Today, LearnLaunch Accelerator – which nurtures edtech startups as they gain their footing – showed off its program’s latest batch of grads at its Demo Day. Based on this crop of startups, it became quickly apparent that edtech is transforming into a sector that’s just as nuanced as the next.
Each venture participating in the fourth cohort stood up to explain the scope of its company, the strides it’s made during the program and its next steps. If you take a look at these startups, you’ll see they’re addressing more niche problems than ever before – which could be an indication that edtech is becoming a richer landscape.
Students may choose to attend community college with multiple motivations in mind. But for people who intend to transfer to a 4-year school after finishing their associate degree in the hopes of saving money are often in shock. Many credits don’t transfer, so students are unexpectedly left to pay for more school to make up the difference.
Affordable College is giving these people transparency. Users enter their current community college, their major and the school to which they intend to transfer. They can then see how many credits won’t transfer over and how much money they will end up owing. If they’re not too happy with the projected cost, they can browse other 4-year colleges to find one that will work better with their credits and won’t make them incur unneeded expenses.
If you want to purchase books, especially children’s books, in a language other than English, it’s like Mission Impossible. Parents who want to read to their children in their native language have had to go through extensive means to get foreign books here in the U.S. Bab’l Books, though is making it easier on them.
Bab’l Books crowdsources different translations of popular children’s books and allows people to have the books printed on-demand. Each book is bilingual so that children can read along in English as their relatives read to them in another language. Hopefully, this will allow families to maintain one of the strongest cultural ties you can have by passing on a language to future generations.
Learning math can be rough on many children. It’s not necessarily the content that’s hard for them to grasp, but rather it’s the way it’s taught that makes it less digestible. Turning traditional teaching methods upside down is Cashtivity.
Students often complain that they don’t see how math has anything to do with the real world. They don’t see themselves using these concepts in the future. Cashtivity puts students in the shoes of entrepreneurs, having them solve realistic business problems with relevant math concepts. Teachers can use different situations in the classroom to encourage student engagement and provide context as to how math can be used in life.
What to do about adult education? The courses available for the masses who need them are seriously limited, and adults’ hectic schedules don’t always allow align with class times. Yet, there is still a pressing need for programs for adult literacy, numeracy and essential job skills.
Learning Games Studios, a spinout from the MIT Education Arcade, is developing educational games for adults. Its first product is Xenos, a social game focused on teaching people English. It asks users to complete various missions, all of which help them improve their English, and it’s design is based off MIT research so you know it’s solid.
Even if you’re a straight-A student, you might not have a clue how to put together a decent college application. You could go out and hire an expensive admissions coach to tell you what to do, but that’s not going to help you in the long-run.
Applications don’t stop at college. They’re a part of life. Menlo Learning is a platform that teaches you how to go about creating amazing applications for all levels of schooling, in addition to how to write a killer essay. The platform uses insight from former admissions officers at top-notch schools like Harvard, MIT, Dartmouth and the like to teach you how to take on applications.
The new norm that parents pick up the tab for fees that schools can’t afford on their ever-shrinking budgets. Whether it be paying for their children to play soccer or contributing to an annual fundraiser, parents have to jump through hoops to ensure their money actually makes into schools’ hands.
Skookii – founded by a father – is meant to prevent parents from ever having to entrust cash on their children or rushing from work to hand-deliver checks to the main office. The venture has developed a secure payment solution that lets parents transfer money to schools and, in turn, helps schools keep track of all the funds coming in for different reasons.
New teachers tend to fend for themselves. In their first years teaching, they encounter situations for which no education course in college could ever prepare them. The worst of it is, they don’t usually have anyone with whom they can share their challenges and victories.
TeachersConnect is a network linking novice teachers with alumni who went through the same teacher preparation program. With this tool, they can video chat and message individuals to communicate what’s going on with them. This is a support system for new teachers, as well as a way to get data to colleges looking to improve their teacher prep programs.
Photo via Olivia Vanni.