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Jacobo Díaz Polo
15 Years Old
Jacobo Díaz Polo is a tech entrepreneur from the UK. He has a team of developers and dyslexia experts working with him to create a fun and affordable learning solution for dyslexic students. His determination to launch the educational app that he is working on is evident in Jacobo's networking on social media platforms. I connected with Jacobo on LinkedIn as one of his posts passionately describing his project caught my attention. If it weren't for the young face on his profile picture, I wouldn’t have noticed that the CEO and founder of Activate ELearning was a 15-year-old.
Jacobo shares that he has lived in many countries as his family moves for work every three years. He now lives in the UK. The constant moving around between different school systems led to him struggling to catch up at school, and he was diagnosed with dyslexia at nine years old. I had a chat with Jacobo and his mum, Esther about their journey and the exciting app that Jacobo is working on.
QnA with Jacobo's mother Esther
QnA with Jacobo's mother Esther
Esther, what were some of Jacobo's struggles during the early days?
We noticed the classic confusion between the "b" and the "d" very early on, and he would always spell phonetically. The main struggle in school was English, but dyslexia is something that affects all parts of school because of how reading and spelling are so crucial.
Were Jacobo's teachers mindful of his struggles and worked with you in getting him a diagnosis?
The school was not really supportive just because resources were stretched too thin. We picked it up ourselves as dyslexia was not very "known" where we used to live. When Jacobo was eight years old and having difficulties, we suspected that he had dyslexia and started to learn more and research about it. When we were confident he was dyslexic, we then had him assessed and diagnosed formally.
Was he ever bullied or made to feel "less than", and how did you help him navigate it?
He did have some issues with bullying that he struggled with. By being constantly supportive and by giving him access to the necessary intervention, we helped him navigate it.
Did you have to undergo any training to help him?
No, we did not, as we thought it would be better for us to go straight to a tutor. He has received targeted intervention in the past.
What are some of his biggest struggles outside of academics?
The biggest struggle would be confidence - Dyslexia has also affected his confidence and ability to meet new people and make new friends, which is crucial in the life we live. We move around every few years, and he has to make new friends.
What are his biggest strengths?
His biggest strength is that he is a practical problem solver. Not only does he see problems all around him, but he designs and builds practical solutions for the problems. He did the same with the app that he is building- He developed a practical solution for the problem that he faced.
JACOBO DÍAZ POLO
QnA with Jacobo
QnA with Jacobo
Jacobo, how did you come up with the idea for your app?
I have been working on the app for two years now with a large team of expert tutors, developers and gamification advisors. I came up with the idea from my own experience with my Orton Gillingham intervention. It was extremely effective but not very fun or affordable. So I am working with a team of expert tutors and developers to put the OG methodology in an app format and make it fun and affordable at the same time. I want to democratise the dyslexia intervention process for all students with dyslexia, no matter their financial situation, and I am working on formatting the app in a way that is fun and incentivising for students.
How much progress have you made so far?
We gathered a waiting list of over 2000 people who were interested in testing out our app. The testers then tested the beta app, and we made three different versions of the pilot app based on feedback. We are now focusing on the complete development of the app with the team of developers, designers, and voice actors. We are also closing the investment round with multiple people.
How can people support you in the development of your app?
What you can do to support us is sign up on the waiting list to participate in the pilot to help us achieve our target with investors. We do have a full-time team of seven people, with me as the CEO and Founder. We have faced many struggles over the past few years, but we have overcome them with a strong team. To get to this point, I have reached out and gradually learnt from experts in the field and built a small but strong team.
You've recently met MP Matt Hancock at the Parliament to discuss your initiative. Tell us about that experience.
I met with Matt Hancock's team to discuss getting the app into state schools to support young dyslexics around the country. We will be doing testing and studies this summer and then start working with them.
Who is your dyslexia champion?
My dyslexia Champion is Richard Branson. He inspires me to innovate with my projects.
What career path are you planning on taking when you're an adult?
I want to be a serial entrepreneur and develop countless solutions for the world's biggest problems.
Dyslexia intervention in a fun, affordable and effective format
Visit Activate-Learning.com to get more information on the Activate project, and to participate in the app testing!