This post is part of a special “Meet the Finalists” series, featuring Q&A with the five Reach Higher Career App Challenge finalists.
Today’s Meet the Finalists post features Q&A with Inform Journeys from EDmin.com, an interactive learning map app created to help students explore life’s possibilities as they navigate through K-12, CTE, college/university, military service, and/or vocational training. Journeys provides students the ability to create personalized roadmaps to explore career opportunities and access curated resources, in addition to offering career interest surveys, self-assessments, and progress reporting.
Why is this Challenge important to you? What inspired you to work on this type of app?
From the moment we saw the mission of the Reach Higher Challenge, we knew it was a perfect fit with our vision of providing “a platform for innovation that supports student achievement and lifelong learning in a global society”. Students using Journeys can explore life’s possibilities, plan their learning trip with turn-by-turn directions and assess their progress and success. We want all students to have access to Journeys Learning Maps by 2020. Our inspiration is the interactive GPS driving maps used every day and are the foundation for driverless cars of tomorrow. We want Journeys to be equally transformative for lifelong learning.
What have been your biggest challenges and successes in developing your app?
One of our biggest challenges early on was unifying the vision of our diverse team members (teachers, administrators, parents, software developers, marketing and sales) and legacy systems to create a product that would have a positive social impact. These team members ultimately agreed upon a range of use cases that now describe the features and benefits of the Journeys platform. Since then there have been many success stories, not the least of which was being selected as a Reach Higher finalist and the valuable feedback we have received from the expert mentor team.
Your team has now completed the Virtual Accelerator, which included expert mentorship and curated learning modules. What’s the biggest insight you’ve uncovered through this process so far?
The Virtual Accelerator process provided the insight that there truly is a dire need for a
revolutionary platform that assists all learners, including those with accessibility accommodations, in their college and career pursuits. This platform should be open and easy to use. Most of all, it needs to engage students in a way that has never been done before. It is the opinion of the Journeys team, that this sort of powerful social impact starts with something as simple, and old, as a map.
What else do you hope to learn at Demo Day?
We look forward to having the opportunity to present in front of a wide range of experts from various fields and backgrounds. These individuals have provided enormous contributions to education. We view each Demo Day attendee, from the expert mentors and judges to the amazing products submitted by the other finalists, as partners and look forward to learning how we might collectively work together to create a truly transformative product.