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Defining Impact in Education Technology

“I have trouble understanding double, triple bottom line funds – there can only be one bottom line for impact funds. That’s why they call it the bottom.”  - a paraphrase of Kevin StarrI am thrilled by the attention the education market has been getting lately, from double bottom line, impact, and profit-maximizing funds alike. What “success” looks like is different to each stakeholder, and I consider myself lucky to work at a well financed fund […] Read more

Technology and Student Engagement

In the age of mobile computing, attention and engagement have become commodities. Advertisers are willing to spend millions for mere seconds of viewers’ attention. With all the ads and apps buzzing in students’ pockets in the 21st century classroom, we had to ask ourselves: how are learning technologies (books, desktops, tablets, and otherwise) keeping up with the rising bar of grabbing attention? What are the best practices for engaging students today? Specifically […] Read more

Live From Summit 2014: But How Do We Know What’s Working?

The pace of technology adoption in schools is accelerating like a Formula 1 race car driven by both teachers and administrators hungry for products that spur deeper engagement and better results.. But how can customers, product developers, and investors figure out what’s working?  In this session we heard from entrepreneurs, investors and publishers about the latest ideas for defining efficacy and assessing the impact of education technology on student learning.  In the past […] Read more

Why Direct-to-Consumer Models Matter in Education

In the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed two great reads on edtech investing, both advocating for a district direct sales approach for growing businesses. 1. Matt Greenfield, There is no Bubble in Educational Technology: Not for Businesses that Actually Make Sense. 2. Michael Feldstein, Why VC’s Usually Get Edtech Wrong.  Silicon Valley VC’s, on the other hand, don’t seem to be buying it, here’s what Marc Andreesen said.   “I wouldn’t want to […] Read more

Seed Fund Spotlight at Summit 2014

Wondering how education technology is shaping the future of K-12 education? Interested in learning about the innovative NewSchools portfolio companies whose technology solutions are reaching millions of students, teachers, and parents? Be sure to visit the Seed Fund Spotlight right across from NewSchools Summit 2014 registration and demo 24 products that are transforming teaching and learning.  The Seed Fund invests in a variety of tools both at the classroom level and school/district […] Read more

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