A dozen companies hoping their innovative ed tech solutions would impress a crowd took to the stage in the first two rounds of the Ed Tech Start-Up Pitch Fest at ISTE 2015 on Monday. The entries hit at the hottest topics among educators and ed tech leaders and ranged from an interactive virtual reality atlas to a game-based learning system that teaches coding to elementary students to a web-based personalized learning application. The start-up developers are vying for honors in two categories: most innovative and most likely to succeed. Competitors had five minutes to explain their product, followed by a three-minute question-and-answer session with judges. Judges and audience members rated the products and selected two winners from each round to go to the final. Making the first cut in the morning round were Interactive Cases by Cogent Education and Education Framework Inc.
Gamification of science
Interactive Cases uses video game technology to create real-world scenarios to teach science. By taking science information that’s difficult for students to grasp and putting it in the context of a real-world problem, they are able to tackle concepts that are more difficult to teach with traditional tools and methods. The product developers are a team of University of Georgia professors who collaborated with teachers to determine which science concepts to address. “Tell us where it hurts. Tell us what kids struggle with, and we create a case,” explained presenter Tom Robertson. The technology allows students to collect and interpret data, form and test hypotheses and communicate their findings. Teachers can view a real-time “heat map” that pinpoints areas where each student needs assistance, allowing them to personalize instruction. Interactive Cases offers 10 case studies for high school biology and plans to tackle tough high school chemistry topics next.
Tool helps manage student data
Education Framework Inc. has created an online student data privacy management system that helps school districts manage all tasks related to student data privacy, from app and website scoring for privacy quality to parental consent forms. The product identifies which websites and applications students are using, provides scores based on each tool’s level of student privacy, monitors changes to privacy policies and assures the proper consents are in place. An annual subscription fee of $3 to $5 per student covers the service. Presenter Katie Onstad said the product lends transparency and accountability to the student data privacy conundrum and eliminates the dreaded paper permission slip. Education Framework is a first-to-market, patent-pending service that manages the entire student data privacy process for K-12 schools. Find out who wins at the final round of Pitch Fest on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Update: Congratulations to Mathspace, the winner of both the most innovative and most likely to succeed awards.