Category Archives: Company

Lingt launches new product at lingt.com

We’ve been busy this summer doing two things. First, we’ve been thrilled to see Lingt Classroom grow in popularity and become an integral part of classrooms across the globe. It’s been a pleasure getting to know all the teachers out there who actively search for new technology to improve their students’ experience and found us. To all our users: thank you.

Secondly, we built a shiny new product that helps individuals learn a language online. As opposed to Lingt Classroom which helps teachers engage their students, our new site is meant for anyone that wants to self-study to pick up a new language. Lingt Classroom is still going to operate and be supported like it always has, and we look forward to continuing to improve it.

You can see the new site here. Right now, we’re only offering Chinese (other languages to be added soon), so to the Chinese teachers using Lingt: please tell your students to check it out.

Lingt named TEFL site of the month

This month we’re were thrilled to be named “Site of the Month” by TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).net. From the write-up:

Lingt stands out for two reasons. Firstly, it is straight forward. Teachers and learners should have no problem figuring out how to use it. All you need to do is give your students the URL to your Lingt classroom (you receive this when you sign up).The activities and quizzes you create are stored on site and you can offer individual feedback quickly and easily. Secondly, Lingt includes a function for speaking. Unlike the traditional paper based tests and worksheets, teachers can test listening and speaking skills.

You can read the whole review here. Thanks, TEFL.net!

Where have you been!? What is Lingt classroom?

Though our blog has been a bit barren, Lingt’s new offices in San Francisco have been anything but. We’ve spent the summer working on exciting new language-learning technology that we’re very excited to roll out in the very near future. Which brings us to that new “classroom” label that recently appeared. . .

We love our logo and brand – so much so that we wanted to use it for the new stuff we’re working on. To avoid confusion, we’re going to start referring to this site as “Lingt classroom” – since our users are exclusively teachers (all whom we love for using Lingt). This site will now be at lingtclassroom.com, but lingtlanguage.com will continue to redirect here.

We’ll let you know what we’ve been working on very soon. We think you’ll all be very excited to see what we’ve got cooking.

Two weeks of Beta

We sent out our first official beta accounts about two weeks ago and have since then seen over a hundred teachers use Lingt. We couldn’t be happier with the reception – the enthusiasm and willingness to engage new technology has been very exciting from our end. Feedback has been great as well: we’ve already incorporated many of the suggestions that have come in  and are making sense of many other to determine what the next big step for us will be.  We’re also thrilled to see what teachers are coming up with: just after two weeks, we’ve got teachers using Lingt in countries all over the world and making assignments in English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Korean, Chinese, German, and Japanese. We can’t wait to see the number of classrooms benefiting from technology continue to grow.

Our first pilot

We’ve finally finished our first iteration of the Lingt Editor and couldn’t be more excited to put it in the hands of students and teachers.

The great teachers and administrators at North Kansas City High School (my very own alma mater) have been working closely with us to prepare to pilot at the beginning of next semester with their French classes. It’s been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated and innovative group.

The quickest way to scare off an investor. . .

. . . is to tell them you’re an education company. In parallel with developing our first piece of technology, we’ve been trying to get to know Boston’s startup scene, especially the other great minds working in the education space. Naturally, we’ve run into plenty of investor-types eager to hear what three entrepreneurially-minded MIT grads are up to. An email I recently received from an intestor over at Adams Capital Management exemplifies the usual response:

. . . My condolences on your selection of the Education market. Although the non-financial rewards can be tremendous and the social impact profound, it is an exceedingly hard space in which to make money. . . I sure wouldn’t seek to make my fortune there.

Unfortunately, this pervasive attitude towards the education space can hardly be criticized considering its history. However, I think the general pessimism towards the education market is misplaced for a couple of reasons.

First, this pessimism usually places blame on schools for being extremely difficult to sell to. Blame often targets perceived defects such as overgrown bureaucracy, lack of innovation, and notoriously tight budgets. The buyer-user divide also proves daunting: although teachers are the primary beneficiaries and users of new technology, administrators usually sign off on the line item.

These complaints may very well contain elements of truth, but they are completely naive to the possibility that providers of educational technology are also to blame. Surveying some of the products offered in recent history, there is little question that the rigorous expectations for quality technology in other markets are not enjoyed by the education space. While many companies continue to offer impressive educational software for the home computer, many textbook supplements and other offerings intended for the classroom haven’t been built with the same vigorous dedication and rapid innovation as have mp3 players, cell phones, or graphics software. The bar is low and there is plenty of room for fresh talent.

Second, the average teacher is becoming increasingly likely to have grown up with computers. The often-cited obstacle of technophobia is quickly becoming irrelevant with the new wave of young, tech-savvy educators.

Finally, the increasing ubiquity of high-speed Internet access and home computers is opening doors to how technology can be used to improve the classroom. Whereas integrating computer technology into the classroom has traditionally meant scheduled computer lab hours and some compromises in curriculum, web applications offer the opportunity for boundless media resources, content sharing, collaboration, and a paradigm in which students are expected to participate at home instead of in a canned computer lab session.

The attitude that the education market is impenetrable and stingy is a self-perpetuating stigma. Pessimism dissuades talent from entering the space, which in turn stunts competition and innovation. When we look at education, however, we see opportunity.