If It Were This Easy – Update on Digital Learning Aug 7 2020
Lots to Report This Week – Some Good , Some Bad.
Here’s the Bad News First:
Past Rotary International President Wilf Wilkinson fell on the steps of his church last Friday evening and fractured his hip in more than one place. He underwent surgery on Saturday and was in hospital for several days. As best I know, he is now recovering at home, having been released from Belleville General Hospital on Thursday of this week.
I only send Wilf e-mails and he is not likely able to respond to them at the moment. This could have seriously impacted our pilot project with the New Orleans Charter schools. Fortunately, our other working partner, Brian Hall, Past District Governor of Rotary District 6840 recommended that we soldier on and pick up the slack ourselves, leaving Wilf to concentrate on a full recovery.
Now the Better News:
We are setting up a pilot project in New Orleans because they have the highest percentage of students enrolled in charter schools (93% of all students). Some of these schools are not succeeding and tend to be in impoverished areas of New Orleans. Rotary clubs have a potential role in literacy and are offering to provide discounted licences of our program to 5 charter schools as a way to assist them.
The Covid-19 Free Lessons program
The free lessons have now been downloaded by parents, teachers and therapists almost 45,000 times since the beginning of April. The downloading pattern remains consistent with an initial small download followed about a week later by a much larger one by the same person. I take that as an encouraging sign that the lessons have value.
At this point, 5 Rotary clubs have pledged over $4,000.00 for this pilot project. Three are in the New Orleans area with two more in Ontario. More details as they are confirmed.
The New Digital Reading program
Nesda and Andrew continue to test the new digital reading program. We are still finding some minor glitches, but we expect to be ready to launch next Wednesday, August 12th. If the product is not glitch-free, we will abort the launch until all systems are “go”. We are not going to market with a flawed product. This is not Microsoft.
We have set up our marketing plans and will be reviewing and refining them in the next few days before the launch. We have plans to launch into the homeschool market (300,000 possible contacts) and into the behavior therapist market (40,000 – 80,000 therapists). The launch will include e-mail blasts to almost 400,000 prospects. There are also magazine articles, a set of 5 webinars we will have completed, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest posts. I will also be calling more than 150 learning centres that already use one or more of the methods of our new program.
We remain on a razor thin, stretched budget as has been the case throughout the development. We have sufficient cash flow to complete the launch and to make corrections to the software. It will be a huge relief to have a revenue stream from our new product so that we can retire our lines of credit and get to break even. Just remember, we could not have done it without you. You provided the grease that kept the wheels lubricated. Thank you for you generosity and your faith in us.