Old Bridge alum brings self-developed technology back home


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OLD BRIDGE — Seven years after Andrew Chaifetz graduated from Old Bridge High School, he has come back to serve the district through a passion that was planted in the halls of his former schools.

The Old Bridge Township School District has partnered with Notebowl, an Arizona-based technology company that Chaifetz, a 2010 OBHS graduate, founded.

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The company idea essentially started in Chaifetz’s dorm room at the University of Arizona when he became frustrated with the technology he was using in his classes. The idea was to bring “Facebook of school” to life.

Notebowl is a social learning platform, offering students the opportunity to improve engagement, grade performance and retention.

Created with the student experience in mind, Notebowl blends social media with learning management to create an engaging teaching and learning environment for faculty and students. The company is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Chaifetz built the company during college and launched it after graduating from the University of Arizona in 2014.

Since then, Notebowl has gained success, raising more than $2 million in funding, backed by Google’s Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap, former HotChalk President Chris Lynne, former McGraw-Hill Vice President Bobby Babbrah and several Arizona and Silicon Valley investors.

“It’s special to come back to Old Bridge and help my hometown with a technology we created to help the world,” Chaifetz said. “I’m proud to have grown up here and get the amazing opportunity to work with incredibly innovative administrators looking to help students here at Old Bridge.”

Chaifetz added that it is exciting to showcase to the world how Old Bridge can impact student engagement and create more value for students for the education they are receiving.

Schools Superintendent David Cittadino said Notebowl has the potential to forever revolutionize the way in which learners interact with academic institutions.

“We are proud to support Andrew’s endeavor in the development and marketing of the Notebowl student learning system,” he said. “Furthermore, Old Bridge is ecstatic in knowing the roots of his passion in information technology were planted with our school system.”

To date, Notebowl has expanded to more than 50 institutions worldwide, using the social learning platform in courses and schools, including Denison University in Ohio and Scottsdale Community College in Arizona.

“Notebowl represents an engaging social media-like learning platform which, after evaluating it, we felt was ideal to use within our credit recovery and ultimately adult high school, which has been proposed for the 2018-2019 school year,” said J. Scott Cascone, executive director of academics. “Those programs offer a hybrid learning environment of both seat time and distance learning; thus, a digital platform was a perfect match. The fact that Notebowl is the brain child of an Old Bridge alum is, of course, a source of great pride for our district.”

Notebowl’s key features include the ability to communicate in Facebook-like newsfeeds with classrooms. It boasts an easy-to-use interface, assignment management and parent access to check student performance.

Students will play a key role in discussions online and will be empowered to communicate with classmates and faculty in one place.

The Old Bridge Public Schools and Notebowl partnership will provide several additions to the district, including a social news feed, which allows users to post, comment and interact organically; discussion boards that teachers can easily grade with analytics; personalized notifications, which are accessible from the homepage and throughout the environment; communities, in which students and teachers have the ability to create, discover and collaborate with groups, clubs and organizations; and the ability for assignments, content and grades to sync in real-time.

For more information, visit www.notebowl.com.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.

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