ROSEVILLE, CA - A father of three is making his mark in classrooms all over the world by inventing a web based tool for teachers to share content with their students.
Like a lot of other parents, Jason Fabbri wanted to volunteer in his kids' classroom. He's a software engineer, so he thought he'd be most helpful in the computer room.
"I recognized that the teachers needed something to help them make the most of that time," Fabbri said.
He started out by helping them create a simple homepage and was bombarded with requests.
"Could you add this link to this page? Take this one off?" Fabbri recounted.
Two years ago, he came up with 19Pencils, a website where teachers can create and manage a unique class page. They can add links, which students can access from home or school.
The site has its own search engine, which filters for educational content and assures kids are only accessing appropriate websites.
"In lieu of searching wildly for certain topics, say California missions and you get 100,000 hits, they go into 19Pencils and maybe get 25 hits," Marco Baeza said.
Baeza, the technology director for the Roseville School District, said 19Pencils streamlines information and saves a lot of time in the classroom.
Sixty-five teachers in the Roseville School District use 19Pencils. It also appears to be making the grade on a global scale; about 10,000 users are registered from around the world.
"When a teacher comes and says, 'oh this is fantastic, I love this or I love that,' those are things that encourage me and inspire me to keep continuing," Fabbri explained.
19Pencils is free, but teachers can pay to create customized games and puzzles for their students. For now, Fabbri runs it on the side, but he eventually wants to make it a full time gig.
"It's really kind of a labor of love," Fabbri said.
The American Library Association recently recognized 19Pencils as one of the top 25 sites for teaching and learning.
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