Fairfax: Revolutionizing Education

Fairfax: Revolutionizing Education

Local company, scientists address the demand for more computer-science education across K-12 and universities.

The Washington Business Journal recognized Scriyb, LCC as the Best Innovation of 2016; a great stepping stone for a local company with a lot of promise.

“I think that it is an early validation by Washington Business Journal that we are one of the up and coming start-ups, and that the technology scene is alive and well in this area,” Scriyb CEO, Chris Etesse, said. “This bodes well for our community and region.”


Mark Gilvey/Mark Gilvey Creative

Dr. Scott Martin, creator of Scriyb, LLC, is the Founding Director of Mason’s Computer Game Design and Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI).

Chris Etesse, a founding member of Blackboard, has joined the efforts of creator of Scriyb, George Mason University Professor, Dr. Scott Martin, Founding Director of the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI) and Mason Computer Game Design Program, to help the company tackle a big problem on a national level: the demand for more computer-science education across K-12 and universities.

Martin developed Scriyb to expand GMU’s game theory courses, after finding that the demand for teachers and classroom space was much higher than available resources.

“It is hard to recruit faculty to teach with the current tools or tools 3-4 years ago,” Martin said. “It’s a lot more work than a live class, because there is no interaction with the students.”

TEACHERS experienced high drop-out and fail rates with asynchronous classes, with little to no interaction with the students, or between students. Research today shows that peer to peer learning is stronger than teacher to student.

This is what makes Scriyb so revolutionary: the classes are in a live online, cloud-based classroom platform, which offers a number of benefits. First, it allows for one teacher to teach thousands of students in real-time, which is recorded and automatically archived for later review.

Another advantage of Scriyb is the engagement of student to student interaction. The platform uses an algorithm that splits large quantities of students into groups of no more than 30 peers who are in session together, chatting and teaching each other in real time. The algorithm also keeps a set percentage of high, mid and low achieving students to facilitate the best learning environment.

“What it does, is it allows more people to learn,” Martin said. “There are a lot of problems in education. What Scriyb can do is erase culture, race and sex to transform education for the better.”

In other words, Scriyb tackles the daunting problem extending STEM education, providing relevant information that textbooks usually can’t keep up with; while also removing the social-economic, race and gender biases that serve as barriers to modern education.

As Etesse put it, “We’re really starting to scratch the surface on learning science and personalizing ‘smart’ education.”

AMY HARRIS, inaugural Director of Corporate & Special Projects at VSGI, and recently Governor McAuliffe’s Commonwealth STEM Director, believes that Scriyb will be an integral part of helping computer science education expand in schools.

“One of the biggest challenges is the need for companies and K-12 education, community colleges, and higher education to work together,” Harris said. “I don’t think there’s enough collaboration among those entities for it to be efficient.”

Harris believes that rather than creating new STEM programs, we should be figuring out the ones that are working and finding ways, such as Scriyb, to expand those resources to overcome challenges.

“I think that [Scriyb] is really going to change the paradigm for federal technology or instructional technology, because not only can you use it successfully in K-12, but it also seamlessly transitions for courses in higher education, which has been a challenge to overcome,” Harris said. “It is going to change the dynamic of education.”