B1 Intermediate US 147 Folder Collection
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With very basic materials you can actually run experiments.
Komal Dadlani is the 30-year-old co-founder and CEO of Lab4U,
a start-up that's trying to come up with a new formula for teaching science.
We see that there's a problem in science education around the world,
especially in Latin America and many other emerging markets where schools don't have lab equipment.
So what we do is we leverage something that is very accessible today, which is smartphones and tablets.
There are more than five billion smartphones in the world today
and they're packed full of sensors and processing power.
Komal says that makes them the perfect home for science experiments anytime, anywhere.
Smartphones are accessible to everyone.
These are springs, easily accessible,
masking tape,
a toy car.
These are easy to use, easy to access materials.
So here we are selecting our samples.
Komal showed us how she turned her phone's camera into a colorimeter,
analyzing the intensity of color samples in beakers.
By taking just a picture of that with your phone,
it plots it instantly on a graph and then you can sort of see if for yourself.
A traditional colorimeter, for example, can cost between $300 and $500 dollars.
A smartphone, well, it's already in many students' pockets.
Komal co-founded the company at the age of 24 after getting her masters in biochemistry in Chile,
where she would often leave class feeling frustrated.
My classes were very theoretical, and they were not as engaging as I would like them to be.
And then I would visit schools in Chile and they did not have labs.
And that frustration led me to say, "This has to change."
But then how do you make it actually happen?
So, there were many tipping points because it's not easy.
We were in a school back in the early days when we started Lab4U.
Our design was not that good.
And there was a student that actually threw the phone to my face and said, "I'm not going to do this."
So Lab4U partnered with social game developer Zynga,
which helped make the apps more like, you guessed it, a game.
But it took us at least five years to get there.
You have to raise funding. You have to test. You have to be okay with failure.
Not everything is going to be perfect in the beginning.
Lab4U is hoping to follow in the footsteps of other successful learning apps like Duolingo and Udemy.
And it's not a bad sector to be in.
The mobile learning market is expected to reach $70 billion by 2024.
But Komal's goals go beyond just making money.
She hopes to spark kids' interest in science in Latin America,
where the number of students receiving degrees in STEM; science, technology, engineering and math,
lags behind other regions in the world like the EU and the U.S.
Globally there's also a gap in the number of women pursuing careers in STEM compared to men.
Under 30% of researchers worldwide are women, a problem Komal calls the "STEM-leaking pipeline."
The truth is that we are as good as boys when it comes to science and mathematics and engineering.
Lab4U is now used by over 100,000 students and 20,000 teachers in 20 countries.
Pricing starts at $15 per semester per student.
Komal's best lesson in how to keep students engaged?
Trying to make science fun.
You never said, "Page 245 of that textbook that changed my life."
It's normally the experience, the teacher that changes your perception and the way you think.
That's why for us the experience is so important.
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A 24-year-old entrepreneur was bored in science class so she started a company | CNBC Make It

147 Folder Collection
kstmasa published on September 25, 2019
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