This summer we celebrated ten years in EdTech! Imagine Learning started back in the summer of 2004 when a passionate group of educators and software developers became inspired to create better ways of teaching language and literacy to the children of the world. The vision was to develop adaptive software for a better, more individualized, student experience. The team did this by using some of the brightest minds in education to design and incorporate the type of engaging activities and games that draw students in, so children learn while having fun. This positive user experience helps students build confidence as they work through the content, experiencing success along the way. In early 2005, the first build of Imagine Learning was completed. It included first-language support to help English language learners (ELLs). As an ELL student becomes more confident in an English-only environment, first-language support gradually fades.
In 2007, the company released Imagine Learning level 2. In 2008, the Imagine Island TV show was created, boasting 26 episodes and winning multiple Telly Awards. The company outgrew its original office space and moved to the Riverwoods business park in 2009. After a few short years in that building, Imagine Learning expanded again, adding another building across the field from the first. In 2010, Imagine Learning released the Bookster app with three available books. The number of employees had grown to 161. Also in 2010, Imagine Learning was recognized by Inc. Magazine as the 8th fastest growing private company in the education sector and was recognized again in 2011 as one of the fastest-growing privately held software companies.
Also in 2011, Imagine Learning donated software to the Rising Star Outreach program in India to help people affected by leprosy. Today, children at Rising Star still use Imagine Learning to learn English, breaking the pervasive stigmas that come with leprosy. In addition, Imagine Learning created the Imagine Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization where employees voluntarily give to children, schools, and communities through a variety of service projects and scholarships.
In 2012, Imagine Learning Español was released, a product that teaches children how to read and write in Spanish. In 2013, the Action Areas™ tool was created to help teachers know where to effectively intervene when students slip, and Imagine Learning on iPad was released. At this time, Imagine Learning was used in 47 states and 11 countries. Over the past ten years, Imagine Learning has been able to serve nearly a million students worldwide. The software has grown to include over 4,300 activities supported in 15 different languages. Earlier this year, Imagine Learning was acquired by the investment firm Weld North. The company continues to grow at a healthy rate with many new things on the horizon.
Over the years, Imagine Learning has created an innovative, exciting company culture that attracts top-notch candidates. One of the Imagine Learning values is “Have a whole lot of fun.” This value is emulated day to day in holiday celebrations, quirky office traditions, and the anticipated Vision Conference department video competition. Another of Imagine Learning's values is "Let passion and belief drive what we do." With an excellent product and a highly-skilled workforce, it is this value that truly sets us apart. Because employees are passionate about helping children. They simply love what they do. And happy people make for a great working environment. Here's looking forward to another ten years!
Watch the following video to take a peek into the historic journey of Imagine Learning.