Citelighter Takes In Series Seed Funding Amid Relocation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          February 5, 2014

Citelighter Takes In Series Seed Funding Amid Relocation

Move Breathes Life Into Business and Brings the Ed-Tech Startup to Charm City

 Citelighter, the company that developed a platform to help students more effectively complete research and writing assignments, has announced that it has raised $1.525 million in a Series Seed round of funding. To date, the company has raised a total of $2.5 million.

The money will be used to fund sales and product development from a basic research tool to a full-scale writing platform. It will make the research and writing process measurable for both student and teacher, from the initial stages of gathering evidence all the way through drafting, revising, and final editing.

Investors in the latest round include the New York Angels, Blu Venture Investors, Harvard Business School Angels of New York City, the EdTechFund, and the Baltimore Angels.  Some of the individual investors within each group include Frank Bonsal, Jr. (Founder of NEA), Ed Hajim (Diker Management), John Cammack (Cammack Associates), Hugh Evans (3D Systems Ventures), and David Warnocke (Camden Partners).  The company is also expanding its board, adding Alessandro Piol (Vedanta Capital and AlphaPrime Ventures) and Kevin Hollins (Canal Group and Blu Venture Investors) as directors, and Sacha Levy (New York Angels) and Stephen Dukker (former CEO of nComputing and eMachines) as observers.

Citelighter recently relocated from New York to Baltimore on the heels of a $100,000 bridge investment from TEDCO, a Maryland technology and development fund.  The move was meant to take advantage of the state’s burgeoning ed-tech ecosystem fueled by passionate teachers, a strong and progressive TFA presence, and prominent professionals such as former State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick working on education reform. “You can feel the energy when you speak to the educators who are charging the grassroots movement,” said Saad Alam, CEO and Co-Founder of Citelighter.

“This round of funding will help us provide additional resources to reinforce and build good habits in the classroom,” said Alam in a recent interview. “After speaking with hundreds of teachers we believe that Citelighter’s Teacher Tools and Student Platform fills a large unmet need, and we couldn’t be more excited about launching these tools from our new home in Baltimore.”  He added, “we are thrilled to have such a deep bench of investors with experience in every facet of running a business, in addition to those who have built large and successful education companies.”

Since its introduction last year, schools have found numerous uses for Citelighter’s initial offering, an intuitive and easy-to-use fully automated research and citation tool, and it is their feedback and feature requests that are driving the next stage of product development.

Citelighter’s offices are located in the Federal Hill neighborhood at 1111 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230.

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About Citelighter:

Citelighter is a platform that allows users to save, organize, and automatically cite content found online or in the vast repository of Citelighter’s internal database, powered by Questia. Students can take advantage of the intuitive interface that now interacts directly with Google Docs, where they can collaborate and complete writing assignments. Citelighter’s Teacher Tools can be used to track and easily interpret student behaviors, including processes associated with research, organization, and writing. Events are displayed in the form of “Cognitive Prints.”  This administrative platform allows teachers to utilize quantitative information about student behavior as a means to effectively guide students based on their strengths and weaknesses.  Teachers can provide more effective feedback and students can utilize advanced tools to learn critical components of writing.

Citelighter has won 6 national industry awards and being used by students at 2,100 schools.

For more information contact:

Kevin West – Director Marketing and Partnerships

Phone:              (970) 390-6184

E-mail:              Kevinw@citelighter.com

Citelighter Launches Teacher Tools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                               October 1, 2013

Citelighter Launches Teacher Platform & Revolutionary Task Analysis Tools

Transforms Web Tool Into Comprehensive Student/Teacher 21st Century Critical Thinking Platform

Citelighter, the company responsible for the intuitive and easy to use, fully automated research and citation tool, has released its 21st century critical thinking platform aimed at providing students with a constructive learning framework and teachers with the necessary tools to gather previously unknown, unique insights into their students’ research and writing habits, as well as offer objective feedback about where students may be having problems.  The proprietary design of these platforms has won Citelighter six national awards in the span of one year and also resulted in a partnership with the National Writing Project.

“The National Writing Project is excited to partner with Citelighter to engage teachers in exploring how this tool supports the development of student writers, said Dr. Tanya Baker, Director of National Programs at the National Writing Project.

The new platform, known as Citelighter Teacher Tools, has a public release date of October 15th, 2013. Citelighter will now allow users to create different roles within the platform (i.e. Teacher or Student) and will encompass a new set of features for each party. The features of the new platforms are available to institutional subscribers of Citelighter, and currently have an annual price tag of only $300 per classroom. The institutional version of the product will also provide users with access to the integrated Questia Database (a Cengage Learning product), PDF management, proprietary content recommendation engine, and signature Citelighter features such as content capture, organization, and citation functionality.

Citelighter CEO, Saad Alam said about the new platform “we are grateful for the insightful and invaluable feedback from teachers across the country to help make our newest additions a reality. Citelighter will now be able to help teachers tackle common core literacy skills in a way that no one else can and will help teachers get to the root of their students’ problems.”

The backbone of the Teacher Tools is the ability to track and display previously unseen information about students’ writing habits through what Citelighter is calling “Cognitive Prints,” a groundbreaking and insightful instrument that is unparalleled in education technology. This revolutionary component of Citelighter Teacher Tools will give teachers ample evidence about the mishaps that burden their students throughout the research and writing process. Thanks to innovative design, teachers and students can now view color-coded task analyses to see the specific steps, in sequential order, that a student takes as they gather evidence, organize thoughts, and write; thus providing both parties with unprecedented insight into how students are thinking through problems. Teachers, parents, and administrators will now be able to utilize this unbiased, and easily understood data to assist their students in myriad ways that were previously unrealized by both student and teacher.

According to Kristen Turner, Associate Professor at the Fordham Graduate School of Education, and recent addition to the Citelighter Academic Advisory Board, “the student platform assists students in developing argumentative thinking and writing skills. The teacher platform allows teachers to see their students’ processes in a way that has never before been done.” She also stated that “Citelighter is the tool that every teacher of research and writing will see and proclaim, ‘I need this for my students!’”

In preparation for launching its Teacher Tools, Citelighter has optimized its plug-in support for the Firefox, Chrome, and Safari Internet browsers.  Citelighter’s Teacher Tools integrate seamlessly with Google Docs, the renowned online word processing application, which Google offers for free as part of its Google Drive suite of tools..

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Citelighter launched in September 2011 and is used by students in more than 1,900 schools in 50 countries. Using an intuitive internet “highlighter” and cloud-based platform, Citelighter allows users to quickly capture information, take notes and paraphrase ideas, organize reference information, write papers, and automatically cite sources, while at the same time providing analytics to instructors about their students’ actions throughout the critical thinking process. It takes just minutes to learn and seamlessly pairs technology with students’ existing habits to teach critical 21st century skills.

For more information on Citelighter or the Teacher Tools Platform please contact us at team@citelighter.com.

What’s the Role of Tech in Student Grouping?

The New York Times recently ran a piece on the quiet reemergence of grouping students by ability in the classroom. After falling out of favor some 20 years ago because of charges of inequality, it’s slipped back into the mainstream:

“A new analysis from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a Census-like agency for school statistics, shows that of the fourth-grade teachers surveyed, 71 percent said they had grouped students by reading ability in 2009, up from 28 percent in 1998. In math, 61 percent of fourth-grade teachers reported ability grouping in 2011, up from 40 percent in 1996.”

The question of what role technology plays into this trend is an important one: if grouping by ability helps teachers better manage students, can technological tools help reduce the downsides of doing so?

The article notes that teachers have “become more comfortable using computers to allow children to learn at different speeds”—and in interviews, teachers said one challenge of grouping by ability is the need to create multiple lesson plans and track student progress more closely.

These certainly seem like tasks tailor-suited to software that could be customized to specific curricula and environments.

Introducing Citelighter Clipboard

You already enjoy Citelighter to automatically generate your bibliography. To make your writing and research even easier, we’re happy to introduce a new option: Citelighter Clipboard.

Integrated directly into Google Docs, Clipboard lets you take a gander at all your research in the same place–and drag and drop facts and notes. The best part is that you can snag this feature for only $3 a month–less than a third of the cost of regular Citelighter Pro!

Check out the clipboard in action below and head here to upgrade your account.

Enjoy!

The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of Citelighter

Citelighter is fundamentally about helping students and teachers improve learning and performance. But here’s something even more fundamental: why did we decide to tackle these enormous issues, and how are we going about doing it?

In the video below, Citelighter CEO Saad Alam discusses the personal experiences that sparked his passion to co-start the company, beginning with a simple story about his brother’s academic struggles. He also notes our constant engagement with teachers to improve Citelighter’s functionality, and shares our excitement around creating a Google Docs-integrated platform—one that’ll let us study and enhance students’ research habits. Take a look!

NYC Diversity, as Seen via Twitter

New York City stands out as an extraordinarily diverse place, as the Citelighter team that lives and works here is privileged to see and experience every day. From Spanish Harlem to southern Brooklyn to eastern Queens, a wide range of groups collaborate, create, and commingle here.

But how do they tweet? This unique map below, courtesy of Science News, provides an amazing illustration of non-English tweets sent across the city, with Spanish, Dutch, Russian, and more highlighted. Check it out!

A Digital Bill of Rights?

Online learning has exploded. Courses and course-offering institutions proliferate. Colleges eye opportunities to lure new students. Major institutions are piloting programs to allow credits for courses.

Sounds like a pretty good time, then, to introduce something like this:

Dubbed the “Online Students’ Bill of Rights,” it offers a bold paradigm for expectations and needs of students and learners in the digital age, confronting issues ranging from data collection to programmatic outcomes.

Definitely worth a look – courtesy of Onlinecolleges.net.

Two Telling Infographs on American Education

At Citelighter, we focus on making research and writing more efficient for anyone interested in learning. And the most basic and crucial component of learning, of course, is reading.

Linked here is a startling recent infographic on the state of reading in our schools among elementary school students—it shows just how important it is to academic and life success. Below is one element of it:

A more elaborate set of infographics was released recently by the United States Census Bureau, highlighting the strong link between school enrollment, attendance, and college success. Definitely worth checking out below:

 

Introducing Citelights

As part of our recent redesign of the dashboard, we’ve dropped in a “Citelights” feed on the top right portion of the dashboard for logged-in users. This handy feature gives you a quick snapshot of Knowledge Cards and Citelighter Pro-accessible articles in an intuitive way:

Under the “Relevant” category, you’ll see material that’s most relevant to the projects and citations that you have created. Under “Trending”, you’ll find snippets from our most commonly accessed Knowledge Cards. And under “Citelighter Pro”, you’ll get pertinent article excerpts from the expansive scholarly library we offer for Pro users.

We hope you enjoy the new feature set, and we look forward to any suggestions on how to further enhance your research and citation experience!