John Coogan and David Renteln, buddies from childhood days in sunny Pasadena, Calif., originally wanted to build a platform to crunch data from educational games. Shortly after joining Imagine K12, however, they found out that the most education games don't track usage data at all, or provide inconsistent data that can't be compared and aggregated in meaningful ways. So they came up with the Drop Some Knowledge (DSK) app, a social study tool where people can compete with one another on quizzes.
How Does It Work? Think "Words with Friends" applied to classroom learning: Anyone with a Facebook account can access the DSK app. Once there, players can find a Facebook friend, choose a subject, and select a game that consists of ten questions related to that topic. Questions can be uploaded by users themselves and shared with the public. The two players then answer the questions at their own pace and compare the results afterwards.
Who’s using It: Since the pivot required them to rethink and redesign the product, the team released the app just a few weeks prior to Demo Day. A couple of weeks later, they reported 800 teachers around the country have used it, including many Teach for America corp members.
Competition: The company is first targeting the test prep market. Coogan says that other companies like Grockit have test prep programs that offer a competitive element, but unlike DSK don’t usually tap into existing social networks like Facebook. Root-1’s OpenMinds platform is similar in allowing for user-generated question items to be remixed into quiz apps, but DSK is focused solely on being a straightforward question-and-answer style game and currently doesn’t allow for 3rd party developers to pull and mix the content into games or other kinds of programs.
Business model: The app is currently free, but the company plans to host education-related ads and freemium content in the future.
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