Staples grad and former KIPP Academy teacher Matt Rubinstein knows how important school climate and student behavior are to performance and success.
He’s so convinced that real-time technology can help track classroom behavior, and assist in areas like teacher collaboration and communication with parents, that he left the classroom and developed his own app.
LiveSchool is attracting attention throughout the educational world — and venture capital groups. Matt got $1.65 million in funding from a Nashville fund.
Now the Wall Street Journal has taken notice. LiveSchool is 1 of 24 companies vying for the paper’s “Startup of the Year.” They were chosen from more than 500 applicants.
The 20-week project tracks the startups through a series of challenges. Companies will be eliminated along the way — think of this as the Journal‘s version of reality TV, without zip lines, half-naked bodies or Donald Trump.
Entrepreneurs will be judged by “their firms’ scalability, long-term viability, originality and distinctiveness of their products and services, utility, and ability to perform tasks we and our mentors set for them,” the WSJ says.
During Week 1, experts assessed each company’s name, tagline and logo.
This week, via video, Matt answered tough questions posed by mentor Vivek Wadhwa.
It’s a very interactive project. And though the final decisions are made by WSJ editors and mentors, the public is invited to cast votes. You can vote once from each device: PC, laptop, smartphone, etc.
Matt Rubinstein has clearly learned a lot along the way: at Staples, as a teacher and now as an entrepreneur.
He knows how our schools work. He knows the challenges teachers and administrators face.
And he knows how to solicit votes, in his bid to become the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year.
(Check out LiveSchool on the Wall Street Journal site — and click here to vote for it.)
It is extremely frustrating for me to see this app and it’s success. A teacher and a consultant for over 20 years, I know that this kind of reward system is not the most effective option for classroom management. Good teaching and student engagement are the best strategies; however, if teachers are spending time clicking and commenting on liveschool, their attention is drawn away from their students and their teaching. “Two simple clicks” to enter a student’s behavior during the day (let alone multiple times and multiple students) is extremely time consuming and distracting, especially when teachers lose their focus on the lessons they are teaching. The students, I believe, would also begin to focus more on points than on learning. This makes me worry that teachers will be asked to add yet another expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective task to what is already a very difficult job.