Empirical Awarded Grant to Develop Innovative Language Tool

The non-profit will use the $25,000 grant to develop web-based tool for interactive and effective language learning.

August 5, 2013

Poughkeepsie, NY — Empirical has received a $25,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Literacy Courseware Challenge for the development of an innovative grammar tool designed to provide personalized and comprehensive lessons. Quill presents each student with short passages tailored to his or her individual interests. Students find and correct grammatical errors within the passages, then receive personalized lessons based on the errors they missed. Teachers receive reports on every student’s progress, allowing them to spend more time teaching and less time grading.

Founded earlier this year, Empirical is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching students’ learning experiences through interactive software. Empirical consists of a team of language scholars and teachers that share a passion for effective education. Peter Gault, the organization’s founder, said, “The idea for Quill was inspired by Laura Gibbs, an English professor at the University of Oklahoma. She would spend hours grading passages by hand, time that could be better spent working with her students. Our web-based tool provides the same writing-based exercises. Since it grades students’ work, teachers can devote more time to individualized instruction.” Quill also incorporates the new national Common Core State Standards, making it easy for school districts to transition to the new standards.

As a non-profit, Empirical offers its software free of charge. All content is published on a wiki site under open copyright, encouraging collaboration amongst educators worldwide. Empirical was the only non-profit startup to be selected by the expert reviewers for the Literacy Courseware Challenge. It is also the newest organization among the winners. “Our goal is to build open educational resources,” Gault said, “We welcome all literacy educators interested in creating a collaborative educational platform.”

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