Top Hat Brings Course Content to the Palm of Your Hand: Interview with CEO Mike Silagadze

It’s common knowledge that college in the U.S. today is expensive. Of the many expenses involved in a college degree, textbooks only add to the cost by hundreds of dollars a year. And with the rise of smartphones and other devices in the classroom, students aren’t even learning as efficiently or as comprehensively as they could or should be from those textbooks.

Mike Silagadze — the co-founder and CEO of Top Hat — and his team are addressing these issues that plague higher education by creating software that turns smartphones into a solution, rather than a distraction.

Top Hat creates software that entices students to learn actively through their smartphones both in and out of the classroom. It’s available at over 750 colleges and universities in North America, and even a handful of schools overseas.

The company recently launched a marketplace within their app that helps professors publish their work, share it with other teachers and with students, and collaborate on future projects, said a June 14 press release from the company.

“The marketplace finally puts educators — the people at the forefront of learning — in charge of their course materials,” said Silagadze in a statement.

“This is a fundamental shift in education, and we’re excited to provide Top Hat educators with a community focused on quality content and better teaching while also creating an effective learning experience for students.”

According to the press release, “The Top Hat Marketplace answers the urgent need of professors and instructors to easily find and create educational content that is interactive, easily customizable, and much more affordable for students than conventional textbooks.”

The Top Hat Marketplace aims to not only strengthen the educational experience for professors, but also to simplify the situation for students. Because the marketplace is virtual, it helps combat the high costs of college textbooks. In addition, its presence online promotes student engagement on a much higher level than traditional course materials do, which creates a more comprehensive and effective learning process for students.

Mike Silagadze addressed the above topics and more at the 2017 ASU GSV Summit in Salt Lake City. We had Hester Tinti-Kane sit down with him there to discuss the pros and cons of leading an edtech company out of Toronto, how the authoring aspect of the Top Hat Marketplace works, and some challenges that college students face in their learning experiences.

Listen to the full interview with Mike:

Elizabeth Hartel

Elizabeth Hartel

Elizabeth hails from New Jersey and studies journalism at Emerson College, where she works for two publications: a lifestyle magazine and a music magazine. In addition to education, she also enjoys writing about health and fitness and pop culture.