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Alumni trio launches ed-tech business

Posted: March 15th, 2013


SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Three Lake Superior State University alumni have launched an ed-tech start-up business that seeks to enhance the way learners interact with complex meaning through software applications.

The group, under the name of oomApp, is developing computer applications that will use a variety of learning modes to custom-fit learning experiences to different users. Its first app, "Transcendentalism Interactive," is composed of a collection of the great American Transcendentalist writers' works along with enhanced learning features, including synced audio readings, vocabulary building exercises, syntax and grammar analysis tools, and group learning games.

The group is looking to raise funds over the next few days through a public-relations geared Kickstarter webpage as it continues to develop its products.

The development team includes former LSSU students Garrett Munro (communication studies) Brian Kloosterman (computer science) and Kaleb Porter (computer networking). Munro said the software idea grew out of a combination of their experiences in the education sector, starting from LSSU's Learning Center, where Munro worked as a tutor and supplemental instruction leader, to mainland China, where he worked as a public school teacher and education consultant.

"We combined the techniques of teaching English as a foreign language with a lifelong passion for technology and interactive media, and the idea was born," he said.

A beta version of the app will launch in June, Munro said. Those who help with the group's fundraising can acquire an early copy of the app by pledging support to their Kickstarter page.

Munro said the team thinks the idea may be transplanted to other sectors of open domain resources, such as primary source materials commonly used in school curriculum. They are hopeful about expansion and development, and are applying for a number of start-up accelerator programs, such as Kaplan EdTech Accelerator and the renowned Tech Stars program based in Chicago.

The group said it hopes to eventually be able to provide the app to high school students and schools for free or at a very low cost, noting that it would go well in schools that issue tablet computers to its students.

Munro says his experience at LSSU was pivotal in developing “an entrepreneurial grit and a passion for education.”

"The spirit of the folks on campus is truly unique," Munro said. "From my time working with the Learning Center staff, to Student Government and Students in Free Enterprise, finding energized hard-working people was the norm, rather than exception."

Munro also said that his time in Shanghai (2009) through LSSU's study abroad program was formative in developing his career.

He invited educators, students and others interested in educational software to visit the company's website. For more information, contact Munro at 906-630-7234. Read more about the group in a story on NetworkWorld.com -LSSU-

CONTACT: Garrett Munro, 906-630-7234, g.munro@gmail.com


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