SXSWedu: 17 year-old Nikhil Goyal: How I’m Disrupting Education

Today at #SXSWedu,  I had a moment to talk to Nikhil Goyal, author of One Size Does Not Fit All,  a prescription for fixing American schools.

From Nikhil:

“I’m bringing together the stakeholders in the school system- the parents, the educators, and the students.”

Nikhil shared his thoughts about how he’s organizing and meeting with the thought leaders of our time to Take Education Forward.


EdReach is at SXSWEdu!

EDReach SXSWEdReach is at SXSWedu! We’ll be gathering the best of the conference right here, so just a note to keep checking back here. Couple of things to look out for:

1. Keep an eye on our Instagram feed, as we’ll be posting photos throughout the conference.

2. Keep an eye out on our SXSWedu feed here, as this is where we’ll be posting any updates at EdReach.

3. Also, watch our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/EdReach, as we’ll be posting videos and interviews throughout the awesome ed conference.

4. Check the hashtags #SXSWedu#DisruptEDU and #StartupEdu for some focused content.

Enjoy to colors, as they fly through the air…

Angel-Ed: The 21st Century Teacher ‘Will Be Empowered.’

At the LearnLaunch conference at MIT, I had a few moments to talk to Navah Fuchs, Co-founder of Angel-Ed.org, an organization dedicated to making college affordable for all students. From their website:

“Angel-Ed.org enables students to connect with funding for their education debt-free, while connecting individual and corporate donors with the power players of tomorrow through crowd-funding. Want in? Sign-up for the beta or make a foundational donation!”

Navah offered her thoughts as to how the role of the teacher is transforming for the 21st Century:


10 Reasons Facebook Fails Education

Facebook dead?

So – I know what you’re going to say, right. It’s not Facebook’s responsibility to do anything for education. Right? I totally agree with that sentiment.

However, if you think back 2 and 3 years ago, when educators were scrambling to use social tools to piece together their Personal Learning Networks, we were using any (and every) tool that was out there. Facebook, Twitter, now Google+, Pinterest, Diigo, Delicious, Instagram- anything- that would connect our learning and create a pipe for knowledge.

I had a lot of faith in Facebook at one point, as I’m sure many educators have. We joined every Facebook group we could get our hands on. Some educators decided to just “let everybody in” to Facebook, and that meant severely opening one’s self up to strangers, and, perhaps, putting limits on how open we can even be on Facebook.

At this point, Facebook has devolved for education. It’s now clearly the place to go for family and friends. That’s okay, but I think that it’s a missed opportunity for discourse and the sharing of ideas. Here’s 10 reasons Facebook is failing educators, in reverse order:

Continue Reading …

MyEdGPS: The ‘Next Big Thing in Education?’

urlAt the LearnLaunch conference at MIT, I had a few moments to talk to Adam Goldberg, Founder of MyEdGPS, a company dedicated to helping students and parents plan their education. Their goal:

“myEdGPS empowers parents by providing access to the appropriate resources for your child, enabling you to design the best path to serve your child’s education needs. By helping you navigate the complex processes and laws governing special education, and connecting you with the right resources in your area, myEdGPS also saves you time and money.”

Adam graciously offered some insights about what he thinks the “next big thing” in education is:


LearnLaunch: What is Commerce’s Role in Education?

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At the LearnLaunch conference at MIT last weekend, I had a few moments to talk to Jean Hammond, Co-Founder of LearnLaunch, a new organization dedicated to promoting innovation in education. Their mission:

“to increase learning by providing support for the creation and growth of education technology and learning companies.”

Jean graciously offered some insights on her thoughts of education and how commerce can help education move forward:


LearnLaunch: Investors- No Need to Fear Education

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At the LearnLaunch Conference this weekend, one of the prevailing questions around EdTech investment is how to make investors “comfortable” with EdTech startups. We’re starting to see investors become more emotionally invested in the transformative nature of what it means to “invest in education,” and we’re seeing more transparency with entrepreneurs’ business models, whereas a few years ago, there was much more risk involved. Companies like Educated Ventures (Chicago), Socratic Labs, LearnLaunch, and EdSurge are building a bridge from the investors to the innovators in the education field.

How do we continue to make investors feel confident in education? 

Chris Nyren, Educated Ventures: 

Venture investment in Education totaled a billion dollars in both ’99 and 2000… the following decade  saw just a couple of hundred million dollars invested each year, but  we are back above a billion dollars now, so the velocity of money is certainly there… especially from the successful Web 2.0 entrepreneurs and investors from the Coasts looking to “hack education”.  However, it’s a different beast than disseminating some B to C social network… In the traditional education hubs of Chicago and Baltimore/DC, however, we are seeking some education experienced talent spinning out and raising capital in a “Paypal Mafia” kind of way.

Heather Gilchrist, Socratic Labs:

Number one, we need more dialogue, and I think that’s the first step, we need more transparency. I also think that these ecosystems are encouraging because most of these ecosystems focus around connecting technologists with teachers and investors and the other stakeholders in the space as well. One thing that has prohibited us… is that for a long time nobody was really talking about teachers about stuff, and that is definitely changing.

Eileen Rudden, LearnLaunch

I think that the new flow of entrepreneurs have to demonstrate that they can build businesses. The capital will flow, if they build their business, so it takes some time….Do they have adoption? Do they have paid adoption? Do they have a sales model, as well as a product?…Now the question may be: “how big can the company get?” Maybe there should be some inventiveness in structuring deals so that investors can get their capital back within a certain period of time, if the company is successful.

Tony Wan, EdSurge 

It seems like a lot of startups on the West Coast scene are working on a more consumer-based model. There’s this hype about the freemium model (on the West Coast). That’s a signal that you care more about getting as many users as possible, so you’re putting your revenue model on hold. So the investors who are putting money into these startups, what I think that you’re essentially betting on is that the [power] is going to decentralize into the hands of the teachers in the classrooms that they’re eventually going to sell them to. Eventually, you have to turn the switch on…I think that is a very important question that I think we’ll start seeing some answers to- this year.

One of the most exciting themes at the Learnlaunch Conference, was the “mission driven” concept. Who wouldn’t want to invest in a company where the founders not only have a good business model, but they also want to “change the world?”


Seth Reynolds: What’s the Next Big Thing in Education?

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Education is so hot right now in the investment world. When I talk to any new company, regardless if they are “ed” based, their eyes light up like wildfire when you mention education. It seems that every company has an education strategy. And what’s the motivation behind these companies? For the majority- it’s more than money. You hear the word “mission driven” more than once. Combine the prospect of making efficiencies happen in our education system, with the freedoms and creativity that goes along with being a business owner- combines two potentially mutually beneficial ideas. It makes being an entrepreneur in this space- meaningful.

I had a chance to talk with a handful of new entrepreneurs at the LearnLaunch conference at MIT. Seth Reynolds, Partner at The Parthenon Group, offered these ideas as to what the next “big thing” in education is.


Ed Reach Show #3: Overtime

This Ed Reach Overtime episode asks one important question: what would you do if you could run your own education conference?

Ed Reach Show #3: The Delicious Unconference

This week’s show brings us the education reaction to the Delicious Dilemma, as well as alternatives for educators to look for. In Blog Talk, we highlight Jim O’Hagan’s critical post about education conferences. Google has a new browser for the body- the Body Browser, which definitely has educational impact. Wesley Fryer claims that every teacher should know Scratch.

And, like usual, we end off with some very cool On the Radar Resources.