Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Former Yahoo India CTO develops search engine to transform K12

A new nonprofit search engine dubbed “Gooru“ announced today an ambitious plan to bring personalized learning to K12 education.

Gooru was founded by Yahoo India’s former CTO (think education-focused Google without the ads). It is teaming up with Silverback Learning, a Boise, Idaho-based tech startup founded by teachers, to identify students’ needs and offer them relevant online learning materials.

Silverback is the developer of Mileposts, a cloud-based management system that allows teachers and administrators to organize and access student data. It will integrate with Gooru’s search engine to pinpoint the educational areas where students are struggling, and suggest the most appropriate free learning materials.

“Teachers are focused on maximizing student education in the classroom, and therefore are commonly time-challenged to search for and select the best matched educational materials for each and every student based on their individually assessed needs,” said CEO Prasad Ram. Prior to founding Gooru, Ram worked in senior-level research roles at Yahoo, Google, and Xerox Parc.

“Now more than ever, the educational industry is in need of knowledge and talent to innovate and create new technologies,” Silverback CEO Jim Lewis told VentureBeat.

What’s particularly interesting is that through Gooru, students and teachers can access resources that are aligned with Common Core State Standards, the initiative to bring diverse state-by-state curricula into alignment by 2014/15.

Gooru is still in beta and currently focuses on online resources for learning, such as teacher videos, digital textbooks, quizzes, and games. Its search engine taps into the growing proliferation of digital learning resources (primarily 5th-12th grade math, science, and social science topics). In the future, it will expand to K12 reading, language arts, and additional subjects.

Image via Shutterstock

Lara Bingle Sophia Bush

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