Welcome to our interview with Yotam Shtayner, the visionary behind Ann — working to turn flat files into interactive modules. In this article, we’ll delve into the origins of Ann as Yotam shares the inspiration and determination that brought it to life. With a motto of “Let’s Reinvent Learning Together,” Ann is rewriting the rules of education publishing, and Yotam is the driving force. Yotam is reshaping the industry by harnessing AI and machine learning to transform traditional, static materials into interactive instructional content, revolutionizing education as we know it.
What is the story behind the creation of Ann?
Creating something innovative in education was my dream ever since high school. Back then, I often felt the constraints of my unrealized potential and felt like I was unable to fully embrace my growth as a student. While I desired to evolve and enrich myself, I was facing a lack of resources, leaving me wondering, “Am I losing my best years?” The traditional educational system seemed unable to prepare me for the dynamic world that lay ahead. This realization sparked my passion for transformative learning experiences. I kept my notebook full of a repository of ideas, inspirations, and visions detailing my belief in a reimagined education. Here, I would write down my vibrant ideas on how my negative educational experience could be transformed into something productive, inspirational, and joyful. I envisioned a future where learning was more impactful and capable of empowering generations to come.
A decade later, I decided to found a company dedicated to revolutionizing student lives. Our guiding principle: the fusion of technology and education, a combination that is capable of reshaping the educational landscape in a scalable manner. Our conviction rested on a strategic choice between two avenues of educational transformation: altering what people learn or changing how they learn. Ann chose the latter, understanding that the true change lay in reshaping the learning process itself. In contrast to conventional approaches, we don’t prescribe curricula or dictate where students should learn. Our focus centers on the transformative “how.”
What is the inspiration behind the name and the logo of Ann?
Our emblem is the top three layers of Maslow’s pyramid of needs that represent the journey to self-actualization that each human undertakes. A lot of people struggle with it, and our vision is to maximize human’s potential through innovative tools. This profound journey is often a challenge, and it’s our unwavering vision to propel individuals toward their fullest potential by means of inventive tools.
Meet Ann — the daughter of Maslow himself. Our name is a symbol that symbolizes the potential of the next generation. It encapsulates the spirit of evolution and progress, just as the human journey toward self-actualization continues to evolve across generations.
Yotam, tell us more about your community work experience and engagement with the next generation of learners.
For a considerable span of time, my focus has been on enhancing the accessibility of opportunities for the upcoming generation in my homeland. One of my impactful roles involved assuming the position of a manager at an entrepreneurship center for youth, affiliated with UNISTREAM, in Israel. Here, a key endeavor was to extend a helping hand to underprivileged youth, fostering their exposure to the realms of innovative technology and entrepreneurship. There, those motivated young people collaborated with industry mentors to nurture startups from the ground up. This transformative experience was designed to catalyze a newfound zeal within them — a passion for exploring a more promising future, a commitment to personal growth, and a readiness to participate in the dynamic realm of high technology and entrepreneurship. Often, these are the very individuals who lack tangible examples of success in their immediate surroundings, let alone within their own families. The impact of these initiatives extends far beyond the realm of business and technology. It’s about nurturing a mindset of empowerment, opening doors that were previously deemed locked, and helping these young souls realize their untapped potential. In a society where pathways might seem limited, this exposure motivates a belief in their capabilities and sowing the seeds of aspirations that were once deemed beyond reach. The journey we embark upon is not solely about technology and startups; it’s about inspiring hearts, transforming lives, and ultimately shaping a more promising future for individuals and society alike. Exactly this experience motivates values and passion behind Ann.
What is the most unique aspect of Ann’s work?
Addressing the issue of creating new educational materials, the conventional approach embraced by many edtech companies today revolves around functional tools that create interactive content from the ground up. In contrast, our approach is refreshingly different; it stems from the realization that there’s no need to create content entirely from scratch. Picture it this way: When content is created from scratch, it’s akin to working within the confines of a Google Form. Think of the limitations: predefined templates, specific molds that content must fit into. This approach significantly limits the artistic freedom of content creators, constraining their ability to craft the truly exceptional content they envision. Our approach, however, is a reversal of this norm. We empower content creators with pedagogical flexibility. Imagine drafting your ideas on paper, shaping your unique vision of interactive content. Here, our AI steps in to work its magic, transforming your concepts into an immersive interactive format. This transformative process is truly one-of-a-kind.
Your company’s motto is “to reinvent the learning”. Moreover, on your merch we have noticed an astronaut in space. How does Ann reinvent the learning and what is the connection to this spaceman in the stars?
Just like the fearless astronaut traveling into new dimensions, Ann’s mission resonates with exploring the unexplored territories of education. Just as the astronaut peers upon stars unseen by human eyes, Ann pioneers innovative concepts that have yet to be introduced to the learners’ horizon. Our ambition is to make educational materials 10 times better — no minor improvements, but a monumental transformation. In essence, we don’t aim just to enhance the learning experience; we aspire to rewrite its very essence. To do so, we create an AI-powered tool that assembles learning experiences to create a new, better version. More than just superior, it is efficient and accessible and effectively democratizes quality education. Beyond creation, we make distribution easier. We champion publishers by simplifying the integration of their content into Learning Management Systems (LMS). Seamlessly interfacing with LMSs worldwide, we empower educators to efficiently deliver content to schools. Finally, our platform not only creates but also provides a dynamic interface for students to interact with content, fostering real-time engagement and feedback.
In sum, Ann embodies discovery, just like an astronaut exploring new cosmic expanses. Just as the astronaut unveils distant stars, Ann unravels new educational horizons, bringing the brilliance of knowledge closer to those who seek it. Our journey is a relentless innovation, dedicated to exploring the uncharted potential of education, bringing stars closer to every student.
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