I grew up in a struggling neighborhood in Brooklyn and my immigrant parents instilled in me the value of a good education. I overcame the struggles of being an ESL student, and I attribute much of my success to my teachers and volunteer tutors. As I grew older, I followed in their footsteps and became a tutor and an international English teacher. Through this experience, I found each student had different learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and each lesson plan needed to be curated towards that specific student’s needs.
Today, I am pursuing an MBA at USC Marshall. I often reflect upon my childhood and how I can help others with my expertise in engineering and business. I was inspired to develop a customized, adaptive learning plan for students and improve their education.
George Truong Founder / CEO @ T.AI
What it does
T.AI assesses students academically, identifies areas of improvement, and provides students with supplemental content created by experienced educators. Our platform personalizes the experience to each student's performance and allows parents and teachers to monitor their progress.
How I built it
COVID-19 has forced every student at every grade level across the nation, their teachers, and their families into a new learning environment. Teachers are quickly adapting their lesson plans to stay-at-home learning, virtual environments and modified curriculum with no end in sight.
Based on data we collected from a comprehensive survey, two major insights shaped our solution:
1) Teachers are spread thin, parents are overwhelmed, and most significantly - kids are falling behind.
2) There are a greater number of students with access to mobile devices than laptops, so we optimized our solution for mobile
With the anticipated “New Normal” post-COVID-19, we know our service will be essential to students across the country. Thus, my fellow Trojans and I have built a plan to develop this non-profit service to be ready in time to assist teachers and parents to bridge the gap between where the student’s current abilities are and to where they should be.
Challenges I ran into
Pre-COVID, the biggest challenge we faced was teacher buy-in. As we conducted research and interviewed educators, they felt there was no immediate need and were weary of technology. This perception has drastically changed during the pandemic, where educators are now relying on technology to connect and teach their students. At this time, the biggest challenge we are facing is funding to support the cost to build the platform.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
In a short time period (one week), my team and I were able to survey and speak with a number of teachers and parents. With their personal stories and data we were able to mold TA.I into a solution that can be used in the near future and will bring change to a post-COVID world.
What I learned
How students, parents and educators across the country are coping with virtual learning and the ways in which they have had to be creative to meet goals
What's next for T.AI
T.AI estimates a launch of its pilot program in September 2020. It will run for 15 weeks and will incorporate diagnostic exams based on state and national standards and will provide a report which profiles each students’ unique learning styles and learning gaps. This pilot program will leverage existing USC relationships with 13 local elementary schools in Los Angeles and will be focused on 2nd - 5th grade math.