Hallway Opens Up the Future of Learning

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17-Year-Old, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Students Launch Social Learning Network; Secure Seed Funding Led by Fortify.vc

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Hallway is completely changing the way that students learn and connect. On Hallway, students can get help from anyone, anywhere, simply with the click of a button,” said 17-year-old CEO and co-founder Sean McElrath.

Hallway, a social learning network that makes student-to-student collaboration simple, social, and global, today announced the availability of its public beta. Previously, the platform had been in private beta over the summer with students across the Greater Washington region.

Despite a massive migration of students online to learn with their peers, there is an obvious lack of a website that can adequately facilitate this collaborative learning. Students currently create Facebook groups for their classes to share educational content, but Facebook isn’t designed for learning; students have no way of getting help from people outside their small groups, saving and organizing the notes that are shared, or searching for notes when they need help with a particular subject. Enter Hallway.

“Hallway is completely changing the way that students learn and connect. On Hallway, students can get help from anyone, anywhere, simply with the click of a button,” said 17-year-old CEO and co-founder Sean McElrath. “We imagine a world where a struggling student in Washington, DC can get help from the best calculus student in the world, whether that student lives in California or India.”

McElrath co-founded a venture accelerator program at TJHSST called InvenTeam. After an InvenTeam meeting in late 2011, he pitched his idea for Hallway and ended up starting the company with Hallway Chairman Evan Burfield, a serial entrepreneur, TJHSST alum, and founder and chairman of Synteractive. McElrath then recruited a team of hustlers, hackers, and designers, all 17-year-old, rising seniors at TJHSST, to build and launch the platform. The team includes Cyrus Malekpour, Michael Chan, Darren Bolduc, Dennis Lysenko, and Allison Chou.

“The world of learning is changing rapidly. World class instructional content is now available for free at Khan Academy. Textbooks will soon be as obsolete as CDs. Creating a community where students can learn from other students is the next frontier,” said Burfield. “A team of 17-year-old visionaries has taken the future into their own hands by launching a startup and building a platform for global, social learning. In every way, Hallway is the future of our country.”

Hallway connects with the Facebook Open Graph and is completely free. So that users can quickly discern the quality of other students’ content on the network, Hallway differentiates itself with a proprietary algorithm that accurately assesses the value of each student’s contributions, as opposed to the GPA and SAT scores used by other learning communities. The team worked throughout the summer of 2012 at The Fort, a venture accelerator in Washington, DC created by Fortify.vc, who has also taken the lead in Hallway’s seed funding round.

“Fortify.vc is passionate about funding and accelerating the entrepreneurs who will change the world--wherever they come from and at whatever age,” said Jonathon Perrelli, Founder and General Partner at Fortify.vc. “We are proud to support the amazing things Sean and his team are doing to reinvent education.”

THJSST is the first school to have full access to the site. Students from top schools across the country have been recruited as Hallway ambassadors to help bring new students to the platform. Students gain access to Hallway upon receiving an invitation from another student.

About Hallway Social Learning Network, Inc.
Hallway is a social learning network that is changing the way that students learn and connect. Hallway makes student-to-student collaboration simple, social, and global, connecting individuals together to share learning content. Hallway was co-founded by 17-year-old Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) student Sean McElrath and with serial entrepreneur and TJHSST alum, Evan Burfield. Built on the Facebook Open Graph, Hallway makes it incredibly easy for students to share content and get help from anyone in the world. To sign up, please visit: http://www.hallway.co

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