This is the Ed Startup 101 assignment:
In writing, in video, or in an image (or in a combination of media!) tell us what you thought about these companies [ClassDojo, Clever, Codecademy, Coursera, Degreed, Dreambox, Goalbook, Instructure, Knewton] and emerging trends [from the Horizon Report].Which ones were the most exciting to you?What had you expected to see or hear that you didn’t?
Which start-ups were the most exciting to you?
I chose to look at who is using the applications and selected some of those that are intended for teachers and learners.
Applications for teachers
ClassDojo allows teachers to define behaviour categories and award students with positive and negative points while interacting with them. After class, they can inform the parents about how their kids did in school, day by day, without spending extra time. This service is something schools will want teachers to use, and a lot of parents want to know about “what is going on at school”.
There are several ways of using this tool that weren’t mentioned on the website, three of which I’ll mention here. First, students could use ClassDojo during group projects. They could acknowledge team members and the whole team whenever they feel someone contributed to the learning outcome or to their learning process. This way, ClassDojo could train students to reflect about their learning. Second, students could also use this tool to tell the teacher how they felt about homework by sending feedback as soon as homework was completed. This would help the teacher prepare the next class. Third, parents could also use the tool to communicate about how their child works with the course material at home. The benefit of this feature would be two-fold. On the one hand, teachers would be able to have a two-way communication with the parents. On the other hand, parents would be encouraged to get involved with their children’s academic activities.
Applications for learners
- Coursera offers people from around the world to take online courses offered by universities ub the US, Europe, and India. The material is available free of charge, and learners are encouraged to interact with each other while they are working on the course material. I haven’t participated in any of the courses yet, but I am tempted to try it in the future. From similar learning experiences, I know that it makes a difference to find people who are willing to interact with each other. One might think that these people are easy to find among “thousands” of participants. This may or may not be the case. I would be interested in finding out how many students finish the courses, and how they evaluate their learning experience. I’ll put this on my “to do” list.
This website was a coup de coeur for me. I clicked on the link, looked at the top of the page, and immediately started working on the activity. Why? Because “someone” started talking to me. Talking about engaging a learner! I’ll definitely come back and do more activities. Congratulations to the team who created this learning experience! Learning about computers and looking behind the images and hypertext is something I like doing, and I encourage my students and friends to do the same. CodeAcademy gives me an opportunity to do just that. Another company, recommended by Audrey Watters, mentioned Raspberry Pi. This startup promotes knowledge about hardware and is thus a complementary project to CodeAcademy.
What had you expected to see or hear that you didn’t?
I think I would have liked to find out about some projects that failed. We can learn a lot from a result we usually call “failure”, which, in itself, may be just another word for “unexpected outcome”.
I would also like to mention the following startup companies that I recently discovered and liked.
Language Garden is a tool for language teachers that bring color and beautiful shapes to the language learning classroom. The application is easy to use. Language plants engage language learners in reading and discovering language in a non-linear way.
MentorMob allows teachers to create learning content into interactive playlists that students can view and work on. From a teacher’s perspective, the tool allows to help students stay on task and view pre-selected learning content step-by-step. From a learner’s perspective, MentorMob allows for asynchronous interaction with other learners and with the teacher.