Leesta is an education technology company that inspires 8-11 year olds, by teaching American History through the stories of women. Through visually sophisticated and engaging methods of storytelling, we are answering the need for digital learning resources and more diverse educational materials. Leesta shares underrepresented narratives that encourage children to become more empathetic and culturally competent. On the rare occasion that the stories of women are shared, they are often written for an adult audience, never have their stories been designed to teach history and inspire children the way Leesta is doing. The main component of Leesta is a series of ten interactive timelines highlighting the lives of amazing women. The timelines will be more informative and engaging than a textbook, featuring animations, audio, and an integrated point winning system. Educators can use these as supplementary teaching aids in classrooms, and children can use the site to learn at their own pace. Leesta was chosen as one of five winners of the optiMize Social Innovation Challenge, an entrepreneurial competition at the University of Michigan. We are sponsored by the United Way of Washtenaw County, and have formed partnerships with educators and historical experts to provide the highest quality of information through Leesta. This summer we have been working with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit to create a profile for Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot. As well as the Boggs center, where we have been working closely with friends of Grace Lee Boggs to create the most accurate profile for her life. Most recently we have been in contact with Temple Grandin, a world renowned inventor and autism activist, and are working directly with her to create a her timeline. Right now we are in the developing process and hope to launch 10 profiles September 2016 for the next school year.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (October 2015)