A website created by a Baltimore-based technology company offers elementary school children the ability to perform academic exercises typically only done by high school students, all while having fun.
The website, Citelighter, is a writing platform that can be used by students of any age, offering them the ability to take information from the internet and organize that information into their own thoughts to create a paper using a stair-step model. All of this helps with Common Core objectives.
“The Common Core, at its essence, is really asking kids to take information, learn how to analyze it, and finally communicate it out to actually prove a point, so what we essentially do is we allow kids to build an argument in pieces so it makes it very easy, and they can look at it in a graphical manner,” said Saad Alam, the CEO of Citelighter.
Third-grade students at Norwood Elementary School in Dundalk, Maryland used the program last year to write research papers. Even their teacher did not think it would be possible. Now in fourth grade, the students say that although they do not use the program any more, the techniques they learned still help them to organize their thoughts, writes Kim Dacey for WBAL.
“It helps my thoughts because my thoughts get together and make this big main idea, and the main idea is the key thing of everything,” fourth-grade student Vasili Sakpazis said. “It still teaches you something you can do without computers or without technology. You can do it just with paper, like the old way.”
Recently, the company partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica to offer students access to the Britannica School, a digital collection of articles and pictures from the encyclopedia collection. According to Alam, the partnership will create a complete package for the program and make it more enticing to schools who are having a hard time finding ways to increase their students’ research and writing skills, reports Sarah Gantz for Baltimore Business Journal.
In addition, the company is now capable of approaching schools who already use Britannica School.
“We can go to schools and say, ‘We have some of the best quality content from a name you trust — and it’s not just coming in the form of written words,’” Alam said.
There have been no specifics released concerning plans to increase the client base for the company.
Citelighter is free to use and is currently working with 3,800 schools around the world. The growing company recently closed a $2 million fundraising round and is planning to hire 20 additional people.