Epigrammar uses student annotations to improve classroom discussions, tests and comprehension

Classroom collaboration software exists, but Disrupt New York Hackathon participant Epigrammar thinks its approach better tackles the issue of student grammar, test creation and comprehension. Teachers can help facilitate student conversations on an assigned text by uploading it to Epigrammar, then helping their students review and annotate the work, in real time.

Epigrammar’s goal to improve reading comprehension among high schoolers is accomplished by collecting compelling annotations and opinions from students, which teachers might use to guide class discussion.

Backstage, I asked the two-man hacker team — Uday Singh and Gilad Penn — how Epigrammar is actually more useful for students than free annotation and collaboration software, like Google Docs. The differentiator is that Epigrammar allows the teacher to save time, which would’ve otherwise been spent passing out sheets in class for students to annotate, or figuring out which areas of an assigned text students need to be tested on.

Epigrammar isn’t only a classroom annotation tool, but a test service, using student’s comments as the source material for automated test questions for class assessments. The test creation service will cost teachers a monthly fee of $20, for an unlimited number of classes.

The software uses PubNub for real-time annotations, Elixir/Phoenix lean API on the backend, Apollo to the React JS front-end and in-house annotation libraries. Regarding launch, Epigrammar expects to debut to the public this summer.