Together with his British girlfriend, Tomáš Bednář established Vocabulary Maps (in Czech, “Kreativní slovník”), a special project that aims to connect our ideas with pre-defined maps in the form of images. How to describe it, exactly? So as not to make it needlessly complicated, it suffices to look at the image at right and everything will become clear to you. Using a single basic image, various “maps” are created so that teaching vocabulary is as easy and effective as possible, especially for children.
And they have big plans. A few days ago, on 2 May 2017, they launched a Kickstarter campaign right HERE and their solution is now being tested in 70 schools and in 60 Czech and Slovak families.
As Tomáš Bednář himself says: “We are a Czech-British family start-up with two sons and we are striving to create the first English vocabulary in maps with images for easier vocabulary recall. The second phase of our project involves the creation of, again the first, online publicly accessible database of our maps.”
Do you want to know more? We conducted for you an interview with Tomáš Bednář, co-founder of the start-up Vocabulary Maps.
O 1: Tomáš, please tell us how you came up with this idea.
It came about spontaneously when one day I asked my girlfriend to help me with preparing a lesson for my students, who wanted to focus on a particular topic, and I couldn’t find any textbooks that simply and clearly dealt with that topic. Then Suzi tried to find materials on the internet, but in vain, so she finally sat down at the desk and drew the first word map, which the students liked immediately and since then they want vocabulary only in maps.
O 2: I assume that Vocabulary Maps is not as financially demanding as, for example, technology start-ups/projects. However, it’s clear to me that there is never enough money and nothing is free. What is the most financially demanding aspect for you? Just a few days ago, you launched a Kickstarter campaign specifically for the purpose of co-financing.
The most financially demanding aspect for us is the actual creation of the maps, which is to say illustrations, and we need a lot of illustrations. And then there’s our time, printing and other issues. For these reasons, we decided to go to Kickstarter with the goal of obtaining the remaining necessary funding for putting together a book, and if we manage to raise more money, then we plan to also develop software.
O 3: Your target group isn’t the masses, but rather families with children, schools, preschools and activity circles. Do you ever sense a problem in, for example, negotiating with potential partners or investors due to the fact that your target group is limited?
Paradoxically, we don’t have a problem in negotiating with investors because of the target group, which on one hand is big and stable. We have a problem with explaining the whole concept, which is basically very simple and thus investors don’t want to believe it. 🙂
O 4: Who came up with the individual maps? You and your girlfriend? And how do you determine which words are “right”?
In the initial phase, my girlfriend creates the maps and then I go over them and we discuss what’s missing and what’s too much. We sort out the choice of vocabulary according to the level and interests of our students so that they’ll be satisfied.
O 5: In conclusion, please tell us about your plans for the future.
Our goal is to gradually publish more parts and versions of the vocabulary, but the main objective is to focus on the online version with …. (that’s a secret for now). 🙂
Thank you very much for your time. We wish you luck.