Usually, we cover education companies that have launched. However, we had a chance to ask Micky Dionisio about his new project, Ignite Teaching, currently in Alpha. This project looks amazing. Mickey described it at, the “perfect mix between the ease of Keynote, the power of Photoshop, collaboration of Google Docs and fun of Class Badges.” Sounds pretty awesome:
What is Ignite Teaching?
Ignite allows teachers to ignite student creativity, classroom collaboration and build confidence. Students produce digital projects together in an interactive and collaborative environment and we believe it’s from this environment that students benefit not only academically but also socially and psychologically.
So who is this for?
We are targeting teachers who believe in the value of harnessing technology in the classroom. Initially we are targeting teachers in 1:1 iPads programs but eventually we will support Android tablets, Chromebooks and even desktop and laptop publishing.
We are inviting any and all teachers to join our private alpha. You can still contribute in the FB group if you don’t have an iPad, as we’ll be posting screenshots, wireframes, notes, etc.
What makes Ignite Education Unique?
1) It’s easy to use. We know from our past experiences that students absolutely love our creation experience. Our unique approach to creation puts all forms of content from the web at the student’s fingertips – text, images, video, audio.
2) We’re optimized for the teacher and their classroom. Things like the ability for a teacher to see who is accountable for what, ability to easily create classes and assignments, group management, plagiarism checks, etc. We’re building this app with feedback from teachers, not in isolation.
3) In addition to the ease of creation and collaboration, we have built an achievement system where teachers award students a badge and the student is now responsible for giving that badge to someone else deserving of it after the next project. This builds a fun environment where students feel accountable not only for their projects but also their achievments.
4) Project spotlights that allow students of different classes, grade levels and even schools show off each others work. We break down the walls of the classroom.
Why did you get involved in Education?
November 7, 2013, was the happiest day of my life. That’s the day I became a father. As some of you can relate to, everything changes once you have a child. I vowed that day that I would give her the best life and education that I possibly could. As any parent would do, I researched and read several books on parenting and education. After a while, a pattern kept jumping out at me: children who are raised with an emphasis on social interdependence and collaboration are proven to lead more wholesome and successful lives. Results indicate that they are more caring, responsible, have higher social competence, more caring relationships… the list goes on and on.
Though it didn’t really hit me until we decided to completely change our strategic focus at Glossi, an online digital magazine creation startup where Justin and myself ran technology. Long story short, we went from a rich magazine creation tool to a mobile slideshow tool. The day we announced we were no longer focusing on magazine creation, we uncovered something surprising. It was being used by hundreds of students and educators around the world. From K12 to higher education, from the US, down to South America, and all the way to Asia and Europe. After speaking with teachers who used the former version of Glossi successfully in their classes and did not want it removed, it hit me. This is how I can contribute to my daughter’s education in a meaningful way and thus, Ignite was born.
Tell us about your team and their backgrounds
Micky Dionisio has been an entrepreneur and software engineer since he was a teenager. At 18, he joined a web development firm while during his time there was presented with an opportunity to buy a stake in a content company trying to make a turn around. Within months, he was able to make it profitable and used that money to put himself through school. He has extensive experience in building large scale, highly available software while managing various cross functional engineering teams. Currently he is the CTO of Glossi, a Silicon Beach startup that enables anyone to create and share their own digital magazines across devices. Prior to Glossi, Micky was a Sr. Engineer and Product Lead at Yahoo! where he was responsible for building platform tools that were used across many Yahoo! properties.
Justin McCammon, our CTO, is a technologist with an insatiable desire to solve complex problems through creativity, collaboration and bravery. Previously, Justin was co-founder and lead developer at GonnaBe – a social networking app he built from scratch in HTML5 and Phonegap. Prior to GonnaBe he worked in advertising at Team One (Saatchi & Saatchi) as a creative technologist for brands such as Lexus, The Ritz Carlton and Haagen Dazs.
He was amongst the inaugural class to get their master’s certificate from Boulder Digital Works at the University of Colorado. Justin also graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.S. in Management and a B.S. in Marketing.
He holds the world record for highest altitude ever attained with a 12″ candy cane without mechanical assistance.
Nick Sithi is a high school English (and #edTech!) teacher with 9 years of experience. He holds a BA, English from CSUN and a MA in Education from Loyola Marymount University. A huge advocate of technology in the classroom and is constantly looking for ways to harness it in meaningful ways. For Ignite, he provides the critical educator feedback loop that keeps our product easy to use and effective in a classroom setting.
What is the next step? What do your current goals look like?
In addition to growing our alpha group this summer we are scheduled for a pilot in August. We are looking for more teachers and/or schools to give us a try.
Check out Igniteteaching.com to sign up for the Alpha.