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Sparking Student Interest in STEM By Bringing Industry Experts into the Classroom

I vividly remember scouring my bathroom and kitchen cabinets to identify chemicals in the products I used everyday. Sure enough the chemical formulas I was learning to write in chemistry class were listed as ingredients in my toothpaste, shampoo, and laundry detergent. I was fascinated that chemistry had real world application and was inspired to become a chemical engineer at Procter and Gamble. According to a Microsoft STEM Perceptions Study, 57% of boys and 68% of girls who chose a career in science technology engineering and math (STEM) had a teacher or class that sparked their interest. Read more

Real Pain Points, Real Solutions: Oakland Startup Weekend Education

When we met Nina Portugal two weeks ago at a Teach For America information session about Oakland’s first-ever Startup Weekend EDU, she described the specific struggles of her long-term English learner students at Castlemont High School in Oakland. Nina was on the fence about pitching her idea in front of hundreds of strangers, but eventually joined the other 32 brave souls who pitched ideas to improve education. Little did Nina expect that over the course of just 54 hours, her team, Rock Your Voice, would create a product she could put to use on Monday morning in her classroom. Nina now has a voice transcription tool to better assess her students’ language and literacy skills. Read more

EdSurge, connector for Edtech and Educators

This weekend Edsurge will bring its Tech for Schools Summit to Baltimore. Acting Deputy Secretary for the US Department of Education, Jim Shelton, will keynote and 900 educators have signed up to learn about new tech tools and digital content. The Baltimore Summit comes on the heels of the wildly successful EdSurge Silicon Valley Summit which drew 600+ educators. Prior to Silicon Valley, EdSurge hosted similar events in Chicago and Rhode Island. Read more

One Giant Step Forward for Education

Today, the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the United States and a political powerhouse, announced a partnership with BetterLesson, an edtech company dedicated to sharing teachers’ best practices and curriculum. The result of this union is the Master Teacher Project, a groundbreaking effort to showcase the brilliant minds of our country’s best teachers. The site launched today at http://cc.betterlesson.com/home showcasing 3,000 Common Core aligned lessons from 130 classroom teachers. By […] Read more

A closer look at K12 edtech venture funding in 2013

Venture investment in K12 education technology was up 6% in 2013 totaling $452 million.  Over half of these investments were seed stage transactions mirroring the overall venture trend of increased financing from non-traditional sources (angels, super angels, micro-VC’s, incubators) at the seed stage.  The NewSchools Seed Fund led and/or participated in nearly a quarter of the 59 K12 edtech seed investments in 2013.  Here we share our 2013 analysis of K12 edtech […] Read more

ReimaginED: The Future of K12 Education

(link) From TED talk playlists to government speeches, everyone agrees: education is changing. Exactly how, why, or what it all means is still up for debate. Are the low United States PISA scores a sign of stagnation or creativity? Does technology replace or enhance face to face interaction? Are we trying to teach skills, concepts, or learning mindsets? At NewSchools Venture Fund, we’d like to set the stage differently, in the context of the ground up innovation already happening. While some see the systemic challenges […] Read more

The NewSchools Notebook: tech, teaching, and inspiration

At NewSchools, we are constantly being exposed to new ideas in education from a variety of sources. Given that we invest in technologies that spread knowledge and education to all, I wanted to start a blog series passing on some of the quotes and intellectual nuggets I encounter to the world. Big Ideas from the week: Education technology is not a zero sum game. When movies came out, live theater attendance did […] Read more