Avraham Kadar: the Brains behind BrainPOP
Avraham Kadar, M.D.,
Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of FWD Media
BrainPOP (http://www.brainpop.com) is an online subscription site owned by FWD Media that produces short curricular-based animations (Wikipedia, 2011). Geared toward grades K-12, these movies, hosted by characters, Tim and Moby, span seven subjects: Science, Math, English, Social Studies, Health, Arts and Music and Technology. Each movie is supplemented by features such as printable quizzes, do-it-yourself experiments, cartoons, timeline of related events, and a Q&A forum. They can be used to introduce new lessons or topics or to illustrate complex themes as review before a test. The flash content runs in a browser and is fully compatible with interactive whiteboards, learner response systems, projectors, Macs, and PCs, requiring no special hardware or software (Brainpop, 2011).
Born in Rishon LeZion, Israel, Dr. Kadar has parlayed a life-long passion for science into two successful self-directed careers: first as a an immunologist and pediatrician, and then as an entrepreneur (The Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation Inc., 2010). BrainPOP developed from his desire to explain medical concepts to his young patients using animation and a simple storytelling method of illustrating complex subject matter to pupils, similar to his own family conversations (Wikipedia, 2011). Dr. Kadar sees Brainpop as a prerequisite for deeper learning of “hard subjects” in a non-condescending, yet accessible manner; as an antidote to the “digital attention deficit” that some digital technologies and videos may promote by their superficial treatment of content (Seltzer, 2007).
FWD Media is a family affair, with two of this children holding Vice President positions (The Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation Inc., 2010). The rest of the in-house team of educators, animators, and writers come from a variety of backgrounds, linked by training in and a commitment to education. The BrainPOP sites incorporate teacher and parent input, and their content is reviewed by a voluntary Advisory Board of over 22 advisers specializing in a variety of curricular areas, including technology & special education (Brainpop Jr., 2011). This staffing commitment to Research and Development exceeds the average for a company of this size (46% vs 30%) , while those performing administrative duties is lower than average (38% vs 53%)(LinkedIn, 2011).
Am I Inspired?
I am a firm believer in “know thyself”, and while I hold a number of qualities shared by successful entrepreneurs as described by Marshall (2010), I think I lack key characteristics to make the leap, this being reinforced by my Entrepreneur Self-Assessment results. On the plus side, similar to Dr. Kadar, I consider myself disciplined and self accountable, with a passion for teaching science, and a willingness to keep learning new skills. On the other hand, I don’t know if I have the confidence to lead a team to complete a common goal, or take a risk on new opportunities. I also believe in having a balanced lifestyle, and at this point in my life, I am not willing to commit the personal time it would most likely take to get a new venture off the ground. Heck! I can barely handle the commitment to one MET course! 😉
Brainpop. (2011). About Us. Retrieved from http://www.brainpop.com/about
Brainpop Jr. (2011). Bios. Retrieved from http://www.brainpopjr.com/support/bios/
LinkedIn. (2011). BrainPOP. Retrieved from http://www.linkedin.com/company/brainpop
Marshall, John. (2010). Entrepreneurs Characteristics. Retrieved from http://whoisjohnmarshall.com/entrepreneurs-characteristics
Seltzer, Sarah. (2007, May ). “‘Pop’ Movies that Educate”. New York Family. Retrieved from http://www.brainpop.com/support/images/article_nyfamily_200705.pdf
The Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation Inc. (2010). Who We Are. Retrieved from http://www.naomi.org/who_we_are.html
Wikipedia. (2011). BrainPOP. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrainPOP
Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp