Mar 14 2014

The Best Ed-Tech Startups from #SXSWedu

Check out some innovative thinking in higher education, the importance of communication and the best tweets of the week.

Welcome to our weekly roundup of tech and education news. Have a story you’d like to see here? Tweet us.

The Best Ed-Tech Startups from #SXSWedu

The LAUNCHedu contest is one of the most exciting parts of the annual SXSWedu conference. Ten startups were chosen to participate in an “elevator-style pitch competition before the live SXSWedu audience and an esteemed judging panel of venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs and education practitioners.” edSurge blogged about the finalists, which you can see below.

  • Admittedly: Platform for helping "matchmake" students with appropriate colleges;
  • Books That Grow: Product, "Borne Digital," in a e-book platform for the iPad with built-in assessments to tune reading level of the book to students' skill levels;
  • Classroom IQ: Tools for helping teachers grade free-response tests more efficiently;
  • eduvee: A platform that breaks biology, cheminstry and physics content into "atomic" chunks to help students study;
  • Fluencia: A language learning tool for students studying conversational Spanish;
  • NBA Math Hoops: A nonprofit developing a basketball-themed board game and mobile app for supporting curriculum in grades 4-6;
  • Remote Proctor: A proctoring system for monitoring students taking assessments remotely (or in online classes);
  • Qlovi: Large library of e-books with aligned Common Core assessments;
  • RobotsLAB: Robot kits that teachers can use to teach high-school math concepts through the practical application of robots;
  • xUnlockYourBrain: Mobile phone app that "unlocks" your phone by giving you adaptive math and vocabulary quizzes.

Why It’s Important to Define Distance Education

Just last week on EdTech, Karen Gatewood, assistant director of Harcum College's Medical Laboratory Technician program, wrote that an “accurate definition [of distance learning] is also needed so that students can make an informed decision on whether distance education is the best fit.”

This week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a discrepancy in the definition of “online learning” means that far fewer colleges are offering online programs than previously thought:

A new report on online education finds “noise in the data” that institutions send to the U.S. Department of Education about their offerings. While 3,311 institutions say they have online programs, the report says, the actual number is more like 1,243—in part because the definition of “online” is “overly ambiguous and broad,” and in part because an institution that has multiple campuses can count each as having online programs, even if the institution in fact has only a single online offering available to all its students.

Tweets of the Week

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