Language barriers don’t exist in a vacuum. Let’s say a parent can’t communicate in English with their kid’s teacher, and that teacher only speaks English. The problem at hand isn’t just a translation issue. It’s a language barrier that limits the parent’s ability to participate in their child’s education, and limits the child’s development.
In a poetic bit of engineering, Heejae Lim is using the universal language, code, to give parents the power to participate in their child’s education, no matter what language they speak.
“Parent engagement matters, and is a huge driver of student success but not every parent has the opportunity to engage in the way they really want to, because of language barriers, technological access issues, resources (time and money),” says Lim, Founder of TalkingPoints.
TalkingPoints uses Twilio to act as the middleman between parents and teachers, translating outgoing messages from teachers into the parent’s desired language and vice versa.
TalkingPoints strategy to connect teachers in parents is centered upon common denominators, both technological and linguistic. They’re aiming to be the Rosetta Stone of educational communication, connecting parents and teachers together by overcoming translation issues. But their solution is only effective if everyone can use it. To make sure that was possible, they chose a form of communication that everyone uses – SMS.
“The people that they serve are often low income, very multicultural,” says Lim. “They want to create a platform that’s universal and not paired to one language or one economic tier. Texting and translation helps them in that goal. It’s ubiquitous, immediate, and lets parents text in their own language.”
Heejae Lim is working hard spread the word about TalkingPoints in every language. They’re currently in the running to win the Google Impact Challenge with $500,000 on the line. If you’re so inclined vote for them here.