A crowdfunded project by tech blogger Noah Kravitz is going to try to turn around the sclerotic business of education software. Dubbed the Tabula Project, the crowdfunded system will allow teachers to create their own lesson plans on almost any tablet without fuss or training. In short, it aims to make educational software far easier and, more important, far cheaper than it has been in the past.
“I’ve wanted to take what I’ve learned, and who I’ve met, in my life as a tech blogger and apply it somehow to the educational space. TechnoBuffalo, where I’m still blogging, gave me the chance to explore some ideas and brainstorm with my education world friends,” he said.
“Some schools are already adopting iPads, and many more are keeping a close eye on the emergence of sub-$200 Android tablets. And, of course, Windows 8 could shake things up as well. So it really felt like the right time to look at tablets having a place in schools.”
Tabula is like groupware for teachers. A leader can run almost any tablet user through a set of lessons and because it’s cross platform it can run on nearly anything, including the Nook and the Kindle Fire.
“We want to develop a lean prototype, get it into schools this Fall, talk to content makers and hardware makers and work with teachers and students. I’ve worked on projects where a bunch of smart people sat in a room and decided what teachers needed. We built beautiful high-concept Web-based curriculum and marched it into the South Bronx and were met with, ‘This is nice. I need math worksheets. I don’t need this – I need prep sheets for the year-end math test.’ There has to be a balance point in there, something that innovates a bit while also addressing what the users – the teachers and students and the people they answer to – actually need right now.”
The first version will include individual and group interaction, and analytics. It can also connect to existing Learning Management Systems. The beta build will be classroom ready.
The Tabula project is looking for pledges to total $300,000.
“Our plan is to get the teachers involved from step one – well, step two – to build tools they’ll want to use,” said Kravitz.
“Also, we really want this to run on the CrunchPad.”