bE The Company

[ About bE | Founders | Strategic Alliance ]

A short introduction to Better Education describing how the company was formed.

 

Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents: Better Education, be, Classtalk, C.C.S, and Classroom Communication Systems, are registered trademarks of be. Any Classtalk or Classroom Communication Software downloaded from this site are free but are for office simulation only. The use of Classtalk in a classroom or instructional setting requires the purchase of a license from Better Education Inc.

Better Education, Inc.

Better Education, Inc. is an educational research organization located in Yorktown, Virginia. The organization was formed in the late 1980's by a small group of scientists, educators and programmers who wanted to find new ways to use computer technology to improve learning in the classroom. Most members of the group had been associated with a major technological achievement (NASA space shuttle, Concord jet, ozone-monitoring systems, earth-orbiting space satellites, Commodore home computers, etc.) and they wanted to apply their talents to the field of education. Their objective was to find new ways to use computer technology to improve teaching and learning. The result of their effort was an entirely new genre of instructional technology which they called the"Classroom Communication System". Better Education was awarded a patent on the technology in 1991. After extensive testing and evaluation to identify and validate the learning benefit, Classtalk was formally introduced in October, 1994.

Founders

After spending many years of his life as a research scientist and then running a company that preformed research for NASA, Dr. Louis Abrahamson decided it was time to pursue his dream and benefit mankind more directly. He had conceived of, a computer system that could greatly enhance a teachers ability to interact with his or her students, hence making a class period much more productive. He began spending weekends and evenings putting this design on paper. When Louis needed advice on the capabilities of the latest technology he went to his friend Milton Fabert, a prominent, NASA engineer noted for his work in the design of satellite communication systems. Milton became so interested in the idea that when they reached a technological barrier Milton offered to join him and design and build the missing components. Soon the system began to run.........

Louis however was not comfortable with all of the design issues and began to consult Dr. Fred Hartline, a local Physics professor. Fred did not tell Louis his background for many years, (lifetime experience in science education, son of a Nobel Prizewinner, son-in-law of a famous physics educator.) all Louis knew was that he seemed to be one person in a million with all the right ideas. Fred felt that the only true way to evaluate the system was to put it in a real classroom but that needed software. Fred knew of an especially gifted student at Christopher Newport University named Robert Knapp. Robert was one of the first generation of PC users and had begun hacking at the age of 14 with the acquisition of his Atari 800XL. Robert joined the group to write the sof tware for the first version of Classtalk and in 1988 the first Classroom Communication System was installed in a Physics lecture hall at Christopher Newport University. After two years of classroom use and research, the team had many ideas for a new and improved system. One of these was a friendlier interface for the teacher and this meant rewriting the software for the latest in user friendly computers, the Macintosh. As it happened that year, 1991 , the group was awarded the first of a series of National Science Foundation grants to continue their efforts. With new found financial clout they were able to hire the last member of what could be called the founding fathers, Lev Tannen. Lev had only recently immigrated from the Soviet Union and although his spoken English was still very shaky he was a Ph.D. in Physics, an experienced programmer, and the perfect man for job. With Lev the group felt complete, so they named themselves Better Education (bE) and set about the development of Classtalk II.

Strategic Alliance

In January 1997 the potential for Classroom Communication System (CCS) technology took a giant step forward with the signing of a Strategic Alliance between Better Education, Inc. and Texas Instruments Incorporate (TI). In the words of the TI press release, the objective of the alliance is to, ". . . support existing Classtalk systems and to develop improved products for education worldwide."

We at bE are tremendously excited that a major corporation with a strong reputation in educational technology has shown such an interest in our work. We believe that the synergy created in this alliance will provide even better tools for teaching and learning in the years ahead.

 

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