EDTECH NEWS ARCHIVE - Week of August 27, 2018

August 24, 2018


VERSED IN CODE (AND CASH): Codeverse, an immersive coding studio for kids aged 6-13, has raised $10 million in seed funding. Katy Lynch, the company’s co-founder and chief marketing officer, declined in an interview to share more details about who contributed to the round, only offering that it included a mix of venture firms and individual donors from across the country and overseas.

August 21, 2018

This month the U.S. Education Department announced a proposal to remove a set of higher education regulations meant to punish college programs that turned out to be bad deals for students—specifically, ones whose graduates’ student-loan payments were higher than a specific portion their incomes.

August 21, 2018

Investors and founders packed into the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. for startup accelerator Y Combinator’s Summer 2018 Demo Day. For those counting, this was the 27th version of the event, which always features a motley of startups and services: There’s Kobo360, an “Uber for trucking in Africa,” and Cambridge Glycoscience, which wants to bring the concept of “cake zero”—sweets with sugar substitutes—to the masses.

August 21, 2018

The company that set the bar for hyping adaptive-learning technology has had to adapt to new leadership and a new business model. But some things seem to stay the same—such as its ability to win new investors and capital.

Knewton has raised $25 million in a new funding round—the eighth since it launched in 2008. This new money was raised as debt financing, of which Triple Point Capital contributed $20 million. The rest comes from the company’s existing investors, including Accel, Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Founders Fund and Sofina.

August 21, 2018

When I was a student, I was lucky to have some inspiring teachers—including a wonderful librarian when I was in the fourth grade and a chemistry teacher in high school—who challenged me and brought out my best. They helped make me the person I am today.

I recently met a remarkable teacher who is doing the same thing for kids who face obstacles I never could have imagined when I was in school. Her name is Mandy Manning and she teaches English and math in Spokane, Washington, to immigrant and refugee teenagers who have just arrived in the United States. They come from all over the world: Syria, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Mexico, Tanzania, even Chuuk State. They show up at school speaking little or no English. Some have fallen far behind in other subjects after months or years of living in refugee camps. Mandy is the first teacher they encounter in this country.

August 22, 2018

Imagine the classroom of the 1980s. If the school district was reasonably wealthy, there might have been a television and a VHS player. The teacher might have had a personal computer, although there was no Internet access and functionality was largely limited to spreadsheets and word processing. Perhaps the school had one computer lab with a few software programs.

While some American classrooms might still look like that 1980s classroom, the majority are rather different: there might be five iPads, or there might be one-to-one Chromebooks, and there is probably a projector screen attached to the teacher’s laptop. For virtually any topic that the teacher might want to teach—whether that be the end of the Victorian era or how a pendulum works—he or she can instantly access a free video.

August 22, 2018

UK-based edtech startup Zzish is set to close its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube with more than £525,000 in funding from over 300 investors. The launch of this latest round comes just a little over a year after Zzish secured more than £1.3 million through its first Crowdcube initiative.

As previously reported, Zzish was founded in 2013 with a mission to give every child their own teaching assistant. The company reported its technology diagnoses what each student is struggling with and gives their teacher or parent real-time, data-driven recommendations to help. The company reported that 155,000 teachers currently use its services for 2 million students in 170 countries.

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EDTECH NEWS ARCHIVE - Week of August 20, 2018

August 18, 2018

by Marquez Anderson, Spurs Zone

San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay is participating in a new edtech initiative in Baltimore.

Gay grew up in Baltimore and became one of the biggest standouts from the state, now he is giving back even more.

Gay’s Flight 22 Foundation is partnering with D.C.-based EVERFI to support entrepreneurship classes in Baltimore high schools. The web-based class is meant to teach students to think entrepreneurially about business and life.

August 16, 2018

There are a variety of issues creating disconnects between the world of edtech and actual K-12 classrooms. But rather than discuss this in general terms, over the next few months, let's take a look at some specific edtech companies and see how they do--or don't--manage to bridge that gap.

August 16, 2018

“Are you replacing me with a robot?”

Bryan Fendley, an artificial intelligence expert and the director of instructional technology and web services at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, has heard this line for years. “Faculty members are worried they’re going to be traded in for a computer or the internet,” he says. 

Their concerns aren’t unusual. Seventy-three percent of Americans believe AI will eliminate more jobs than it will create, according to a poll by Gallup and Northeastern University

August 16, 2018

By Jeffrey R. Young and Sydney Johnson

The story behind the latest Horizon Report—which ranks tech trends in higher education—is easily more dramatic than the document’s actual conclusions. But both are available as of today.

A panel of 71 experts convened by the New Media Consortium worked for months to dig through research and make recommendations for this year’s report, following a process that had been honed over several years. Then, as the report neared completion, the New Media Consortium abruptly shut down amid mysterious financial troubles, and it was unclear whether the work would ever reach the public.

August 15, 2018

The rise of edtech over the last ten years was a U.S. phenomenon, rising from almost nothing in 2009 to over $700 million in the first half of 2018. In the last few years, edtech investment got white hot and lapped the U.S. Chinese edtech firms, which raised $2.2 billion across 270 deals in the first half of 2018.

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EDTECH NEWS ARCHIVE - Week of August 13, 2018

August 12, 2018

Last week, the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) and xEdu, a Finnish-based edtech accelerator, announced plans for their upcoming UNTIL-XEDU Learning Accelerator. The partnership is designed to support the development and implementation of new learning solutions around the world. Moreover, the collaboration between UNTIL and xEdu is also just the start of what promises to be an ambitious new UN initiative designed to bring tech solutions, including edtech solutions, to  emerging economies worldwide.

August 10, 2018

On an increasing number of university campuses, video-wall technology is helping administrators find new, exciting ways to connect with students.

After the University of Idaho installed nine 55-inch thin-bezel LG displays, professors found that students were much more engaged during lectures.

“The addition of the LG video wall has truly elevated the learning environment, quality of instruction and overall classroom experience,” Greg Clifford, classroom technology service manager at the University of Idaho said in an LG case study. “All parties involved have seen remarkable improvements, and we’re extremely pleased with the results — tangible and intangible — that LG’s displays have produced.”

August 10, 2018

Press Release

Provo—With the start of a new school year right around the corner, Provo-based educational technology (EdTech) company Imagine Learning—a leading provider of supplemental math, language, and literacy programs for pre-K through high school students—announced the appointment of new Co-Presidents, the acquisition of a digital math curriculum for early learners, and a partnership with NWEA, a not-for-profit provider of preK-12 assessments.

August 10, 2018

Press Release

SEOUL, South Korea, Aug. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Daekyo Co., Ltd. (www.daekyo.co.kr), one of Asia's largest education companies, today announced its acquisition of Knowre (www.knowre.com), an award-winning global AI-based education technology company. Executives from both companies, including Daekyo Group Chairman Young-Joong Kang and Daekyo CEO Soo-Wan Park, along with Knowre's Co-CEOs Yong Jae Kim and David Joo, met today at Daekyo Tower in Seoul, South Korea to finalize and close the transaction.

August 10, 2018

Early-childhood education is critical to helping children establish a strong foundation for growth. But a shortage of providers has created what the Center for American Progress calls “child care deserts” in states like California, where estimates suggest that only 25 percent of working-class parents have access to providers. In a 2016 survey from NPR, Harvard and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one-third of parents reported it was difficult to find childcare; 2 in 3 say they had few “realistic” options.

August 10, 2018

Math is a hot subject right now—especially in the world of mergers and acquisitions. Last week, DreamBox Learning raised $130 million to grow its online K-8 math software. A few days earlier, that company’s competitor Reasoning Mind was acquired by Imagine Learning, a private equity-backed curriculum company.

August 09, 2018

This month, a group from the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program concluded deliberations for their Algorithm for Change competition. With three tiers of prizes totaling $1 million along with mentoring and coaching from leading experts, four winners were selected. Smart Sparrow, a company that created an adaptive learning tool for science instruction, took home the top prize.

August 08, 2018

Would you take career advice from a 23-year-old—and pay a chunk of your salary for it?

That’s the question that may surface when one first encounters the team behind Pathrise, a startup co-founded by a pair of early twentysomethings (who look even younger in pictures). But what the team may lack in age, it makes up for with a staff whose resumes are padded with stints at some of the most sought-after companies including Yelp, Facebook, Salesforce, GitHub and, of course, Google.

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EDTECH NEWS ARCHIVE - Week of August 6, 2018

August 06, 2018

Gurugram-based OckyPocky, India’s first personalised language learning app for pre-school kids, has raised an undisclosed amount in an angel funding round through ah! Ventures, a growth catalyst.

Fresh funds will be used to expand the user base by growing its outreach into tier 2 and tier 3 cities, along with exploring the NRI market for kids with cultural connect to India through a Hindi learning curriculum. It also plans to scale its operations and strengthen its technology platform.

August 04, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in an edtech company’s board meeting, or what keeps founders up at night, here was your chance to find out. Earlier this month in New York City, the AT&T Aspire Accelerator, AT&T’s program that finds, develops, and invests in promising edtech companies from around the world, hosted an afternoon of mock board meetings with its 2018 cohort.

August 05, 2018

When it comes to top-ranked education systems, for years, Finland has been in the spotlight. Despite rejecting nearly all tests (students write only one state exam at the end of high school) and doing away with streaming based on ability, Finland consistently produces top results. In addition, the small northern nation reports an exceptionally high level of employment and exceptionally low level of child poverty. Now some people are wondering if Finland’s edtech industry may be partially responsible.

August 02, 2018

The surge of devices used by K–12 students is putting a strain on school district networks, causing IT teams to consider adopting the Internet of Things

Bringing IoT into schools maintains connectivity for students and teachers during the day, through both personal devices and classroom tools like smartboards, Kellie Wilks, chief technology officer of Ector County Independent School District, TX, told EdTech magazine at the ISTE 2018 conference

“If we can provide the Wi-Fi and the connectivity to any device it becomes more personalized learning,” Wilks said.

August 01, 2018

(Oakland, CA, August 1, 2018) — NewSchools Venture Fund is excited to announce funding opportunities are now open for two investment areas: Innovative Schools and Diverse Leaders. For teams of educators and entrepreneurs who are either dreaming of opening a new innovative school or interested in growing, advancing and supporting Black and Latino leadership in education, this opportunity could provide the funding to launch a new venture. Up to $8 million in total funding is now available.

July 31, 2018

The Rise Fund, which is deploying $2 billion in financing raised by TPG last year, is taking a majority position in DreamBox, a startup that was founded in Bellevue, WA, in 2006. DreamBox plans to use the new money on product development, sales, marketing, other operations, and to draw in more users. The company says 3 million students and 120,000 teachers in the U.S. and Canada currently use the product, and that it recently added a Spanish-language version in Mexico.

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