- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Before I began graduate school, I decided to take several vocabulary classes. The course fees for the classes was some of the best educational money I ever spent.
At the University of Pennsylvania networking event tonight, Jeff Novich presented his startup VocabSushi. I’ve posted Jeff’s demo below in the first comment slot.
Rather than using flash cards, VocabSushi uses real-world content to help you learn. When you create an account on VocabSushi, they ask what type of exam you are studying for (e.g. SAT, GRE, GMAT). After you take a diagnostic exam, the system sets your level. They take sentences from popular news sources including the New York Times, Forbes, etc. and then they test you to see if you can correctly identify which word is missing in the sentence. You are also asked for word definitions. There are a variety of difficulty levels that you move through as you answer questions correctly. VocabSushi makes learning big words fun – something that frankly can be very boring.
One of the questions centered around whether there are any copyright issues with the content VocabSushi is basically scraping. Jeff noted that the content is fair-use and they also provide a direct link to the site where the content originated from. The system pulls over 3,000 sentences every day.
Not to be outdone by Foursquare badges, VocabSushi uses soy sauce bottles to display progress.
The business model is two-tier: for consumers they will use the freemium model; VocabSushi also sells a Pro option for test prep schools and tutors.