Today is the 1 year anniversary of the relaunch of Lernabit.
Initially, Lernabit was just a place to get free 10 minute long audio lectures about a range of different topics. Those short 5-10 minute long audio lectures were called "Bits", and the goal was to help people learn new things in short periods of free time. And because they were in audio format, you could listen while working out, doing housework, etc. But the first version of the site had a lot of different design flaws that prevented it from gaining much traction. So in June 2016 I took Lernabit offline to rebuild it from the ground up. On September 22, 2016, the brand new site was relaunched. Here is what it looked like:
One of the most important changes that came with the relaunch was the ability for anyone to create their own Bits. Before that, I was the only one creating them. But I learned that most of the educational value came from the process of creating them, and listening was just a way of keeping the knowledge fresh. So the new version of the site allowed anyone to create audio lectures of their own and share them with other people.
Since the relaunch 1 year ago, Lernabit has continued to evolve. The Bits are now called "Notes", and they aren't just audio format anymore; you can also create Notes in image or text format. Another change that has taken place since the relaunch is with the addition of privacy features on your notes. Back when they were called "Bits", they could only be public. After changing them to "Notes", I added the ability to creating private Notes as well.
In that time period, the Android app and the website have gone through many design changes, the most notable change being the switch from a green to a blue color scheme. There have also been a lot of improvements in speed and mobile device usage.
So what has Lernabit actually accomplished in this last year?
We've provided free educational content to people in 76 different countries. It is interesting to see a map of where people are visiting Lernabit:
As expected, most of the visitors are from the United States. But this map really becomes interesting when you compare it to this map of global internet availability:
The same portions of Africa, the Middle East, and South America are lighter. Now, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise; people without internet access won't have much luck accessing a website. The real reason these maps are interesting is because they validate an important philosophy behind Lernabit.
Since day 1 of Lernabit, the goal has been to make education more accessible around the world. But any attempt to make education more accessible must consider the fact that there are many different barriers to education, and each one needs its own solution. That's why I never did believe that a website alone would magically bring education to people around the world. When the site relaunched a year ago, I decided to pledge 5% of all profits to charities focused on education around the world. Now this is where you come in.
Now that a little bit of money is starting to come in from Lernabit, I look forward to making good on my pledge to support charities. I want everyone reading this to leave a comment telling me about your favorite education-related charities. They can be big or small, in the US or abroad, but they must be focused on education. Tell me what you like about them. After doing some research myself, I'll pick one to be the recipient of the first donation from Lernabit. Let's try to bring education to the people living in the lighter spots on those maps.