SBIR Phase I: Next generation online learning platform with novel pedagogy and a comprehensive universe of content

Period of Performance: 01/01/2016 - 06/30/2016

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Free Boundaries, LLC
114 Anton Rd.
Wynnewood, PA 19096
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This SBIR Phase I project will address the acute need for novel pedagogy and a scalable learning system for subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at the high school and college levels. The new system will serve as a platform for the creation of next generation textbooks and other educational content. It will empower teachers to provide more individualized education to their students, allowing them to transition from lecturers to mentors. It will enable students to follow an individualized path to learning STEM subjects at a self-determined pace. The new platform will serve as a crucial tool in our nation's efforts to reform education, particularly in the STEM subjects, as it helps the country maintain its edge in technology and all other fields where technical knowledge plays a key role. The high quality platform services will be low cost, and widely available. The development of the proposed system will provide substantial cost savings for students, families and educational institutions across the country, as well as generate numerous jobs in technology and education. The platform is projected to generate significant income and commensurate tax revenue. The proposed platform will deliver a comprehensive and coherent universe of cross-linked and cross-referenced educational content delivered through a cloud-based software system. The system will ultimately include content for all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, as well as all prerequisite subjects, making it a complete and self-contained educational tool. All content will be developed either in-house or by carefully selected outside authors. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this project is that the same team is developing both the content and the platform. A meticulous curation process will ensure high quality pedagogy. Content authors will have access to well designed, intuitive authoring tools. The system will include innovative features for feedback and dialogue among students and educators, as well as novel tools for student engagement. The platform will be implemented with the help of scalable cloud-based technologies, through a seamless user interface. By the end of Phase I, the platform will be sufficiently mature to be used by the general public. Content will be developed for Calculus, Linear Algebra and Differential Geometry. Further advances will include sophisticated analytical reporting tools, incorporation of adaptive learning engines, and content development for all STEM subjects.