Boston SWEDU Pitchfire Results! 30 Ideas, 9 Finalists to Form

Boston Startup Weekend Education kicked off Friday night with 30 ideas for education innovation from attendees.  After a round of 1 minutes pitches, organizers tabulated participant peer votes, leaving 9 ideas to advance to seek to form teams.  These pitchers were then left to flesh out their ideas and attempt to recruit sufficient teams to actually build these out over the weekend!

Here were our top ideas advancing to team formation:

  • Achieve Financial Freedom Together: pitched by Nancy out of her own experience seeking to learn to save and invest having come to the US from China but addressing universal issues of financial literacy by building a freemium financial education platform for Millennials, who despite strong average incomes have below average savings levels.
  • EDscursion: pitched out of an educator’s real life experience managing field trips for a rural classroom, this online platform would simplify and plan student learning excursions.
  • FeedLoop: pitched by Jeff, an educator turned developer seeking to build a student peer feedback platform for the classroom that adapts models employed by developers to write code.
  • “Google Analytics for EDU”: Pitched by Parviz who out of his decade of experience serving on the board of a local school, sees the need to build a platform that truly tracks learning effectiveness (sentiment analysis, sensor networks, machine learning)
  • Mindful Testing VR: pitched by John,a first year MBA at MIT, with 5 years of development experience at Microsoft, to address test taking anxiety. With 16-20% of students experiencing debilitating test taking anxiety levels, this platform will replace paper based testing with a VR environment for off-site test taking.
  • Quick Deck: pitched by Al, a medical adaptive test prep entrepreneur to create a simple, automated flashcard generator utilizing a Chrome extension for users to highlight given website content which will automatically link to a content library and auto-populate a digital flashcard template.
  • Reskill Me: pitched by Neel, a venture capitalist originally from London, as a skills training platform targeted those threatened to be left behind by Globalization in a post-Brexit world.
  • Super Moms: pitched by Alex (another Brit!) online career platform for reintegrating recent maternity / paternity leave parents into the workforce.
  • Teacher Licensure Tracker:  pitched by Cara, a teacher turned UX designer, this is an administration platform for storing and tracking teacher certifications and licenses.







StartupWeekend Education Returns to Boston (November 10-12)

On November 10th, Startup Weekend Education returns to Boston for the first time since 2014 with a great group of judges, mentors and organizers from the education and start-up worlds set to support you and your ideas to help drive innovation in education!

Backed by Techstars, the worldwide entrepreneur network, and hosted at Pearson Education’s Copley Square offices, StartupWeekend Education (“SWEDU”) creates a space and resources to bring new ideas, technology and entrepreneurs to make a difference across the Boston (and global!) education community. 

No better example exists LeanGap, one of the winning teams from the past 2014 Boston SWEDU. Pitched by by a high-school student as an idea for a start-up accelerator for other high schoolers, LeanGap is still going strong today, having just finished their third summer (read more here on BetaBoston)!  

On November 10-12, you have the chance to be our next success story, working with over 100 educators, students, developers, designers, and other professionals on your team.  Our judging panel includes Mark Racine (CTO of Boston Public Schools), Christine Ortiz (former dean of MIT), Jean Hammond (founder of the LearnLaunch accelerator), Aaron Feuer (CEO of the Zuckerberg funded Panorama Education) and Curtiss Barnes (SVP of Pearson) and our coaches are drawn from some of the leading entrepreneurs, practitioners and software developers in the education industry.

You will also benefit from having a local organizing team who have led nearly a dozen SWEDUs between them, including Vicky Guo of Pearson, a co-organizer of the 2014 Boston SWEDU, Hannah Nyren of the EdTech Times (@edtechtimes), who was on one of the winning teams at 2014 Boston SWEDU, and Christopher Nyren (@cnyren) founder of Educated Ventures.

The winning team will secure additional support, including free invitations to some of the leading education startup conferences and festivals across the country including LearnLaunch, NY EdTech Week, and more to be announced!

Lets see what you can do in 54 hours with all their support, three meals a day, and a fun, collaborative working environment! Learn more and register under the early bird pricing (ending this Thursday!) at bit.ly/bosswedu!








Final Teams Form at Chicago StartupWeekend EDU

As the first night of Chicago StartupWeekend EDU comes to a close, our 7 final teams are furiously whiteboarding and business model canvasing.  image1A list of those teams and all 25 ideas pitched during PitchFire follows (final teams markets in bold and with an asterix):

  • *Eternity Engine: an online globe with a slidebar overlay for more interactive world history lessons
  • Math and Logic: math tutoring and…I missed this
  • Pedagoji: an online learning hub with gamification for engagement
  • Lingua: an ESL tool, not a lot of detail beyond that
  • *Games for Jocks from Educelerant Dennis Glen, offering remedial tutoring through serious games and other aspects appealing to collegiate atheles
  • Eduko from another Educelerant Erika Kot offering an occupation focused social website to support career exploration / entrance 
  • *Coachable, cloud hosted short class recordings for teacher professional development from recently retired teachers. Made it to the finals, but subsequently disbanded
  • *WatchmeWork, web portal with online streams of experts hard at work for consultation / reference. Made it to the finals.
  • Seeking Mentorship, a website for mentorship, I think
  • *Learning Buddies, from Dr. Jane Hornickle, a peer to peer tutoring in special education, which made it into the finals!
  • Codeable Bracelets, a cool idea from Makeda Ricketts for programmable bracelets to teach and popularize coding to girls (still bummed this did not get through to the finals!)
  • Math Media, from Michael Adamson of Atlanta, one of our farthest travelling participants, injecting pop culture video into math lessons
  • Summer Plans, for tracking children’s plans for summer
  • IdiomOcean, from Natalia from Indiana (though only recently having moved there from Colombia) a marketplace connecting language learners with native speakers for improved fluency and contacts
  • Pi Master from Educelerant and 2013 SWEDU alumna Deeann Dorman
  • *Whipping Post, an online disciplinary write-ups app which made it to the finals!
  • Perfolio from Jeremy Peters who only days ago told me he was done with Education and Start-ups…glad to see him back in the fold
  • *Tutor Train, an online tutoring feedback app jointly pitched by Tash and Stenio (looks like they already have a team), which made it into the finals!
  • *FantasyFinance bringing fantasy stock portfolios into the classroom to teach math, which advanced into the finals (too bad Eric Nelson isn’t here to help coach)!
  • Mentors for Minority Success, a social site connecting incoming minority freshman with older peer students for mentorship and support
  • And our last two pitches responding to our facilitator’s personal appeal, Student Studio, and MyMoney, a math app based on real world math skill needs
Speaking of our facilitator, a special thanks must be given to Nirav Amin, a local Chicago StartupWeekend enthusiast and recent facilitator of Little Rock Startup Weekend.  With widespread flight cancellations following the closing of all Chicago airports due to some bizarre Air Traffic Control tower arsonry, our original facilitator from Startup Education was kept from flying in today.  Thankfully, we were able to appeal to Nirav’s love of StartupWeekend to pry him away from his father’s birthday party to facilitate!







Chicago StartupWeekend Education Announces its Prize Package

SWEDUChicagoThanks to our amazing sponsors, Chicago StartupWeekend Education is announcing some special prizes for its winning teams! Local and global Startup Weekend sponsors are also providing some awesome perks, swag, and resources for all attendees.

The Winners’ Circle

  • 4.0 Schools4.0 Schools is providing free admission and travel to the multi-day Essentials workshop (covering up to $500 in travel costs);
  • The Educelerate Conference is providing a $500 credit to the team that best addresses the unique Challenges of Non-Educeleratetraditional Students (adult, online, low-income, minority) for the technology development consulting service of their choice.
  • 18711871 is offering a free two month membership to the winning team and, with DeVry Education Group, an invitation to the top higher education focused team to meet with the head of the new DV X EdTech Incubator there;
  • Kaplan TechstarsThe lead mentor at the Kaplan Techstars EdTech Accelerator will connect with the winning team to provide advice and insight into their next cohort;
  • The head of West Coast Relations at Pearson Labs will also connect with the winning team to provide advice and insight into the next Pearson Pearson CatalystCatalyst cohort;
  • And rumor has it that there is one more winner’s prize in the mix…

We are also excited to highlight several global Startup Weekend resources and sponsors – check out the below for information about Google bootcamps, free domain registration, and more!

  • .CO is proud to support Startup Weekend by providing all participants with the opportunity for a free 12-month .CO domain registration. Don’t settle for a lame name with dashes or missing vowels — get a short, memorable, user friendly domain name to launch your startup this weekend! Find an available .CO name via http://nameyour.co/ and use the promo code provided by your organizer to get your .CO at http://www.go.co/startupweekend.
  • Google is providing everyone a $500 of credit to build startups on Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine. Redeem at: cloud.google.com/starterpack (verification code: swoff-org).
  • Built with the same technology that powers Amazon.com, Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides start-ups and businesses with a secure, reliable, easy-to scale, low-cost computing platform “in the cloud.” AWS is issuing all SW participants a credit voucher valued at $100 which can be applied to an existing account and is good until 12 months from issue. Please follow the instructions on startupweekend.org/aws to sign up for AWS and redeem the promotional code provided by your SW Organizer.







ONE WEEK until Chicago StartupWeekend Education

SWEDUChicago

Chicago Startup Weekend Education

 September 26th – September 28th, 2014

National Louis University

CNN-fantasygeopolitics

Last year, Minnesota high school teacher Eric Nelson drove down to Chicago to share the paper based project he had developed over the years for the Civics elective class he teachers. Over one 54 hour hackathon, Chicago StartupWeekend Education (“SWEDU”) helped Eric to build this idea out into an actual, online product, Fantasy Geopolitics.

Eric did not win Chicago SWEDU, he did not even place in the top three, but he had a product, team members and coaches who believed in him and so, he continued on with a kick-ass Kickstarter campaign, admission to 4.0 Schools, and an invitation to the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit.

Next week September 26, StartupWeekend Education returns to Chicago and our hosts from last year, National Louis University, the largest educator of teachers in the state of Illinois. And ironically enough, the top two teams from last year were both led by members of the NLU community.

And to support this year’s new teams, we have assembled an all-star list of coaches from such Chicago EdTech start-ups as GetSet, LearnMetrics, Packback, RedShelf and instructors from start-up schools like DevBootcamp, Starter League and Startup Institute. The finals will be judged by the president of National Louis University Dr. Nivine Megahed, the noted K-12 consultant and founder of the #GlobalEd and #STEMxCON movements Lucy Gray, the founder of Starter League Neal Sales-Griffin and more.

Winning teams will be selected to receive such prizes as free admission (and airfare!) to attend the 4.0 Schools Essentials program, two months free rent at 1871 and a meeting with the new DV X DeVry EdTech Incubator at 1871, and interviews with the head of the Kaplan Techstars EdTech Accelerator, Pearson Labs and Pearson Catalyst and a new edtech corporate venture group.

Buy your ticket to Chicago SWEDU here (and thanks to the Joyce Foundation, we are offering a promo code “JoyceFdn” offering a 40% savings for Educators).