Social Innovation Award Finalist is Bridging the 30 Million Word Gap
Teach For America's annual Social Innovation Award competition is designed to spark bold and innovative solutions that expand opportunities for students in underserved communities. As a finalist, Maxeme will be able to compete for seed funding and professional coaching designed to maximize the impact of her venture Caribu, which works to remediate the 30 million word gap by providing access to high quality reading opportunities for children. Maxeme recently did a short Q&A with One Day Magazine about Caribu.
What problem are you trying to solve?
There is a 30-million-word gap. We know many students in lower-socioeconomic-status families are not hearing as many words as their more affluent counterparts. It starts from the womb before school even starts, and it’s not a problem you can fix in 12th grade.
What’s your big idea?
A lot of families, no matter the socioeconomic status, have smart phones. Our app enables an adult to read to a child or a child to read to an adult, no matter where either is. They have access to 200 books in six different languages. Some students don't have access to adults—a lot of parents work two jobs, and the prison industrial complex keeps families apart—so technology is crucial when meeting the needs of our students.
Your advice to other innovators?
The number one thing I saw in ed tech was educational-type people building products without engineering expertise. The best advice I got was to find a co-founder on the engineering side. We can tackle any problem because I come at it from the education side and he comes at it from the engineering side. As people solving problems in the ed tech world, we need to build actual ed tech teams.
To learn more about the other finalists, check out the full article.