I started Listenwise five years ago with a deep and driving desire to bring audio stories to classrooms and help students become better listeners. We are still driven by that mission. But we are getting better at it because we are still listening to our customers.
This year I feel like our customers and free users pushed us to be better. They wanted to track listening skills, so this year we added a major new feature–the first of its kind listening assessment. No one else tests and tracks listening online in a multiple-choice quiz, and I’m proud we are the first.
Our users wanted to find resources more easily, so we added the ability to create your own “favorites” folders and we updated our lesson page to make it easier to find the right resources for the classroom.
Our users also wanted more audio stories from a variety of sources. We added more than 400 new pieces of audio this year and expanded our audio partners to include podcasts (Tumble Science Podcast for kids), local public radio stations (like KERA in Dallas) and a new partnership with NPR’s podcast Planet Money. We will be releasing an economics curriculum around Planet Money this year.
This past year it’s sometimes been hard to find the right news stories for the classroom because there have been so many natural disasters, senseless shootings and political scandals. We strive to be thoughtful, fair, balanced and not inflammatory. Especially in this era of fake news, we are hearing from customers more than ever that they appreciate the fact-based stories we update every day as a source of sound journalism in a sometimes dissonant world.
It’s always been important to me that our company listens to our customers and users and continues to evolve to meet their needs. I’m proud that in this past year, 2017, we are still listening as much as we did when we started in 2013, and we hope to continue to meet our users’ needs and wants heading into 2018.
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