NewSchools Venture Fund Announces $150,000 Investment in LearnZillion, Personalized Learning Tool for Math and Literacy Education
San Francisco, CA—September 21, 2011—NewSchools Venture Fund announced today a $150,000 investment in LearnZillion, a new web-based education tool and video library of math and literacy lessons, designed to accelerate student learning by helping teachers personalize instruction, and providing teachers with example lessons taught by some of the nation’s best teachers. LearnZillion will launch a beta version on September 22.
Our nation’s teachers work increasingly long hours. Yet, as class sizes continue to rise, finding class time to personalize instruction for each student remains a formidable challenge. LearnZillion’s library of high-quality, standards-based video lessons allows teachers to customize instruction with student “playlists” specifically aimed at identified skill gaps, providing targeted individual support for students that need it, while freeing up class time for activities that benefit from a group setting. LearnZillion’s assessment and analytics tools allow students, parents, and teachers to track progress as students master different skills and content.
“This could be a real game changer in classrooms,” said Maura Marino, NewSchools Associate Partner. “LearnZillion’s video lessons feature some of the most effective teachers from around the country, providing a powerful tool to teachers looking to reach every student in their classroom.”
LearnZillion’s video library, which is starting with math and will eventually include literacy lessons, provides teachers and school leaders with an effective professional development tool. The more than 800 videos currently in the video library feature lessons taught by some of the nation’s best teachers, hailing from high-performing schools including NewSchools Portfolio schools DSST Public Schools, DC Prep, YES Prep Public Schools, and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School.
“We started this as a project at E.L. Haynes as a way to target our instruction and help teachers share best practices. Then we realized how much more powerful it would be if we invited teachers from across the country to participate. Our ‘Dream Team’ of teachers, who laid down the initial set of video lessons this summer, will now be touching hundreds, if not thousands, of students,” said Eric Westendorf, Co-Founder of LearnZillion and a former principal and Chief Academic Officer at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
A beta-version of LearnZillion’s tool will be released on September 22. An expanded version will be released on October 17.
About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools Venture Fund is a not-for-profit organization working to close the achievement gap by funding and supporting entrepreneurs who are creating innovative solutions to the problems in public education so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Since our founding in 1998, NewSchools has invested $180 million in more than 40 nonprofit and for-profit educational organizations working to promote student achievement. Recognizing that neither private charity nor capital markets alone are enough to solve the problem of education inequality, we blend the best of both approaches to ensure an excellent education is available to every child. We actively share what we’ve learned through our investments, bring together educational leaders from across the country, and advocate for smart policies at the federal level. For more information, visit http://www.newschools.org.
LearnZillion Inc. is a social mission company committed to supporting the work of teachers and improving educational outcomes for all students. Eric Westendorf incubated LearnZillion as the Chief Academic Officer at E.L. Haynes PCS, in Washington D.C.. LearnZillion is a web-based platform that delivers high quality video lessons – produced by teachers around the country – to students and teachers. Each lesson is short (3-5 minutes long), highlights the Common Core standards, and is coupled with a short quiz. LearnZillion allows personalized learning to happen anytime and anywhere, freeing up class-time for the application of skills and content. It also supports the professional development of teachers by enabling best practices to spread from one classroom to the next. For more information, visit http://www.learnzillion.com/.
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