Heejae Lim, founder and CEO of TalkingPoints with Ms. Velasquez, an elementary school teacher from Oakland
TalkingPoints announced today a grant investment round by Google.org of $1.5 million to offer personalized, real-time coaching content to parents and teachers while continuously improving the translation quality on the TalkingPoints family engagement platform. This investment will enable TalkingPoints to provide a comprehensive approach to addressing the key barriers that families and teachers face in engaging and building relationships with each other and with their children at home. In underserved communities, these barriers often include limited resources or knowledge of the education system, lack of training for teachers, and language and cultural differences between teachers and parents.
TalkingPoints’ multilingual family engagement platform allows teachers and parents to communicate via web, mobile or text-messages with two-way translation – enabling parents to use their native language. The translation is human and AI-enabled, with many of the translators being volunteers. To date, the organization has enabled more than 10 million conversations between parents and teachers in North America, and aims to reach over a 3 million families by 2020 with longer term ambitions to go global.
“We received thousands of applications to the Google AI Impact Challenge and are excited to support TalkingPoints with funding and expertise from Google” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google.org. “AI is at a nascent stage when it comes to the value it can have for the social impact sector, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work and considering where there is potential for us to do even more.”
With Google.org’s investment TalkingPoints will use AI technology such as natural language processing and neural networks in conjunction with education-domain specific translation engine to provide personalized, structured guidance to parents and teachers to build up their capacity in. TalkingPoints plans to do this at large-scale by leveraging existing datasets of conversations, educator and parent-facing resources and content and human translations in the education domain.
“Children spend 70% of their waking hours outside school, so parents and family members play a critical role in supporting their learning. But for families facing economic, educational, cultural or language barriers, engaging in their children’s education can be difficult even with the wealth of information already out there”, said Heejae Lim, Founder and CEO of TalkingPoints. “Imagine a world where we can harness the power of every parent’s love for their children. We’re excited to unlock this potential by bringing relevant coaching and resources to right where the parents and teachers are, when they need it, without worrying about speaking the same language or the cultural background. The potential application of AI to make sure every teacher and family can best support their children, together, in their learning, is what I’m most thrilled about”
TalkingPoints has already made significant progress such as data collection and piloting the AI project with partners and collecting teacher and parent feedback. As an organization, TalkingPoints is looking forward to expanding the team and growing their reach in order to level up their impact.
TalkingPoints is a non-profit with a mission to drive student success — especially in underserved, diverse communities — by using accessible technology to unlock the potential of family engagement in children’s education. Our multilingual tech platform connects and empowers family members and teachers using human- and AI-powered, two-way translated messages and personalized coaching — eliminating language, limited time, and mindsets/skills gap as barriers to school/family connection. Today TalkingPoints is on track to serve 3 million students by 2020. Based in San Francisco, TalkingPoints was founded by a former English Language Learner student.