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Learn Python: an essential starter guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to Python! In this article, I'll delve into the wonderful world of Python, addressing common questions and providing valuable insights to kickstart your Python journey. Whether you're looking to understand what is Python or what are the best ways to learn this programming language, there will be something for everyone.

What is Python and why is it Important?

Python is a high-level, versatile programming language known for its simplicity and readability. It plays a vital role in various domains, including web development, data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, and more. Its importance lies in its widespread use, making it a valuable skill for aspiring programmers.

Basic Prerequisites for Starting Python

Before diving head first into Python, having an understanding of programming fundamentals can be helpful. Knowledge of basic concepts like variables, data types, and control flow will give you a great head start. One of the best free ways to learn Python is through 8Billionminds. On this platform, you can find hundreds of Python experts, fanatics and teachers who can help you via one-to-one virtual lessons at any stage of your Python journey and even offer a Python bootcamp. 

Setting up a Python Development Environment

To start coding in Python, you'll need a development environment, which is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities for software development. Popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) include PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, and Jupyter Notebook. These tools provide a user-friendly interface and various features to enhance your coding experience.

"Hello, World!" Example

So, now that you’re here, let's start with a simple "Hello, World!" example to demonstrate Python's ease of use:
python coding
print(): print is a built-in Python function used to display messages or values to the console, allowing the program to communicate with the user or developer.
"Hello, World!": This is a string literal, enclosed within double quotes. In Python, strings are sequences of characters, and they can be enclosed in either single quotes (') or double quotes ("). Here, we are printing the message "Hello, World!" to the console.


Learning Duration and Stages
The time it takes to learn Python varies based on factors such as your prior programming experience and dedication to learning. For beginners, a few weeks to grasp the basics, a few months for proficiency, and six months to a year for advanced skills. Those with prior programming knowledge may achieve proficiency in a few weeks to a few months, and advanced skills in three to six months or more. From experience, breaking down the learning process into stages, consistent practice and setting achievable milestones is your best way to expedite the learning process. This is again something that the 8Billiominds platform can help you with. If you struggle for consistent periods of time in your schedule but need to keep on top of your learning, this platform lets you choose lessons based on your availability, adding an element of convenience in your Python learning journey. Ultimately, learning a coding language is an ongoing journey with continuous opportunities for growth and mastery.


Quality Learning Resources
Utilizing quality learning resources like books is crucial. Here are a few recommended Python books for beginners:
• "Automate the Boring Stuff with Python" by Al Sweigart
• "Python Crash Course" by Eric Matthes
• "Learn Python the Hard Way" by Zed A. Shaw


How difficult is Python
Choosing the "easiest" programming language largely depends on individual preferences, learning style, and the specific context of usage. However, Python is often considered one of the easiest programming languages for several reasons. Python's simplicity lies in its consistent, clean and readable syntax. Its code resembles plain English, making it beginner-friendly and easy to understand. The lack of complex symbols and intricate structure reduces the learning curve, allowing newcomers to focus on programming concepts rather than syntax intricacies. Furthermore, Python's strong community support contributes to its ease of learning. Online communities, tutorials, and forums are abundant, providing assistance and resources for beginners and advanced programmers alike. Python is used in web development, data analysis, machine learning, automation, artificial intelligence, scientific computing, and more due to its versatility, ease of use, and rich ecosystem of libraries.
Key Differences and Use Cases (Python vs C++ vs Java)
Python and other programming languages differ primarily in their design philosophies and use cases. C++ prioritizes performance, allowing low-level memory manipulation and offering fine-grained control, making it suitable for system-level programming, game development, and performance-critical applications. Python's high-level abstractions make it accessible for beginners, while C++ requires a deeper understanding of memory management and syntax, making it better suited for experienced developers needing optimal performance. Java, on the other hand, emphasizes portability, performance, and strong typing, making it ideal for enterprise-level applications, Android development, and large-scale systems. Choosing between programming languages depends as much on your personal reasons for wanting to learn coding languages, as your experience. Generally though, Python is widely considered the simplest languages to grasp by beginners and would be the best place to start.


Demand and Career Growth
The demand for Python developers is high across various industries. It is almost 100% guaranteed that across job titles like Python Developer, Data Scientist, and Web Developer Python skills are required. In this regard, learning Python can significantly broaden your career prospects, boost your employability and increase your salary expectation.


Is Python a good first programming language?
Python's beginner-friendly syntax and gentle learning curve make it an excellent first programming language.
Is Python free to use?
Yes, Python is open-source and free to download and use for both personal and commercial projects.
What can you do with Python?
Python's versatility allows you to work on web development, data analysis, machine learning, automation, and much more.
Do I need to know math to learn Python?
Basic math skills are sufficient for learning Python, while more advanced math may be needed for specific applications like data science.
How do I install Python on my computer?
Step-by-step installation instructions for different operating systems can be found on the official Python website.

Get started and learn Python with 8Billionminds

In conclusion, Python is a valuable programming language with a wide range of applications and a beginner-friendly learning curve. Learning Python opens doors to exciting career opportunities and empowers you to create amazing projects. 
Step 1) Sign up to 8Billionminds for free.
Step 2) Complete your profile - make sure you add both the subjects you want to learn (Python) and the subjects you could teach or share. This will make the platform stronger :)
Step 3) Browse through your matches and find teachers who can help you start your Python learning journey.
Step 4) Schedule your live session! Make sure you include what level of Python you consider yourself to be - an absolute beginner or perhaps more intermediate.
Step 5) Enjoy your learning experience on 8BM platform. Take and give as many lessons as you like!
Happy Coding!



Virtual classroom: discover new opportunities

A virtual classroom is an online platform that replicates many aspects of a traditional physical classroom. It allows educators and students to interact, share information, and engage in learning activities over the internet. Virtual classrooms are a transformative evolution of traditional education, bridging the gap between physical and digital learning environments. These online spaces have gained immense prominence, especially in recent years, as technology continues to reshape the educational landscape.

How does a virtual classroom work?

In a virtual classroom, students and instructors interact in real-time through the internet, offering a dynamic platform with numerous advantages such as flexibility, accessibility, and inclusivity. Learners from around the world can connect to a single virtual space, breaking down geographical barriers. This global reach enables exposure to diverse perspectives, enhancing the learning experience.
Virtual classrooms often feature interactive tools, including chat, video conferencing, and collaborative whiteboards. These elements foster engagement, allowing students to ask questions, participate in discussions, and work together on projects. Furthermore, recorded sessions offer flexibility, enabling students to review content at their own pace.
The virtual classroom also presents challenges, such as the need for reliable internet access and digital literacy skills. However, as technology continues to advance and accessibility improves, these barriers are gradually diminishing.
Overall, virtual classrooms are a powerful tool for modern education, offering a dynamic, accessible, and interactive learning environment that compliments traditional teaching methods and equips students with the skills needed in the digital age.

Benefits of a Virtual Classroom

Virtual classroom platforms have become instrumental in modern education, providing a digital ecosystem for remote learning and collaboration. Leading platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and Moodle offer a range of features and tools to enhance the virtual learning experience.
These platforms typically provide:
• Video conferencing capabilities
• Enabling live interactions between instructors and students
• Screen sharing and chat functions
• Breakout rooms for group discussions, fostering engagement and participation
• The advantage of accessibility, allowing students to learn from anywhere
• Offers global collaboration through learning
• Sessions can be recorded, making it possible for students to review lessons later
Additionally, virtual classrooms often incorporate file sharing, assignment submission, and grading systems, streamlining administrative tasks.
Virtual classroom platforms prioritise security and privacy, safeguarding sensitive educational information. They also facilitate content creation and management, allowing educators to upload lectures, quizzes, and multimedia resources.
Furthermore, they promote inclusivity by accommodating various learning styles and needs. Many offer closed captioning, accessibility features, and integrations with learning management systems (LMS) for comprehensive course management.
Virtual classroom platforms empower educators to deliver effective online instruction, enabling students to access quality education remotely while fostering collaboration, engagement, and adaptability in the digital era.
                                virtual classroom

Costs and Expenses

The fees for virtual classrooms can vary significantly depending on the platform and the educational institution's pricing model. Some virtual classroom platforms offer free versions with limited features, while others require a subscription or licence fee. 8BM is one such platform that offers a wide range of classes for free. Educational institutions may also charge tuition fees for courses that utilise virtual classrooms as part of their curriculum.
Prices can range from a few dollars/euros per month for individual users to more substantial fees for institutions with larger user bases and advanced features. It's essential for both educators and students to consider their specific needs and budget constraints when selecting a virtual classroom platform, as the cost can vary widely, but the investment in quality online education is often worthwhile.

Virtual Classroom Creator

A virtual classroom creator is a software or platform that allows educators to design and manage online learning environments. These creators enable instructors to create and organise course content, schedule classes, and engage with students through various digital tools like video conferencing, discussion boards, and assignments. Examples of virtual classroom creators include our very own 8BillionMinds, Moodle, Canvas, and Blackboard. These platforms empower educators to tailor their virtual classrooms to suit their teaching methods and objectives, providing flexibility and convenience for both instructors and learners.

Virtual Learning

Virtual classrooms facilitate personalised learning, bridging geographical gaps and fostering global collaboration. They offer flexibility, accessibility, and real-world digital skills development, creating an inclusive, dynamic, and future-ready education environment. Overall, virtual classrooms have become a crucial part of education, especially during times when in-person learning is limited or restricted, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide a versatile platform for delivering education and training in various settings and can complement traditional classroom instruction.

Discover 8BM virtual classroom: a free option to connect people through education. Sign up now!



Free online courses: a quick guide

In today's interconnected world, education has transcended the boundaries of traditional classrooms. Online courses have emerged as a powerful resource for acquiring new skills and knowledge. Whether you're looking to master a hobby or enhance your professional skills, the realm of free online courses offers a diverse array of opportunities.
In this post, you will find a guide that will answer your most common questions about free online courses, like: where to find them, are they worth it, can you get certificates, and much more.

Free online courses: a brief introduction

Free online courses, also known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are educational programs offered over the internet at no cost to participants. These courses cover a wide range of subjects, from coding and business management to art and history.
Platforms like Coursera and edX collaborate with top universities and institutions to deliver high-quality educational content to learners around the world.

Exploring popular topics of free online courses

Free online courses cover a vast array of subjects to suit diverse interests and goals.
Nowadays, these are some of the most sought-after topics:

    •    Programming and Coding
    •    Digital Marketing
    •    Data Science and Analytics
    •    Business Management
    •    Language Learning
    •    Personal Development
    •    Graphic Design
    •    Health and Wellness
    •    Finance and Investment
    •    Photography

From tech skills to personal growth and creative pursuits, these courses offer a gateway to knowledge and skill development in various domains.

Why choose free online courses?

Opting for free online courses offers several compelling advantages. One of the most significant benefits is the cost savings. Traditional education can be expensive, but with free online courses, you can access valuable learning resources without breaking the bank.
Additionally, the flexibility of self-paced learning allows you to study at your own convenience, making it ideal for those with busy schedules or other commitments.

Understanding free online courses with certificates

One of the intriguing aspects of free online courses is the opportunity to earn certificates upon course completion. These certificates hold value as they provide a tangible recognition of your efforts and newly acquired knowledge.
Certificates for free online courses might not equate to traditional degrees, they hold weight as a validation of your commitment to learning and skill development. They can be a valuable addition to your resume, demonstrating your dedication to continuous improvement.
Now, while the courses are free, some platforms only issue paid certificates. These certificates often include additional benefits like downloadable files, verifiable URLs, or enhanced recognition.

Are free online courses worth It?

Absolutely. Free online courses offer a wealth of knowledge and skill development opportunities. They're particularly valuable for acquiring new skills, exploring areas of interest, and complementing formal education.
However, it's important to note that while these courses may provide certificates of completion, they might not carry the same weight as formal degrees or certifications in certain professional contexts.

Free online courses and learning resources

When enrolling in a free online course, beyond video lectures that break down complex concepts, you can find interactive quizzes and assignments to reinforce understanding. Engaging in discussion forums builds a vibrant community of learners, while peer feedback systems help with critical thinking.
Live sessions provide real-time interactions with instructors, and supplementary reading materials deepen your understanding. With a variety of resources, free online courses can offer an immersive and comprehensive educational journey that caters to various learning preferences and styles, far beyond traditional education's scope.

Tips for succeeding in free online courses

To make the most of your learning, consider these tips:
    •    Create a study schedule to stay on track.
    •    Actively participate in discussion forums for a richer learning experience.
    •    Don't hesitate to seek additional resources if you need deeper understanding.

Recorded vs live courses

You may encounter two primary formats: recorded classes and live sessions. Recorded classes provide pre-recorded video lectures, allowing you to progress through the content at your own pace.
On the other hand, live online classes offer real-time interactions with instructors and fellow learners, mimicking the traditional classroom experience in a virtual setting. Both approaches have their merits, and your choice depends on your learning style and schedule.

The 8Billionminds difference

While other platforms provide recorded content or group lectures, 8Billionminds stands out. Our live 1-to-1 sessions connect you directly with people that can teach and share knowledge according to your pace and learning preferences. This personalized approach ensures that you grasp concepts thoroughly and have the opportunity to ask questions in real time. 

Advantages of 8BM live 1-to-1 learning

On 8Billionminds you will find an environment that allows for dynamic interactions, immediate feedback, and customized learning experiences. Unlike recorded classes, you engage in live discussions, clarifications, and debates with people from all over the world.. 

How to get started with 8Billionminds

    •    Sign up for free.
    •    Complete your profile - make sure you add both the subjects you want to learn and the subjects you could teach or share. This will make the platform stronger. :)
    •    Browse through your matches.
    •    Schedule your live session.
    •    Enjoy your learning experience on 8BM platform.
    •    Review and schedule your next sessions.




Englands Women in Netball & FIFA World Cup

Women are making history – this time in the Sports field. England’s Roses and the Lionesses have made the news by making it to second place at the World Cup finals 2023. Although we didn’t win – Australia’s Diamonds won 61-45 at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town[1], and Spain claimed their win 1-0 at FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sydney[2]; their great achievement could really be felt worldwide. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that for the Women’s World Cup, "we had almost two million spectators in the stadiums - full houses everywhere - and two billion watching all over the world”. With this groundbreaking media coverage for just one of these spectacular matches, it really jolts the idea of a stronger female sports presence in the world.
Believed to be an uncharted territory, history in fact shows us that women have been fighting barriers in sport – and continue to fight – for centuries. Although equal opportunity is guaranteed under law[3], the sports industry continues to be one of the toughest markets around. Since the early ages, women have fought for equality within the sports field. From issues such discrimination with pay to earning less prize money, women have always had to work harder in the sports profession. Even as early as the late 90’s, women who performed well at the Olympic level were often subject to invasive gender confirmation exams. These tests were designed to ensure that athletes were only allowed to compete as their sex - yet only female athletes were subjected to them and they were largely fuelled by the anxiety surrounding the "unfemininity" of some female athletes. Despite the abolishment of this practice in 1999, in 2011 the International Association of Athletics Federations required mandatory tests for high testosterone for female athletes, while no such testing was required for male athletes[4].
These issues have been on the forefront of Women’s sports for centuries. This stereotype however is slowly proving to be out of fashion as women once again make history. The success of England’s Football and Netball Team at the 2023 World Cups continues to prove that women are just as capable as men and they continue to re-write the future of sports.

History of Women in Sports

History shows us remnants of the efforts of ancient women that first started paving the road to this new and uncharted boundary in sports. 
During the Victorian age in Western Europe, there was an era of immense sexism towards female athletes. The ideal Victorian woman was supposed to be gentle and frail and myths began to emerge surrounding fertility issues and harm to reproductive organs to women who partook in any kinds of sport. Women were also said to have a finite amount of energy in their bodies and wasting this energy on sports or higher education would mean it would lead to weak offspring, rendering them unattractive to men. Yet with time, women began to overcome this stigma; informal athletic clubs began to form in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 22 women competed in the 1900 Olympics alongside men in events such as sailing, croquet and equestrian sports. They also took part in tennis and lawn golf, which were categorised as women only events.
Speaking of the Olympics, in Ancient Greece, although forbidden to take part in most Olympic events, women were in fact able to take part in foot races and win Olympic victories through equestrian events. The Heraean Games depict the first recorded women’s athletic competition in 6th Century BCE, held in the stadium at Olympia[5]. During these games, it was a standard for Spartan women to participate and compete in the same sports as men, such as foot racing, javelin throwing and wrestling.
Although wrestling in particular is now associated with very masculine connotation, this is not the case for the Jola tribe in Senegal. There, the women of the tribe have been proving their womanhood for thousands of years through wrestling, signifying a right of passage. They would only stop wrestling when they became pregnant.

8Billionminds: Women and Equal Rights

Gender stereotypes are dangerous and can cause women to doubt themselves and question their own abilities, especially in sport. Female athlete not only get much less media coverage in games, but also get paid significantly less than their male counterparts. But this form of sexism does not just come from the big institutions, it comes from every one of us. Gender roles are changing for both men and women and it is time for us to educate ourselves about the world from each other, and eradicate any gender stigmas and stereotypes we are still holding on to. Perhaps this great success of the England Roses and the Lionesses may educate us all and continue to wider the success of women in sports. 

This is where 8Billionminds are already a leader in change. At 8BM, we allow everyone equal rights to learning opportunities. We are a platform that provides free virtual education without the bias or stereotype. To learn more about women’s rights, football, netball and so much more, sign up to our education platform, completely for free.

[1] Australia beat England to be crowned champions at Netball World Cup 2023 | SuperSport
[2] Spain vs England FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Final Highlights: Carmona scores as ESP defeat ENG to clinch maiden WWC | Hindustan Times
Gianni Infantino - LinkedIn 





How to use 8BM

To help learn how to best use 8BM, we put together some little hints, tips and videos.

1: How to create an account

  • Click sign up in the top right 
  • Enter your name, password and location
  • Activate your account from the email that's sent to you
  • Say hello to the community
  • Select which subjects you want to learn
  • Select which subjects you could teach or share (aka informally chat about) with the community
  • You’re registered and can now explore the site!
  • Congratulations on registering!

2: Finding and requesting a lesson

  • Check the ‘My matches’ page to see your subject matches
  • Explore these or search for new subjects in the toolbar - anything from philosophy to lucid dreaming...
  • You can choose from experienced teachers or informal sharers
  • Check out their profile to learn more about them
  • Request a session by clicking the ‘request session’ button 
  • The more info you add, the more likely the teacher will accept it
  • When it’s accepted, you’ll receive a confirmation email
  • If you can’t find a subject you want to learn, check back regularly as new users are joining all the time! 
  • If you receive a lesson request, accept it to give back to the community (and increase the chances of yours being accepted!)
  • Congratulations on scheduling your first lesson!


3: How to start your lesson 

  • Log into 8BM before your lesson 
  • 5 minutes before it starts, the lightbulb will flash
  • Hover over it, and in the dropdown you will see your upcoming lesson - click ‘open whiteboard’
  • Your virtual classroom will appear - enjoy your lesson! 
  • You can also access it from your lessons page
  • Enjoy your lesson! 


The 8BM platform is made from amazing volunteers around the world. We’ll keep improving it for you, so be sure to let us know what you'd like to see improved so we can make!

We hope you enjoy exploring all the learning possibilities.



Space recruitment with our sponsor HE Space

We are very excited to introduce you to one of our amazing partners, HE Space, who - without their sponsorship - 8Billionminds would not be where it is today.

Our sponsor - who is HE Space?

HE Space is a leading contracting company specialising in providing managed services and human resources to the international space sector since 1982. Their experience is deeply rooted in our first hand experience, from putting a man on the moon to participating in some of Europe’s biggest space projects - “We make astronauts.”

They employ space experts in the fields of engineering, science, operations, software development and administration and have been ranked the best supplier to the European Space Agency across a range of activity domains (such as Components Engineering, Business Management ad Controlling and Education). Their employees contribute towards every major European space programme - incredible!

Unique in space recruitment business

HE Space is passionate about people and passionate about space, and that really shows. A big focus of their company is to help individuals improve their professional and personal development as well as their work-life balance by offering first class HR support with a strong focus on opportunities to grow and develop. They are an active member of the worldwide space family and are constantly growing.

Being socially responsible is also very important to HE Space. In 2009 the HE Space children’s foundation was created ("to raise up an astronaut!’) which supports and implements education, health and welfare projects all over the world. Since inception it has run 72 projects in 36 countries, including allowing children in Guatemala access to education as well as students getting access to real space data from a Eumetcast receiving station. Amazing.

2022 sees the 40th anniversary of the company, which is being celebrated with a special agroforestry project, Trees 4 HE Space, which will help our planet stay green and support local farmers in South America and Africa. HE Space has also been awarded a multi-million Euro contract by ESA to deliver a new flagship climate coordination office.HE Space is also passionate about expanding women’s opportunities for leadership and increasing their visibility in the aerospace sector, which is why they co-founded Women in Aerospace Europe (WIA-E).

We are so proud to be supported by such an amazing company!


Supporting 8BM since 2020

Our founder, Sam Naef - a former NASA research scholar - has worked with HE Space in the past and they have always been supportive of our mission to create a new education system through our online learning platform, providing us with our first sponsorship back in 2020. Speaking about 8BM they said "It’s a hugely exciting project to provide global education that we are proud to support!”

HE Space have now extended their sponsorship with us to help us through to beta launch of our platform and we are incredibly thankful for their continued support to help bring 8BM into the world, especially during such an integral time in the 8BM project.  

"Thank you so much to HESpace, who have believed in our mission to create this new education system for the world. Our volunteers work tirelessly for free, but there are still many tech costs which HESpace have helped to cover. My experience in having a space career too has only cemented the general feeling that HESpace is the best space recruiting agency out there! Thank you so much for supporting 8Billionminds!" - A message from Sam Naef, 8Billionminds founder 


Check them out for yourself!

If you would like to find out more about what HE Space does, visit their website. You can also see regular updates and news items on their LinkedIn page.

Have you got the necessary skills to help out the space community? View current vacancies HE Space have available across Europe here!



Online live learning platform: The 8BM story

How does someone who knows nothing about being an entrepreneur or technology, and has no money, create a global online live learning platform?
This is the story of how Samuel Naef, 8BM CEO and Founder, built 8billionminds and overcame the setbacks he faced along the way to get the online live learning platform ready to launch in 2022.

An Online Live Learning Platform - a spark of an idea

Back in 2011, the idea of connecting everyone online to speak and learn from each other was pretty radical.
Sam had recently finished his Physics degree at Sussex University and started privately teaching. He quickly saw how one-to-one lessons were able to transform his students lives as well as his own and he was able to inspire, motivate, connect-the-dots, and give specific direction to his students, but he also grew in confidence from teaching. He discovered the areas where his knowledge had room to grow as well as enjoying the social connection teaching brought.
Sam wondered how he could scale this up and bring 1-to-1 learning to everyone across the globe, without money being a barrier.


From this idea, iSKILLu was born - a platform that would connect people to teach and learn from each other, offline, via trading time-credits on the platform.
Sam teamed up with his friend Charlie (a software developer), leveraged free online software packages, and several months later launched iSKILLu to a crowd in Brighton of a few hundred with live drummers, funk bands and DJs. Computers at the launch party enabled people to sign up. However, very soon it was realised that the site was not up to the task of mass-use due to many bugs and a difficult user experience.
During this setback, Charlie fell ill, so after several months, in 2014, Sam decided to start outsourcing to developing countries, in combination with a Brighton-based development company to improve the code, funding it all at his expense.

When life gives you lemons

Sam tried to bring investors and funding bodies onboard this edtech startup but often they wanted to see evidence of iSKILLu working before helping - the typical catch-22 for startups. This left him feeling a bit burnt out from the whole process, leading him to travel to India to find a reliable web development company and to have some time off to recharge.
After a few months in India, Sams passion and energy returned. He shot a crowdfunding video from a mountaintop in Hampi with the goal of requesting 3000 from his friends and family to finish the site. On a 52 hour train ride, he edited the video, launched the campaign, and successfully raised all the money - with the help of these amazing supporters.
Over the next few years, Sam went through multiple entrepreneurial programs such as The Princes Trust, School for Social Entrepreneurs and Unltd, helping him to grow his entrepreneurial mindset and efficiency.
Finally v2 of the site was ready, and testing began, but unfortunately the online live learning platform was still far from what Sam had imagined.

The road to 8Billionminds

In 2017, the difficult decision was made to start again from scratch. Sam realised that peoples expectations of websites were high and that the tech needed to meet these expectations was beyond his ability or time capability. He started to build up a large team of volunteers to help him on his journey to build the worlds first online live learning platform.
During this time the concept of iSKILLu had also developed. It morphed into focusing on online lessons rather than offline and was simplified by removing time credits. As a result it replicated Couchsurfings system where people would give and take to one another depending on their profile and reviews.
By 2021 the team of this edtech startup consisted of over 30 volunteers - developers, designers, animators, economists and community builders - from around the world 8BM also received its first sponsorship from HE Space, you can read more about our amazing sponsor here. Throughout this time Sam has balanced working on 8BM with going to the International Space University, working at NASA, Airbus and travelling the world extensively.
In 2020 he also founded The Climate App, which aims to build a movement of climate action to protect the planet from climate collapse. The Climate App has been awarded several entrepreneurial awards, and has raised over 130,000 to date.

8BM soft-launch 2022

Sams goal of building a free 1-to-1 online live learning platform has never wavered, despite all the complications of tricky technology and being reliant on volunteers.
However finally 8BM is ready to launch and to start giving impact to people globally! So join an inspiring community of individuals teaching, learning and sharing their knowledge with each other everyday.

Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to receive updates about launch of our online live learning platform:

Sam Naef (8BM founder), Emma Vartdal (Community Building Lead), Lydia Rayden (Community Builder)



Why we need to connect the world face-to-face

Imagine if every person on the planet was connected and incentivised to speak, learn and share with each other face-to-face online.

There would be 3 main benefits:

1) Increased real education; i.e encouraging curiosity, independent thought and face-to-face interaction
2) Increased and improved social groups; i.e increasing the number and diversity of people that someone can interact with on a daily basis
3) Increased accessibility and opportunity; i.e ensuring people, and thus their knowledge, are truly accessible to everyone else, and thus reducing worldwide inequality

These points are explored in greater depth in the following 4 paragraphs, with a proposed solution after.

Most of us are not content with the current education systems. I personally don't think that my potential has ever been realised throughout my schooling. It felt more like spoon-fed information and keeping children out of trouble, rather than real education. Real education does not happen via a single teacher in a single room. Real education happens when you explore, meet new people, share stories, experiences and develop in a multitude of locations with a variety of 'teachers'. Education is exploring, having the freedom to fail, to then self-improve, while keeping your curiosity intact. It is not cramming for an exam or being spoon-fed, and it certainly isn't not testing your knowledge on the real world. Often school seems to beat out our instinctual curiosity in life, which Ken Robinson so brilliantly describes in his TED talk 'schools kill creativity'.

Adding to the general poor education we face, I believe that many of the world's problems come from 'sticky social groups' i.e when people stick to social groups similar to their own. This prevents them developing their understanding of others - limiting their empathy - which can lead to tendencies such as fear, hate, violence, far-right extreme views and war. Throughout history, and in most parts of the world there will always be 'groups' or 'tribes' of people of certain types that have prejudice against others. Most of the reasons for why this happens usually boil down to poor education, which can be amplified by a lack of exposure to others at a young age, and indoctrination from parents or politicians. At the heart for why people are prejudice is a perceived fear for their own personal safety - in which I believe education helps to alleviate. That is why education is so key to reducing conflict.

If, across Europe, say each individual has frequent interactions with people from say Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan etc, then perhaps we wouldn't be at so many wars, and we would look after our fellow beings more - especially the most desperate people such as the migrants crossing the mediterranean sea.

Not having a good education sadly affects most of the world. The dire consequences of these are of course vast: fear, miscommunication, and naive actions ... resulting in criminal activities, war, violence, and destruction to our planet. Consequently, we need a global education system which is truly accessible to everyone. The increased diversity and number of connections that each person can make with others around the world, the better the education, and the better the world is for all of us.

The solution:
What does this new education system look like?

Imagine an ethical Facebook-like site, but for live-learning sessions. Where you are actively encouraged and supported to connect with new people. Where instead of browsing cat videos and getting lured into commenting about frivolous material, you are learning, being inspired, hearing amazing stories, and having unique insights into other people's lives -- and it is all tailored to you! Via this platform you are also learning how to share your own life, which increases your self-worth, your confidence - realising what you do and don't know, which helps you to improve your self-understanding and future prospects. Furthermore, the platform would improve your curiosity in who and what to speak or learn about next, all while improving your independent thought through having stimulating conversations.

To ensure true accessibility of people's knowledge, traditional money could not be used as the inequality is too vast around the globe to include everyone. Consequently, a time-based system would need to be used, in which people trade in time. When you share, you earn minutes. When you learn, you spend them. Simple.

Imagine the possibilities for what you could speak, learn or share about with people globally. The possibilities are truly endless as the human mind is as vast as the universe.

Fortunately, a group of volunteers have been working on this solution for the past few years, and it is almost ready to launch.

Along with 15 volunteers, we have created the first version of the site which will launch on 28th May. All we need now is for you to try it, and to help us grow it into this beautiful vision. Please support us along this journey. It won't be easy, but the most important things never are!

We hope you will delve into fellow minds with us and reap the benefits!

Author: Samuel Naef
8BM founder