It has been a rocky road to education over the years as schools, teachers, students and parents all navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it creates.
Kirkland, Wash.-Based boom learning Before the coronavirus and distance learning was around, and the startup’s digital tools aren’t remote-specific, the company has seen a tremendous increase in the use of its Boom Card since 2020.
Husband-and-wife team Eric and Marie Omig started Boom Learning in 2015, but the desire to do something around education and ed-tech began much earlier.
“Both our parents were teachers. We both thought that we should be teachers too, but economics sometimes doesn’t work out so well for teachers, ”said Eric Omig. “So we’ve taken a winding path there.”
Eric Omig is a former senator from Washington state who represented the 45th district from 2007 to 2011. During his time in the Senate, he was deputy chairman of the Education Committee, served on the Council on Quality Education, and helped reform education in the state in 2009. Prior to joining the Senate, he spent nine years at Microsoft.
Mary Omig Attended the University of Idaho to become a teacher and did a “half-master” in education, but she changed course and studied law at the University of California – Berkeley, becoming a lawyer and eventually landing at Microsoft.
When her husband moved to Olympia, Wash., to serve in the Senate. Mary Omig followed her and started and ran an education cooperative, where she gained a better understanding of ways to improve the classroom environment.
“I’d come home and say, ‘There’s no tools out there for personal learning. It’s so frustrating,'” Marie Omig said. “There was no technology to take away the burden of self-grading.”
She knew what she needed from an education theory and design perspective, but didn’t have the skills to build it. So she “complained” her husband.
“And Eric is a technical guy,” said Mary Omigg.
The couple had their first stab at an app mathtopia, an award-winning game designed to build math fact flow.
Boom Learning was launched a few years later as a platform and marketplace for teachers. Boom doesn’t create content, teachers do. Tech created by Oemigs gives kids prompts and times, records what they’re working on and reports back to teachers.
At the base level, BOOM eliminates the need to do printed assignments or grading packets. Using the company’s boom card iOS Or a web-based app, students get instant information on whether they’ve understood an activity. Omigs mentions services like: Nearpod And say! As with similar ed-tech offerings.
Boom Learning, which is bootstrapped all along, makes money through various membership offers. It offers the Boom Card Starter Plan for free for families with more than five children.
The company took that free approach to another level at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Omiggs lives less than a mile from Life Care Center in Kirkland, a nursing home that was an early epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US Quarantine was a crisis.
“We were here watching the pandemic spread and going, ‘You know this is going to be really big. We must do something,'” Marie Omig said. She told her husband that she wanted to give away all Boom memberships for free until the end of that school year.
“I think there was something about being free that was something magical for teachers. [who said]’My world is on fire, I’m panicking, I’m doing distance learning and here’s this tool,'” Eric Omig said.
Boom Learning revenue grew 32x by the end of 2020, and the company grew from just Omigs to a team of nearly 20 by the end of the year.
As the Ommicron COVID-19 outbreak has increased in Washington state and across the country since last month, BOOM again announced another free offer, which they have extended until the end of February as some schools are likely to return to distance learning. have to face.
Recalling when he left the state Senate 10 years ago, Eric Omig remembers wondering what he would do after politics. He really cared about children and education.
“Mary sat down with me and said, ‘Think about how you want to make an impact. What things can we do?'”
Boom Learning now has nearly half a million lessons and activities its shop, In seven years, they have reached nearly 10 million students and 1.5 million teachers.