Edtech Insiders

Education Without Borders with Andrew Sachs and Emine Naz Can

March 18, 2024 Alex Sarlin Season 8
Education Without Borders with Andrew Sachs and Emine Naz Can
Edtech Insiders
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Edtech Insiders
Education Without Borders with Andrew Sachs and Emine Naz Can
Mar 18, 2024 Season 8
Alex Sarlin

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Andrew Sachs is a retired successful tech entrepreneur with a passion for wanting to make the world a better place for others.  With three wonderful kids and a teacher-wife, Andrew saw how school and university were not preparing our youth with the needed technical, soft and leadership skills they needed to thrive in today’s quickly changing world. Having benefited from excellent teachers and continuous learning in the context of high-performing global project teams in his professional career, he’s now dedicated to providing that same opportunity for aspiring youth all over the globe regardless of income or place of birth. Andrew founded Nobel Navigators which has grown from 6 youth leaders in 2019 to thousands across 142 countries in 2024.

Emine Naz Can is a change agent passionate about helping youth get the skills needed to succeed in work in life.  Co-founder of Paridoc Academy to help 100+ Turkish youth learn and grow during the pandemic.  Internship in Nobel Learning where she has developed sales, negotiation and networking programs to help youth around the world get free learning to the technical, soft skills and leadership skills needed in work and life. Halil Kale Science HS graduate, enrolled at Bahcesehir University as an aspiring engineer. Ready to change the world.

Recommended Resources:
Edtech Insiders
Broken: How Our Social Systems are Failing Us and How We Can Fix Them by Dr. Paul LeBlanc

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Andrew Sachs is a retired successful tech entrepreneur with a passion for wanting to make the world a better place for others.  With three wonderful kids and a teacher-wife, Andrew saw how school and university were not preparing our youth with the needed technical, soft and leadership skills they needed to thrive in today’s quickly changing world. Having benefited from excellent teachers and continuous learning in the context of high-performing global project teams in his professional career, he’s now dedicated to providing that same opportunity for aspiring youth all over the globe regardless of income or place of birth. Andrew founded Nobel Navigators which has grown from 6 youth leaders in 2019 to thousands across 142 countries in 2024.

Emine Naz Can is a change agent passionate about helping youth get the skills needed to succeed in work in life.  Co-founder of Paridoc Academy to help 100+ Turkish youth learn and grow during the pandemic.  Internship in Nobel Learning where she has developed sales, negotiation and networking programs to help youth around the world get free learning to the technical, soft skills and leadership skills needed in work and life. Halil Kale Science HS graduate, enrolled at Bahcesehir University as an aspiring engineer. Ready to change the world.

Recommended Resources:
Edtech Insiders
Broken: How Our Social Systems are Failing Us and How We Can Fix Them by Dr. Paul LeBlanc

Alexander Sarlin:

Welcome to Season Eight of Edtech Insiders where we speak to educators, founders, investors, thought leaders and the industry experts who are shaping the global education technology industry. Every week we bring you the week in edtech. important updates from the Edtech field, including news about core technologies and issues we know will influence the sector like artificial intelligence, extended reality, education, politics, and more. We also conduct in depth interviews with a wide variety of Edtech thought leaders and bring you insights and conversations from ed tech conferences all around the world. Remember to subscribe, follow and tell your ed tech friends about the podcast and to check out the Edtech Insiders substack newsletter. Thanks for being part of the Edtech Insiders community enjoy the show. intersects is retired successful tech entrepreneur with a passion for wanting to make the world a better place for others. With three wonderful kids and a teacher wife. Andrew saw how school and university were not preparing our youth with the needed technical, soft and leadership skills they needed to thrive in today's quickly changing world having benefited from excellent teachers and continuous learning in the context of high performing global project teams. In his professional career. He's now dedicated to providing that same opportunity for aspiring youth. All over the globe regardless of income or place of birth. Andrew founded Nobel Navigators, which has grown from six youth leaders in 2019 to 1000s across 142 countries in 2024. Emine Naz Can is a change agent, passionate about helping youth get the skills needed to succeed in work and life. She's the Co-founder of Paridoc Academy, which has helped over 100 Turkish youth learn and grow during the pandemic. She had an internship at Novell learning and Nobel navigators where she helped develop sales, negotiation and networking programs to help youth around the world get free learning to the technical, soft skills and leadership skills needed in work and life. Khalil Kola Science High School graduate in 2023, she is enrolled now in bossier University as an aspiring engineer, and she's ready to change the world. Emine Naz Can and Andrew Sachs, Welcome to Edtech Insiders.

Andrew Sachs:

Great. Thanks for having us today.

Emine Naz Can:

Hi, thank you.

Alexander Sarlin:

I am so excited to talk to the two of you. We've met in a couple of different contexts in person, Andrew and Amina, we've talked online, and you're doing such fascinating work. So before we jump into our questions, Andrew, let me ask you to give us a little bit of the story of Nobel navigators, how did you started? Why did you start it? And what is it? For people who don't know?

Andrew Sachs:

That's a great question. And it's really, really wrapped in, you know, personal things, right? Like most entrepreneurs, we start items, because we have some item this tied into our life, and have fantastic kids and a wonderful teacher wife, and really saw how my kids weren't learning some of the critical soft skills and leadership skills that they needed to succeed in the world. I had sold my last tech company and started asking, I asked my wife if could she was a teacher, a really fantastic teacher. And I asked her if I could become a teacher, right, being passionate about education and learning. And she kind of chuckled at me. And I'm like, alright, that's fair, you know me pretty well. And I started an education company. So that was the beginning of my journey. And how

Alexander Sarlin:

does Nobel Navigators start to adjust this soft skills gap, especially internationally.

Andrew Sachs:

It comes from being able to connect youth all over the world, working on global project teams. And not only you know, that could be coding, web design, cybersecurity, digital marketing, but it connects them in the same way that we actually did in my startups. Right. So these are youth from could be three different continents. You get to California, Kenya, Katmandu all together, collaborating, tackling and solving real problems. In order to do that, right. Obviously, you need technical skills, you need to work on the data science or work on the marketing or work on the customer interviews. But you also need to collaborate, you need to communicate, you need to be creative. Lots of times the solutions aren't in what you know, but what you don't know. And the beauty of these international project teams is that diversity right is built in, right so we all know that the power of diverse teams is huge. Well, now they're these interesting to each other globally collaborative youth leaders that all want to learn and connect and synthesize the best solutions. I think part of what happens is these Youth Connect and there's incredible diversity and culture and customs but there's also diversity in thought and by connecting these, these youth it's like candy coating is the cultural diversity. And the diversity of thought is like the sort of super enlightening thing that helps them understand and be more creative and understand maybe what they know, and, and maybe even what they don't know what they thought they knew. Right? So it's a beauty of connecting with global project teams.

Alexander Sarlin:

And speaking of youth leaders and global project teams, Amina, tell us about your experience with Nobel Navigators.

Emine Naz Can:

Yeah, sure. I was a student, and I was tested in first year. And I was always looking forward to find more opportunities for me to try. In my school I was trying to join, enroll in some projects, but they were not satisfying me. When in my desk journey, quarantine just came up. And I realized that online is everything. It's accessible, I can just join mobile meet with someone, you're in another country, but it's no problem for us, there is no distance for sure. So I just came across with mobile and decided to apply just try it and join courses and meet with people as global. And today, I'm here and talking about you. And this is it was something probably looks like impossible for someone before quarantine before seeing this world in this way as global as online. And

Alexander Sarlin:

you've worked in a number of international teams, you've led groups online, tell us about your experience with international students, you know, how have you connected to people from other countries through the Nobel product? Yeah,

Emine Naz Can:

I joined teams, there was a lot of people at first, it was looking something scary to me, because I never talked with people around the globe. In one team, there was like 10 people, 10 countries, and it looks like something difficult to handle. Because there are a lot of cultural differences, boundaries, and sometimes language, our perspectives are different, because what we are facing is their friends, for sure. But it turns out that it helps us a lot, because we have 10 different countries, it means that we have 10 different perspectives 10 different solutions. And when we share it with each other, it becomes something perfect.

Alexander Sarlin:

It's a beautiful statement. 10 different perspectives. 10 different countries just means 10 different perspectives. And that adds up to even more than the sum of its parts, you can come up with ideas and connect in ways that you couldn't imagine. And it's just a really amazing vision for what education can and should be entered. Let me ask you a little bit about these soft skills that you mentioned, you know, you said that part of the origin of Nobel navigators is that you felt like traditional schools weren't adequately preparing young people for this, you know, modern world that is international, its diverse, it focuses on all of these, what they call sometimes durable skills, soft skills, competencies, that are really important for you tell us a little bit about how you think about these soft skills and why you're so passionate about focusing on you know, collaboration, critical thinking, that kind of thing in education.

Andrew Sachs:

Great question. And I just want to I want to say I want to get back to what m&e went to about the 10 different perspectives. I'm going to cue into that, but my answer to this, but it's that beauty, it's that connection, right? And, and professionally, I had that experience, I was working on global project teams right all over the world. And I learned so much from all of these people, not necessarily inside the United States, actually outside the United States, it really taught you not only what you think, but how your culture thinks and all the other assumptions that you have. And that diversity ends up being a superpower for making great decisions. And it doesn't matter whether you're a student or a professional. Right, the learning is almost unstoppable. I think your podcast by the way, thank you very much for your podcast, I think it's a great example of the human connection and communication and being able to learn right very quickly, you know, for myself, I didn't you know, my experience in education was I went to school and married a teacher. But a very good teacher, by the way, one of the best and, but learning and listening to how you connect with all these other people, and all these all these other companies, right? It really exposes people to that diversity of thought. And it's that exploration and that curiosity that ends up driving your understanding and it drove my understanding my motivation and the skills are actually all tied together. Right. And like any entrepreneur, my journey started out as personal right, have three wonderful kids. My daughter who was an eager learner, she's now 25, right? But this was back when she was in high school, top of her class very driven to succeed, right. And one day I found out that she didn't like group projects, right. She was a senior in high school and was complaining that she was going to have to stay up till four o'clock in the morning to finish one of our group projects. I had just sold my tech company. And I think my daughter kind of interested in keeping me busy, right? Knew that I took an interest In education, and she sent me this note, and we talked about teamwork and leadership, right? And she sends me this note, and it says, What if part of the issue with school is that kids learn it is unacceptable for someone to be behind. Without a mentor mentee relationship between students, they learned to solely and adults job to educate everyone. Then if a student is not succeeding in the same teaching situation as you, they are assumed to be less intelligent or lazy, and other students will avoid working with them. It was just like this gasp for me. Right? All I could write back was like, wow. Right? You know, as a successful entrepreneur and builder of two tech companies, right? I knew that everything was teamwork, I knew that things were changing so fast that learning and working together and helping each other grow and succeed was the currency of success of happiness. And my daughter wasn't learning teamwork and empathy and leadership. I would say she was learning on teamwork and a lack of empathy and to be in competition and collaboration. So like many talented youth, like m&a, right, she was learning not to like group projects. And so that was my motivation, right for starting Novell navigators. And it really, you know, obviously, we want our youth to learn the technical skills that coding the web design, the cybersecurity, right, but obviously, the, you know, even probably even more important today, right is the global cultural awareness, connection, listening and empathy that are so critical, right? I think of Nobel as a social learning network, right? Where you trade live Learning and Leadership instead of likes, right? And instead of getting anxiety, you get connection, instead of fear of missing out you have fun, right? And friends, and it's also a place where the youth and obviously a hugely critical skill of being able to control their tech and not just let their tech control them. The combination

Alexander Sarlin:

of you know, technical learning and STEM learning and you know, doing cybersecurity, but then also doing it in a way that's group oriented, diverse communication first is so clearly parallels what work life is like, right now, you know, I mean, people, global teams are becoming the norm, remote teams are certainly becoming the norm. And the combination of that sort of what they call hard skills, and soft skills, knowing how to collaborate, knowing how to not let a group project, you know, all fall on one person, which is like the thing that tends to happen in school is so important. I mean, I want to ask you, because you know, where you left off, you said, hey, when you started with Nobel, it was like, you know, 10 people, 10 countries really anxiety producing, it felt a little intimidating. But then you started to realize, oh, wow, this is actually amazing. 10 different perspectives. And, you know, you've really become a leader within the noble navigators community, and you even co founded your own academy paradox Academy, during the pandemic, to help other Turkish youth learn and grow. It's an incredible success story. It's really exciting. Can you just walk us through that sort of evolution from that sort of first day where you're like, oh, wow, this is intimidating to now being this confident, I know your English has improved a lot. You've mentioned that tell us about the impact it has had on you as a sort of young leader,

Emine Naz Can:

the city I was born in was not that large city. There were not many activities and the opportunities to try. But I taught that high school good would be different. It was not actually I didn't even have chance to choose my elective classes. Isn't that funny? Why do they call them electives? They were already assigned. I wasn't, I wasn't happy with that, for sure. And then the pandemic started. It was a global issue, but also had some good sights. I wasn't able to go outside, but I was able to do whatever I wanted. I was more flexible than at school, even though I wasn't able to go outside. Because school was forcing us to fit into their frame. With pandemic world has changed. Old events, conferences, and especially learning were accessible for everyone. It showed us how close we are no matter what the distances. And in the pandemic year, we started to meet with my friends online. So that you'd have all the opportunities now but don't have a peer connection. I come with an idea to create paradox Academy. But it was going to be my first time creating a project and leading a team. I was a bit nervous, again as global teams. So I decided to take advice from my elders before I started. They suggested that I wait until I graduate from university to create my own projects. I was 14 when I come with that idea. So I asked that question to myself. Can I wait eight years? answer was simple. No. I shared the project idea with my friends and we started to take action. We created the High School cognitive its students eager to learn be organized sessions to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones, understands ways to learn knowledge, and learn about interesting areas of science such as astrobiology, quantum physics. And as our success story can say that COVID was a hard period for the world and for the huge lack of social life being away from periods was horrible. By pure learning, encouragement, and having fun, it was possible to reduce the effects of pandemic for us. Participants become motivated learners after their journey, only by giving them a chance to learn in an engaging environment, we were able to improve their mental health and helped them to expand their perspectives.

Alexander Sarlin:

It's hard not to just glow with the sort of excitement of your story and have the power. You know, obviously, at Tech insiders, we are big believers in the in the power of education, technology and technology to connect people, but hearing it in such a specific way that you know, this global pandemic forces everybody inside separates everybody socially in person, but allows the type of flexibility for students like yourself to go so far beyond what could possibly happen in your traditional school, work with people all over the world to start your own school. Don't wait, do it. Now, I love that. It is really incredibly inspiring. And you know, putting these pieces together when this moment, as you are both saying where the world is increasingly interconnected people are, no matter what they're doing, they have more and more exposure to people all over the world. Young people have more exposure, adults have more exposure. I want to talk a little bit about language skills. Let me start with you. I mean, and then I want to hear you and your as well. But, you know, I know I've heard you say that, you know, when you got back to your traditional high school when you got back to your high school people were like your English has improved a lot. You know, what's it seems like your something has really changed there. And you attribute that to all of the amazing work online that you've been doing with Nobel and with paradox and you know, just working with people all over the world. Can you talk to us a little bit about that language learning and what role pure learning plays in improving language skills.

Emine Naz Can:

I was actually an introvert and perfectionist. When I joined novel, I joined my first class with learners whose native language was English. First, I thought that they would judge me because I'm not capable of speaking and understanding as they do. But my experience was the opposite of my expectations. I remember similar story with one of my teammates Juliana, she was describing English as her nightmare with an engaging environment. Now, she's able to describe her feelings in English, more genuinely than her native language, or slew from Turkey. She was a free to sweet see her future while struggling with the proficiency exam, she felt depressed. She even thought that university wasn't for her and dropped out of university. After a while, she decided to get out of her comfort zone, join Nabal made new friends acquired new skills, and especially improved her mental health. She was the one who was waiting for things to be perfect as I did as perfectionist, but she started to take action get back to the university. Now she has become a project manager launch her small business and currently a content creator on YouTube Wow. Before being part of this community, and met with these amazing people. My comment was, this is too good to be true. But when I joined and spend some time with those people, I said, it was more than what I heard. Because there is magical viewed power of inspiring, developing freedom, trust, fun, and peace. This is the world we need, leading by inspiration, not by fear and control, creating our own ideas. Instead of the perceptions presented to us. We have the power to change the world. Yes,

Alexander Sarlin:

what a change from feeling like you are, you know, as you say, perfectionist, you're an introvert, you felt like you weren't able to connect to this incredible. I mean, obviously everybody can hear how how strong English is. But it's also like your perspective, your idea about what can happen is just so global. It's so broad. It's so optimistic and I'm just really thrilled. I hope that a lot of people in your generation share that that vision and get the same opportunity to connect with others and feel that possibility that you're expressing here. Andrew, I'd like to ask you as well, you know, obviously, I mean, it is an incredible stuff within Nobel. Tell us about how language learning Do you group students by their language? Clearly they people have different language proficiencies at least when they start with no bail, but what do you see over time in terms of how their language skills change?

Andrew Sachs:

I think the m&a came in. And by the way, she shared her side of it like not wanting to wait when I got to meet her. Right? She was a little shy. Right and worried about speaking in front of others. It's kind of hard to believe, isn't it? Yeah. I have it on tape recorded. So we have excuses Iverson and to hear her connect with all these other people in developing into hear her passion about connecting with with all these youth and helping out others. That's the driver for Nobel. Right? You know, you asked me earlier about my motivation, why I'm so passionate about it is as Nobel grew across the world, we started with just six students here in Washington, DC. And it wasn't right about global yet. Right? It did started in my daughter's High School. Right, fantastic high school, but it was like just six students here. And then in 2021, I had a chance to meet m&a. And she's like, you know, no, I don't want to wait. And then all of a sudden, it was clear that this was her community, and the community of 1000s, if not millions of youth like her that want to connect that don't want to wait for those of us to get around to fixing education. Opportunity. And like all of a sudden, it was like, okay, that's the why, I think to watch, you know, sometimes people ask me, like, you know, isn't English a problem? Right? And my, my response is, yeah, well, you know, sometimes the Americans mess up their, their grammar, but they come in at different levels, I think, the encouragement and support that they do of each other, and just, you know, just, you know, communication isn't about language, it's about everything, right. And the connection that you see between these amazing youth leaders from all over, they're interesting to each other. That's how we develop language, right? It's like, Oh, I see this person, I like them, I want to communicate with them. Bam, it shows up. I don't know how it happens, because I still can't speak anything other than English. But it's just, you know, seeing the confidence, seeing the connections, seeing the vocabulary, the comfort, I think they go from being fearful to having fun, from worrying about judgment, to feeling the encouragement and support and connection of the youth around them. And, you know, maybe that's what all of education should be like. And all of learning should be like that motivational

Alexander Sarlin:

piece of you know, you learn because you want to collaborate, you learn because you want to connect with others rather than the other way around where you know, you're forced to connect with others to learn like a traditional group project. It's a really exciting vision of what education should be. Let's talk about teamwork for a little bit beyond the language skills and the ability for people to sort of figure out how to communicate, there's a lot of benefit in learning in teams in group work, learning in high performing team work, both for children and adults. There's studies that show that you know, learning in teams, especially, you know, psychologically safe teams where people trust each other can be incredibly fast and incredibly effective. Andrew, let's start with you. I want to hear a little bit about how you think about the sort of collaborative learning approach to this. You'd mentioned you started with six students in Washington. Now it's a global community. I'd love to hear you talk more about that. And how did the group's sort of outpace what any individual might do? You

Andrew Sachs:

brought up something right in the beginning there, and you said, Trust, right? In our world of division, right? And discord that's happening right now, our brains are actually designed there, trust something mechanisms, right. And if someone if you have trust of somebody else, it's a little bit like having a backdoor into your brain. It's the instant believing and connection, ability to take feedback and learn from others. Right. And if you create that environment, that's a fantastic place that youth can actually learn at that incredible rate, the psychological safety that you talked about, so they're all working together on teams, right? Doing real projects, right? And we all know that humans learn fastest by exploring and making mistakes, right? And, and having encouragement, support. So having that trust among each other, having that communication and connection, and interest in supporting each other. It sounds you know, almost the opposite of what we teach, right? But in no battle, it's like, just try something. Right? And you're gonna make mistakes, but then that's okay. You learn and you grow. And by the way, they all learn from each other. And when that happens, I had the benefit of working on these high performing global project teams, right, my companies or tech companies, TTC, Kernan volcon, had fantastic leadership, right. And also they were had great global project teams growing and learning. And in that environment, you have to have this high performing teamwork and I don't think I would have understood this. Had I not had those great leadership and the great collaborative experiences trust psychological safety encouragement of those around you even practicing constructive calm float. Right? So one of the challenges, right? There's, you know, the answers in this incredibly changing world, right? The best answer almost always is not in what you know, but it's in what you don't know. And when you have a difference of opinion with someone, right, that's also competent and invested in that thing, your ability to learn from each other and understand how each other came to that belief and figured out, you know, based off of conflicts, like a deeper, richer understanding of the truth that neither one of you had. And that even goes all the way up into accountability, right, where team members can help each other. When you're all done with that team project, right? Not only are you accomplishing more faster, because you can help each other out. But you're also learning everybody else's lessons and skills. So you walk away, having, you know, done five times as much, and learn from five times as many people m&a, how much faster do you learn in Novell than in a traditional learning environment?

Emine Naz Can:

I feel like it's Tarzan. But if I need to be honest, I could say near to six to eight times,

Andrew Sachs:

I hear numbers from six to 30 from the students, it doesn't happen right away, right? It takes a while to get to trust and communication and really collaboration and finding the people that you can really learn from. Right. So that's part of the beauty of no bow is you know, m&a can find the other m&a Right, the other Demetrio, the other sunnah, right, that they find interesting, and they go work on a project that they're passionate about. So when you combine all that together, you know, you get learning that matters, and you do it a lot faster.

Alexander Sarlin:

So, I mean, let's hear some of that, from the student perspective. You know, you've experienced learning in global teams in a number of different contexts. By now you've taken many online courses, you've led courses, you've obviously started your own academy. Tell us a little bit about what it's been like for you learning in you just mentioned, you know, many times faster learning. But what are some of the unique aspects of the type of group and collaborative learning that you do on Novell or online in general, versus what you do in your traditional school or when you're doing you know, homework on your own homework

Andrew Sachs:

on your own.

Emine Naz Can:

It's cool, when you want to try something new, you're called straggler by authors. In the global tears, you can find people to try new things together. collaborating across time zones and cultural boundaries requires effective communication, active listening and teamwork. It is often taught that engineers are not that good at a conversation and empathy. But if even I can do it as an engineer, or let's say, engineering student, anyone can do it. You're navigating cultural differences, and it helps us to gain adaptability skills to serve. He's from Nigeria in their country. They don't even have stable electricity. When he joined noble, he was the only one from his country. In three months, they have even sub teams in the Nigeria team. They are becoming Laureus leaders. In this way. They're creating scalable and growing teams together, fresh from Afghanistan, escaping the control of the Taliban, a learner in the world, same person is a global team member and also leading teams in mobile. It is so sad to see control and comment in this world. We have bright youth who can lead this world with creativity, engagement, freedom, empathy, not capable of going outside from her home, but she's still able to get leadership skills, there is a huge shift in this world, we can help you to be part of this shift by learning and leading even in war, we can help them to learn with fun, you'd get affected by the pains of their countries. But being part of a global community allows them to get free of the causes of difficulties. Another example is Mykola, from the Ukraine team. He joined novel after war started. Now he brings more and more people from Ukraine to help his peers by changing leadership perception in his country. This is the power of youth and learning.

Alexander Sarlin:

I mean, it's so amazing. And when I hear you talk, I get shades of Greta Thornburg and Malala. And you know, some of these incredible global youth leaders that just see the future in this incredibly bright terms and really see the power as you're saying, the power of youth, the power of international engagement, you know, it's just you make you feel very concrete and real. And it's really exciting to hear. Let me just double click on this. I want to ask you a little bit more about this. Because one of the things you're mentioning, you're mentioning countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan, where there's real deep conflicts. And you know, I'm hearing you say, and it's really makes sense that for your generation, we're being online and having you know, mobile phones and online connections with people is just part of the world right? It's just taken for granted. You just you have it. You have the this incredible opportunity to sort of shape your experience. Even if you're in a really, really difficult situation. If you're in a country at war, you can use the online world to completely change your experience and learn and communicate and collaborate and find similar minds. Tell us a little bit more about that. I mean, you're in a country that is not at war. But I think you've had that experience yourself, of having almost like living in two worlds, living in your actual world, your physical country, and then living in this online, globally connected world. I'd love to hear you talk about that.

Emine Naz Can:

Yeah. As I shared some of my friends experiences, what I'm hearing from them is also similar story. They're telling me that outside, I am an introvert, I don't want to talk with people, cuz the leadership, the character in their mind is like, control, fear, comment. But in this world, it's like it just transporting into another world when I'm entering my meetings and opening my computer. It's like another world with empathy, the power of youth leadership, but leadership with empathy and not with fear and controlling people. And those people who are telling that they're introverted outside, they're extrovert in novel, and they want to talk forever. Sometimes we have science club, they're having meetings for like five hours, sometimes ks become an extrovert here. It's not maybe about the character of that people. It's about the people around us, our surroundings, how they're behaving to us. So with the right environment, and right conditions, right world, you're able to be more communicative be listen by others.

Alexander Sarlin:

So it's really spectacular. It's totally amazing. You know, I want to talk I mean, one thing we haven't discussed, and I'd love to hear you talk about this. Andrea, you mentioned where you started with no, Bella was sort of within your daughter's high school within DC, which is where you're based, but it's now clearly I mean, you're hearing all the different countries and all the different sub teams and groups that are expanding in different countries, it's clearly gone. Very, very global. And you started noble navigators with the goal of providing, you know, global youth with better education opportunities, you're clearly really on that path. I want to hear how far you are and what your plans are. Well, actually, let's just go there. You know, how has Nobel navigators grown? Is it faster than you expected? And where do you see it going in the future?

Andrew Sachs:

Great question. You know, it started out with a personal need, right? Like, I don't know, if you want to call it pivots, or just it fulfilling its mission. Right? You go along and you find you can teach soft skills, and then you can find out you can teach leadership, and then you find m&a. Right? And then you're like, wow, not only can you teach leadership, but watch m&a Master in two years, what took me 15. Right, right. And, oh, by the way, there's 1000s, if not millions of youth like her all over this globe that are ready for making this change, right. And when you can do that for free, and provide it to us from all over this planet, there's probably not much more motivational. This community is their community. I think, when we started, it started with Ken it soft skills. And then it was oh, wow, we can make something that's accessible. Nobel and that they use sometimes they thank me and I, I turn around, I say, No, thank you, thank you. This is your community. Right? You learn what you want to learn, you have the ability to lead in the right way. You can learn all the skills, the technical skills, wherever they want to take this, we're going to it's going to go that way. This is their community. This is their learning. And honestly, I think you and I know, we need new leadership, right? Things. The old Leadership isn't doing such a good job right now. So if we can equip these youth from all over this planet, with the technical skills, the soft skills, and the leadership skills to lead with empathy, and cultural connection and diversity, and maybe they can lead us to a whole new world, because honestly, you and I know we're not doing such a good job as we started out with six in Washington, DC, but you know, we had 30 countries when I m&a. We're now in 142. With 1000s of student leaders, there's 800 million youth with internet at home. How about all them? Right?

Alexander Sarlin:

That's the goal. I love that.

Andrew Sachs:

Yeah, you know, I think we're on track to reach 30 million by 2030. But as when we were in one of the meetings, I said, you know, what's our goal for 30 million? When can we reach 30 million? And people are like, 2030, they kind of know, the, you know, 30 million by 2030 model that we have. And then one of them's like 2025. So, like presidential elections, I refuse to predict the future. Right? I don't do such a good job with it. I refuse to predict the future of Nobel because they're going to take us some places that are more amazing that we can Imagine what we can imagine today. Yeah.

Alexander Sarlin:

I mean, I'd love to hear your talk about that sort of ownership piece that Andrew mentioned, you know that when people thank him for starting Nobel, he says, No, this is your community, you are running this, you're owning this, you're choosing your classes, unlike the electives in your high school, you're choosing what classes to take, actually choosing. And curious what your experience of that ownership is, obviously, you are a sort of an exceptional leader, youth leader. And you can just tell instantly from talking to you. But I'm curious about, you know, within the Nobel community, do people really feel that ownership because that is an aspect of education, I think we've dreamed up for a long time, that sort of student first type of learning. And it feels like what you're both doing here is really honing in on what that might look like, what does that look like for you?

Emine Naz Can:

Like the part that I mentioned before, I was hearing a lot, I thought it cannot be that good. It's too good to be true. But when I entered, I was able to lead teams, and I'm just joining us, Lorna. But I was thinking how it can be possible to become a leader here, because it's a huge thing. I'm seeing leaders around me, but they all are graduated from university had MBAs and a lot of things, I need to spend years to become a leader that was inside of my head. But I just entered, I joined some teams, and there was a system. It was making me a leader, they were mentoring me somehow even didn't realize that it was too smooth.

Andrew Sachs:

We worked on that we worked on that for a while.

Alexander Sarlin:

And when did you first feel that like, oh, maybe I'm a leader, no, maybe I don't need an MBA, I

Emine Naz Can:

become a Turkish group's leader for a while, then I taught that, okay, that's the, like maximum level that I can reach. But then I become the global leader of other countries as well. There was no limit for us. When you become your country's leader, you're being able to global leader, then when I become globally there, I thought that okay, now I'm stopping. But then there was more important is to join other teams, there was like infinite opportunities that I can try different industries, if I want to work on tech industry, I can work on that. Or if I'm interested in psychology, there was a lot of projects. And that was when I have infinite opportunities. I had that ownership of that community. And with that, I was aware of that I was promoting it everywhere to my friends, please join here. Like, you have to see what they're doing here. When I'm telling them what I'm doing. It wasn't that understandable. It was like, as I mentioned, it was like a magic.

Alexander Sarlin:

Yeah, it's so different than what people experience in their other world, in their traditional learning environments. I'm sure it took a lot of you probably have to see it and experience it to really understand how different it feels and how empowering I think is the word that I'm sort of hearing in what you're saying how empowering, you could take over groups you cannot take over. But you know, you can lead groups, you can jump in and really focus on different industries. It's a really, really exciting. And then you mentioned some of the other students like the Nigerian students who brought in other Nigerian students to the Nobel community. It's really amazing to hear, I have a couple of questions for both of you about the sort of education landscape writ large, you're obviously doing amazing things at Novell. Andrew, let me start with you here. You know, one of the things you've mentioned is that you do you know, web development and cybersecurity and some of these really technical skills that have been sort of cutting edge skills for the future of work. And obviously, you know, you've listened to the podcast, we talk about AI and this sort of concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or just sort of artificial intelligence and all the efficiencies and different things it's going to enable as being, you know, the next big tech revolution. I'd love to hear both of you. Let's start with you, Andrew, talk about how you think about AI in the context of Nobel, I mean, how you use it, if you use it yet, and also how you empower your youth to learn about it.

Andrew Sachs:

Amen. You know, I just stopped over at high school here in Washington, DC, and they were telling me how now in history class and coding class and English, that they only do short assignments in class, because they can't stop people from using AI. I almost shed a tear, right? Because it's the exact opposite of Nobel, right? It's, you know, use AI is the word calculator that it is right, and allow the humans to move up, right and move to higher level learning. You know, obviously, our world changing at an incredible rate, right? Ai, data science, automation, even communication, this call right? Probably wouldn't have happened five years ago. Right? And it's changing the way we live and work at lightning speed. In this world, the AI becomes an available expert all the time, right? And in this incredibly changing world, and I talked about this before, lots of times So what you're faced with is not, you know, what's the right answer? Right? It's about figuring out what you don't know. And applying it to the problem that you have in hand, right? The answer is not in what you know, it's and what you don't know. And this constant collaboration and creativity, right? By using AI to help you solve real problems and make the world around you more human is fantastic. Right? We are in no shortage of real problems to solve. Right? The right, we're making them every minute of every day. And if you equip youth with rather than go and work on this thing, that I'm telling you to this artificial thing that doesn't really solve a real world problem. If instead you say, hey, take AI, take your tools, take automation, take your teamwork, take your global collaboration, and go find a problem that you're passionate about, work with people that you want to work with, right? And then go solve that problem, the skills that you get the problems you solve, and the learning that you accomplish is unbelievable. AI is, you know, obviously, we're fear driven animals, right? It's the lower level the brain and everybody's seen Terminator. Right. And I think we're all worried about, you know, artificial intelligence taking over, I'm actually already worried about not artificial intelligence. But can I say real stupidity. You know, teaching people how to use it well, to solve real problems and to move up the stack, right, and do the things like every other industrial revolution, allowing her our people to do the things that the computers cannot do. Right. It's fantastic. And that includes, obviously, you know, all the technical stuff, right, the cybersecurity the web design, which by the way, AI removes the typical coding syntax hurdle. Lots, sometimes people it's just amazing, right? You know, coding is about thinking and problem solving with this incredibly powerful tool that's creative, and, and collaborative. Well, now, right, it's not that, you know, some people say, like, AI will remove the need for coders. I think of it a little differently, I think of it as everyone will become a coder, you just don't have to worry about the syntax anymore. And everyone can, you know, you can be eight years old, write in code, you know, in develop an incredible application to solve real problems, right? Isn't that the skill that we want kids to have? Isn't that the skill? We want everybody to have? 100

Alexander Sarlin:

percentage? I mean, I want to hear your answer to this to just makes me think, you know, the classic real world task that they often do in American schools, at least they'll have people you know, write a letter to their congressman, or write a letter to their senator. And that's the real world task that, you know, traditionally, because it's something that is it within the classic skill set of high school students, they can write a letter. Now, I mean, with the AI with the sort of lift of capacity and efficiency and capability that it gives, I mean, you could ask somebody to start a whole movement as an assignment. You know, I mean, not just write a letter, write 10,000 letters, send them to everybody, do an email campaign, do an advertising campaign, make a video teach the whole world about whatever issue you care about. And that's truly possible. It's really amazing. So I mean, with that, let me pass it to you. How do you think about AI? How have you used it so far? And what do you think is coming?

Emine Naz Can:

I think this brings us a lot of different techniques, alternative education, and we are being able to use AI in the way that we can get advantage of it. And higher education costs are high, maybe four, you know, hit better in the United States. But it's not just about money. It's about time, we spent the years when we are most open to development. And we're just spending that years within the frames thrown for us as we struggle with exams and strict rules of the school. As we struggle with those exams and strict rules, the efficiency we get from education decreases. But then we have chances, different chances to have alternative education. Just remember how you were not afraid to try things when you were four years old. how excited you were to make new discoveries while looking around with curious eyes. While we were explorers who were curious to learn everything. We turned into people who are afraid to ask what we don't understand. There is only one correct answer in the school. Nobody teaches us that making mistakes is the best way to learn. We only learned that if we make mistakes, we'll get a lower grade. That's why we're very afraid to make mistakes. And diplomas and certificates are not proof of learning. When we use AI we are being able to get personalized learning based systems secure based systems. And this ecosystem that we need we need lifelong learning ecosystem involves teaching students how to learn as a team Stay curious and continuously develop new skills they need to see and solve real world problems to understand what the concept is, again, an example a luminary in novel Terina from Ukraine, she joined novel of the worst started, she spent five to six hours in novel each day away from the media and her surroundings, it was too hard for her to see what she could do in the future. Her journey novel reshaped her future plans if she did just a traditional college degree, it would take her five years to decide if that provision was good for her INNOPOLIS she was involved in more than 20 projects and had the opportunity to try everything at one place. Now she's leading the global teams and continues to discover herself. There's no limit what she youth can issue. Learning begins not when you sit at a desk for hours, and force yourself not to sleep. You know, no, school is a best place where you can discover the most comfortable ways to sleep at a desk. Learning begins when you discover your identity, understand the world and just have fun.

Alexander Sarlin:

Yeah, it's really so inspiring. And the type of learning that you have been pursuing at Nobel just really expands what we think of as education. I mean, it's the idea of moving so far beyond traditional education, traditional degrees and credentials, as you mentioned, Amina and instead thinking about projects, collaboration, making real world impact leading teams as they impact as the outcomes of education, incredibly inspiring. So I wish we had more time this has been a fascinating, and such a fun interview to do. I love talking to both of you. Let's go into our final questions. As you know, as listeners of the podcast, the first is, and we're gonna have to do a little bit of a abbreviated version of this. But what is the most exciting trend that you see in the EdTech landscape right now that our listeners keep an eye on?

Andrew Sachs:

I'm gonna say m&a, trying to say that, is that a trend? That's the trend? 1000s, like, you know, I think we will know that the education landscape has changed, stayed relatively unchanged for 130 years, right, arguably 50 years past due for an upgrade, right? I got a better coding education in 1989, and 99% of the youth get today, right? Despite the fact that coding and data are new literacies I think this is our time, right? This is the revolution that's going to happen. Right? I look at AI, as is really giving us the activation energy of change, it's so clearly drives productivity in the workforce, and allows you to create a more human world, right? It's going to create an incredible amount of productivity, we have a chance, right? If we get ahead of this. And we educate our youth to actually succeed in this world, and become the technical people, this the collaborative ones, the empathetic leaders, we can lead all of them to a more human world, that if anything excites me the most. Yeah.

Alexander Sarlin:

And there's so much wrapped up in there, right? The idea of pure learning of global learning of combining hard skills and soft skills, which we've talked about a lot, but it's sort of intrinsic to your answer, right? How do we actually get better education around technology while allowing people to learn leadership and critical thinking and how to collaborate with each other? And what is one resource that you would recommend for somebody who wants to dive deeper into any of the topics we discussed today?

Andrew Sachs:

All right, well, while you're not consuming the tech insiders, newsletter or podcast, right, because by the way, I was just tremendously educational for myself. Thank you so much for what you guys do. I also recommend anything by Paul Leblanc. He was SNHU is president and his book broken, really about the systems of human care, education and healthcare and other things and how we can use them to make them more people oriented and uses technology to scale them and create a more human world. So super fan of his stuff. Fantastic.

Alexander Sarlin:

And we will put that in the show notes for this episode. I mean, do you have a resource you'd like to recommend?

Emine Naz Can:

That's fair enough.

Alexander Sarlin:

Okay, that's fine. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. It's such a blast to talk to both of you mean us, John, and Andrew Sachs of Nobel Navigators. Thanks for being here with us on Edtech insiders.

Andrew Sachs:

Thank you so much, Alex.

Emine Naz Can:

Thank you.

Alexander Sarlin:

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