Re-Posting this for the badge!
Chalk.com was founded by William Zhou, Ryan-McKay Fleming, and Suraj Srinivas, as a solution for K-12 teachers, seeking to manage their classrooms in a streamlined fashion. They got their start with the help of Waterloo’s Velocity Programs, which provide guidance, coaching, and a collaborative space for young entrepreneurs to develop and grow their own startup tech companies. Chalk.com has developed a number of apps geared toward curriculum organization, grading and assessment, lesson planning, and classroom management, all of which are integrated into the Chalk.com platform. Much like students are able to utilize the Microsoft Office Suite to organize, develop, and present their knowledge, teachers are able to achieve the same levels of productivity using Chalk.com and its related apps. Chalk.com is based out of Waterloo, Ontario, and is currently being used by over 100,000 teachers in more than 20,000 schools across North America. Overall, the vision for this venture is to provide educators with all of the tools they need, in one easy-to-access location.
Overview of Chalk.com Applications:
Planboard – Allows teachers to keep track of everything from daily lessons to the entire academic year. This app also enables them to exchange lesson plans and collaborate with other teachers, and track their lesson plans against provincial or state standards.
Markboard – Allows teachers to grade students’ work, develop student portfolios, and track their progress against 10,000 academic standards built into the app.
Dashboard – Provides an overall view of the classroom, including the lesson plans, student attendance, and assignment due dates on a day-to-day basis.
William Zhou, the CEO of Chalk.com was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2015 as a young leader in educational technology. He started his first company in grade 10 and launched his first Internet business in 2010, which he sold at the age of 18 during his first year of University. He graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in computer science, and has gained extensive experience in the field of software engineering. As part of his role as CEO, Zhou spends quite a bit of time travelling to various conventions and conferences to promote his venture and inspire young entrepreneurs. His personal relationships and deep respect for his high school teachers inspired him to develop a software-based solution for their demanding and dynamic workloads, and lack of up-to-date tools and resources to manage them.
The Chalk.com team is largely populated by passionate and highly skilled software engineers and designers, along with business and marketing professionals, edtech consultants, and a panel of esteemed advisors. The advisory team is well established in various positions in education, ranging from a classroom teacher, post-secondary executive, and school board superintendent. There is a wide range of expertise and a wealth of knowledge exhibited by the Chalk.com team.
I found William’s story to be incredibly inspiring, as he is a true entrepreneur, as was evident from a very young age, as well as a dedicated inventor. He is able to design and develop truly cutting edge products, while successfully growing with his company as CEO, and ultimately acting as the face for his venture. After doing quite a bit of research on him, it is clear that he has developed strong relationships with his coworkers and teachers throughout the years, and sees a great deal of value in mentorship. He has a personal interest in the field of education, and utilizes the resources available to him in order to create a successful venture. The main lesson I can take away from Zhou’s experience and outlook, is that I am surrounded by potential mentors and helpful resources, and the key to entrepreneurial success is utilizing them and appreciating their value every step of the way. My own experience working for an edtech startup allowed me to come to this very realization, as I sought mentorship from my employer, coworkers, advisors, and even some of the clients I was able to work with.