At Noodle, we believe that finding and evaluating your educational options—whether choosing a college, a tutor, a study abroad program, or a weekend class—is better, easier, and more fun when it’s social.
So it’s fitting to kick off this blog with a post from the New York Timesa couple weeks back that comes to a more ambivalent conclusion. There, Caren Gerszberg decides that, “out of respect for my daughter and her desired privacy,” she shouldn’t participate in the gossip around where her friend’s kids are applying to college.
As the parent of a high school junior, I know how sensitive kids are to adult awareness of—let alone intrusion into—any sphere of their lives. I wonder, though, how much of what Gerszberg takes as a desire for privacy is really her daughter’s wish for control over how and why her information is being shared. Privacy and secrecy are not the same thing. There’s a big difference between being talked about by others and talking about yourself.
At least I hope there is. We founded Noodle on the premise that when you give people control, they will want to let others know what kinds of educational options they’re seeking. Not out of the competitive– or schadenfreude–driven impulses called out in Gerszberg’s post, but because sharing in the right context can be really helpful to the sharer or sharee or both.
The point of Noodle is to provide that helpful context for sharing. We’ll be offering it for K-12 schools, colleges, grad schools, summer camps, study abroad programs, tutors, continuing ed, and a lot more. If you’re a kid considering college, for example, you can share openly, by publishing a list of schools that interest you or by publicly “liking” something. This public action lets other people suggest things for you that you might not have considered yourself. Or, if you don’t want to go public, you can contribute to the wisdom of clouds by having your anonymous data inform facts like “kids who liked this also liked that.”
There were many thoughtful comments to Gerszberg’s post. Several lamented the pressures on kids generated by the neurotic adults buzzing around them. Noodle, we hope, will allow kids and their parents a more productive and generous outlet for all the accumulated tension, help them to make better choices, and have more fun while doing so.
Social search is key to what we’ll do. But we’ll also be offering lots of other tools to make it easier for anyone at any stage of life to connect with education in all its forms. Stay tuned on Twitter or Facebook (NoodleEducation) for our launch. We hope you’ll join us, and share us with your friends.
— Steven Hodas, C.E.O.