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General News

Profiled: EduFocal member, Warren Cassell Jr

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14 year old Entrepreneur, Author, student and last, but not least, EduFocal member!

Warren is a huge EduFocal Fan, check out his testimonial:

“Unlike most learning platforms, EduFocal makes revising a non-monotonous and enjoyable task. Not only has preparing for exams with EduFocal’s practice questions boost my confidence but also my overall performance. “

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EduFocal’s exam tips!

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With GSAT being just a few days away (March 21 and 22, 2013), We know the anxiety is building. Some of us are nervous, some of us wish it were next year March, some of us would like an extra month, some of us just want the exam to come and go…. Whichever group you fall in, one thing is certain – Everyone wants to do their very best. EduFocal has helped with the theory and now we are giving you tips on how to be mentally and emotionally prepared.

  1. Pack/prepare all items you will need for the exam at least a day before the exam
  2. Go to bed early – get a good night’s rest
  3. Arise early
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Be at the examination centre at least 20 minutes before the exam is scheduled to start
  6. Read through the entire paper before beginning
  7. Ensure that you understand the instructions and follow accurately
  8. Read each question carefully
  9. If you are not sure of/don’t know an answer, move on to the next question and then if time permits, return to the one you were unsure of/did not know
  10. Check over your answers
  11. Remain calm in the exam
General News

CEO’s Speech, EduFocal/Observer Partnership Launch

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EduFocal, a social learning platform for GSAT and CSEC students was incorporated on November 19, 2010. The company was launched on March 15, 2012, a little over 10 months ago at the Jamaica Pegasus.

Today we’re here for another launch, the launch of a partnership between EduFocal Limited and the Jamaica Observer Limited. EduFocal, the first service of its kind in the caribbean to incorporate gaming elements in education has seen a very positive response from the media, students, teachers and other stakeholders. The Observer, with its forward thinking Leader, The Hon. Danville Walker didn’t hesitate to get this partnership off the ground.
Our partnership with the Jamaica Observer will see students being able to access EduFocal for free with the purchase of  a Sunday Observer. The partnership will also see EduFocal expanding its content base to offer not only questions and answers for subjects, but reading content material from the Observer’s popular Study Centre publication. This, with the unique offerings of EduFocal will be beneficial to many students.
I’ve always said that EduFocal was created from a student’s perspective, i.e how a student would want a service to practice for their exams and not how a teacher wants his/her students to practice for their exams.

At 22, I figure that I’m still young enough to understand the needs of a High School student and I dare say, the needs of a GSAT student. Times have changed and children have so many things that are competing for their attention, including video games. Using elements from video games (particularly the concept of leveling up and a leaderboard) and incorporating it into learning has proven to be an effective method of piquing a child’s  interest in learning.

On December 30, 2012 EduFocal and the Observer did a demo campaign. On January 13, 2013 another campaign was initiated. In that short space of time….hundreds of students at both the GSAT and CSEC level have registered to EduFocal and have done over 5,000 tests with a 5-10% test abandonment rate.

(Continue…)

Announcements, General News

EduFocal + The Jamaica Observer: The Details!

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A few weeks ago, we announced that EduFocal would be partnering with the Jamaica Observer, but the specifics of the deal were not disclosed. We’ve always wanted to make it easy for people to access our service, but many don’t have access to credit cards which hindered a great deal from joining our service.

The Partnership

With that said, starting January 10, 2013, you will be able to access EduFocal with the purchase of a Sunday Observer.  You will find an EduFocal voucher in each Sunday Observer, every Sunday! The voucher will grant you a week’s access to EduFocal. You can always find a new voucher every Sunday that you can use to renew your account on EduFocal.

 We will also be hosting The Observer’s GSAT and CSEC Study Centre material on EduFocal. This will be rolled out over the next 2 months or so. I think this is a great partnership – a partnership that will be beneficial to the many students sitting their CSEC and GSAT exams in 2013. This will help to make educational content more accessible to everyone.

Look out for an announcement from the Jamaica Observer soon!

 

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BCIC’s Managing Director Peter Levy EduFocal Speech

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Let me start by thanking the EduFocal team for inviting me to make a few remarks today. It’s an exciting occasion and I’m thrilled to be here in any capacity.

I’m going to ask you to indulge me for a minute. In keeping with the educational theme, I’d like to ask you to raise your hands if you have a personal twitter account.

And keep your hand up only if you’ve personally made a post to twitter in the past seven days.

Thanks. The relevance of that question today is that I met Gordon on Twitter. Were it not for that fledgling communication medium, neither I, nor more importantly BCIC’s money, would be present today.

I see that as an illustration of the opportunities that can be thrown up through the use of interactive technology.

What I know about the educational system is what I have gleaned from having three children in school, and also by being married to a lady who I, and her students, consider to be the best school teacher in Jamaica.

But like many, I have pondered on the issues facing us in Jamaica as we struggle to make it possible for our young to deliver on their enormous, if not limitless potential. I have looked at school buildings that are shuttered for a quarter of the year, and thought “There must be a way to extract more value from those resources”, even while admitting that getting more from physical resources is only part of the solution.

And then I came across Gordon and EduFocal, who aren’t just thinking outside the ‘box’ or classroom if you will – instead they are promising to blow it up.

That’s what excites me – the possibilities that arise when new techniques are applied by young, energetic minds, to old, seemingly intractable problems.

And that’s why I’m thrilled to be here on behalf of BCIC to wish Gordon and his team all the success in the world.

_____

Visit BCIC here

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EduFocal for Teachers: How teachers in Jamaica and the Caribbean will benefit

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When I was brainstorming in the early days I was thinking of ways to “involve” teachers in EduFocal as much as students would be involved.  This “involvement” would begin with teachers submitting questions to us. The premise would be that teachers submit questions and get paid based on these submissions.  But with that idea came a few problems:

  1. How would a teacher get paid? Would they get a fixed salary? If so, what if we don’t have enough members on EduFocal to pay salary and other expenses?
  2. How can you have 50+ teachers for one subject, charge $2000 per year and still manage to remain profitable if paying each a fixed salary?

So, in its most simple form, that system would not work. Enter “performance pay” or as I call it, “commission”. Teachers get from EduFocal as much as they put in, or as the old adage goes they “reap what they sow”.

We came up with three key metrics to measure how much a teacher is paid monthly:

  1. How often they submit questions to EduFocal
  2. How well students are doing on the tests set by said teacher
  3. How they’re [teachers] rated by students at the end of every test.

1. How often they submit questions to EduFocal

Not getting into the dynamics of it ( for obvious reasons), but the more questions a teacher submits to EduFocal the more they’re paid at the end of the month. Each teacher has their own style of writing questions ( both multiple choice and short answer). Teachers also have the ability to leave hints for any question they like. These are the things that will influence how a student rates a teacher at the end of a test. Naturally, some students have their own biases so even if a teacher creates excellent questions they may give the teacher a low rating ( more on this in number #3).

2. How well students are doing on tests

This is kind of self explanatory.  The better students are doing on the tests you create, the higher your payout at the end of the month. This is measured in aggregate.

3. Star Ratings

At the end of every test a student has the ability to rate a teacher. 1 star being the lowest rating and 5 star being the highest. Like #2 this is measured in aggregate . As I mentioned in #1 some students, because of their own biases, may not rate a teacher at all or they may give the teacher a low rating. Conversely, teachers may get very high ratings from students who like them. Because of the potential issues that may come with this metric, it has the lowest weighting. i.e. it doesn’t significantly affect a teacher’s payout.

In a sense, EduFocal is the great equalizer for all teachers.  Whether young, old, experienced or rookie, you get out what you put in. So you may find that one month you earn as much as $100,000 JMD while only earning $8,000 JMD the next month.

 

 

 

Teachers are listed by popularity on the subject page. The less teachers in a particular subject area the better it is for that particular teacher ( students have less to choose from). Basically, the larger EduFocal gets the better it is for teachers. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to get as many students on EduFocal as possible. Imagine when we expand into other Caribbean countries.

 

 

I said in my first paragraph that the teacher’s involvement begins with just question submission, but, there is more to come. This is just the beginning…

We’re always developing so expect some exciting things in the near future.

General News

Rationale behind the EduFocal Logo

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This mark consists of two swirls that come together and overlap to create a full circle.

The overlapping of the shapes represents EduFocal’s mission of connecting students with teachers. The shapes also represent how students can become mentors as they learn and reach a certain level. This is shown by the shape of the swirls, which starts as a small point, and then grows and widens until they overlap to create a full circle.

For the wordmark, a sans serif typeface was chosen for its clean and contemporary feel. However, this specific typeface also has organic details that make it both approachable and unique.

Blue was chosen as the main color for this mark because it is thought of as a friendly and trustworthy color. This particular bright shade of blue is vibrant enough to make it stand out among others

The color purple was chosen because it was a nice compliment to the main blue color of the logo, without competing or overpowering it. Purple is also associated with inspiring creativity, which is important in the education world.

Tip: Look close enough and you’ll  see an e inside the circle. :)  

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