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How do I motivate my child to do well in school? How should I get my students excited?

How can I help improve learning outcomes of the school district?

 

How can I contribute to education and the improvement of the future generations?

 

These are all very common questions that we ask, whether we’re parents, teachers, educational administrators, or people who aren’t directly involved in education.

Regardless of our backgrounds, occupations, and experiences, we can all agree that education is vital for so many different reasons. Education empowers children to realize their dreams and fulfill their potential. Education is one of the major keys to breaking out of poverty. Improving learning outcomes doesn’t only affect students’ academic achievement, but it also affects life outcomes as a whole.

 

Sadly, the US is ranked only 14th in the world for academic achievement. We are 18 points below academic proficiency, and GPAs have improved by a mere 0.05 points since 2000.

 

That’s where Eager Academy comes in.

 

At Eager Academy, we aim to dramatically improve student motivation by rewarding students based on their performance.

 

We provide a digital platform that rewards students with points depending on their achievement. Students can redeem these points online and purchase things that they want. These things are then shipped directly to them.

 

“But doesn’t rewarding students undermine their motivation and make them study only for the sake of getting rewards?” you might ask. True, Lepper, Green, and Nisbett (1973) showed in their study that rewards undermine motivation, but only if motivation had already existed before the rewards and if the situation makes kids believe that they were only motivated by the reward itself.

 

However, Lepper, Green, and Nisbett’s study in 1973 used action-contingent rewards, where they rewarded preschoolers simply for carrying out the action of drawing with markers. At Eager Academy, we use performance-contingent rewards. Lepper, Green, and Nisbett’s studies in 1970 showed the protection effects of performance-contingent rewards on intrinsic motivation in students.

 

So how can you personally contribute to our vision for education? If you’re a parent or teacher, you can contact your school to ask them to consider integrating our platform into their system. If you’re an educational administrator, you can talk with other administrators about implementing our platform. Even if you’re not directly involved in education, you can help us spread the word and initiate those conversations that will ultimately improve our education system and make our world a better place.

 

We, at Eager Academy, believe in the potential of every student to succeed, and we aspire to empower students to achieve their ambitions by kindling their motivation.

 

For more information on Eager Academy, please visit eageracademy.com or contact Chris Hanson, CEO, at chris@eageracademy.com.

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Two years into college, I made a resolution: I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And then I decided that I would take a year off from school, and test this resolution.

I wanted to create my own path instead of following one chosen for me, but I was anxious. What if my abilities weren’t enough for this kind of challenge? I worried that if I abandoned the traditional path, I might fail, and not be able to support myself or my endeavors. To me, the way to dispel this anxiety was to face it head on, so I took a year off school, moved into an apartment far from home, and completely abandoned any emotional and financial support from friends and family.

This decision might seem like a rash, almost reckless decision, but for me it was crucial. I spent the year developing my abilities in programming, and learning all about finance and business, things I had not learned during my undergraduate years as a Psychology and Cognitive Science major. I made a small amount of money from a bitcoin trading operation and an eBay-arbitrage scheme—this was enough to cover food and rent. At the end of this period, I was fully confident that I was capable of providing for myself without following the traditional path.

Towards the end of that year, I recruited a high school friend in the area to join me, and we attempted to start a real business. He had been directly involved in the startup world for several years. We formed an LLC, bought a couple of domain names, and started market research on several ideas. The business we ended up founding was in education, but at the time the subject matter was secondary to me. I just wanted a problem to solve.

One year later, I’m back at Penn, and my company, Eager Academy, has pivoted twice, is almost finished with product development, and has several huge partnerships and pilot studies we are about to launch. Ultimately, I have become passionate about education, through realizing how much I believe Eager Academy can do to improve student performance.

Through working at my company and working with all the entrepreneurship resources here at Penn, I have realized that the path of an entrepreneur, although tough, isn’t as risky as I once thought. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but there are people like me out there, built for this, and programs like Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship and the VIP program can help to find and cultivate these people, making their lives clearer and ultimately improving the lives of others through the value they will create.

Bio: Chris Hanson is a senior at Penn, majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Science. He is the Founder of Eager Academy.

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