by Arie Litovsky, Teaching Table
I think we’ve accomplished something pretty impressive in the summer of 2012. Our team, consisting of Rebecca, Paul, and myself, designed, built, and released a fully-fledged iPad math app in less than 5 months. The result was Teaching Table, an app that allows teachers to create their own math lessons and share them with others.
I would like to share some of the behind the scenes of our process, as it might explain why Teaching Table is so different from most educational apps out there.
In The Beginning
It all started around April of this year — I decided that I wanted to start my own company, and, having recently worked at Bottle Rocket Apps, my forte lay in creating mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad. Paul, a longtime friend and fellow entrepreneur, was looking for his next venture; thus, we decided to join forces, and started a company called Openset.
Everything was great; we were super excited, except we needed a product: a problem to solve in today’s marketplace. I wanted to work on something new, not yet another photo app; something interesting that had not been done before.
We went through several ideas that we scraped, but we couldn’t come up with anything great. That’s when Rebecca came in. She was a local elementary teacher who had recently received an iPad from Richardson ISD and said that, although she searched the Appstore relentlessly, she could not find an app that suited her needs.
Rebecca, like most teachers out there, wished she had an app that fit each of her daily lessons. In addition, most of the apps she found were games, which are great, but don’t give the teacher too much control. We decided to have Rebecca join us — as a teacher, she was able to provide invaluable input during the process. It’s great to have the target audience as a team member whenever you design an app.
Designing A Math App
After several days of brainstorming and discussion, we decided to focus on a math app. We felt we could provide a lot of value in this area and the idea of empowering teachers to create lesson began to take shape. Rebecca started research on the curriculum, while I began to develop some early prototypes of a fraction widget.
Most of the assets for Teaching Table were created by my good friend Stanley Gurvich — a longtime friend from Israel who was spending some time with me during the summer. The app’s logo, which was initially inspired from the original fraction widget, eventually took the shape of an actual Teaching Table which Rebecca had in her classroom. Stanley created art for the early versions of the UI, going through several iterations, until we ended up with the final design — something simple yet elegant.
(Here are some screenshots of different iterations of the app — we’ve come a long way!)