When I started Listenwise, I was part of a business accelerator called Learn Launch. Its focus is to help education technology companies get their businesses off the ground. We had many classes and mentors who helped us understand the market.
One thing stood out to me – the education market is seasonal. I thought this might mean like the school year, things slow down in the summer. Boy was I wrong.
When schools wrap up for the year in May and June, ed-tech companies gear up to close business. The three biggest months to close sales are May, June, and July. While sales slow down in August, the rest of our company gears up.
The summer is the best time to update our product and work with teachers to add more lessons. This makes it a very, very busy time.
This summer, we completely updated the presentation of our lessons and current event pages making it easier to navigate among our teaching resources are paired with each lesson. We made the resources more accessible with a menu of tabs. We also added the ability to tag our favorite stories so that teachers can easily save stories they want to use in their classes when they are logged into their account browsing stories.
For students, we added an integration with Texthelp – it helps students by giving them the ability to highlight any word on the page and have a computer voice read it aloud. The computer voice will also read a definition, a Spanish translation and a picture dictionary. This will help English language learners and struggling readers.
Over the summer we also work with teachers to build out our lesson collection. This past summer our goal was to add 100 more lessons across our curriculum of ELA, social studies, and science. This is no small undertaking. We have to identify which areas of the curriculum need more teaching resources, find the right public radio story, work with teachers to create the lessons, edit and post the lessons.
How do we do it? Our team works harder over the summer and we are fortunate to be helped by amazing interns. This year we had almost as many interns as we have staff members.
Now that school is back in session, you might think things have slowed down, but there is still much to be done. We are now focused on sharing all the changes we’ve made with our users and on onboarding new customers.