Saturday, May 29, 2010

Andriod App: Voice Recognition Game

Here is a demo of our prototype Android game.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Start-up Weekend: What is all about.

Here is quick news video on what Start-up Week-end is all about, and it features EnglEasy as well!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Motor skills of a 5 year old vs. a 7 year old

This weekend, I got a chance to test the iPad interface with my 5 year old cousin and my 7 year old cousin. Both of these girls have been surrounded by technology their entire lives and play web based games all the time, like and dora games. They lit up when I let them play with the iPad and I found a few interesting findings:
The 5 year old, Anoosha, was pressing really hard on the screen and her fingers were sticking to the screen as she was sliding it across to drag and drop an object.

The 7 year old, Arfa, had no issues with the iPad interface, and was using it like a pro right away. She knew to tap lightly to get it to respond.

From this, it appears that we need to do a lot of testing depending on which device we choose to use for the final product.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Android Apps the way to go?

Over the past week we have been getting quite a bit of buzz from our Android App. From a strategic perspective, this may make more sense than iTouch or iPad applications simply because the Apple Hardware is too expensive to bring into the classrooms. If Android devices can be brought down in price, to less than $100 per unit, we see some huge potential.

Moreover, if the touch interface on the Android can become as slick as the iTouch or iPad interface, we see can see these devices becoming ubiquitous in the classroom, while keeping the web based - computer interface in the home.

Web 2.0 Conference Video

Here is our video from the Web 2.0 Launchpad:

Friday, May 7, 2010

EnglEasy in TechCrunch!

Check out the TechCrunch Article featuring us at Launchpad!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Word Pop! Now available online!

The final version of WordPOP! Is now available to play online!  This is the first of many games that EnglEasy plans on building to teach children English.  Check it out and give us some feedback!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Team EnglEasy!

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself" - Henry Ford
Team EnglEasy has known each other for about 103 hours now, but we've moved forward together at lightening speed. As a culturally diverse group of eight strangers meeting on Friday night at StartupWeekend, we drew from our strengths and experiences to form the foundation of a company and idea in which we're all very proud. 

Many thanks to Franck Peignoir (@peignoir) and Marc Nager (@marcnager) for putting together StartupWeekend in the Bay area. Without this event, there would be no  Team EnglEasy to be presenting at Launch Pad at Web 2.0 Expo.

We proudly present the members of Team EnglEasy:

Ahmed Siddiqui (Founder) - Ahmed Siddiqui is the Founder of EnglEasy. English is Ahmed's second language, and the concept for EnglEasy came from Ahmed's frustration that children today are still learning English the same way he did 25 years ago.  Leveraging his background in Business Analytics at IBM, he developed his concept for adaptable learning. Ahmed's  mission is to change and improve the way children learn by combining games and analytics.  Ahmed has an MBA from Babson College, and his undergraduate degree is from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He can be reached at the email address ahmed (at) engleasy (dot) com, or via twitter at @siddiquiahmed

AbdulAziz Al-Sulaim (Founder) - As a young entrepreneur, AbdulAziz founded two start-ups. In his first venture, ProStyleWatches, AbdulAziz negotiated authorized dealership agreements with Suunto Watches, Citizen Watches and Casio Watches without having the required credit or physical retail outlets. After liquidating a year later, he established a cultural apparel company in 2006 which is still operating in the United States as MuslimTees ( AbdulAziz graduated with distinction from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Finance and a B.S. in Marketing.

Co-Founders (in alphabetical order):

Aaron GrahamAaron Graham has a passion for data and design. He strives to improve customer experience and deliver business results through web analytics - test, measure, iterate, repeat. Aaron got the international bug while living and studying Japanese during his undergraduate studies at Miami University, which led to an International MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He has been in Northern California for 10 years, working in the tech industry for companies ranging from a start up of 10 people to the world's largest dedicated security technology company, McAfee, where he currently works, overseeing testing and web analytics in the consumer division. He can be reached at @awgraham. 

Boashi Yan, PhD - A researcher in speech and language technology, his passion is creating killer apps for language education using speech and language technologies. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Southern California. He can be reached at @baoshi

Christina Mantel - Christina Mantel is a trilingual wizard when it comes to business development and marketing strategy.  Naturally curious, she utilizes her engaging interpersonal skills to facilitate business and to network. Her career spans investment management at Pacific Sun (Hong Kong) to internet start-ups ( to non-profit foundations (Kitty Petty ADD Institute). A savvy world traveler, she is fluent in English, German and French and has the ability to bring localization to world-wide products and services. Fascinated by neurocognitive brain functioning, she has a Master's degree in Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, a Bachelor's degree in Political Economics and a Bachelor's degree in French, both from the University of California, Berkeley.  She can be reached via twitter at @christinamantel

Dhiren Patel - Dhiren Patel is a recent graduate of the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering, who has a passion and drive to change the way children learn. He is also an execution machine, and the team's community manager. He is currently working at Sonoa Systems with the Apigee team. He can be reached at @Dstar9

Laura Schulz - Laura Schulz is a marketing technogeek with expertise in education and research science. Currently the Marketing Director and a Drupal web developer for Webthingee, she's actively engaged in the web 2.0 world and its possibilities. As an education director with 15 years of experience in  the informal education industry (museums, zoos), she's worked closely with both teachers and parents to design highly effective and engaging curriculum for children, and is excited by EnglEasy's emerging analytics for identifying and overcoming children's learning barriers. Holding a Master's degree from Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet in Munich, Germany and a marketing certificate from University of California at Berkeley, she's also an Advanced Toastmaster. For more information, please visit her Twitter profile at @lauraschulz

Walter Monterroza - Walter Monterroza is the collaborator of Social Entrepreneurship projects at C-INNOVA office at Universidad Dr. Jose Matias Delgado in El Salvador. He is a Business Director at the consulting group ROLES and a Co-Founder of "TodoJoven". He is also a committee member of Young Entrepreneurs  at the Chamber of Commerce of El Salvador, and Director of Finance at a local committee of AIESEC El Salvador Matias. He can be reached at @waltermonterroz

Winnie Kao - Winnie Kao is an expert in hardware and software development, as well as an expert project manager. Using her marketing finesse and communication skills, she is a geek who speaks. She has a strong desire to use her skills for a greater good, and as a multilingual technologist, Winnie plans to revolutionize language learning with EnglEasy's philosophy of improving learning through play. Winnie holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University. She can be reached at @wyykao

We also want to give a shout-out to our Rock-star Developer, UI guy, and Artist! 
Josh Dovishaw – Developer 
Justin Kelley – User Interface - @lostchrono
Jajeev Nithiananda - Artist

Monday, May 3, 2010

Winners of Start-up Weekend:EnglEasy

Overall winners of Start-up Weekend check it out!

EnglEasy's Presentation at #swbay

Check out our presentation form this weekend at swbay:

Preliminary Survey Results

Here are some key points from our preliminary survey thanks to AskYourTargetMarket:

Language preferences:
English: 39%
Spanish: 35%

Currently learning languages through:
TV/Videos/DVDs/CDs: 36%
Friends/Family: 25%

Importance placed on learning language:
Of some importance : 95%
(This represents 'Somewhat Important, Important, Very Important'. Only 5% said 'Not Important')

How would you be interested in learning a language through any of the following?
Wii/Xbox/Playstation:  32%
Website:  27%

(Side Note:69% of those interested in learning language (sample size: 104) said they would be interested in learning through the web)

Importance of tracking:
50% very important
90% of some importance

Educational Revolution

Everyone checkout this article on how technology is driving the educational revolution!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

EnglEasy wins Startup Weekend Bay Area!

Wow, what a rush!  We actually won the top prize at Startup Weekend!  Thank you judges and organizers of Startup Weekend for putting together a life changing event.  We can't thank you enough, and most importantly thank you to the entire EnglEasy team for putting in some pretty long days to get this done.

We now have a new twitter handle @engleasy please follow us!  Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at the Web 2.0 Conference!

A fun end to Startup Weekend

We had a great time presenting at the Startup Weekend.  We got to present third, but did not show any powerpoint slides.  The demos went very smoothly, the Android App was a huge hit and the WordPOP! Tetris like game was also well received.  Thanks everyone for the help and encouragement!

About the educaction in LatinAmerica

Hello everyone
I want to share with you my opinion about this essay about education in latin american.

In many respects the youth is seen as a preparatory period, young people are considered adults in training which prepares us as persons in development to reach adult status properly. From this evidence one hue is meaningless and meaning of being young as such, and to that extent the participation and youth organization are a formation scenario for young people to learn to bind successfully to the adult world, and of course the dynamics the current environment.
My participation and my essay does not seek to make accusations, let alone become a critic of the education systems of our Latin American countries, first because I believe and others have been ordered to do so, and secondly because my position is to assist and to encourage all young people who like me, feel the need to know about a reality, because it is necessary to reflect a change and understand the nature of indispensability which represents education for development, to see us and become an essential part of the solution contribute to the development of our countries.

Education: The Latin American scenario.

"... It is clearer than ever that the battle for achieving Education for All is not equal throughout the world"
(Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO)

When we think about education, and especially as it has evolved over the years in Latin America, we must be clear that while it is true that the region has made a very determined way over the past decades, and has achieved gradually increase the numbers of access to it, the students are not able to reach it required learning levels to join the complex dynamics of today's world.
There is in most Latin American countries a lack of awareness on the issue of education, which becomes a major barrier to solving many current problems facing our countries can not continue cutting the surface causes the problems, but to understand the root of most of them.

Today Latin American education systems are faced with a reality that we can not hide, we must understand that the increased uncertainty generated by the global crisis we face, but the social, political and cultural, the same globalization and technology, added factors that accelerate the changes, and place the education systems of Latin American countries face challenges and extraordinary challenges.
A education in Latin America, past imposing a cross-cutting themes as exclusion, discrimination, poverty, gender and location, and add a new variable to the equation: the burden of the future with lines such as quality and equity.

The issue of education can not be analyzed in a concise form, as there are many factors and conditions that are variants in each country, but certainly at the regional level becomes necessary to recognize that is an issue that needs to be adjusted to the characteristics of world today require that every government in Latin America do a study based on the social conditions of each country, allowing education as a priority be placed within the same political agendas.

Against a background of light and shadow, our role as young people, as professionals, as citizens and as members of a society committed, is to make a stop in our lives and reflect, take action to create critical awareness that however small they seem the spectrum that we face, help to become true agents transformers of our societies and our countries.

A need for change.
... "Everyone has the right to education"
(Art. 26 Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

"Change the way you think ... changes everything in this world," Mercedes Sosa mentions in his song, same search on "youtube" to when I posed the following questions: What can education do for my country?, " For Latin America? Why a need for change?.

I decided not to write the rest of the questions that arose in my mind, because the goal is not to make this a test, but rather that the answers constitute a fundamental part of the picture, the why? Latin American countries are faced with a need for change.
To answer the first of my questions, I will ask you to use your imagination, imagine the map of Latin America; Now imagine the map with migraine face, this face that you think is the product of their "symptoms", which in this case are the problems facing our Latin American countries in the education issue, and the symptoms of the "migraine" in the context are: poverty, segmentation, inequality, exclusion, lack of education quality and the devaluation of teaching. These "symptoms" may occur with greater force and intensity in different countries. Now what can be done to reduce the "migraine"?, So, take a "aspirin"!
The "aspirin" as the main constituent "education" is to which I refer when I try to answer my first concerns, "aspirin" of education, may be able to relieve the discomfort and pain relief, and that's exactly what education can do for our countries, can reduce illiteracy, to break with the gaps of exclusion, can transform and improve the living conditions of people. Education becomes valuable to humans, and thus becomes rich in the region where it is found, education is easier to achieve development and sustainability of a country ... And if this is true! ... How many aspirin has taken that map to alleviate the "migraine"?, Latin America now needs a good dose of "aspirin."
The need for change is essential and fundamental part of the process of evolution of the world and man. Education must be understood as a complex phenomenon which try to identify a single element can not only be difficult but also misleading. Although education is defined in the world as a right for all, not everyone can make valuable, and in this situation is that we start the evolution towards that change individual and collective behavior, allowing to set aside the ideas that education is a privilege and an object of possession for a few, understand that schools are not the only place which meets the education of people, understand that this issue is not just the problem of education systems or teachers. Education is a subject of all. It is this change that I mean, is this change that although not eliminate the problem overnight, whether it will initiate a culture of solidarity that is so important to any form of work and development that enables fight against exclusion is a result of any kind of inequality and injustice.
"The key is fairness" and go as understanding and assimilating it ourselves we will be champions of change: political, social and cultural rights, to discuss a new process: that of building a caring society to promote sustainable human development at individual, community, country and regional levels.
A challenge of all.

"Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I learn"
(Benjamin Franklin)

At this point I wanted to place you in the reality of education, and similarly consider the idea of why change is necessary. Now, in my role as a young and aware of our role as such, and in light of this reality, I believe that our region has not only latiomamerica difficulties, but great opportunities in the education issue, not that we identify as the "educated "but that You, Me, and every young man who achieved empathize with our realities, become a promoter of positive changes in our societies, will tend to become an" educator "of all and for all, and understand that education not limited to our neighborhood, neighborhood, city or country, but covers the whole world and all people.

The youth in our societies has begun to acquire a leading role in many areas, and basically in the social and business.
On the other hand, the World Bank (2008) recognizes the importance of increasing investment in human capital for young people to contribute to the emergence of skills and capabilities to act in new ways to strengthen social capital, which in in turn demonstrates the participation and youth organization as a strategy to build human capital in the future. "
My invitation is to You, and Me, that as young, as a future leader in your community, your country, your region, not silence your voice, take care instead of worrying! Develop a knowledge management ... your knowledge!, Because this way we will be asking ourselves and creating opportunities for participation, involving the integration of a social force of public awareness of solidarity, pointing to the construction of new national and regional projects also supported the creation of conditions for the strengthening of education to enable progress towards a more equitable world, justice, solidarity and development.

Writte by Walter Monterroza

Artwork in - Integration starts!

Artwork came in last night from Justin Kelley, and now we are doing a handoff to our Flash Developer Josh Dovishaw. 

Character art was also developed by Jajeev Nithiananda, below.  The idea is the child will have a Pokemon like character that will explore the game.

EnglEasy Features: Analytics

One of the key features of EnglEasy's games is allowing parents or teacher to see how their child or student are progressing. This is provided by showing charts and graphs of your child or student's progress. They all show how your child or student is doing against siblings or the rest of the class as well. A demo of these charts are shown below:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

First Game Built!

The first minigame, WordPOP! Has been completed, and we are working through the bugs.  This is a Tetris like game where you match up a picture with the word.

The second game, built on the Android platform is under way.  The tentative name is Voice FlashCards.

EnglEasy - Changing the way people learn

The EnglEasy project has been in the works for over a year, and was a finalist in the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition.  I have been very fortunate to find an excellent team at Startup Weekend out in San Jose to get a real prototype built.  By the end of this weekend, we hope to show you exactly how EnglEasy plans on changing the way people learn.

English is my second language, and I was shocked to learn that kids are learning English exactly the same way that I learned English almost 25 years ago.  With all of this technology available to children such as XBOX, Wii, Nintendo DS, iPad, iPhone, and the Internet, why are children still learning English through books and worksheets?  In fact, the bigger question is, why are children still learning other subjects through books alone?

EnglEasy: Mission Statement

EnglEasy is a project designed to teach English in a fun and innovative way using a web-based game. Our motto is improving learning through play.
EnglEasy wants to empower future leaders with the learning skills they need to compete in a global marketplace through innovative teaching methods using technology.
The impact of technology on primary education has largely been a cosmetic change, computers are more prevalent in schools but the archaic approach to teaching has remained the same.  EnglEasy believes in using technology to teach smarter by customizing education to every student’s learning style.  EnglEasy is working to make personalized learning, where students learn the same material in a way that takes into account their preferred method of learning, a practical and affordable option for every school.