Let's Level the Playing Field!
The SAT's have become the new arms race in education.
Test prep is a $4.1 billion industry, and if you can't afford expensive tutoring, you are at a distinct disadvantage.
I think this is unfair. I think it’s elitist. And I want to do something about it.
So I created Spread the Words to help level the playing field.
I want to give away my expertise for free-- to anyone with the desire to learn. And I need your help. Let's get the best educational tools-- those made by really smart and modest experts like me-- in the hands of the people who need them most.
Let’s Spread the Words and level the playing field!
What exactly is "Spread the Words!"?
STW is a free mobile app and website that teaches essential vocabulary in a unique and unforgettable fashion. It uses images, humor, and an addictive gaming model to help students learn and retain words like never before.
It's fun. It's effective. It's a game changer.
Want proof? Download it here for free.
Imagine trying to solve a math problem but not understanding what the numbers mean.
This is what happens to students on the critical reading portion of the SAT if they don't have the right vocabulary tools. An alarming number of students come to these tests with a "word deficit."
Plus, those who currently learn "SAT vocabulary" often learn it only for the test and either forget it quickly or are unable to apply these language skills effectively in college or the real world. What a waste of time and money!
But STW recognizes that standardized testing doesn't mean standardized thinking. As a result, it works better and sticks with you longer.
Why does it work so well?
1) Spread the Words takes advantage of the fact that today's students are highly visual and often operate at "game speed."
2) Words are arranged in levels (each level has ten words). You must learn the words in each level before unlocking the next.
3) Example sentences use the words in multiple forms and contexts, often incorporating earlier words for further reinforcement.
4) The quiz at the end of each level requires users to forge their own cognitive connections between word and image. It's not just memorization; it's active learning!
My Background and Success with Spread the Words!
I have a unique perspective on how language works and how to teach it so it sticks.
I have spent over a decade tutoring high school students for the critical reading portion of the SAT’s. All my students improve, and some achieve perfect 800's. And these are not necessarily the kids getting A’s in their English classes.
I teach literature courses at one of NYC’s most selective private colleges, where I work closely with artists, architects, and engineers. These are people who think about and perceive the world in unique ways. I also teach writing courses for NYC's public university system, and work with students who may be the first generation in their families to go to college, who speak English as a second language, who have never done well in language-based courses before. This has given me a unique perspective on how language works and how to teach it.
SpreadTheWords began as a tool for these diverse groups of students, using the ways that they think to get at the words they need to know. And they loved it. They retained words far better than before. Those who struggled with word lists and memorization found this format much more useful. They went beyond my assignments and started racing each other. I saw results first-hand.
Now I want to share this tool with anyone who wants to learn.
Spread the Words! is my way of combating the "arms race" in education. We hear experts, local officials, and even presidential candidates extol the importance of education while lamenting its shortcomings. Well here is a concrete way to make an immediate difference. Let's Spread the Words and level the playing field!
What We Need & What You Get
What's Already In Place:
- A working protoype and website (check 'em out-- and feel free to download and use the current version of the Android app!)
- Here's our website: www.spreadthewords.co and a link to our app on the Google Play store (already over 1000 downloads!).
What We Want to Do:
- Keep it free!
- Add content-- what you see now is just the tip of the iceberg!
- Integrate social media so users can challenge each other and share words and lessons (just like they do in my class)
- Create an iOS and Facebook version of the app
- Partner with other groups working to make educational technology available to everyone
- Spread the word to students, teachers, and parents across the country through marketing, social media, and school visits.
What You Get:
In addition to knowing you have helped to level the playing field, we offer some pretty fun perks (listed to your right)!
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can't contribute financially, I ask that you help Spread the Words by doing just that-- spread news of this campaign to people you think will be interested, and tell any high school teachers and students you know about the demo versions of the free app and website that are already in place (especially if they're taking the test soon!) And remember, you don't have to take the SAT's to want to improve your vocabulary. Anyone can use the website/app for their own personal edification!