By Lisa Cipriano
Most 16-year-old boys are focused on girls, homework, getting a driver’s license and goofing off with friends. Detroit Country Day sophomore, Michael Jonna is no different. Except, he is also focused on revolutionizing the online tutoring world.
Ruru is a name for the Tasmanian spotted owl. It’s also the name of a creative, new tutoring app created by the budding entrepreneur.
“I really feel like the owl, a wise owl, corresponds to education. It think it has a good flow and is easy to remember,” explained Jonna.
Jonna, himself, is very wise at such a young age. He saw the need in the marketplace for an on-demand tutoring application and has set out to fill it.
For those who may not know, an application, or app, is a computing term for a program or piece of software (most often used on smartphones) designed and written to fulfill a particular purpose for the user.
Jonna realized the need for his fellow high school students to have instant, quality, affordable tutoring help at their fingertips. And like any entrepreneur, he went about creating it.
“Most other online tutoring services involve scheduling tutoring appointments. Some are done through texting which is more like paying for the answer instead of learning. There is definitely nothing out there like us with instant, quality, video chat tutoring,” Jonna said.
He has thought of every detail when it comes to his app: pricing, levels of service, marketing and making sure that tutors are all properly screened through background checks, credentialed and given competency tests.
Jonna always has been impressed with the way that the Uber application has completely revolutionized ride sharing and used it at an inspiration for his tutoring app.
“I feel like it’s a really good model for the on-demand trend happening with apps these days. No one really wants to wait anymore. And with something like tutoring, you need it at a specific time, especially if you have a test the next day,” Jonna explained.
Much like Uber offers different quality of cars, Ruru offers quality levels of tutors with three different tiers: RURUONE, RURUPLUS and RURUPRO.
It’s not only homework help, RURUONE is also great way for high school students, who are especially proficient in a particular subject, to make some money.
“We felt like student tutors would be comfortable with $15 dollars per hour because it’s hard to get that at a normal job at our age,” said Jonna. There is a 75/25 split, meaning that 75 percent of the cost will go to the tutor and 25 percent will go to Ruru,” he added.
The higher levels of Ruru will be more costly, but the help will come from experienced teachers and professors.
Along with having things on-demand, customization is also key in this smartphone age. And, of course, Jonna has thought of that, too.
Students can choose different lengths of tutoring depending on their specific needs at the time: 15 minutes, 30 minutes or one hour.
Jonna was able to take his idea and bring it to fruition with the help of a Detroit-based, web/application development company called, Novocan.
“I had all of the ideas in my head and worked alongside them to help put the pieces together like the video chat system and the payment system. They definitely helped a lot. I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Jonna.
Currently, Jonna’s Ruru tutoring application is only available for high school students, but he plans on eventually expanding it to help elementary, middle school and college students. He also already has ideas on updating it and keeping it fresh, which is another important element in the world of applications.
Jonna, who plans to study business in the future, is eying the University of Michigan as a possible place to do so. But, right now, his main focus is on taking the online tutoring world by storm with his Ruru application.
Jonna attributes much of his drive to being Chaldean.
“I was raised in an all Chaldean home and my dad has really inspired me to go after my dreams and ignore the people who try to bring me down,” he said.
And, Jonna dreams big.
“In ten years, theoretically, I see myself running one of the biggest tutoring companies in the world,” concluded Jonna.
For information on Jonna’s recently launched Ruru tutoring application including where you can download it, pricing, levels of service, tutoring subjects and how to become a tutor, visit: www.rurututor.com