About Us.

At Propagate, we words.

But as educators, we know that often students don’t love learning words for vocabulary quizzes and standardized tests—and we can’t blame them! Research shows that memorizing words with workbooks and flashcards isn’t the best way to get them to “stick” in our brains. It takes forever. And, it’s hardly scintillating.

Propagate solves this problem with next-generation technology that makes word learning more effective, personal, and—dare we say it—fun! Our online platform turns digital texts into customized word learning experiences powered by the brain’s secret word learning weapon: context.


While students read online, Propagate highlights target words, provides in-the-moment support, and gathers data on challenging words and sentences. Then, the system creates customized review games and activities to solidify students’ word knowledge.

Founded at Harvard Graduate School of Education and rooted in research, Propagate’s unique approach bridges the gap between academic, test prep, and just-for-fun reading.

The result? Less pain, more gain!

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Propagate is brought to you by Frank Freeman, CEO, and Emily Schu, Director of Product. Both are graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Technology, Innovation and Education program.

Our collective experience as educators has taught us that making a true impact on student learning requires making learning meaningful. The cognitive science research on “transfer,” the universal design for learning framework, and our experiences with our own students have taught us that effective learning experiences travel with students across learning contexts, support them in making conceptual connections, and help students grow in ways that immediately empower them both in and outside of the classroom. And that's why we're committed to making Propagate a reality.


November 2014, Penn Current, GSE's design studio nurtures innovation in education

October 2014, TES Magazine, The future of ed tech could be in your hands

July 2014, PennGSE Press Room, Penn GSE’S Innovation Collaboration for Start-Ups Finalizes Newest Cohort

February 2014, Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, Semi-Finalist

February 2014, Harvard Graduate School of Education's Web Series: The Entrepreneurs, Episode 4

Winter 2014, Harvard Graduate School of Education's Ed. Magazine: Problem Solving

Summer 2013, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Education Entrepreneurship Summer Fellowship

February 2013, Harvard BRIDGE Education Innovation Pitch Competition Finalist, Audience Choice Award


I wish I had used Propagate instead of learning SAT tricks -- by the time I finished the SAT I would have had something to show for it.

Chris C., Senior at Beverly Hills High School

"The power of Propagate is that the data drives and responds to student activity. You could put any number of games or assessments on the front end, and the system would customize each of these activities to create unique, adaptive experiences for each student."

David D., Executive at Scholastic

The biggest idea you have is customization. As a teacher, customization stands out. A word in Shakespeare will mean something different than in a science lesson.

Phil A., 10th Grade English Teacher