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Our origin story is quite unique in that we didn’t originally set out to start a business, we set out to build a school! In 2019, Maureena Mark and I joined forces on a proposal for the New York City Department of Education's Imagine Schools Initiative, which was a public-private partnership with XQ and the Robinhood Foundation to build 20 experimental pilot schools around new forms of learning.
Our proposal was to build a school that used immersive technologies to teach children in novel ways, namely through immersive learning. Our intent was to place the school in District 19 in East New York, one of the lowest socioeconomic regions in the city. Our thesis was that we could combat inequality by utilizing emerging tech to not only increase engagement and learning outcomes but also give students in under-resourced communities the opportunity to develop technical mastery and 21st century skills and position themselves for success in a future economy.
We were fast tracked for approval by the NYC DOE in March of 2020. A week later the world stopped and the entire initiative was put on ice. And a year later, we pivoted the school concept to a software platform that could be available to all students.
The delivery mechanism may have changed but our vision remains the same: to create a world where every student has equal access to education and the tools necessary to succeed.
Eric Tao comes from an extensive background of corporate and start-up roles and has spent over 20 years leading teams in digital interactive production. In 2015, he joined Google as a production lead on an innovation team experimenting with new technologies, like VR, and their potential applications in the field including in education.
Edvard Ødegaard oversees all technical development of our platform. From simple prototyping to development and strategy, he makes workflow and technology uncomplicated and efficient. Edvard deeply understands and enhances the newest web and mobile technologies to design scalable systems.
Maureena Mark oversees education and implementation for the company. She has been an educator for over 30 years, 22 years with the NYC DOE with the last 9 years as an Assistant Principal at a Title 1 school in Brooklyn. She is certified to teach all subjects in grades K-6, Social Studies 6-12, and Technology K-12.