Amara Humphry’s journey to education technology began on a trip to Cambodia when she was in middle school. While touring a temple, Amara and her sister met two local girls. The girls took Amara and her sister to see some temple sites that were off of the beaten path. Though they did not speak the same language, they enjoyed the day together.
At the end of the day, Amara’s aunt gave the local girls a small amount of money and asked the girls to spend the money on books. This seemed like a strange request to Amara. The girls lacked so much: food, clothing and other possessions. Why would her aunt encourage them to buy books? As Amara traveled home, the thought occurred to her that education might be the key to unlock all of the privileges she enjoyed. If these Cambodian girls could become educated, it might break the cycle of poverty.
Amara told me, “That was probably the first point in my life…where I realized how precious education is and how lucky I was to have access to it.” She began to see education as a human right.
Amara attended Stanford University and earned a degree in Product Design. While still in school, she and some fellow students created a startup designed to connect travelers with local people. After working on the startup for a couple of years, Amara asked herself a very hard question. “Is this a problem that is important to me; that I find worth solving right now?” After some difficult reflection, she eventually realized that no, this was not a problem that she found worth solving.
When she flipped the question around and asked herself what would be a cause worthy of her time and skills, it did not take her long to land on education. As she put it, education is “one of the levers to achieve social justice.”
As Amara was going through this period of reflection, she shared her thoughts with a friend, and the friend suggested that she meet Prasad Ram (Pram), a Director of Engineering at Google Research. She and Pram immediately connected over the idea that education is a human right and that education technology has a role to play in achieving that goal. Together Amara and Pram founded Gooru. Amara told me, “Pram and I see ourselves as engineers for educators.” They trust teachers to know the best way to teach. They provide the teachers with the tools to do what they do more effectively and efficiently.
Education Technology Company Gooru, Engineers for Educators
Education technology company Gooru helps students and teachers navigate learning. Every year when school starts, teachers are faced with a challenge. Each student enters the class with a different level of competence in the subject to be taught – math, science, arts, etc. In the past, teachers were forced to balance between challenging advanced students while providing individualized support to students who were struggling. Gooru uses education technology to help students navigate their learning. Teachers use Gooru to empower students to learn the way they learn best.
Techers use a digital catalog to personalize courses for their students. Students learn at their own pace, alone or in teams. Teachers monitor data to target support.
Teachers can remix content to create unique paths for learners. Content can include offline activities, written content, videos, interactive games and web sites. Embedded quizzes let students check their understanding. The students receive feedback to guide their learning.
The teachers’ dashboard updates in real time, allowing the teacher to target support. Best of all, the platform is open and free to all who want to use it.
Education Technology Resources:
- Gooru: http://www.gooru.org/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gooru/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/gooru
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/gooru
Culture Shift Learning Academy
Soon we will be launching a Beta version of Culture Shift Learning Academy, a comprehensive system to help you flesh out your social impact idea and start achieving it.
Enrollment isn’t open yet, but you can join the waiting list with other changemakers. Just go to http://tonyloyd.com/assessment and enter your email address. As a thank you, I’ll send you the Social Entrepreneur Startup Readiness Assessment. This useful tool is designed to help you to determine where you are on your startup journey and to successfully focus your development efforts.