When the bell sounds on the last day of school in June, teachers and educators may get a quick breather, but then it’s back to the drawing board to prep for the upcoming school year.
Librarians, language teachers, and high school history teachers shared their summer prep plans with LearnLaunch. Many teachers took advantage of their free time to learn new technology and made plans to incorporate more tech into their lesson plans. Check out what these New England teachers are doing to make the 2016-2017 school year a success.
School prep is like a chameleon, never the same year to year. One year might find me spending three weeks taking professional development, from the six day summer institute in digital learning from URI, attending a course at RISD, viewing webinars, researching Twitter suggestions from educators to be investigated, practicing new technologies like Aurasma or QR codes. Catching up on your professional journals at the beach and spending an afternoon browsing the new books at a local store to order for your library are “relaxing prep”.
LearnLaunch Accelerator, a startup program at the forefront of education technology, announced today that it is now accepting applications for its second Breakthrough Program designed for companies that have achieved market entry and revenue, but need help creating and implementing scaling and funding strategies to support rapid growth.
Entrepreneurs and educators gathered at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA on Monday to hear pitches and gain insight into the emergent education technology products at LearnLaunch’s Teacher and Edtech Product Summit.
In partnership with LearnPlatform, teachers, superintendents and other representatives in education came together to test new products, offer feedback, rate innovative technologies and gain new insight into products that will enhance today’s education methods and tools.
The number one city in America for innovation proved worthy of the title this week at LearnLaunch Accelerator’s fifth Demo Day.
Five cohort companies, Riipen (CEO Richard Tuck), Cram Fighter (CEO Amit Mathew), EduMetrics (CEO Bill Koteff), Chalk Talk (Mohannad Arbaji), and Zulama (CEO Nikki Navta), sparked conversation at District Hall in Boston’s Seaport area about the future of education and technology’s role. Each company offered innovative solutions for the field of education, including standardized test prep, study strategies, experiential learning opportunities, game design and data-driven solutions for student performance.
Education is not an easy industry to invest in. It’s slow to change; fragmented by needs, geographies, and demographics It is mired in the past but committed to the future, with stakeholders that are dug in deep. But, let’s be honest, there are no easy industries for investors or entrepreneurs. Each market has its peculiarities and key forces that determine its own evolution and the success of its stakeholders. What education has – unlike virtually any other industry – is the ability to make a real difference in the world and change lives. Of course, successful entrepreneurs will also reap the benefits of serving an industry that is global in scope, crying out for change, and with vast financial resources for the right providers.
The five members of LearnLaunch Accelerator’s 2016 BREAKTHROUGH Program cohort will pitch their companies to strategic partners, investors and other education professionals at Demo Day on Wednesday June 15 at District Hall in South Boston.
The cohort companies, Chalk Talk, Cram Fighter, EduMetrics, Riipen, and Zulama, went through an intensive four-week session with LearnLaunch Accelerator leading up to Demo Day. BREAKTHROUGH differs from LearnLaunch’s traditional Accelerator Program, because these companies are more mature edtech startups and require targeted assistance to “fine-tune” their business and fundraising strategies.
Amit Mathew first realized the extent of the challenges in studying for a major professional exam when his wife was preparing for her board exams. Watching her devote hours just to break up the chapters in her books and map out a study plan using colored pencils, he knew there must be a better way. All that time devising a strategy could and should be better spent on studying itself.
The better way arrived when the Mathews founded Cram Fighter, which develops web and mobile apps that allow students to create personalized study plans to achieve their learning goals. A student selects the resources he or she intends to use for studying and then the software creates a blueprint for preparing for the chosen exam, creating a set of small, manageable tasks that students can check off after each is accomplished. Adjustments can always be made if additional resources are added or people fall behind in the schedule.
Most people under 40 remember playing The Oregon Trail at some point in their early school years. Being subject to the plights of dysentery, scarce hunting, and harsh conditions of the land made history come alive before our very eyes. Now imagine the scenarios the Oregon Trail might’ve had if it had been designed by a 12 year old, and that the game’s creation propelled that preteen to be one of the most promising tech leaders in the world.
Zulama is a contemporary online platform that allows hard skills like game design, programming, digital art, and storytelling to be taught to middle school and high school students. It brings cost-effective yet high-tech computer-science education into every classroom through video game design. Programming may be the newest literacy, and students using Zulama today are actively pursuing college and career opportunities not just in game design but a myriad of high-tech industries.
How does one solve the catch-22 of not getting a job without experience, but not getting experience without a job? Witnessing first-hand the effects of graduate underemployment on their very capable peers, University of Victoria commerce students Dave Savory and Dana Stephenson set out to remedy this predicament, questioning why their college work was based on fictional simulations and outdated textbooks rather than challenges that actual companies were facing. What could differentiate someone from the hoards of other bright, ambitious students with equally limited experience? Their answer was Riipen.
While he was an undergrad at Brown University, future Chalk Talk CEO Mohannad Arbaji began tutoring students in his native Jordan over summers, going so far as to open a brick-and-mortar center. He noticed that some high schoolers obsessed over standardized test scores whereas others cared solely about grades, depending on their plans for college and their goals. This split was also apparent among high school administrators. While standardized exam prep is traditionally done outside the school and curricular education inside, both are testing kids on the same concepts, just in different ways. In an effort to help students and teachers improve grades and standardized exam scores in tandem, Arbaji expanded his by-then multinational tutoring venture into Chalk Talk Solutions.