Edupreneurs are unquestionably passionate and dedicated in their drive to create technology and business models that will disrupt education and change the way we think about teaching and learning.
But it’s not often that edupreneurs get acknowledged as a group in mainstream media (much less at awards shows). Tuesday, at The 7th Annual Crunchie Awards (the tech industry’s version of the Oscars hosted by Techcrunch), edupreneurs were represented in full force in the “Best Education Startup” category. Talented nominees included: Code.org, CreativeLIVE, Duolingo, Khan Academy and Treehouse.
The winner of this year’s Best Education Startup is Duolingo (a platform that offers free language lessons to students by having them translate real-world documents for customers). Launched in 2011, and boasting high-profile investors such as Union Square Ventures and Ashton Kutcher, Duolingo has made quite an impact in language learning and translation at no cost to Users and eschewing traditional language educational methods like memorization. How do they do it? Here’s how they describe their magic:
Learning languages in Duolingo is completely free – now and forever – with no ads or hidden fees. Wondering how that can be? It’s because you create value by translating real-world documents while you’re learning.
Here’s how it works: Somebody who needs a webpage translated uploads it to Duolingo. That document then gets presented to Duolingo students who can translate it in order to practice the language they are learning. When the document is fully translated, Duolingo returns it to the original content owner who, depending on the type of document they uploaded, pays for the translation.
Luis von Ahn (founder of Duolingo and the inventor of reCaptcha, @luisvonahn) was unable to attend The Chrunchie Awards this year but Gina Gotthilf (Duolingo’s new Director of Communications, @ginag) was on hand to accept the award for her team and offer a post-win interview which you can watch at AOL HERE
Congratulations to edupreneur Luis von Ahn and his entire team (as well as the other great tech education startups nominated) for finding innovative ways to disrupt education!
[NOTE TO IAT: We’re trying to get the embed code for the video – doesn’t seem to be one – will let you know if we find it. Please date this Feb. 13]