Wisedoc, a software company exclusively for researchers founded by researcher – entrepreneurs Dr. Akash Kannegulla, Bo Wu and tech wizard Andy Garcia to ease the process of documentation, formatting and publishing their complex journals, conference articles and patents. Wisedoc is a cloud-based service that helps academicians and researcher to quickly and easily format their content to the required specifications of journal publishers.
Wisedoc software addresses every requirement of the researchers in content formatting and save time and effort as it is designed and developed based on the first-hand experience of the founders. The genesis of Wisedoc came from the frustration on the disproportionate amount of time and energy spent in shaping up the multitude of technical papers with multiple tables and figures by Akash during his doctoral program years at Oregon State University. With each publication having their own standards and systems, Akash felt he was spending needlessly his valuable time in formatting the various documents to meet the publisher’s demand. However, publish or perish being a criterion for procuring a PHD degree, he along with fellow researcher Bo Wu embarked on setting up the Wisedoc application to simplify the whole documentation procedure. To embrace the entrepreneurial techniques of product development, Akash and Bo pursued a yearlong trail in Oregon State University’s Accelerator and enlisted services of IT man Andy Garcia as Chief Technical Officer to convert his ideas into software application.
An educational technology-based software product of the nature of Wisedoc is the need of the hour in the market. With huge gaps between academia and industrial practices, most business are forced to spend huge amount on training the fresh recruits from universities on various tools used for managing the project, documenting the project, managing the data/files amongst many others. Working knowledge of educational software like Wisedoc will greatly improve the student’s ability to document professionally and give them the edge at the workplace.
Founders of Wisedoc see a great demand emanating from various verticals such as university research labs, undergraduate design projects, patent lawyers and law firms, and industrial research scholars. As these fields publish numerous documents in quick succession, an easy to edit formatting tool will be a huge cost and time saver. Further, the rising trend among the students to opt for Master and Doctoral degrees favours Wisedoc as more the number of publication higher will be need for quick and easy to document tool.
Wisedoc is unique tool that can be used for any kind of technical documentation and even building resumes. It is a pioneer in offering features like auto-formatting, template-to-template conversion, advanced techniques for formatting images & references, and code-free documentation in a single tool. The USP of the tool is unlike its peers it does not require coding knowledge , zero training required for using it and allows to export the documents in .doc(MS Word) and .pdf (Adobe) formats as well. The flexible architecture/foundation and the way its built makes it a one of its kind products. It was developed taking into account the pain points of the students and researchers as well by analysing the drawbacks of other software used for documentation. It was discovered that a researcher using popular word processing software like Ms Word would spend 8 hours of time in just for formatting which is approximately equal to $120 for university based on the student wage. Instead the student would prefer to invest money in auto-formatting software which would save time and effort. Other applications like Latex and Overleaf were either complex to use or did not support features like citations, exports and image resolutions.
Wisedoc creators see a bright future and a wider role in the world of academics and research. They are making constant attempt to evolve and better the product. Research is on to embrace artificial intelligence to automate the technical data analysis and documentation. This would be ground-breaking as the customers would not only save time on formatting but also get insights on the content.
Wisedoc management have a clear vision of how to take the product forward. In the words of Dr. Akash Kannegulla, the CEO of Wisedoc, “The mission towards Wisedoc is to enhance mankind by advancing education and research”. The market strategy of Wisedoc is to license the software to universities as a primary source of revenue and giving as a user subscription as a secondary revenue. They have indigenous methods of marketing their product such as free workshop and training session on the software for students in university, a 100% refund for dissatisfied customers and referral bonus for users bringing others on board. Apart from this, they are actively working with YouTubers and bloggers to promote their product on social media.
Wisedoc has made promising start and has grown from to 4 to 13-member team in less than a year with developers and marketers working remotely throughout the pacific northwest and India. The company won the first place in the speed pitch competition at the 2018 Willamette Angels Conference (WAC), May 17th in Eugene, Oregon. This is just the beginning and with sound technical background, astute entrepreneurs and innovative spirit, it will not be long before the Wisedoc becomes synonymous with research documentation world.
Making Reading More Fun & Engaging Than Ever Before
Sven Huber, Founder & CEO Cristina Puig, Founder & Sales & Marketing Fiction Express
Fun, adventure, thriller, fantasy, myths—types of fiction genres for children today are much more diverse and exciting than before. Reading a wide variety of genres helps children to develop emotionally, socially, intellectually and culturally, making them effective learners. However, according to the Department of Education, one in five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11. An equally worrying statistic also proves that 30 percent of children aged 11–17 do not read for pleasure, which ultimately results in insufficient reading and comprehensions skills. This is the same case for many countries across the world, pointing to a global challenge in education. With extensive experience in publishing industry, Sven Huber identified this issue and founded Boolino, in 2011, to help children increase their poor reading habit.
Based in Barcelona, Spain, the company develops reading tools that support parents to foster the love for reading amongst their children. In 2016, Boolino acquired UK-based Fiction Express—a digital, interactive reading platform that helps primary and secondary schools through the power of engagement and gamification. “For us, technology is an enabler that aids in the creation of a completely new way of interacting with learning content. With the Fiction Express platform, we are re-inventing book reading by turning a traditional linear process (author > book > reader) into deeply engaging experience of co-creation between students and authors,” says Sven Huber, Co-founder and CEO, Fiction Express (by Boolino). Besides enhancing reading and Making Reading More Fun and Engaging Than Ever Before comprehension skills, the platform also develops English language skills for students who are poor in English often due to lack of reading schemes that engage students to read for pleasure.
Establishing a unique value proposition for schools, teachers and students, Fiction Express today revolutionizes digital reading or literary resources. According to Cristina Puig, Co-founder and Sales Director, Fiction Express, e-books are “Stage 1 Reading Resources” that provide easy access to books, but offer no or very limited student/reader interaction. “Under ‘Stage 2 Reading Resources’, we classify a broad variety of online resources, including guided reading programs or reading assessment resources. This allows students to test their reading level by answering reading comprehension questions and there is more student interaction in comparison to the previous group, but rather passive.” In comparison, Fiction Express offers students a completely new reading experience or “the Stage 3 Reading Resources” which includes real interaction with the authors. The result is an unprecedented high level of engagement with reading. The platform not only attracts children who love reading but also reluctant readers, stating that “reading is boring but reading Fiction Express is a lot of fun”.
The stories in Fiction Express are published in weekly instalments; each week, students read the chapter and at the end, they are rewarded with the option to vote to decide what happens next. The author then writes the next chapter in real time. Students can also interact on the online book forum with the author and other readers from around the world to build the story together. “Every half-term, we publish three stories at different reading levels. In total, we release 18 new live books each academic year, written by renowned children and young adult authors who are highly regarded within the education community.”
Often limited access to good books can prevent children from reading more, especially in lower income/socio-economic backgrounds. “We give readers access to the full Fiction Express Library of over 110 books that have already been created using the Fiction Express methodology. This allows them to read as many books as they want, giving them the freedom to try books different from those set in class,” says Puig. The platform’s 6-step methodology (as shown) is flexible and easy to implement in a variety of learning settings, like whole class, guided reading, intervention groups, Family learning, English Language Training, etc. The methodology is designed with the goal to increase children’s reading engagement—both in school and at home. “I’ve seen Fiction Express hugely help kids with special needs, making reading much less daunting and scary process for them. It really is a good reading resource that is both useful and reader-friendly for kids,” notes Catherine Stuart from Guernsey School Library Service.
Fiction Express is today a global platform with new product features and benefits. As a web-based application, its online reader is compatible with a variety of devices like PC, tablets, and mobile phones. It is currently available in English and is used as a reading solution in English for native countries as well as countries where English is taught as a second language. For the 201920 academic year, Fiction Express is also being developed in Spanish language in order to successfully grow in a global education market segment. “Today, we have a presence in around 10 countries. Our goal is to reach a total of 50 countries by 2022,” concludes Huber.
A New Path for Live Video in the Classroom
Douglas Ashton, CEO & Co-Founder, Streamable Learning
A provider of live and interactive streaming content to the K-12 market.
The view that video resources will play an important role in the classroom of the future is not something many would argue. For starters, video-based content is being used to support many of the educational initiatives that schools and districts are implementing in classrooms today. Video is a multifunctional resource and it can be effectively used to supplement existing lesson plans, and bring subject matter expertise and content context into classrooms in ways no other technology can replicate. Also, video is a flexible resource and can be presented in a number of formats: recorded video, video conferencing and most recently, live-streaming.
The format creating the buzz today is live and interactive streaming. A derivation of live-streaming that allows for real time interaction through chats. It promotes classroom engagement and ultimately, improved learning outcomes. Charleston, SC based Streamable Learning was founded to put live and interactive streaming at the forefront of video learning the classroom. Historically, live video in the classroom was predominantly offered through video conferencing, a transactional model whereby supply and demand was basically driven by one-to-one contact. In such a service, each session is scheduled, purchased, and supported individually. Streamable Learning takes a different approach and builds a calendar of hundreds of supplemental curriculum-based events offered to schools and districts through a subscription model.
“We believe live and interactive streaming should slide in front of videoconferencing as the more prevalent service as it offers scalability and equalizes access across a district for a fraction of the price,” notes Ashton. As more teachers experience the value of live and interactive streaming video, they are more likely to seek out and value video conference experiences. In addition, recorded video remains valuable but from a vendor standpoint significantly harder to monetize and thus keep current and sustain. “It is our view that recorded video in the K-12 market is best married with a live and interactive model and not separately monetized.” Streamable Learning has shown that live and interactive streaming can crossover into new market segments and new content segments within existing markets. For instance, through a second platform called The Live Living Network, they offer a calendar of live and interactive streams to the senior adult market. Their latest service, StreamableU, will use live and interactive streaming to enhance student contact with college admissions departments, college planning and test prep.
From a scalability and sustainability perspective, “we believe the K-12 market needs a centralized platform that can create a monetization and exposure opportunity for our content partners but still be affordable and equally accessible in our schools and districts. We are always aiming at the same three things in creating our content—that it is comprehensive, cost-effective, and convenient to access. As with anything, we try to build off of the innovations happening around us, whether cost effective video transmission platforms, mobile video capture technologies, higher speed networks, or improved video editing platforms. Lastly, we enjoy growing our content partner community of leading museums, aquariums, art and historical organizations, zoos, science centers, authors, health and wellness centers, and other qualified educational organizations.” The company’s customer traction in K-12 is both a US and Canadian phenomenon and has now transferred to senior centers and other older adult communities. “What we are encouraged by is that our services work well in groups with differing demographics, whether large and inner-city, small and rural or suburb.
According to Ashton, the keys in education technology is to demonstrate to the market one has staying power and the ability to effectively showcase successes. “When you are a content company, you have to keep adding more content and applicability across grades and subjects. Your content calendars and catalogs have to keep growing and getting better.” For Streamable Learning, this is in fact true as they are focused on continued growth in the amount of content partners they showcase in their calendars. Going forward, they will continue to serve any community that wants to enhance viewer interaction beyond traditional video.
NoteAffect: Engage, Interact, and Learn
Jay Tokosch, Co-Founder, CEO, NoteAffect
Before testing the ground, a seasoned entrepreneur looks for a way to provide a personalized experience to his/her target audience. With a successful track record of creating technology startups and scaling them into profitable companies, Jay Tokosch well succeeded in accomplishing this through his latest brainchild, NoteAffect—an application that allows instructors to broadcast ANY digital lecture/course material to students’ digital devices for personalized and interactive learning. Jay often finds it in his passion to explore the hottest segments in the market and design newest products that do not exist in the market. As an engagement application, NoteAffect is a unique platform that improves engagement, knowledge retention, and empowers higher education decision makers.
“The key to NoteAffect is the engagement features and the embedded algorithms that deliver unprecedented analytics, enabling data-driven decision making,” claims Jay, CEO and Founder of NoteAffect. By putting together engagement and analytics, the company increases the knowledge rate and helps provide more effective training, education, and meetings. This in fact solves the challenges faced by the three major stakeholders in the education ecosystem—Students, Instructors, and Administration. NoteAffect increases student’s grades by combining together the course content with their notes, annotations, highlights, polling answers, and instructor’s answers to questions, which promotes knowledge retention and easy studying. Additionally, students are being given a platform to openly engage with course content while instructors are provided with the tools to enhance that engagement. The engagement between the students and instructors is then tracked and produces powerful analytics to help isolate “at risk students” for any additional help. NoteAffect’s analytics dashboard, at the same time, offers instructors detailed insight into each student’s learning objectives as well as the classes’ overall learning.
Consequently, the administration of the school also benefits through the analytics captured that are delivered and rolled up from the students, classes, and departments, providing insight on institutional performance, comparing instructors or departments, and finding opportunities for educational or organizational improvement. The details available in the analytics for Higher Education top administration level reduces the accreditation burden process through easy-to-use reporting and exporting of files. Administrators in K-12 education use the analytics to show a RIO for the purchase of students’ digital devices.
Unlike disparate education products with features like polling, lecture capture, note taking, or Q&A forums, NoteAffect streamlines and enhances all of these features and functions into one application and delivers detailed analytics that is not available in these separate products. “These offerings all have individual costs, unique set-up requirements, and unique support arrangements. However, we consolidate and significantly reduce the cost, streamline the set-up and support, and prioritize long-term success with each of our clients,” notes Jay. For instance, NoteAffect possesses the unique ability to capture not only lecture material but also the audio, and combine them together with the file size only being 1/8 of the size of a video file; the smaller file size is saving a lot of money of data storage. In addition, for online classes, they enable live polling when a student views the class lecture at the time of the class and post class. “So, the students that viewed the class as it was happening online answered the polls live and the students that viewed the lecture class later also get to answer the polls for the first time with the analytics being updated as each student played back the lecture.” In this way, instructors also get much more knowledge about each students’ consumption of their material.
Since the successful launch of the company in the March 2018, a few businesses and government entities want to use their product for company/ product trainings and are adapting it to internal meetings as well as company-wide meetings. “Going forward, we will launch a corporate/government version that will use our base platform but also add in security controls for the presenter that will secure company presentation material with strict tracking,” says Jay. Alongside, NoteAffect also plans to add an aspect that companies could use the product/ platform to share material with external sources such as customers without losing security control and the analytics will give them the unprecedented ability to be “the fly on the wall” with sales presentations to help win business.