LearnBoost: Bringing Innovation and Openness to Education (1/2) ☆
When I first tried to sign up for a LearnBoost account I wasn’t able to find Teachers College. I wrote to the contact listed at the bottom of LearnBoost’s website to please add my school. LearnBoost CEO and Co-founder Rafael Corrales responded to my email, telling me that they were working to add college and university support shortly, and that he would make sure to let me know when they did. That was on August 9th. Ten days later, Corrales wrote again to say that Teachers College had been added.
In response to my thanks for a personal message, Corrales wrote, “Great customer service makes a difference and I think it’s another way to really delight teachers. A member of the team always responds to emails we receive… even though we get hundreds every day!”
I asked him if he would be interested in telling me what makes LearnBoost unique gradebook and lesson-planning software and what teachers can expect in the coming weeks.
An interview with LearnBoost CEO and Co-founder Rafael Corrales:
NG: Tell me about the recent launch of LearnBoost. How do you think you’ve been received?
RC: We launched on Tuesday, August 10th and we’ve been getting hundreds of emails since. It’s beyond what we expected in such a short amount of time. We’re three days in and we already have hundreds of sign-ups.
We started developing LearnBoost in May. That’s only ten weeks of development. The outpouring from venture capitalists has been crazy, and I don’t think that most people can appreciate how quickly this came together.
I think the teachers who have signed up don’t realize how fast new features will be pushed out. They can see what’s currently there, but over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out new features. It’s really exciting.
NG: There seems to be an inverse relation between simple design and robust functionality. How are you making sure that teachers who aren’t technically savvy can use LearnBoost, while providing powerful software to teachers who are comfortable with new technologies and trends?
RC: There is a kind of trade off in designing software for different types of users. We want to make intuitive software for people who don’t know how to turn on a computer and still give a high level of functionality to power users. We’ve been testing our software with people who aren’t teachers to find the common tripping points. If you look at the software, there’s an elegant design – it looks almost easy to do. That’s been a huge issue.
On the other extreme, we want to make sure we have the functionality for power users. We’ve interviewed experienced teachers from Teach for America, administrators and other educators to make sure we have a great set of core features. For example, you can take attendance in two ways: a list view and a chart view. One way is designed for people who are newer to using tech and the other is for power uses. We have the traditional way and a more visual format.
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