What’s Next and New in the Worlds of Tech and Education? Launch Education & Kids 2012
I went to Launch Education & Kids today to see what was next and new in the tech and education worlds. There is a lot: Thirty two companies, culled from more than 300, pitched their products to a panel of judges.
I started at the Demo Pit, an intimate group of companies demoing their creations for the K-12 schools, colleges and universities. Strumschool.com showed me their live beta where users can access prerecorded lessons that teach everything from the basics of guitar to strumming. The idea is to give users affordable and effective live, one on one lessons with instructors. Benjamin Shapiro, founder of strumschool.com, is himself an amateur guitar player. At $20 per half hour, lower than the typical music lesson fee of $30-$40 for the same time, Benjamin hopes that he can create a marketplace that works for both student and instructors.
Want to make a video? Easily without a ton of equipment? Goanimate.com is the place for you to create cool animations. It’s great for casual videographers, teachers, and businesses. You can record your own voiceover but if you don’t like the sound of your voice, type in the text and the system will create a voiceover for you. Goanimate.com is available on the web. The iOS app will be available by the end of the year. Pictured below are Gary Lipkowitz (right) and Ting Mei.
Welcome College helps high school students select their colleges. For many applicants, looking for and comparing colleges can be a hair-ripping experience. Welcome College captures the knowledge and experiences of college applicants and based on the criteria a prospective college student puts in, suggests colleges that will meet their needs. It is available on the web and on iOS. For a person-to-person experience MARV (mobile automated research vehicle), an RV uses an Xbox interface to engage and chat with students. J. Justin Bayer pictured is the founder and CEO of Welcome College.
Edsby.com is a cloud, social platform for educational communities. With communications between students, teachers, administrators and parents often fragmented and inconsistent, edsby.com integrates all communications from class notes, homework, grades, attendance to comments in one dashboard. Parents can tune into their child’s progress and a student can get feedback from his or her teacher immediately. Available on the web, iOS and Android. Pictured is John Myers.
Showbie digitizes the grading workflow for teachers making feedback between educators and students easy and timely. With the invasion of tablets, laptops and small personal devices (iPod touch) into the classroom, the application uses the platforms to reach students quickly and keep them engaged. Teachers can record a voice note, write on the report and send comments to the students. Showbie is an iOS native app. Colin Bramm, pictured below, said an Android app is scheduled for the fall.
Notesolution.com makes sharing of university notes easy. As a user you can search for notes by school and department. This database of notes is currently used by 20 universities and 40,000 students in Canada. So how do you make sure the students actually go to class and not stay in the dorm the whole year? Every user has to upload his or her own notes to be able to continue using the system. Pictured below is Kevin of notesolution.com.
Whatisbe.com helps students earn money by showing their smarts. A user, usually a student, can create or answer questions on the site. This information is used by schools to create quizzes to help their students learn in an interactive format. Depending on the school they attend they can use the money for books or other expenses. Elise Moussa, founder of whatisbe.com envisions a world where college will be free, this is her first step toward helping students get there. whatisbe.com also has a pilot program in Liberia focusing on math and literacy where students use XO laptops to learn. It is web-based and available on the iPad.
Conceptua Math uses visual models to instruct K-8 students, including students with special needs in math. By using the teacher to lead classroom instruction and give feedback to the children much like a real classroom situation, Conceptua Math recreates a supportive and progressive learning experience. Arjun Khalsa of Conceptua Math said the program was closely aligned with the Common Core Standards. [http://www.corestandards.org/]
Bright Bytes gives school superintendents data analysis on the results of funds spent on tech in schools. With $16 spent on tech in K-12 public schools, sometimes the outcomes of the programs are rarely evaluated. Bright Bytes also gives the school administrators solutions for the future. Surveys conducted with students, teachers and administrators along with publicly available date is used to generate the analyses. Rob Mancabelli is pictured below.
These were just some of the companies who attended the Launch Education & Kids conference. For a full listing and more on the companies, please see the Launch site.