Mind My Education
I left the elementary school classroom despite 10 wonderful years teaching and being awarded 2011 Teacher of the Year for my school district. The way school is set up, students aren’t given the tools to see the big picture of why they are in school. Instead, they generally do what we teachers tell them to do: work on this project, do this activity, take this test… I wanted to change that.
My partner, Paul Bulakowski, PhD, saw the same problem as a college professor (Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience). He resigned a tenure track position after 3 years once it became clear that young adults entering college were mostly prepared to memorize what would be on the test. The current educational model is not preparing students to guide their lives and enter meaningful careers.
Paul and I co-founded Mind My Education, LLC in May 2014, because we envisioned classrooms where students experience learning as a journey – not a multiple choice test! With the CoreAtlas, a student empowerment tool we created, students can creatively guide their own education.
Mind My Education (MME) has produced a market-ready product that over 400 students are already using: CoreAtlas. It gives students aged 7-12 the tools they need to direct their education, while helping teachers and families feel more confident and effective. The CoreAtlas brings together education research, insights from cognitive neuroscience, and our teaching experience – all wrapped up in one delightful, creative, artistic package!
The CoreAtlas “Trilogy” — maps and guidebooks for Grades 3 (completed), 4 (completed), and 5 (in progress) — empowers students to guide their own cross-curricular learning through the Common Core Math, Language Arts & Next Generation Science Standards. A huge physical map shows everything they need to learn (think Lord of the Rings crossed with Super Mario Bros). Students can chart their own journey through school, seeing where they’re going and where they’ve been. With the CoreAtlas guidebook, students self-evaluate, practice metacognition (thinking about thinking), and set goals with each learning standard – they even create their own learning quests!
Over 80% of students who beta tested our product wanted one for the next year. A student said: “I liked ALL the illustrations, and how learning was SUPER fun. I learned all of the goals I made for myself. ” Teachers, school districts, and homeschool parents have purchased the CoreAtlas for their learners. We were even awarded a small grant!
We’re offering a small amount of CoreAtlases to schools that could not otherwise afford them. Meanwhile, as a company, we’re building the digital CoreAtlas to expand our market and impact. With a digital CoreAtlas, we could lower the price point, making the product more affordable to more schools and exponentially increasing our scalability.
After a successful proof of concept test last year, we’ve begun generating revenue. Other grade level teachers also want the CoreAtlas for their classrooms. We are ready to scale up our business to develop & print more grade levels of the CoreAtlas.
Printing costs: $4,200
We need to print 3rd grade CoreAtlases to meet market demand and to iterate.
Marketing & A/V production: $3,000
We need a series of quality videos explaining it to our customers and help with social media strategy.
With software developers, graphic designers, and experienced business professionals joining MME, our team needs a space where we can collaborate in person.
Education Conference Fees: $800
By tabling at education conferences, such as EdRev and the Education Options Expo, we can interact and sell to key decision makers (teachers, principals, superintendents, and directors of curriculum & instruction) and test out other customer segments, such as the homeschool market.