LightSail seeks to engage readers in K-12 and to accelerate literacy growth with a tablet-based approach that combines multiple features for both student and teacher. LightSail has over 80,000 popular titles in its library, and each reader has access to a personalized library based on his or her reading level. Further features include:
- in-text assessments,
- comprehension and writing skills measures,
- complete set of included assessments
- progress dashboard for students
- instant classroom data for teachers
- social media style interactions between students, groups, and teachers
- rewards (badges) for accomplishments
Founder Gideon Stein has a very strong entrepreneurial background. Following his degree in economics, he went on to become founder and CEO of Omnipod Inc, a leading on-demand, real-time messaging provider for the enterprise market, sold in 2005 to what is now a division of Symantec. He was also a founding partner in a private investment firm that concentrated in media, commerce, and software, as well as a partner in a commercial real estate development company. Prior to LightSail, Gideon co-founded and served as president of Future Is Now Schools. Mr. Stein is also very involved in the US national education landscape, serving on the boards of several nonprofit educational organizations.
Mr. Stein is clearly motivated to create change in the classroom, as well as to make use of new technologies. He has identified the challenge of engaging young readers and created an innovative solution. His demonstrated experience with start-ups, as well as strong financial backing, have enabled him develop the resources required. He has also surrounded himself with a well-qualified team of educators. Two of the four in the management team have masters of education and direct experience (as do many of the team members), and 86 percent of the overall team have experience teaching in K-12. The Advisory Board consists of 12 currently practicing teachers with in interest in literacy.
On the face of it, Gideon Stein appears to have parleyed a start-up in the late 1990s or early 2000s into a very successful career. Of course this is many an entrepreneur’s dream, an it is heartening that he has spent much of his more recent time working on solutions in the education sector.