What if your child had access to credentialed, professional teaching from home?
Jaimee Minelli has created a flexible, digital learning environment for students all across Ontario, from kindergarten through grade 12. It’s a marketplace and conferencing tool that links caregivers to certified educators.
The elementary teacher from Sault Ste. Marie believes all caregivers and learners should have access to passionate, experienced and certified teachers beyond the classroom. That’s why she launched NUVO ED, a cloud-based marketplace that specializes in matching learners at home with Ontario-certified teachers (OCTs).
This innovative platform solves two big problems at once.
Many caregivers often need extra support for their children, yet they don’t know where exactly to get help. They require more than just assistance with homework; it’s actual subject instruction they’re looking for.
On the other side of the equation, all too often OCTs end up waiting anywhere from two to twelve years before they’re able to get full-time employment. These are young and talented teachers who want very much to teach and are ready to do so.
“These people have spent five-plus years in post-secondary education. They go to teacher’s college for two years, they spend thousands of dollars and then they come home and wait on a list for years,” says Minelli.
“The amount of OCTs who have to leave teaching or have a second or third job just so they can continue getting one or two supply calls a week, it’s crazy,” she explains. “Personally, it took me five years to get a contract position. Ontario has one of the best teacher’s college programs in the world. Certified teachers should have more opportunities rather than needing to start serving at a restaurant to pay their bills.”
Minelli experienced this challenge herself. When she finally did land a permanent position, it was located two hours from her home. She travelled back and forth just so she could do the work she was meant to do.
She wanted to target those underemployed people and help them get income and experience. “They’ll get experience that will help them for an interview and help them land a job. They’ll also be able to earn income doing their actual career,” she says.
She also couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if parents could have access to certified teachers outside of the public education system. They could decide who to hire and the frequency of their child’s lessons; they would be in the driver’s seat.
The app she has created is very thoughtfully designed. To start, it only allows Ontario-certified teachers on the platform. It matches you with the best educator for your needs. Lessons are driven by current provincial pedagogy and are conducted by a safe member of society.
The app is also unique in that it has all-in-one functionality. A parent creates an account, lists their child(ren) and finds an educator based on the subject and the age of their child. If they had a child in grade 3 and were looking for some help with French, for example, they would click on that specific grade and then click on French. Only the bios of teachers who are qualified in French, based on their OCT certification, will come up. The parent can review the bios and click on the OCT number, which takes them to the OCT website to validate that certificate and see the educator’s qualifications.
The teacher’s availability is then posted via Google calendar and the parent selects their preferred time(s). They can add as many lessons as they wish into their basket. A request is sent to the educator and the transaction begins once the teacher accepts.
There’s almost no exchange of personal information, no need to exchange email addresses. “It was built primarily with safety in mind,” says Minelli. “Everything happens in the app. Start to finish, you don’t have to leave.”
This is all by design. Last summer Minelli was teaching French to a 12-year-old girl online. In order for this to happen, the girl had to use email, they had to use Google Meet for the lessons and the girl’s father had to use e-transfer for payment. “We had to open several different windows to engage in these lessons,” says Minelli. “It was important for the app to be a user-friendly option for elementary aged students. Keeping it all in the same place allows for a less overwhelming online experience.”
She even built the conferencing tool, which includes video, live chat, screen sharing, file sharing, mute and camera disabling. “Everything that your common conferencing tool has but simplified and organized,” she says.
The app also targets Indigenous learning. In the drop-down menu beside math, science and language, there’s an option for learning designed specifically for Indigenous students.
“Families can seek out this type of specialized instruction. Indigenous students can benefit from a different approach and I believe they deserve access to an authentic education” she says.
The beta version of the app is now live. Minelli has been very thoughtful and methodical in her approach. “I waited for it to go live until it had all of the necessary features that ensured its safety and quality,” she says.
The elementary educator highly values a teacher’s certification and knowledge. The platform she has created is a wonderful opportunity for young teachers to engage with students, put their skills and training to work, and earn income. She encourages occasional teachers to make a profile. There’s no charge to do so; it’s completely free for educators.
Says Minelli, “We definitely want every OCT to be involved.”
To learn more, visit NUVO ED.