Innovation That Matters

Online video network helps teens prepare for college


While most schools now incorporate computers into the curriculum at least to some extent, the fact remains that most learning is still done by the book. Recognizing that today’s teens spend more and more of their time online, however, a new video-based network aims to offer extra learning and college preparation in a format that’s more natural for digitally savvy high-school students. Launched late last month, Brightstorm‘s online learning network is designed to help high-school students deepen their understanding of important subjects and better prepare for college through video-based courses designed and taught by expert teachers from across the country. Available courses cover subjects including math, writing, history, and AP and SAT test prep–with more coming soon, the company says–taught via 5-hour interactive video classes that are broken down into lessons lasting between 10 and 20 minutes each. Brightstorm’s teachers–chosen for their classroom teaching success, passion for learning and professional qualifications–aim to develop unique curriculums that capture the most critical concepts in ways teens can relate to. Students, meanwhile, can not only choose the right teacher for their learning style, but can also work at their own pace in a manner suiting their digital preferences, with options to participate in interactive discussion groups and benefit from bonus materials such as interactive quizzes, “challenges” and study guides. Courses are each priced at USD 49 for a 12-month subscription. Jeff Marshall, cofounder and CEO of San Francisco-based Brightstorm, explains: “We started this company as parents, educators and technologists who saw a need for a learning network that helped teens do better in school by syncing with their interests and online lifestyles. Great learning starts with great teaching, and we’re giving teens a hand-picked selection of the best teachers from across the country. Simultaneously, Brightstorm broadens the reach of these teachers beyond their hometown classrooms.” These aren’t your father’s high-school students anymore, so to speak, so it makes sense that college prep should change too, better reflecting the online oxygen today’s teens breathe. One to adapt on a localized basis for different cultures and languages….? (Related: Music school for generation YouTube.)



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