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Teaching service Knowmia seeks to revolutionize tutoring

Product likely to be used for 'flip teaching'

Published: Monday, Sept. 10 2012 6:20 a.m. MDT

Knowmia is likely to be used for flip teaching, a new trend in education, Kabat said. In a flipped classroom, the teacher might reverse the traditional classwork/homework setup by creating video lectures for students to watch at home. That way, the teacher can supervise students as they do their individual assignments while they are in the classroom. The flip model allows teachers to keep students on task for assignments and provide help to those who are lagging.

"Flipped classrooms are a hot topic right now," Pak said. "With all the videos, and a teacher community at its disposal, I can see Knowmia becoming a great tool for educators interested in creating their own flipped classrooms."

Knowmia's content is geared to high-school students but will expand to cover the K-12 curriculum. Contributing teachers do not have to prove accreditation or competency but must include their names and schools and give information about themselves. "We count on the community to review and regulate the content," Kabat said.

To help teachers illustrate educational concepts within their videos, the site provides the Knowmia Teach iPad app, a sort of iMovie program that can be used to punch up video lessons with enlarged visual images that teachers can write on, according to the technology blog GigaOm.

Knowmia makes tutoring less expensive, less time-consuming and more convenient, Kabat said. He and Braunstein helped up-end the video camcorder world when their Flip video camera went on sale in 2007, only to see the camcorder market disrupted again by smartphones. Kabat said he intends to take what he learned in the camcorder industry and apply it to disrupting the booming supplemental education market, which Business Wire estimates will be worth $100 billion by 2017.

In the United States, the need to meet benchmarks set by the No Child Left Behind Act and win college scholarships drives the tutoring market. The gigantic international market for tutoring, which Kumon dominates, is fueled by competition to pass entrance exams for college admission, Business Wire said. With Knowmia, Kabat sees an opportunity to satisfy those needs.

"Supplemental education was ripe for disruption," he said. "The market is growing by double digits every year. Video hasn't played a huge factor, and we think it can."

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