Better Tools for Classroom Writing

Engaged students learn best and prosper most – but motivation is difficult, particularly in teaching writing. Technology, with its potential for adaptive, personalized instruction, holds great promise for improved student learning. Teachers in STEM fields have a wealth of options to engage students in math, science, and programming – but this support is absent for writing. In 2012, a scan of the market found that, of the top 800 education apps, only 30 targeted literacy, and zero provided a validated assessment of student outcomes (beyond in-game scores or points).

Beginning in 2014, education funding at the state, federal, and NGO level will be tied to the Common Core Standards. These standards mandate a far higher bar for writing proficiency than current law, not only in English classrooms but across the curriculum. They add more testing to year-round teacher practice; two-thirds of students are likely to fail in the first year of implementation. These standards are a forcing event. To build student proficiency in writing, schools must adapt, or face severe budget cuts and declining enrollment.

Our mission at LightSide is to significantly improve writing skills in grades 6-12. We  accomplish this goal by deploying state-of-the-art machine learning technology directly into a classroom writing platform, as well as by providing tools to empower the ed-tech industry to add writing to their curricula. Our goals are as follows:

  1. Aid students in real-time with automated support during the writing process.
  2. Reduce the grading and assessment burden on teachers
  3. Provide actionable intelligence for administrators to help their teaching staff.

These products will be available in fall 2014 for use nationwide.

Latest News & Updates

LightSide is presenting at AERA and NCME

We have four papers on automated writing support and understanding student performance at AERA and NCME in Philadelphia. Contact us if you want to get in touch while we’re there.

Pilot locations announced

We’ve chosen six school districts (and several standalone schools and teachers) to help us shape our tools for direct revision assistance for students.

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