Startups Weekend EDU- Math Match up

Eager to learn more about Education Technology scene in the New York City after had been in the city for six months, I decided to join SW:NYC-EDU. In Startup Weekend, educators, business people, designers, and developers pitched their ideas to look for team members. Startup Weekend is a weekend long process from coming up with ideas to building the first version of the product. We came up with “Math Matchup,” a platform to gamify Math instruction in the classroom through mini Math game show in the classroom using web-based application.

Our team comprised of  Instructional Technology and Media students, middle school math teacher, UX designer, business consultant, and programmer.

The Problem that we aim to tackle:

Current products focus on having students work independently on a computer through a series of problems

  • isolating
  • focus on right vs. wrong answer rather than process and solutions
  • Not every teachers have strong knowledge of math content

The bottom line is that we see is teachers need a platform to engage students of all skills levels in a collaborative and meaningful way. Students need an educational experience that is engaging and incentivizes collaboration.

Functions and steps to use the program

 As an instructional designer, I led a design thinking session with the team to come up with problem statement and brainstorm for applicable solutions. We also had to find a testimonial who is a middle school student to test our product and give us some feedback. At that time it was around 9 pm at night, and it was pretty much impossible to find a student at that time. So I got an idea of interviewing a student in the west coast since the time is three hour behind. I interviewed my close friend’s nephew who was studying at a public school in Los Altos. To better illustrate our idea, I made a short video presentation of how the software will work in the classroom.

We didn’t win the challenge but it was a productive weekend for us to start building our idea from scratch. We learned about the process of starting a company: identifying a problem, forming a team, coming up with solution, receiving feedback from experts and users, and rapid iteration.


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Candice Johnson, Sawaros Thanapornsangsuth, Dasheng Zhang, Hoai Vuong, Rick Metzger and Sumet Singh


Wiki Talki

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Soo Hyang Joo, Sawaros Thanapornsangsuth, and Risa Goda

Will be presenting at SXSWedu Summit at Austin, Texas in March, 2016

Wiki Talki, a mobile application to facilitate language learning in a classroom especially for ESL learners by recording the users and share for peer feedbacks. Wiki Talki aims to alleviate the problem of Asian large class size that makes it almost impossible for teachers to assess students’ skill-based performance especially in pronunciation. We collaborated with our programmer friends in South Korea and developed an Android application that is now available on Google Play Store for free.

Our beta function of the app is very simple: a student’s recording would be automatically sent to 3 classmates for peer feedback. Thus, students are allowed a monitored personal speaking practice session. Also, continuous use of the app during speaking lessons would form a database of practice and peer feedback results.

The following is the process of how a teacher would use the web and app for a regular speaking lesson:

  1. Teacher uploads a customized speaking task to the web page.
  2. In class, students record, listen and upload their responses on the app.
  3. Students receive an automatically generated list of 3 classmates’ recordings, which they would listen to and comment on.
  4. The recordings and feedbacks are achieved in the app for the students as well as in the web for the teachers.

Through extended user research with schools in New Jersey and South Korea, we realized that the students also use our app with other purposes in mind. For example, a student used the app to send his audio of his guitar practice to his friend for feedback. My roommate who is a speech pathology student used our app to help her clients improve their pronunciation.

In the process of completing for The IE Program at Columbia Business School, we had Clifford Schorer, the Director of Entrepreneur in Residence, The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, as our advisor. One of our main challenges was that Wiki Talki runs on volunteer based (non-profit) and the app is given out freely. We tried to explore test-prep and K-12 market but we still didn’t have a solid business model like other teams. Even though we did not win the challenges, we were very grateful to participate in the challenge.