Local 'Ed Tech' startup takes a student-centric approach to learning

Tom Bieniewicz and Scott Goldberg are the founders of Kickstand, an education technology startup based in Grand Rapids. Their first product is Edify, an individualized learning management system (IMLS) that the duo believes will have a significant impact on how school districts, teachers, students, and parents interact in the classroom.

Bieniewicz says that although the education industry is crowded with competition and often resistant to change, the opportunity for innovation is tremendous. "The learning management system (LMS) space is very large but our research has shown us that it is lacking a system that individualizes and customizes learning at the classroom level," he says. Bieniewicz says that many systems are merely platforms to manage content, which serves a purpose, but they are not designed for any level of customization, which he says is critical to meeting the different learning styles of students.

"Our offering, Edify, has these features (content management), but our differentiator is that we truly individualize learning by having a student-centered system that has tens of thousands of learning resources and question types which are tagged to a state standards," he says. Bieniewicz says when a student answers a question incorrectly on a assessment, their software automatically identifies the appropriate resources (videos, tutorials, etc.) so the student can review the most relevant material.

The startup currently employs seven and has immediate openings for developers and teacher consultants, who will work directly with school personnel to train and assist in implementation.

To support the growth of the business, Goldberg and Bieniewicz are electing to use crowd funding instead of venture capital, and have just launched a Kickstarter campaign.  

To learn more about Kickstand and Edify you can visit their site here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

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