Current education (I speak as a U.S. citizen) is a little– how to say this delicately– well, stale. Kids come from playing highly interactive video games or browsing on the collaborative internet to sit in uncomfortable desks, read from textbooks published in 1969 that are falling apart, and take notes on paper in cursive. How students are learning in the classroom isn’t super relevant to how they are learning vasts amount of information outside the classroom. But how do you start to connect this disparity?
It can start with a service like Studyers. Studyers is an online note-taking service, marketed primarily towards college students (or those lucky, lucky high school and middle school students who are allowed to have tablets or laptops in class). Students can type comments, upload the lecture’s presentation if available, and even draw arrows or doodles to help remember. Studyers also allows users to share with their friends, who can the post their own comments and feedback. Pretty rad, right? If anyone wants to post notes on how to master the pen tool in Illustrator, I’d be happy to take a peak (but seriously…HELP).
Shlomi talked to me more about making an online, collaborative note-taking platform:
How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?
Studyers is the easiest way to take notes online and share them with friends.
With Studyers a student can create a course notebook and create lesson notes. In the notes the students can type in their comments, free draw, add the lecturer’s presentation, create charts and graphs and add additional content from Wikipedia.
Studyers is also about sharing your studies which your friends (or with everyone) and enriching each others learning.
What are some industry specific challenges you faced?
We wish to replace the traditional notebook. We have discovered that many students are really attached to notebooks and won’t replace them easily. Additionally we learned that in some colleges teachers will not allow laptops / tablets in class, yet that is changing.
What made you use crowdSPRING?
My friends at Socrative have showed me crowdSPRING. I loved the option to choose from many designs and from many designers.The fact that several design professionals gave attention to my application was very appealing to me and made me a crowdSPRING customer.
We really like the fact that everything is clear and transparent to everyone (us, the designers, and crowdSPRING).
What was your biggest learning curve/experience?
1) Researching user experience. We invested a lot of time in understanding what are the real needs of students in in-class note taking. 2) Figuring out graphics. Until we started the process with crowdSPRING, this was a big bottle neck.
What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?
A minute before launching the private alpha, right after we had the new design from crowdSPRING – I accidentally deleted the application from the production server. After a short “heart attack” 🙂 , I pooled the latest version from the backup and uploaded back to the production servers (developers, always backup!)
Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.
Passion, Patience, Optimism, Clear vision, Guts, “Change the world” state of mind.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?
I would not change anything.
How do you see your company growing in the future?
We are only at the beginning. We will be an open source company that powers the online note taking for students, throughout the world.
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