We’re so proud to have made the Top Ten EdTech Startup for 2011 list put together by Audrey Watters of hackeducation.com. This is really an honor. Of all top ten lists, this is the one we want to be on, since hackeducation.com is the best #edtech blog out there. Audrey covers #edtech stories with incisive and witty analysis. Her voice is a clarion call to the #edtech community: we need to apply tech skills to build the best most accessible tools for our students, our kids.
We believe small tools can change the world. Celly’s vision is to help bridge the digital divide by improving learning through the smallest, most accessible tools on the planet, the cellphone and text messaging. We’ve created a way where 140 characters can inspire learning, level playing fields, unite students, parents, and teachers, and promote funding of education. We call this place a “cell”.
As edtech companies and venture capitalists target solutions for the latest technologies like iPads and the smartest phones, hoping to sell their products to the wealthiest school districts, we feel that technology inclusion is vital. Our take is that the cost of technology for schools can be dramatically cut if you can “bring your own device” (BYOD) to school and then for continuity, take that device home with you where you can maintain connectivity with your school. It’s great that many schools and districts are focused on getting funding deals to equip their students and staff with the lastest tablets. Having the latest and greatest technology is fun and learning through animation and video is certainly compelling. Many startups are targeting these devices and school demographics. At Celly, however, we think this focus can too easily become myopic and overlooks a key point: quality education is not just about kids/students connecting with teachers within school, it’s vital that parents are connected too—from outside the classroom to administrators and their kids within the school. It’s unlikely that school districts are going to give everybody in the family a new iPad3 for free. That’s why we think having affordable technology that helps parents get engaged with schools is paramount, and that this technology works with what most parents already have: a cellphone and text messaging.
So from a product standpoint, our goal is to build the fastest way to connect people, especially at face-to-face gatherings like students and teachers in a classroom. We recently streamlined our on-boarding process so that it is now incremental. To start using our platform of group texting solutions, you can get connected quickly by just logging in via Facebook or Twitter. Moreover, to improve on-boarding ease and increase accessibility to students and families, we’ve even made it possible to participate in Celly without a cell phone. You can now just use email!
Stay tuned for more innovations in 2012! We’d love to hear your feedback and ideas too. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.