Advances in education technology, or edtech, come from a change in approach in the face of shortcomings. Innovative educational technology can adapt existing tools or create new tools to help people overcome barriers to learning.

King of the Curve (KOTC) is a disruptive edtech startup that is all set to help address the growing shortage of doctors. KOTC combines sports and social strategies to help science students score better on medical school entrance exams and related challenges. The company is also developing productivity-style apps to help health care workers in the field better manage the challenges of medical treatment.

Heather Rutledge-Jukes founded the company to pursue a career in psychology before focusing on becoming a surgeon. He is now a medical student at Washington University School of Medicine.

Before entering medical school, however, he took an unlikely detour to put his science skills to use as a software developer. Rutledge-Jucks transitioned from designing instructional strategies for people with dyslexia to creating a series of exam preparation apps for medical school applicants.

KOTC does not copy other self-learning products and is not based on typical learning app thinking.

“People have their own learning paths. Education should be based on that. It’s not just cookie-cutter templates for everyone,” Rutledge-Jukes told TechNewsWorld.

The app is optimized for user performance

That philosophy is evident in his educational path. As a psychology major, Rutledge-Jukes researched various teaching methods. His research focused primarily on using video games to learn valid skills such as eye-hand coordination, strategic thinking, critical thinking, and more.

After graduating from college, he designed learning tools for children with dyslexia. That effort included the creation of tactile devices for young students to better understand and retain information.

Unlike other learning tools, KOTC does not become routine or less useful to users due to over-familiarity. Instead, the app adapts to the user’s performance so that they can improvise, not just memorize predetermined answers.

King of the Curve's gamification app for MCAT study

The King of the Curve app uses game-based elements to help students study for the Medical School Entrance Exam. Its features include Adaptive Question Bank, Review Mode, Endless Mode, Timed Mode and Multiplayer Mode. (Photos courtesy of King of the Curve)

Educational apps may remain without updates for extended periods. Or they rely on rote learning strategies, which limit progress to the test of learning. “It makes users more desperate to try something else,” Rutledge-Jukes said.

make a better mousetrap

Rutledge-Jucks launched KOTC in 2020 with a focus on preparing students for the Medical School Admissions Test, known as the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT. Test prep for admission to medical schools was a logical starting point for his company’s first educational app. The developer was already well aware of its contents.

“That’s how we started. That was the seed to put together this app to help people qualify for various tests,” he said.

KOTC’s mission, as its founders see it, is simple: to turn student stress into success. In this way the student of today becomes the professional of tomorrow.

Solving a National Medical Crisis

KOTC’s unique strategy for preparing students for the MCAT is helping it accept more applicants in its own way. It could take up to 10 years to train competent physicians, according to 2022 AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, in a Leadership Viewpoint column.

In its report released in June 2021, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projected that the US faces a shortfall of 37,800 physicians – and 124,000 within 12 years. Preventing “game over” for Doctor Optimistic.

Routledge-Jukes said that 60% of people who apply to medical school are not accepted. Applicants are three times more likely to attend medical school if they score above 510 on the MCAT, and it is the only part of the med school application that is standardized.

KOTC has an impressive success rate in helping applicants score high marks. The score range for the MCAT is 472 to 528 for the four-part written test. The scores of the four sections are added to form the total score. The midpoint is 500.

The KOTC development team is staffed by people who are intimately familiar with the MCAT testing process. To be hired, they must score in the 99th percentile.

expansion plans

The app developer also meets that standard, which makes sense from the app user’s point of view. Rutledge-Jucks took the MCAT and scored well “above the curve,” so she’s well-versed in its content. To start with, he handled most of the query silo and app building tasks himself.

Heather Rutledge-Jucks is the founder of King of the Curve
Heather Routledge-Jukes, Founder
king of curves

“I consider myself a tech founder in that sense as well. Not just tech on the content side, but tech on the development side,” he offered.

He built most of the early apps and taught himself app programming when the pandemic shut down. He started the KOTC project with the help of two co-founders and an angel investor. One of his primary jobs now, while still attending medical school, is leading the team.

Since earning more revenue by adding in-app features, he has been able to engage more workers. Once users are in the app, they can purchase customizations and additional upgrades.

His company’s staff fluctuates between two to 10 full-time and part-time employees, who either excel in the testing content areas or app building. This includes four interns, two content specialists and two developers.

“We are definitely expanding the team as we grow. Right now, we are about to open an investment round to expand the team even further,” said Rutledge-Jukes.

Test Prep Course Inventory

KOTC’s learning lineup now offers test prep apps for a range of professional entrance exams, with more updates to come. Staff includes students and researchers in each test preparation area. They maintain high level content.

The primary course list includes the Medical School Entrance Examination for Nursing Examination (NCLEX), the Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT) and the Registered Dietitian Examination (RDE) for the Master’s Examination.

According to Rutledge-Jukes, the company plans to expand into two other high-pressure academic test preparation areas: the LSAT for law school candidates and the Bachelor of Accounting (BACC) entrance exam.

To provide a more all-inclusive option for future users, the company plans to expand its existing website as a home base for online learning, apart from offering Test Prep through a mobile app. Yes, Rutledge-Jukes agreed.

Apps are now available for Android, iPhone and iPad devices. However, some are not available on all three platforms.

for established medical professionals

The ongoing purpose of KOTC is to help students and entry-level health care professionals enhance their knowledge. It is now also catering to the needs of already established practitioners. These other app categories address a much broader range of content and target specific business areas that are mostly medical-related.

For example, current procedural terminology (CPT) aims to improve the patient experience with medical providers at the bedside. A team of pre-medical students devised their intuitive technique to limit barriers for patients in discussing the finances involved in important medical decisions.

One of the latest is the Rutledge-Jukes Telecatalyst, due to be introduced in March 2022. This app specifically caters to the needs of medical personnel in Tanzania who require a data collection and telehealth app.

Regenerative Pain and Spine App is also under development for medical support. Anesthetists will use it to generate reports about their patients to record blood pressure, machine checks and patient information during surgery.

Simplify the process with deep learning

According to the developer, med school candidates have few options besides taking industry-standard tests or paying the higher tuition associated with hiring tutors.

“We have designed our app to promote a sports and social element as all these students are going through the same process. As soon as they move on, they should be in the same team,” Rutledge-Juks said.

Some 7,000 questions built into this all-in-one MCAT study game are divided into six categories: biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and behavioral science.

“We basically leave all the questions up to the user in the beginning. We’re able to provide people with the product if they can’t subscribe at all. They can still use it and still prepare effectively.” Huh.’

But the add-on lets students maximize their effectiveness by zeroing in on specific parts of the test, he said. The app recommends videos to watch and points students to particular parts of the study guide based on the accuracy of the answers.

Another benefit of KOTC is the comment section on individual questions where people can explain their rationale. Test Prep challenges students to compare section-by-section scores to other users as they go through the program.

“This is an oversimplification, but we also have monthly competitions between schools. For example, every March, we mimic March Madness, but we do it with schools across the United States, and their users compete with theirs. Will improve,” the developer explained.

covering all bases

KOTC is built on a holistic picture of edtech, including elements from adaptive learning fields. Competency based education is also an important element.

“I think competency-based learning is the future of education,” Rutledge-Jucks said. “Once you have the foundation, it hits these checkboxes.”

King of the Curve is available on Google Play and the App Store.

Schools are pouring a flood of money on safety products. Yet, according to a new report from Parks Associates, there hasn’t been enough thought about how products can be leveraged to better respond to violence in schools.

The market research and consulting company in Edison, Texas, noted in its report that schools have promoted access control practices, the use of faculty badges and security cameras for nearly 20 years, but the measure does not adequately secure schools. have found. violence.

Citing data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety, the report said that during the 2017-18 school year, 71% of schools experienced at least one violent incident, and 21% reported one serious violent incident. experienced. The National Center for Education Statistics released similar figures for the 2019-20 school year.

“Although these data points are from a variety of organizations, the numbers show a 4% increase in serious violent incidents even though the use of surveillance cameras, access control and other security systems on school grounds is at an all-time high,” wrote author Parks . President and CMO Elizabeth Parks and research intern August Ward.

“Schools are spending a lot of money on security products, but they don’t do a great job at thinking through feedback,” said Mark Hatton, CEO of MutualLink, a provider of interoperability security solutions based in Wallingford, Conn.

“All of those security products are produced proof after the fact. They haven’t been coordinated and considered for response,” Hatton told TechNewsWorld.

better access control

The report notes that evolving school safety technology is providing increasingly efficient support to first responders.

“Advanced technologies increasingly give first responders a lot of additional information about what’s happening in the environment without relying on humans to relay that information,” Parks told TechNewsWorld.

The report noted that access control systems allow people to skip the step of tracking the closing of doors. Access control systems enable people to control whether the doors have been locked or not.

In the Uvalde tragedy, it added, a school door that would normally have been closed was left open, allowing gunmen to enter. A machine locking system may have prevented this.

The report indicated that advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning could also accelerate reaction times. AI and ML can identify suspicious activity, identify dangerous objects, recognize patterns and organize data and evidence, it continued. These are powerful capabilities to improve safety and response times, especially when this can happen without the assistance of an operator.

However, Parks said that automation should not be a substitute for human intervention. “Technology and automation should be used not to replace humans but to provide better information to humans so that humans can respond better,” she said.

zeroeyes technology

Dot Blackwell, the superintendent of Vassar Public Schools in Vassar, Michigan, however, believes that school safety technology is less effective at addressing violence problems when it relies on staff for monitoring or management.

Vassar Public School, 45 minutes from Oxford High School, the scene of a mass shooting in November 2021 that killed four students, and injured seven people, including a teacher, recently installed a new security system called ZeroEasy. was done.

ZeroEyes works with existing video surveillance systems at a school to identify firearms. It can alert first responders of a potential threat in three to five seconds – even though the image of a threat must pass human muster before it can be forwarded to the appropriate authorities.

Blackwell told TechNewsWorld, “ZeroEyes Technology is the first product our school district has discovered, offering an innovative way to monitor activities in our buildings and our parking lots that could give us precious minutes to save lives.” Is.”

press panic button

Another technology cited in the report is panic devices that enable emergencies to be reported without explanation. In some respects, technology is more efficient and effective than humans.

MutualLink can amplify information sent to first responders before tools such as panic buttons.

“When you press a panic button, in about four seconds, the school’s floor plan along with the camera feed is sent to the police,” Hatton explained.

“The fact is, if someone wants to cause harm, they are likely to enter the school,” he said.

“When security products designed to keep intruders out of school fail to do so, MutuLink may immediately share information about those products with police.”

“MutualLink converts day-to-day security products into effective response products,” Hatton said.

Technologies need to work together

The report also referred to the Personal Emergency Response System. It explained that the PEAR device enables school staff with just the press of a button to contact first responders when needed. According to the report, the technology can improve and simplify response times, which is one of the most important problems with threats operating on campuses.

One of the benefits of the devices mentioned in the report is their low cost, which is why they are being used more frequently in schools. However, one challenge with this technology and security systems, in general, are false alarms.

According to Parks’ research, nearly half of security owners say their security system triggers too many false alarms. Additionally, 62% of home security owners report experiencing one false alarm in the past 12 months, and about 10% report having experienced more than five false alarms in the past year.

The report states that a number of technologies must work together to effectively secure a school. Every school has a different layout, population size, and funding, which means that one set of security solutions will not work for everyone. Every state, it continued, has different rules and grant systems for their schools, which in turn makes it difficult to integrate security companies nationwide.

Time will tell how these new technologies perform, Parks’ report predicts. School safety technology is beneficial, but currently, more metrics are needed to evaluate the technology used for school safety. It noted that the technology cannot guarantee flawless defense against security breaches and threats. Nevertheless, it can help reduce the likelihood of a dangerous situation occurring and create efficiency in emergency response.

“How can we stop school violence is a million dollar question,” Parks said. “I don’t know if we have the answer yet. But any threat to the safety of children in school is the best answer we can have.”

We’re approaching another school year, so it’s time to start shopping for school supplies. I love the heat, but walking around on what feels like a frying pan has made me crave the coolness of air-conditioned classrooms.

Let’s talk about what tech tools to consider before returning to what I expect in a few weeks when school resumes.

We’ll close out with our product of the week, a new vacuum from LG that’s better than the Dyson, but by no means cheap.

choosing a pc

If you bought a PC during the pandemic, it should be fine with a few exceptions. However, if the PC does not have a discrete graphics card, it may not be best for students with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focus in high school or college.

STEM courses that are important for software and hardware engineering, and for entertainment fields such as animation, require GPUs whose dedicated memory is not shared with the CPU due to the performance load of the respective apps. Applications that students usually run will consume a lot of power.

You can use a cloud instance to meet some of these needs in a pinch, but you may not always have the connectivity and bandwidth a student would need to work a GPU-intensive application. This will improve over time, but for now, it’s better to have some control over the hardware resources needed because you don’t want to find that they’re unavailable when the deadline approaches, and connectivity is iffy.

The need for GPUs again becomes more important in college and graduate school for STEM-related study areas, as students are more likely to access advanced programs there. However, active high school students want to master these tools before college, when they start college and have better, more impressive student teams.

If you’re mostly reporting and don’t have much in the way of STEM classes, a notebook with an integrated graphics card is fine, but if you’re preparing for a career in a field that requires computer performance, So get a laptop with a good GPU. You’ll thank me later.

Oh, and look for at least 12 hours of battery life. Many schools and colleges still lack enough electrical outlets to cover more than a fraction of the students. Screen size should be as large as possible, 17 inches or more for STEM-intensive students, 14 inches or less if you’re working mostly with text. Power for STEM, portability for everyone else. Oh, and stick with Windows unless the school specifies or requires something else.

It’s also helpful to talk to teachers, professors, and older students to see what kind of PC would work best in that new environment.

stay hot or cold

When I was in a dorm—and I think sorority and fraternity are alike—I was always either too hot or too cold, which reduced my quality of sleep and caused me to doze off in class.

The fight over the thermostat gets old quickly and if you’re in an apartment the expense of cooling and heating the entire space can be costly. It’s better to find a way to create a thermostatic sanctuary in your bed so you can sleep soundly.

The best thing I’ve found so far for this is Chillipad. It can be a godsend for a dorm, fraternity, sorority or shared apartment as it allows the user to cool or heat their bed, assuring a comfortable and sound sleep, whether the bedroom is a sauna or a freezer . Given the high cost of electricity right now, it’s also a good way to keep electricity bills down because you’re heating and cooling significantly less space.

I use a chilipad pro. We turn off heaters and air conditioning at night to save electricity and let Chilipad do that job more efficiently and at a fraction of the cost of gas or electric heating and cooling systems.


I am not suggesting that you get your child an electric car. In fact, I advise against it right now because most schools don’t yet have provisions for charging them. But any gas-powered car is going to have issues with theft (both the car and what’s in it), maintenance, and parking.

Consider a combination of an electric bike, which may be better protected, and an Uber or Lyft card, so your child doesn’t have to worry about their vehicle while in school. Given the paucity of automobile parts right now, it is a really bad time to buy a new or used car. Therefore, I suggest that you either wait until the supply chain returns to normal, and you can again pick up a good car at a cheap price.

If you must buy a vehicle, drive around the campus where students are going to school and where they will live to determine what type of car will best serve them. You may find that a bike will serve them better.

In the event this has to be a car, you want something that detaches easily, is large enough to protect the driver and passenger if a collision occurs, and a student will take care of maintaining it. If your student is not good with that kind of responsibility, then they should take the Uber route. A poorly maintained vehicle can be a death trap.

My personal view is that smart kids just can’t get a car because Uber and Lyft are good enough.


A large bag is a mistake and can unnecessarily harm your baby. They are going to school, not hiking trails in Alaska. Select a backpack that is easy to identify, minimizes theft, is large enough to carry a decent-sized laptop and a few accessories, but no more. Too many kids are hurting their shoulders, neck and back and with too many large backpacks filled with rarely used items.

Please share these guidelines for safe backpack use with your kids:

  • wear both straps
  • Keep the weight in the backpack less than 15% of the student’s weight
  • Choose a backpack with wide straps and a waist belt

On the technical front, consider putting a tracker like Tile or AirTag in the backpack as these things tend to get lost and stolen a lot. While losing a laptop is painful, losing a quarter or semester of school can be devastating. It also reminds me to suggest that students make sure to back up their computers regularly. This is very important as laptop theft is common across the world.

Oh, and remind them not to leave their backpacks in cars, especially in view. It only takes a moment to break the window and steal the backpack. One of my neighbors pulled over for a quick coffee he had pre-ordered; As he started running and grabbing coffee, his car window broke and his laptop was stolen.

wrapping up

The new school year is almost here, and the well-equipped student will have a leg up.

One more thing about PCs: If the student is into gaming, obviously a GPU would be preferred. But you want gaming to be a reward, not a distraction.

A desktop computer for gaming is not mobile and allows parents to better monitor machine usage in the student’s home. Having the desktop as a gaming machine might make more sense if you want to scratch that itch—and keep the laptop focused on schoolwork.

One final tip: If your child is going to study remotely, spend a week with them at that location before school starts to actively identify potential hazards in the area. Then figure out ways to ease those worries.

Some schools have major problems with substance abuse, others have problems, and some have racist and anti-feminist problems. Unfortunately, few have all of the above. Knowing what the key issues are, what policies and systems exist to protect your child, and making sure they know it can go a long way in ensuring that your student gets an education. , not a case of long-term trauma.

Technical Product of the Week

LG CordZero All in One Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum

We have three dogs and three cats, so vacuuming is one of our ways to stay in shape. We do this several times a day on top of having robotic vacuums and house cleaners. It amazes me how much hair our pets can shed in a day.

Dyson vacuums are awesome, and we have many of them, but dumping the trash seems like a cloud of the stuff always hitting my face, either from the outside or the inside. The LG CordZero All in One Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum (now has a mouthful) solves this problem by auto emptying after every use. Then you have to take the waste to the dustbin only once or twice a month.

The vacuum appears to function like our Dyson, but it’s far quieter, making the most noise when it empties on its own after about 15 seconds of use. It comes in an attractive beige, but I personally would prefer gray or black as they are more neutral, but it looks good, regardless.

Set up is fast and easy, and it comes with a powered mop function that’s helpful with hairballs (though you still need to pick them up and discard them first; otherwise, you’ll be painting the floor with them; Same with poop.

Currently Available at $999 – The LG CordZero Vacuum isn’t a cheap date. But it has almost completely replaced our Dyson since its arrival. In addition to auto emptying and mopping features it comes with two batteries so you can charge one while using the other – something the Dyson can’t do well.

In conclusion, the LG CordZero All in One Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.