Educators Target Students With Nashville-Built App
by Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It doesn't take long to find a teenager looking down at their cell phone or tablet. Most schools may want students to avoid the distraction of getting too much screen time, but a small group at Stratford STEM Magnet High School is doing it for class, by using a new app called Zeumo.
Think of Zeumo as one place where students get real-time information about their GPAs, ACT scores or college scholarships, but most importantly a way to connect to their teachers.
"Twitter. I don't really want to tweet my teacher. Facebook. I don't really want to add them. But this, you know, I can, a way to connect to them and see how everything is," said sophomore Mia Campbell-Smith.
English and journalism teacher Elijah Ammen, knows the social media-style approach is what has his students hooked.
"You're actually able to use current technology that our kids are familiar with versus technology that's 10, 20 years old," he said.
Developers hope it gives teachers a way to reach students on the devices they are already glued to, which will hopefully also get them excited about learning.
Zeumo was born right here in Music City. Anderson Williams, Zeumo's Chief Product Officer, said the app is made for students who never check email, but need to keep up with school work without mixing it with social media.
"There was no good place to help a kid separate signal from noise," said Williams. "Their grandparents are on Facebook. Their parents are on Facebook. They don't want to interact with their teachers in their social space."
With a couple clicks they can instantly read school announcements, turn in an assignment or even apply for a job, but they can't communicate privately to each other to stop online bullying.
"They can communicate in groups, so there are always more eyes on the communications, which makes it much safer," Williams said.
Zeumo is currently available to all Metro High Schools, but each campus is rolling it out at its own pace. One day developers hope to expand some parts of the app to parents.
If successful, Williams said they could offer Zeumo to other districts across the country.