Tellusthepoint

Tellusthepoint: Link learning to Real Life to Improve Education & Work-Readiness

Upland, United StatesUpland, United States
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$5 million+
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Tellusthepoint enables employers like Unilever to share with students how classroom subjects prepare them with the knowledge and skills products and jobs require. The results are better education, more employment, less poverty and greater economic development.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

WHAT IF employers like Unilever could improve education, increase employment, reduce poverty and spur greater economic development simply by sharing how classroom subjects prepared students with the knowledge and skills needed for products and jobs?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Schools have a mission to educate students and prepare them with the right knowledge and skills for success after graduation. Employers need students to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed at available jobs. However, a “knowledge and skills gap” exists because there has been no easy way for employers to communicate their needs to schools. The consequences are diminished job prospects, poverty and lower economic growth.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Tellusthepoint is an online platform where employers can communicate with schools and students about the knowledge and skills used in jobs and products. Instead of merely hoping that students are learning the knowledge and skills needed for jobs, Tellusthepoint enables schools, students and employers to communicate to ensure that learning is liked to real life.

Awards

The Tellusthepoint project won a high school science fair award when presented by Olivia Grace Watkins, the co-founder of Tellusthepoint, during 11th grade.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Imagine that you are an employer that wants to ensure that schools are preparing students with the knowledge and skills your company needs. How would you do this? Answer: Join Tellusthepoint; complete a survey; done. (Some employers will find it worthwhile to hire Tellusthepoint to analyse how they use schoolwork in jobs and products.) Imagine that you are a school that wants to ensure that you are preparing your students with the knowledge and skills employers need. How would you do this? Answer: Join Tellusthepoint; complete a survey; done. Once Tellusthepoint gathers information from both employers and schools, we analyze the data and present them in a way that is useful to link learning to real life.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

For the past 2 years, Tellusthepoint has focused on developing its software to facilitate communication that links learning to real life. Many employers and hundreds of their employees have provided information and tested the software. Perhaps our greatest impact to date has been to raise awareness of the need to link learning to real life. in our home sate of California, USA, linking learning to real life is now funded by he state as part of Career Technical Education that prepares a few students in each school for specific jobs. The future impact of Tellusthepoint will be to make linking learning to real life the educational norm for all students.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Schools already know that they have a mission to prepare students with the knowledge and skills employers need. Employers already know that they need students to graduate with the knowledge and skills jobs require. Because Tellusthepoint will make it easy, we expect that linking learning to real life will become the norm for schools and employers within 5 years. We are hopeful that Unilever will become Tellusthepoint's first corporate client and serve as a role model for other businesses about how to share information with schools about their jobs and products.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The evidence from decades of data is that most new organizations fail. However, Tellusthepoint is likely to survive for several reasons. First, Tellusthepoint will be stable for many years because it is a personal passion of Olivia and her father with low operating cost. Second, Tellusthepoint keeps its overhead very low by only hiring workers as needed. And third, we will charge businesses and others to help them link learning to real life.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We are unaware of any other organization that approaches linking learning to real life the way Tellusthepoint does. However, many schools are starting to devote more resources to what is known as Career Technical Education. Career Technical Education is often limited to a few students who have a clear job focus, so they take courses that relate to preparing for a specific job. While Career Technical Education is a move in the right direction, it has limited impact because it does not server all students. The goal of Tellusthepoint is to link learning to real life for all students.
Team

Founding Story

Initially named “Tellmethepoint,” the idea for Tellusthepoint grew from Olivia’s demand, since age 10, that her father tell her the point of learning schoolwork that did not seem connected to life in the real world. Wain had no good answer for his daughter. Olivia's questions continued throughout high school. Then it hit us: If students were often not engaged in learning because schoolwork seemed pointless, but employers needed students to graduate with the knowledge and skills needed for jobs, why not make it easy for employers to tell students the point of what they are learning? Tellusthepoint is building the technology to make it easy to link learning to real life.

Team

Olivia Grace Watkins - Co-Founder of Tellusthepoint, Freshman at Harvey Mudd, a college in California, USA, focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Olivia intends to major in computer science and will use her programming knowledge in her roles as CEO and Chief Technical Officer of Tellusthepoint. As a co-founder of Tellusthepoint, Olivia does everything from ideas to website development to marketing. Wain Sean Watkins - Co-Founder of Tellusthepoint. As Olivia's dad, my main role is to provide encouragement and financial support as Olivia tries to make a difference in the world. As a co-founder of Tellusthepoint, I do whatever needs to be done. If Olivia can be called CEO, I would be called the chief operating officer (COO). Until her 18th birthday in July 2015, I, as an adult with the legal ability to enter into contracts, was the main contact with the outside world. Contract Programmers and other Freelancers - Dozens of programmers from around the world contribute to Tellusthepoint's software and they are vital members of our team. As Tellusthepoint grows, we anticipate that we will continue to offer part-time employment to dozens of programmers and other freelancers. We believe that continuing to offer freelance work to people around the world is one of the best ways to help to reduce poverty. Maintaining relationships with people from around the world is also part of our strategy to link learning to real life in every country in the world.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Ashoka website link to changemakers.com

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder, Chief Cheerleader

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Tellusthepoint is Olivia's first formal entrepreneurial experience. However, the following experiences are proving helpful to Tellusthpoint's success:

Community Service:
For four years throughout high school, Olivia participated in community service activities through Key Club, a service organization affiliated with Kiwanis International. This experience is helpful because Tellusthepoint's success will depend in part on students and other members of the community working together to link learning to real life.

Leadership:
During her final two years of high school, Olivia was captain of her basketball team at Upland High School. She also served for two years as the secretary of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club. These experiences will help Tellusthpoint's success because it taught Olivia about the challenges of working with others to achieve goals.

Programming & Data Analysis:
In addition to studying computer programming in high school and college, Olivia taught herself R, a data analysis language, and she designed the data analysis software that powers Tellusthepoint. Since Tellusthepoint does most of its work online using computer software, knowledge of programming is essential to its success. Data analysis skills are also essential because the data we gather from employers about how they use schoolwork are only useful if they can be analyzed and presented in a useful way to educators and students.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

During Tellusthepoint's beta testing, hundreds of employees from many local governments provided information and feedback to Tellusthepoint. We have also gotten feedback from educators. We believe that forming close relationships with local governments and local schools is central to our success because (1) local governments create and enforce laws that govern local employers so they have the power to influence the behavior of employers, and (2) most students will graduate and look for work close to where they live and went to school. Tellusthepoint enables local employers to share information with local schools so that students will graduate with the knowledge and skills employers need. When students have the knowledge and skill employers need they are more likely to find decent work, less likely to be poor, and local economies are more likely to experience economic growth.