Babson Alumni Spotlight: Ron Ayotte
I recently spoke with Ron Ayotte, founder of I4class, to discuss his new venture.
I4class is a web application that helps teachers and students collaborate with one another. Teachers can use the application to observe students’ work and progress on assignments and to better understand how they approach problems in real time. Teachers can then give students instant feedback and help their students move past certain points of difficulty.
Ron’s background suits him well for this particular venture. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Connecticut and taught Information Technology at Framingham State while earning his MBA from Babson in the early 1980s. Following the completion of his business education, he left to start what would be a 20 year career at the grocery giant, Ahold, where he influenced the organization during a period of enormous technological change. He returned to academia as a math teacher for private schools St. Sebastian’s and Brimmer & May before leaving to establish I4class.
Ron came up with his product while observing inefficiencies in the way teachers communicated with their students and developed a means to improve instruction through the use of technology. He believes he can bridge the gap between what educators know technology and what technologists know teaching.
The cloud-based learning system enables teachers to tailor each class session in advance to the topics that challenge their students by providing insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each class and student. Teachers using i4class can avoid repeating and reviewing topics their students already understand, and can instead focus on areas where students need help. Students can quickly learn whether they are right or wrong and can avoid practicing bad habits.
The application is currently being used successfully by local school districts including Bedford, MA, where it has earned rave reviews from both teachers and the district superintendent and been credited for increasing both test and homework scores. Teachers are pleased with both the application’s ability to connect them to their students, but also with the transparency it creates for their students’ parents.
Ron passionately believes teachers, students, and parents across the country can use i4class to improve results, avoid wasting time unnecessarily, and to focus on their most important educational needs.