Teaching children with disabilities presents a unique challenge for educators. As the name suggests, students with special needs require an extra level of patience, care and attention in their learning experiences. A ‘one size fits all’ curriculum is not conducive to maximizing each student’s potential in classrooms filled with varying levels of capability. A group of special needs educators in Cleveland, Ohio, recognized the challenges of designing lesson plans to meet the individual needs of each student, so they developed Vizzle, a robust interactive learning software with features designed to maximize the learning experience of each child.
“We don’t want to pretend that a computer is going to magically replace a teacher in a classroom. We believe the teacher is the expert,” said Anthony Gerke, Executive Vice President of Sales and Professional Services at Vizzle. “With Vizzle, our aim is to aid educators with the most powerful, personalized tools designed to best serve each student, regardless of learning style or limitations. We empower the expert, our teachers, with technology to take learning to the next level.”
Vizzle enables educators to create interactive lessons using images, colors and shapes to keep the attention of students. Each activity is flexible based on features like difficulty, sound and color options. For example, to account for a student’s motor skills, a teacher can select between dragging and dropping, clicking or other options to select answers. Teachers can also collaborate on lesson plans, access pre-existing ones, or upload their own to Vizzle’s extensive database. The customization capabilities of the Vizzle platform reduces the strain on teachers to craft lessons to each student’s unique needs while simultaneously optimizing their capacity to comprehend and acquire new skills.
Vizzle is the product of Monarch Teaching Technologies, a company founded in 2007 to address challenges educators experienced at Monarch Center for Autism in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. What began as software installed via Flash has been updated into a modern, cloud-based technology developed in the latest web technology and accessible on any tablet or computer.
The company has grown with the support of JumpStart, a northeast Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. JumpStart provides the Vizzle team with a full arsenal of resources—marketing assistance, help with writing proposals and access to its vast network of business connections. JumpStart most recently awarded the software company a $250,000 investment to move out of the suburban office it had outgrown and into downtown Cleveland’s burgeoning Health-Tech Corridor.
“We’re extremely excited about this next chapter of our company. We’re looking to scale rapidly because we know the quality of the product,” said Gerke. “JumpStart helped us grow and now we are going to take Vizzle to the next level. They’ve been tremendous supporters of our vision and our plan throughout. We’re going to get Vizzle into more school districts and continue to make a difference in special education.”