Resident accepted into Google accelerator program

App for teachers focuses on analyzing student work

Special to The Sun: EdLight’s platform is offered nationally and includes customized assistance for teachers working with students of color who must overcome racial disparities in education.

Moorestown resident Teryn Thomas has something to celebrate: She is the co-founder and CEO of EdLight, an education technology company selected for the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders Program.

“EdLight is an app that you can utilize to support teachers with being able to provide easy, digital feedback to students,” Thomas explained. “You can take pictures of student work and it uploads into our app, and then from there, you’re easily able to provide feedback, collaborate with your peers and communicate with parents about student work.”

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“Our goal is to make great teaching easy.”

The 10-week Google program of mentorship and technical support will advance the development of EdLight’s AI (artificial intelligence) to identify common mistakes in handwritten student work. The accelerator will allow EdLight to utilize the best of Google’s programs, products, people and technologies designed for founders across North America. 

Thomas joined EdLight at the end of June, after collaborating with its president, Ryan Knight, on a project involving sixth grade math.

“ … (I) was really just blown away after a conversation we had where he had actually asked me to help support with some work on looking at sixth grade math,” Thomas recalled. 

“ … He explained to me at that time that he was hoping to eventually utilize artificial intelligence to be able to help teachers to diagnose it, but wanted to do it with humans first. I got into the project (and) I just fell in love,” she added.

EdLight’s mission is to support and enrich K-12 teachers who face challenges offering remote-learning experiences, especially during the pandemic. Its platform is offered nationally and includes customized assistance for instructors working with students of color who must overcome racial disparities in education. 

Thomas is excited for EdLight to participate in Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders Program.

“ … What sets Google apart is they’re focusing on providing not just sales and marketing mentorship, but also technical expertise,” she explained. “Because we are developing AI that we hope is going to be able to utilize that machine learning to make teacher’s lives easier, it’s really a unique opportunity for us to engage with some of the biggest experts in the field around how we should be considering the machine-learning development, to make sure that we’re doing so with as much limited bias as possible and as (many) positive outcomes for students as possible.”

Thomas looks forward to what the program will do for EdLight.

“ … Because Google is really about being responsible with the technology that you’re creating, the application process really required us to think deeply about what is the impact we want to have, not just right now, but six generations from now?” she noted. 

Thomas wants EdLight to help educators rediscover why they started teaching.

“ … I think the work is really challenging and it’s really complex, but when we reconnect with the things that matter, like student work, I think it just makes the work easier for all of us,” she said.

“I hope that EdLight helps teachers and other educators to remember that students (are) first at the forefront of every instructional conversation.”

For more information on EdLight, visit www.edlight.com.

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