Convopointer at HIVE event at Harvard!

Convopointer was in the house this evening for the HIVE (Harvard graduate school of education Innovation and Ventures in Education) initial pitch night! Zack shared a quick summary of Convopointer and had great conversations with several people afterwards.

Zack standing under the (glary) Convopointer whiteboard sign, so that people could find him!

Zack standing under the (glare-y) Convopointer whiteboard sign, at HIVE night!

This event provided a great opportunity to dig into some of the educational benefits of Convopointer in all contexts. In addition to the educational benefit to EVERYONE of being able to have a streamlined way to connect to additional perspectives on any topic you encounter, several people pointed out how useful Convopointer could be in a classroom context: helping students (elementary through graduate school) find and then evaluate multiple “sides” to a story. Additionally, assigning students to CREATE their own Convopointers is a great way to push students to engage multiple viewpoints on a single topic, and then be able to assess the quality of the connections they have made!

Particular shout-outs to David A., Mark N., Daniel D., Andrew C., and Stuart J. who shared some great ideas!

It is great to see the Convopointer community growing!

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State of the Union: a deeper dive next year

In watching the State of the Union this evening, we at Convopointer are looking forward to next year, when Convopointer will be in use during the speech!

While I like to think I do know a thing or two about many of the issues mentioned tonight, it is always the case that a major speech will touch on topics I’m only tangentially familiar with–maybe my only understanding of the issue comes from the speech itself. To create an informed viewpoint on any subject, I need to see the best thinking by everyone on that subject.

Next year, I’m excited to read the Convopointers that people place directly on the text of the State of the Union. I’m excited to read the Convopointers that people place directly on the text of the Republican rebuttal.

As both President Obama and Senator Joni Ernst pointed out this evening, engaging with multiple viewpoints is critical to the future of a healthy democracy. [Though, since Convopointer isn’t ready yet, I don’t have any easy way to tell if anyone might have good reasons to disagree with that!]

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Here: have an insight!

Have you ever had a moment when you read or heard a new insight on a familiar topic and thought “Oh!” as a new layer of understanding solidified in your mind?

We think those moments should happen more often, and that they shouldn’t just happen by accident by being in the right place at the right time. Our guess is that, for whatever topic you happen to be thinking about, there are lots of those “Oh!” moments out there waiting that you just don’t have access to. Maybe such a moment organizes your thoughts in a brand new, useful way; maybe that moment gives you an entirely new perspective you hadn’t previously considered; maybe that moment helps you realize you were thinking about something incorrectly!

Convopointer is a tool to hand you those moments. All the time.

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Convopointer does OneSpark!

Convopointer was presented this past weekend at OneSpark, Jacksonville’s major crowdfunding festival. We had an active booth for about 50 hours during the five days of the event and presented a 5 minute pitch on stage!

The disappointing news:

  • Convopointer received 86 votes, which is somewhat lower than our hoped-for vote total of 200. Also, this year, the minimum vote threshold to receive crowdfunding was about 150 votes, so we likely won’t receive any funding. (These numbers are still being finalized by OneSpark).

The good news:

  • Though there were 600+ total projects being presented at the event, 86 people decided to vote for Convopointer! These 86 people didn’t know anything about Convopointer before, but were inspired enough by our work to vote for us!
  • 146 people joined the convopointer mailing list!
  • For the projects that got more votes than we did, most had LOTS of people working their booth at all times to talk to more people, and they had computers set up right there for people to vote directly. The fact that we only had one person working the booth for most of the time and, frankly, didn’t do a very good job of nudging people to vote right away makes our 86 votes very respectable!
  • Many people were VERY excited about Convopointer and how they might use it. While people were hearing the pitch, it was fun watching for the moment when they “got it” and their eyes got big and many people let out an intrigued “Oh! That’s a good idea!”
  • Several people who were very excited about the project came back to the booth a second time with other friends and family members so that they, too, could learn about Convopointer! One man called his daughter in Orlando (about 2.5 hours away) and told me that Convopointer was one of two projects he used as examples when convincing her to make the trip to the event to see all of the cool stuff! (He was right, she did enjoy learning about Convopointer.)


Shoutouts to Ben Nasrallah and Terin Kirk for their help during the event!

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