How many of you received an allowance as a teenager? And how much was it? Did you put it to good use and learn the kind of financial responsibility your parents wished for you to learn?
A new startup called Empower.me is interested in asking those questions. But it seems most interested in asking how kids earn their allowances. The online edtech startup for 5th to 12th graders invites a familial approach to student learning and incentivizes education by throwing in the promise of some spending money.
Empower.me aggregates the best educational video productions on the web such as content from Khan Academy and TED-Ed. The site then allows parents to set up accounts into which they deposit funds, which can be accessed by a student upon viewing certain videos and taking a test on the subject matter.
An Empower.me account between a parent and a teen also encourages traditional chore work, which as the website puts it, “increases family harmony.” It’s set up as an online hub for tracking a student’s contribution to a family and to his or her own education. It looks like something tech-savvy families can get behind.
In addition to pure educational videos from Khan and Ted, Empower.me gathers videos about career preparation, financial planning, and college prep content like SAT studying. After each video, the student takes a 5-question quiz and is then rewarded from the account.
“Our current teen users say that they love learning about different careers with us, learning about the cause of the economic crisis, learning about Wall Street and many other aspects of the real world.” said Empower.me’s Eric Pratum. “There is a great big real world outside, and we’re helping them to not only learn about what’s taught in school, but also everything that school skips over.”
Currently the site has over 3,500 learning videos, and Pratum told me they’re currently at over 1,000 subscribers. He alluded to a learning competition in the future with some shiny prizes, which could definitely draw the attention of young kids. Watch some videos, take some tests, and then win a Kindle HD? Sign me up. “We will probably do a lot of things like that in the future because we want to help kids get some of those bigger items that they might not get with normal allowance,” Pratum said.
Empower.me is set up as a win-win situation. Students are happier because they get more spending money. Parents are happier because the student learns something and, in theory, their grades improve. Does your family have an allowance system in place? Empower.me looks like something worth investigating.