EdSurge Newsletter



Innovate 290

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This issue is sponsored by ed-fi alliance

Home is where the heart, BART, and our next Summit is! That’s right—we’re breaking (geographic) boundaries and bringing our Silicon Valley Tech for Schools Summit to Oakland. On Sept. 9-10, we’ll host more than 20 companies and several hundred educators for priority-setting workshops, high-octane lightning talks and hands-on playtime with the latest tools. Best part yet: both days are free for K-12 administrators and teachers—sign up here!

The EdSurge crew will be out in full force. See you there!


WHAT ADMINS WANT: Last week, Umang Gupta shared his opinion about how edtech procurement looks from the point of view of companies. This week, EdSurge’s Betsy Corcoran flips the telescope to look at edtech from the vantage of school administrators. Take a peek!

BLENDED MODELS: How do teachers, students and tech all blend together? Nonprofit The Learning Accelerator recently released an interactive website highlighting how six different schools—serving between 250 and 3,000 students—handle data, integrate technology, blend in-person and online learning, and implement mastery-based grading approaches.

WHAT VEXES CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER Kevin Schwartz, who oversees 30 schools at Austin Independent School District in Texas? “One of the most frustrating situations is when a company comes with what they’re sure is a solution,” he tells EdSurge, “and yet they have no idea of what we’re doing or what our real problems are.” Here’s what else edtech entrepreneurs should be mindful of.

FLOTUS'S FAVORITE: What’s the First Lady’s favorite edtech tool? Last week, Michelle Obama shouted out ThinkZone Games, the grand prize winner of the Reach Higher Career App Challenge. In a YouTube video, Michelle Obama describes why ThinkZone caught her eye: “Their game-based app—Hats & Ladders—helps middle and high school students explore a variety of careers through self-assessments, fun activities, and mini-challenges.”

LAGGING ON MOBILE: Can you guess which gender is more engaged on social media about back-to-school topics? Last week Adobe Digital Insights released its first U.S. Education Benchmark report on education websites, culling data on retail trends, website traffic and social media conversations. Compared to web traffic in other sectors, education is slower in the shift to mobile, with most traffic still coming from desktop.
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Connect, Share and Learn with Ed-Fi Alliance for the 2016 Bootcamp and Summit in Austin, Texas, October 11-14!

Join us on Oct. 11 for a bootcamp approach to kick start your training on the Data Standard, ODS and Dashboards. Follow up on Oct. 12 where our working groups will meet to set the direction for future technical areas. The conference will formally kick-off on Oct. 13 for two days packed with information sharing, use-cases and best practices. View the Agenda!



School bells are a’ringing, welcoming students and teachers back to the classroom. Awaiting many of them are new supplies and tech gadgets. But how are these tools being used to support learning? Do they help—or just cause more headaches?

Throughout 2016, we collected stories written by teachers, edtech coordinators, librarians and superintendents from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For a syllabus on the tips and tricks, do’s and don’ts of technology in the classroom, be sure to check out The 50 States Project: Back-to-School Edition.

The latest stories in our the collection hail from:


LICENSE TO INNOVATE: A traditional university’s most nimble asset may be...its continuing education programs? EdSurge columnist Michael Horn argues these programs enjoy an “enviable” degree of autonomy to experiment with new learning models, build bridges with industry partners and find new revenue sources. Capitalizing on this freedom, he suggests, will be key for universities that want to keep pace with bootcamps and online education providers.


STRAIGHT TALK: Bridget Burns sees plenty of “superheroes”—26-year-old Silicon Valley types with good intentions, yet little understanding of how to change higher education at scale. In this lightning round talk, Burns, executive director of the University Innovation Alliance, shares what she wishes edtech developers understood about the challenges universities face.

EdSurge’s Higher-Ed Newsletter Is Here!

We’ve expanded our coverage of tech and innovation in higher education. Click here to subscribe!


ONE BUCK BARGAIN: Like many parents, Sal Khan has bought early-childhood learning apps created by Duck Duck Moose, a San Mateo, CA-based startup. But the Khan Academy founder just purchased the company’s entire product suite, along with its nine-person team, for less than what he paid for those apps. We spoke with Sal and Duck Duck Moose co-founder, Caroline Hu Flexer, to learn how the $1 deal went down.

NOTES FOR SALE: Investors continue to drink the kool aid soup when it comes to marketplaces for student-created notes and materials. San Francisco startup StudySoup has raised $1.7 million in seed funding for its platform where college students can buy and sell class notes. Investors include 1776 DC, Canyon Creek Capital, 500 Startups and John Katzman.

PANOPTO, a Seattle-based video-based lecture capture platform for business and higher education, has raised $42.8 million led by Sterling Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm.

NEPRIS, which connects STEAM companies and professionals with teachers and students in classrooms, has raised $1 million in a seed round led by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The Dallas-based startup claims more than 65,000 students in 2,200 classrooms are using its service.

GRADESLAM, a Montreal, Quebec-based startup that offers a “chat-based learning platform,” closed $1.6 million in a seed round led by Birchmere Ventures. The company says it’s helped facilitate 350,000 tutoring sessions since its launch in Sept. 2015.


ONE YEAR IN THE MAKING: Blake Montgomery, one-half of the EdSurge On Air podcast team, is taking his talents to Buzzfeed as a tech reporter. His parting gift to us: a fresh journalist’s take on covering the edtech industry. What is he optimistic about? What was his biggest scoop of the year? Why has he become distrustful of company pitches?
EdSurge Jobs
Looking for a job in edtech? You’ve come to the right place. EdSurge has the leading edtech jobs board with over 500 openings from schools, nonprofits and companies. Want us to put our network to work for you in finding your dream job in edtech? Sign up for EdSurge Connect

Engineering Manager  Clever
We’re looking for someone who can help us see around corners: a hands-on leader who’s excited to do everything from optimizing product strategy down to individual code reviews.
Engineering  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

Regional K12 Account Executive: AR, LA, MS, AL Hire Education
Our client is a growing K-12 EdTech services company seeking a full-time Regional Account Executive who can deliver in AR, LA, MS, and AL! Is it you?
Sales  ·  Startup  ·  Remote

District Success Manager  Goalbook
Lead Goalbook’s work with our district and school partners across the country. You’ll work closely with instructional leaders and support educators with transforming instructional practice.
Sales  ·  Startup  ·  San Mateo, CA

Curriculum Design Specialist  NoRedInk
NoRedInk is hiring former English teachers and expert writers to be an integral part of our Curriculum Team. If you’re looking to leverage your passion for language to help millions of students and teachers worldwide, please read on. Now accepting remote candidates!
Product  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

User Acquisition Manager EDpuzzle
As our User Acquisition Manager, you will be responsible to bring new teachers to the platform.
Executive  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

Senior Marketing Manager  TES USA (Wikispaces, Blendspace)
TES USA is looking for a Senior Marketing Manager to lead user acquisition and help millions of teachers be the best they can be. The role is based in our San Francisco office.
Marketing  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

School Partnerships Manager Zeal
Looking for a rockstar teacher or edtech sales guru with ~3yrs experience to help Zeal grow in the western region.
Sales  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

Director of Marketing and Sales CanFigureIt
We are looking for a superstar with a passion for education to drive growth for a new digital STEM venture for the high school market!
Marketing  ·  Startup  ·  New York

Edtech Events

Post an event  ·  See all events and meetups

GSV Pioneer Summit
GSV Pioneer Summit will explore exponential machines, commerce reimagined, the sustainable planet, moonshot projects, and how humans and technology will need to evolve in the world of tomorrow. Register today, prices go up on the first of each month. Use code “EdSurgeSpecial” for 20% off the regular ticket price.
14 Sep - 15 Sep  ·  Redwood City, CA  ·  more than $250

MarketplaceLIVE is the place where the complete community of cloud and internet stakeholders can come together as equals and cross-pollinate ideas. Join over 1000 tech enthusiasts and industry leaders on September 22, 2016
22 Sep  ·  New York, NY  ·  $51 to $250

Intentional Play Summit
The Intentional Play Summit is an opportunity to convene and ask, how can we better leverage games to teach and motivate? It will be a day full of learning and networking between the education and games industry communities.
7 Oct  ·  Mountain View, CA  ·   $51 to $250

Ed-Fi Summit 2016
Be a part of the movement. Join ed-tech professionals from around the country at the 2016 Ed-Fi Alliance Summit 2016 and Technical Bootcamp. Starting with our signature states’ forum and ending with a community appreciation event at one of Austin’s coolest venues.
11 Oct - 14 Oct  ·  Austin, TX  ·  more than $250



Post an opportunity  ·  See all opportunities

LearnLaunch Accelerator BREAKTHROUGH Program
LearnLaunch Accelerator's Breakthrough Program - Applications Now Open! LearnLaunch Accelerator's Breakthrough program for later stage edtech startups is now accepting applications. Up to $120k investment.
15 Sep  ·  Entrepreneurs  · Up to $120K

Apply to Y Combinator / Imagine K12
Edtech founders: apply to Y Combinator for funding, strategic advice, and mentoring from both Y Combinator (the world’s leading startup accelerator) and the edtech specialists at Imagine K12. Alums include ClassDojo, Remind, Clever, Educents.
4 Oct  ·  Entrepreneurs  · $120K seed funding

2016 EDspaces Innovation Awards Now Open
For the fourth year, the Education Market Association (EDmarket) is partnering with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) to recognize manufacturers and designers for excellence in product design for the learning environment.
14 Oct  ·  Entrepreneurs  ·  Learning By Design magazine feature


Betsy, our copacetic co-founder, benevolent boss, relentless reporter and wisecrack whisperer! (I hope we’ve been diligent with the dishes in the kitchen.) How one can juggle raising adolescent teenagers along with an even more eccentric crew of coders, designers and fledging writers still boggles the mind. Cheers!
EdSurge is the leading edtech news & information resource for educators, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers. We help schools find, select and use the right technology to support all learners.

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