Teaching as Public Service: Kao Chih-hao


2008 / 11月

Chang Chiung-fang /photos courtesy of Lan Chun-hsiao /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

Kao Chih-kao, who earned a graduate de-gree in physics from National Taiwan University in August, is only 28 years old. His name, quite fittingly, means "high in ambition." Despite his young age, he has set his sights high, not wanting to be a small cog in a big machine. Those sentiments became even more acute when he learned, not long ago, that one of his college classmates had committed suicide. Apart from engendering feelings of shock and grief, the news firmed his resolve: "Everyone must search for their own unique interests and ambitions and then find the courage to pursue them."

FunLearn is the result of Kao and several NTU students under his leadership finding the courage to pursue their interests and ambitions. A great lover of music, Kao Chih-hao put his own music on www.wretch.cc to share with people for many years. The reputation of Pianoboy, his username, spread fast, and he acquired some measure of fame there. The Funlearn educational website is likewise based on the selfless concept of "sharing with others."

Serving as tutors has long been one of the most convenient ways for NTU students to earn money. So it was for Kao, who worked as a tutor and also taught at cram schools. One day he suddenly had an epiphany: Since he loved teaching and was good at it, why not, via a website modeled after the American TeacherTube.com, contribute his talents to those children who want to learn and need help but may lack financial resources?

Beginning in April of last year, Kao Chih-hao left the world of one-on-one instruction. He and three friends bought a DV camera, and began filming short instructional videos that they directed themselves. They chose topics from junior and senior high school math and science that students find particularly vexing, such as probability, inequality, arithmetic series, simultaneous linear equations with two unknowns, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics.... More and more units have been gradually added. Each is ten to 20 minutes long, and the teaching is conducted in a lively and easy-to-understand manner, allowing students to cast off their fears and their mental blocks to understanding math and science.

The FunLearn website quickly made a big splash, garnering 1000-2000 hits a day. By October of this year, it had received 750,000 visits. The effectiveness of the teaching can be seen in the comments left by students: "You teach better than the teachers at school!" "For junior and senior high school science and math, I've totally relied on you!"

Of course, the lack of immediate feedback and interaction is a major limitation of teaching over the Internet. And with FunLearn's model of using volunteers who work in their spare time, it is hard to see how that problem can be resolved. Kao Chih-hao says that FunLearn is ultimately just supplementary in nature and is not meant to be a substitute for time in the classroom. When students encounter specific difficulties, they should request additional assistance, either by asking their teachers, or putting their questions on web-based bulletin boards (BBS). Typically, they'll find that people are more than happy to help out.

Currently FunLearn has accumulated nearly 100 instructional videos, but its content is still incomplete. Kao estimates that it will take two years to cover the entire junior and senior high school math and science curriculum. In the meantime, he hopes that more volunteers will join in.

"Based on the idea of sharing in the creation and enjoyment of knowledge, we hope to create an 'on-line platform for free audio-visual education,' giving teachers a platform to strut their stuff." Currently, FunLearn has ten teachers, including both NTU graduate students and cram school instructors. So as to bolster its educational function, FunLearn also has plans for a new website. The new site will have a lot in common with YouTube, with teachers being able to post their own videos on it. It will be a platform for teachers to show off their instructional abilities and for students to gain the knowledge they need.

Last year, Kao entered FunLearn in Flow Inc.'s Social Enterprise Start-up Challenge. But FunLearn was rejected because it lacked a clear revenue stream. The rejection doesn't bother Kao, though. "I identify with Flow's entrepreneurial ideals. In the future I'll strive to improve along those lines."

"The inclination to share is innate in humans," Kao says. Not only does sharing not harm the sharer, but it provides a way of acquiring many more friends. Moreover, there are more benefits when there is an ebb and flow between teaching and learning. "If the model worked for YouTube, why won't it work for FunLearn?" Kao looks forward to the time when the seeds that he has planted will have grown into towering trees.



繁體中文 日文

FunLearn 教學做公益 ──高至豪

文‧張瓊方 圖‧藍春曉




擔任「家教」,一向是台大學生最便利的打工方式,高至豪也不例外,以擔任家教、到補習班授課的方式賺零用錢。有天他突發奇想,既然自己很會教、很愛教,為什麼不仿照美國Teacher Tube架設網站,把一身本領貢獻給那些最需要、最想學,但可能沒有資源去補習的孩子呢?








文・張瓊方 写真・藍春暁




台湾大学の学生の多くは家庭教師のアルバイトをしている。高至豪さんも例外ではなく、家庭教師や塾の講師で小遣いを稼いできた。教えるのが好きで上手だという彼は、アメリカのTeacher Tubeに倣い、自分の講義をネット上で公開することにした。勉強はしたいが、塾に通えない子供たちに提供するためだ。








X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!