Introducing Beanz! by The Storybook FactoryAugust 28, 2018 3:22 pm
We just launched an app that helps teachers eliminate out-of-pocket spending on classroom reading materials and makes group reading a more engaging activity for students.
We’ve always had a deep appreciation for the work that teachers do — it’s what inspired me to start the edtech company we have today and why I will always be a contributor to the edtech world. In my opinion, it’s never been a better time to be a teacher; new and innovative tools are being built that give educators the power and resources they need to excel in the classroom.
While it may be a great time to be a teacher, there will always be problems to solve in education. Our area of focus at The Storybook Factory has continually been on literacy and improving the way students read and learn to read. Beanz! Is the first product to come out of The Storybook Factory since our “Netflix-for-children’s-books” endeavor. With that first project being a successful failure, our new approach is dramatically different and much more efficient, Beanz! is the culmination of what we’ve learned from the mistakes we made.
So what is it?
Beanz! Does two things really well…
- It makes group reading easy and engaging for connected classrooms.
- It also helps teachers save hundreds of dollars on reading materials each year.
How does it work?
Ever heard of popcorn reading? If not, it’s a popular reading activity in classrooms where every student has the exact same text in front of them, but instead of having students read individually by themselves, each one is randomly selected by their peers to read a paragraph (or sentence) until the entire text has been read through. The back and forth “popcorn style” promotes a higher level of engaged reading among students.
We took that same gamified approach with Beanz! but made it even easier by allowing teachers to take any article they find online and use it in a game of popcorn reading. All a teacher has to do is paste the URL on our site and have students join via a unique game code (that we give you) on their own devices. We do the rest of the work: transcribing the article, breaking the text into appropriate paragraphs, randomly select students, etc. It’s that easy.
What problem does this solve?
Why should a teacher’s ability to read with a class be limited by their textbooks and the materials they purchase themselves? They shouldn’t. In fact, every year the average teacher spends around $200 on instructional materials for their students. The good news is that there is an unlimited, untapped amount of online educational reading materials provided by sites like Medium, CNN, etc., but no easy method to actively read them with students in a way they will enjoy. Beanz! fixes both of those problems.
The short answer: Beanz! provides better access to reading materials and helps promote engaged reading.
Where are we now and what’s our plan?
This our beta, so nothing will be perfect right out the box. Although — we can promise you one thing — it works. The idea was built to be as simple as possible and still be open to opportunity. That being said, we welcome any and all feedback. Do you think the UI could be better? Different reading modes? Teacher tools? How can you see this being used in the classroom? Do you enjoy the playfulness of Beanz, or could it be a more academic/professional educational tool? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves. Obviously, we have our own ideas for where we could go with this, but really want this to be a community driven product, developed out of necessity.
We appreciate your interest and look forward to hearing what you have to say!
Check us out! beanz.app
Bradford Wolf, Founder/CEO