too high … high for the people that is outside of this “comfort circle”, but their resources and hands are used to build the others comfort … and high for the people inside of the “comfort circle”, where many of these people should be conformable with “insane” rules (such as working in jobs with non sense), to keep this comfort. For this reason, in the year 2006, on a typical day in a good “no sense” job, as the IT manager for Shell Uruguay, the seed planted in me, fruit of all my past experiences, started finally to grow.

I decided that I wanted to help myself in being more human … human in a subtle sense, i.e. someone who spends its vital time growing in meaning and helping others to grow. When for example, I was selling cakes on the streets of Asunción, I was like the other boys who were with me at the streets, they were my peers … now, they are not my peers anymore … cause currently I have a greater degree of choice than them … and that’s a shame, because the only real difference between them and me, is that I had the chance to receive more education than them, and some small opportunities to use this education … and this is in fact the only real reason for which I have right now a “voice” here. So, in the 2006 I decided to steer my life in a different direction, a direction focused on developing and contributing to solutions that help people to get motivation, education and access to opportunities … the very same things that time ago helped me.

Because of this decision, in 2006, following my own path, I came to Europe not knowing anyone here. There are several reasons for this decision of coming to Europe; first, here is one of the places where decisions are taken and the changes occur, so if you want to help in a real change, nothing more effective than going to one of the centers of action and getting involved there. Second, I wanted start to study again, because in my mind knowledge is essential for change, and Europe is again a hotspot in the knowledge arena. Third, I’m also European, in fact I have the Italian citizenship cause my mother, that made me easier to come here for the first and second reason, and also gave me a cultural and historical reason to be here.

And now, in the 2011, I’m finally a researcher (being completed a master and finishing my PhD), and I started to use my new knowledge and contacts on developing and contributing to solutions that help people to get motivation, education and access to opportunities. For this reason I started a project like Every1Tutor , and I’m involved in Edgeryders … cause I’m dreaming with a world where we all are peers … and for that we are needing peers to help to build the solutions to make that dream closer to reality …


Jorge, thanks for this. It was a pleasure reading your story. There is something epic about it, it was a bit like reading the opening lines of a novel. And it’s only just started!

Can you tell me a little more about your future journey, and in particular your vision for Every1Tutor? How was the idea born? Did it come to you suddenly or in waves? Did you share it with others until it took shape or mull it over in your head until it was formed? And how did you set off turning it into reality?

Gracias a vos :slight_smile:

Currently I’m working as a researcher in the university, that is useful to learn and to make some contacts with universities all around of Europe and the Americas. But I suppose I’ll not be much longer there. Right now, I’m involved in the creation of a spin-off from the university in order to create the environment/atmosphere needed to have the financial support, and also more freedom of movement (the academia is great, but you are limited to official research policy there). Currently the spin-off is in the process of signing our first agreement with a foundation, this agreement give us financial oxygen for about one year.

Every1Tutor is in the base of the spin-off, not in a explicit way, but through the technology that I’m developing for Every1Tutor. The vision for Every1Tutor is a kind of public service supported through a social business (Yunus style). As a public service its free for the end user (the learners and tutors) using it in a standalone way (not through an institution), and there is a a business model behind in order to provide the sustainability of this public service. This sustainability will be supported by providing the Every1Tutor infrastructure to different kind of institutions in order to design personalized learning packages with “warranties”.

The idea of Every1Tutor comes in waves (and still now is in process of refining), mainly through my involvement in several research projects related to the educational area (as for example: EU4ALL: http://www.eu4all-project.eu/). Currently I’m finishing the first prototype (with the lack of graphical interface, I’m not good at this and I was focusing mainly in the technical side). Once the prototype is ready, the idea is start to roll out it in a server of the university. From there, perhaps the “needs” of the project is giving you an idea of the next steps:

(1) A graphical designer in order to implement the Every1Tutor GUI (web interface). I’m estimating that the amount of work involved there can be expressed as a project of around €5.000.

(2) A community manager in order to help to grow the Every1Tutor community spreading the project awareness out there.

(3) An institutional manager in order to help to establish partnership/sponsorship with relevant institutions out there.

(4) An amount estimated amount of €10.000 in order to generate the content of the first learning tracks (a kind of learning object) in hot topics.

(5) A cultural manager in order to establish relationships with different personalities and institutions of cultural and artistic world. The goal is to use this relationships in order to help to create the content of the first learning tracks in an interdisciplinary way. These learning tracks should be at the same time a learning object and a piece of art (that can be displayed e.g. Youtube). 

Maybe put together a creative brief and post it on Edgeryders?

Hi Jorge,

Which of the ones above do you feel is the most pressing need? I tried for the longest time to get projects off the ground by getting others involved, but realised that sometimes just doing things myself is faster and unlocks the processes for me. What do you think?

Regarding design: Maybe one way to move forward is to do an open workshop like the one we did for Edgeryders in Berlin ( at the time we still didn’t have the name yet): http://www.supermarkt-berlin.net/content/youth-transition-prototype-sprint

Someone whom I think you might want to have a chat with is Jay Cousins, he’s great at making things happen, has set up the Open Design City  and an overall great guy.

Perhaps you could write to the interaction design Association IXDA and ask for help, the project is cool so they might be up for helping or pointing you along in the right direction.

Every1Tutor is going!

Hi Nadia!

Great to “hear” you again :slight_smile:

I just arrived to Wasaw from a long trip in South America, it started in October 28th and finished the past Saturday. I was in several Colombian cities (Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla), but mainly based in Bogota (the capital). The purpose of the trip was to present a collaboration tool that I’m developing for the ALTER-NATIVA project, an American/European project in which my university (UNED) is involved (adenu.ia.uned.es/web/en/projects/alter-nativa). The goal of this collaboration tool is to provide support to the activities of the ALTER-NATIVA network. A network that is uniting organizations and universities throughout America and some of Europe with the aim of developing pragmatic educational strategies that can improve the educational levels of the organizations involved.

As I said before, I was presenting the collaboration tool that I am developing and should be ready for February 2012. This tool in fact is the core component of Every1Tutor (its has some other special modules to fulfill its educative goal, but the base is this collaborative tool). In parallel, I was in contact with representatives from different universities across America presenting Every1Tutor. As a result of these meetings, we decided on the content of the first two courses that will have Every1Tutor, and the commitment to disseminate the courses (through Every1Tutor) among the students of these universities.

So, at the moment the technological infrastructure, the content of courses and the initial contacts are going, and these are the things that I’m doing by myself (cause I’ve the time and skills for that). Now, answering your question, the more pressing need right now, is basically the design, accessibility and usability of both the Every1Tutor graphical interface, and the courses content structure and presentation. Or what is the same, the points (1) and (4). The reason for such need is that the design, accessibility and usability are a key component in the project and I don’t have any skill and time for that, therefore “myself” is not a viable option :slight_smile:

Regard to your other suggestions:

(a) When can we chat to discuss the creative brief?

(b) I’d be more than happy participating in an open workshop and I’m able to travel!

(c) Yes! its a great idea contacting Mr. Cousins and the people from http://www.ixda.org/ . Maybe it’s better with the results of the creative brief?

Hi Jorge,I’ll look up some

Hi Jorge, I’ll look up some resources on writing a creative brief and post them here, but essentially it comes down to some questions you need to ask yourself, and the people who you see interacting with Every1Tutor. What happens before, during and after I enter Every1Tutor-space: I tend to think of whatever I’m designing as something that already exists and that I have intracted with to focus my thinking- -How did I find it? -What happened while I was inside the platform/site/service? Who did I meet while there and what kind of relationship did we have before and after the first interaction? -What happened when I left- what did I have that I didn’t the first time I entered, the second… the 10th? And what made me go back? I don’t think you need the creative brief done if and when you get in touch with Jay or and IXDA, but it might help to have thought a bit about the above, and summarised the answer to each question into max. 3 sentences. If you just post the answers here I, and maybe others in the community can help refine them or give you feedback. What do you think? Nadia

First “creative brief” version.

Hi Nadia!

Here is going the first version, explained through a scenario:


Every1Tutor - Everyone a Tutor!



Every1Tutor is an online social network with the goal of empowering people through coaching interactions among peers:
  • In each interaction, one of the peers freely coach the other peer to learn something in which the former is an expert


  • (S1) The Marie need:

    • Marie is psychologist and she was invited by an art gallery to coordinate informal talks with the gallery's public with the purpose of elaborating an interpretation from a psychological perspective of a given art piece.  She is delighted with the project, but she feels that at this moment she doesn't have the necessary knowledge of art history to conduct these talks:
      • So, Marie has the need of learning enough about art history as to understand the works of art displayed in the gallery, and from that understanding to develop a psychological interpretation of a given art work:
        • Therefore she needs a learning process synchronized with her daily life, and tailored to her personal context
  • (S2) The Marie 's problems to fulfill her need without Every1Tutor:

    • In order to adquire this needed knowledge Marie was looking on Internet for information on art history, but she met with several problems, which can be categorized into the following areas:
      • (A1) She found so much information and so diverse, that she does not know where to begin and how to organize that information to be useful to her project. But as she didn't know anyone expert in art history, she has nobody to turn for help to organize and select the material, and with whom she feels confident about the results of that effort
      • (A2) She began to read some of the material she found, but not being an expert on the subject, these readings raised to her many questions. Some of these questions are general in nature, focusing on the topic itself, and others are more particular, focused on how to apply what is she learning to her personal project (personal context). But as she is learning on her own, she didn't know anybody to ask, and with whom she feels confident with their answers
  • (S3) Marie arrivals to Every1Tutor:

    • Marie was commenting the problems encountered trying to learn about art history with some of her colleagues, and one of them told her that Every1Tutor might be a good place to help her to overcome these kind of problems on learning
  • (S4) How Every1Tutor is helping Marie to fulfill her need:

    • Marie following the advice of her colleague went to the Every1Tutor site, and once there, she found the following:
      • (1) First she was helped to define exactly her need through a series of simple steps through the Every1Tutor 's system:
        • At the same time she created a custom profile that reflects her personal context
      • (2) Once her need was clearly defined, the Every1Tutor 's system was responsible for spreading the word about her need, and finding the needed volunteer expert on art history. Through this search the system found John, who is a graphical designer with an expertize in art history, and with the desire to help others in learning about such beautiful topic
      • (3) The Every1Tutor 's system introduced them each other, and from there the system helped them with:
        • (3.1) Providing Marie with the tools to efficiently manage her learning process:
          • The Marie learning process is organized in a learning track:
            • It is an Every1Tutor special structure that facilitates learning, and allows to record this process so that it is available in the future (both for herself and others)
            • The Marie 's learning track is created under the guide of John, her coach peer in this particular learning process
        • (3.2) Providing John with the tools to give an efficient coaching to MaA Coaching Social Network:rie:
          • Specially in giving help to Marie, his learning peer,  to organize her learning process and resolving her doubts along it
          • Publishing the coaching process in the system so that others volunteers (auxiliary peers) can make timely contributions to the Marie 's learning process and her learning track creation:
            • As for example resolving a particular Marie's doubt, suggesting material for an specific part of the learning process, giving a meaningful example about some difficult topic, etc.
          • Suggesting him possible useful material inside the learning tracks in the system that were previously generated in the same knowledge domain by other learners
        • (3.3) Creating meaning on the Internet information through the Marie's personal perspective reflected in her learning track
        • (3.4) By showing the coaching activity of John to others, now he is more known for his expertise on art and good taste (and as an indirect result he got two new design projects)
        • (3.5) Last but not least, now Marie and John have a meaningful relationship based on the trust earned through the realization of a common project

Definition revisited

So again, what is Every1Tutor?
  • A Coaching Social Network for Learning:
    • (1) A place to connect peers with the purpose of giving and receiving coaching in the process of learning something in which one peer is an expert (coach peer), and the other peer is needing (learner peer):
      • Also other peers are allowed to help the learner peer, but not but not as coaches (there is only one coach), but as auxiliaries (auxiliary peer) of the learner peer in her/his learning process
    • (2) A place which offers the tools to:
      • Facilitate the establishment of connections between peers for the purpose of coaching
      • Facilitate the coach process for the coach peer
      • Facilitate the learning process for the learner peer:
        • For the peer that is currently learning
        • For the peer who is coming in the future through the material previously generated through the learning tracks in the system
    • (3) A place where create meaning on the Internet information through the personal perspectives added to this information by the learning tracks created in the Every1Tutor system
    • (4) A place where establish meaningful relationships with other peers through voluntary actions with the aim of empowering the other

Well, this is a first version with the objective of promoting dialogue between all of us, and reach a final version that really convey the idea. So, please feel free to comment, add, modify, ask, etc, etc :slight_smile:

Ok, I’m contacting Jay. Any suggestion to whom contact in IXDA?



MM mayvbe post a notice on the IXDA message board?

I would try to specify what you need help with , when and why they might find the project rewarding (why you personally are so excited about it) in the first paragraph (once sentence each).

Then in a secopnd paragraph I would put some background information about the project: who’s behind it, how it’s developed so far and where it’s going. Maybe mention Intitutional affiliations or partnerships. Try to keep this short too.

I would then end it with a call to action: what is the expected behaviour of someone excited about the project? should they email you? go to a workshop somewhere?..you get it…

You can post a link to this Edgeryders page since they can follow the conversation as it unfolds as they will probably have many of the same questions I had when I read about the project the first time and that are clearer after som exchanged back and forth between us

solidarity amongst peers

Hey Jorge. Thank you for taking the time to tell this story. It resonated with me on several levels. Especially the part about people not being peers due to differing degrees of choice. I’ve seen it in my own extended family where within my lifetime I saw cousins move from subsistence- level farming in rural Africa to join the middle class in Khartoum in one generation. A big part of the reason was that the first generation (my father’s) who went out into the world supported the people in the village continuously sending a big chunk of their incomes back to their families for a significant part of their working lives. My father’s generation never saw themselves as “benefactors” or somehow above the families they were supporting even though this was quite a responsibility ( 7 sisters and their families in my Dad’s case). They just did what people who care about each other do; they carried the burden because they had broad enough shoulders; they saw themselves as helping peers.

When we were younger, I didn’t notice that my family could seldom afford much material consumption- I had the fortune of spending my early pre-teens in a school where many of my classmates parents were academics and so not having much money was never really an issue. When I entered highschool I was suddenly in an extremely well of part of the country and the contrast suddenly became very very clear and stigmatising; when I was in an environment surronded by peers everything was possible because it felt like we were all in the same boat and so we just went about learning, playing and just being kids with each other. In contrast in the environment where I felt that my range of choices ( for professions, for lifestyles etc) was more restricted than that of others suddenly many many things felt impossible even though objectively speaking they weren’t. It all has to do with perception…

I think your Every1Tutuor project looks interesting, I watched the video but still don’t feel I really understand the concept- is there more information about it somewhere? Also were you at Drumbeat last year by any chance?

Creating reality as the consensus between peers …

I was reading your story … well, I suppose that one day we can sit and talk for hours sharing our experiences :slight_smile:

I’m totally agree with your statement “It all has to do with perception”. In one of the texts that I wrote for Every1Tutor, I put the following: “We only need to go ahead only one step more, create and disseminate a new mental model that allows us to create an everyone consensus (the new reality, because reality is just the consensus of everyone, that is the everyone’s power) … That is all, basically is a mental step, not a physical one” … and I suppose that this is the true power that gives us the Internet (and the tools over it). Through Internet is easier than ever to create and set new mental models, so, why not a new one giving to the people a wider range of choices through the solidarity among peers?. In my opinion this is the real value (and role) of social networks that we must create.

Yep, I have more material about Every1Tutor, I don’t know where to load it in the platform. But in the meanwhile, you can write me (jorge.couchet at gmail.com) and I’m replying with the material.

Regards Drumbeat, I finished between the first 5 projects between all the projects presented there, but they were giving support (financial and other) to the first 3. Anyway, the experience was great and they give me a platform from where to spread the voice.