At See Word Reading, we are in the beta stages of developing our early literacy app and rolling it into schools. These schools are using See Word Reading for a 9-month free trail in exchange for providing feedback.
We have been blessed to have the opportunity to work with the Princeton City Schools in Northern Cincinnati. These schools include Glendale Elementary, Lincoln Heights Elementary, Springdale Elementary and Woodlawn Elementary.
And it has been a roller coaster.
In the startup world, being able to pivot and find creative solutions to challenges has got to be the number one skill required for success. Our founder Renee Seward has this skill in spades.
A Personal Passion for Literacy and Design
See Word Reading is an early literacy suite of apps developed by Renee Seward of the UC DAAP school in collaboration with the UC School of Education.
Renee’s passion for literacy is very personal.
Renee was inspired by a friend’s son who struggled with reading and said it was the “layouts.” Her concern for her friend’s son was motivated by the alarming statistics that link inability to read by third grade with likelihood of not graduating and future jail time.
Renee decided that this was a problem where she could make a difference. By applying design principles associated with building brands and in collaboration with the UC School of Education and multiple educators, she created the engaging See Word Reading tool.
Walking Our Path with Princeton
One of my first meetings on the job supporting See Word Reading’s path to commercialization was a meeting with Renee and Kathie J. Maynard, Ed.D., Assistant Dean in the Office for Innovations and Community Partnerships at the University of Cincinnati.
Talk about an amazing connector.
In a few minutes time, Kathie offered to lend her support by connecting us with the right people at Princeton City Schools, one of our top schools because of their dedication to innovation, diverse student population and multiple locations.
With an email introduction we were off and running with a connection to Tonya West Wright the Director of Teaching and Learning for the Elementary levels at Princeton City Schools.
Princeton was eager to help us beta the product.
However, the road was not as easy as we hoped.
After working closely with Chris Lockhart and Mat Royster of their tech central office, we found that Princeton was using older versions of iPads.
These older iPads don’t support syncing data or custom lesson plans between the student and teacher’s apps.
While this may sound like a negative thing for Princeton, it’s just the opposite.
Princeton is on the verge of moving all the schools onto Google Play/Android tablets. And they provided a huge insight into schools and technology: Google Suite is making pricing so right that schools are moving everything from email to tablets toward using G Suite. Updating See Word Reading to create an Android version is now high on our list for future developments.
A Pivot and a Partnership for an Early Literacy App in Action
But what to do now? How could we get See Word Reading into the Princeton Schools to be able to start helping reinforce literacy lessons today?
This is where Renee and her amazingly innovative skills to pivot come into play. She decided we could create a special version just for Princeton with their teachers and student’s first names pre-loaded to get them going.
Jacquelyn Freiermuth of the UC IT App Lab sprang into action and her team has created a special version available just for Princeton.
And this week, Princeton’s tech department is launching it to those four tech-loving, innovation-embracing schools, Glendale Elementary, Lincoln Heights Elementary, Springdale Elementary and Woodlawn Elementary.
Sharing See Word Reading
In preparation for this launch, we have been meeting with each of the Kindergarten teachers to demo See Word Reading, early literacy app.
The response from the teachers has been overwhelmingly positive!
At Glendale Elementary, one of the teachers Ms. Cozzi expressed amazement that the See Word Reading App was developed right here in Cincinnati.
Renee, the teachers and I were all sitting in tiny chairs around a table.
It was a pure pleasure to be able to point over to Renee on my right and say, “And right here is the inventor.”
Other educators have expressed delight to have a modern and interactive way to teach students who are used to growing up on technology.
The journey continues.
Author: Margee Moore is a freelance marketing and project management professional at BigOrange.Marketing. She is pleased to be supporting the #CincyStartup See Word Reading with project management and marketing support.