The graphic below shows businesses that were launched by students. Did you know that such popular companies as Reddit, WordPress and Time Magazine were founded by students? WOW!
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- Founder’s Dictionary: Buzzwords Every Entrepreneur Should Know (Infographic).
- 10 hábitos de emprendedores felices y exitosos [Infografía]
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Written by Gerson Ribeiro, an Education Entrepreneurs Community Leader in Recife, Brazil.
My first time at SXSWedu in Austin, TX was simply mind-blowing! I had the honor of being there and even better, I got a chance to stay at the HQ of Education Entrepreneurs with five other amazing people that were focused on engaging around the topic of education.
The keynotes, panels, and after-parties were both fun and informative. SXSWEdu is the perfect event for learning more about edtech, education innovation, and the trends that will change how we learn and teach.
Here are three key things I learned there that I’m excited to share with you:
1) Kids must learn how to code
One trend that is not exactly new, but everybody is talking about, is the importance to teach kids how to code. I believe that coding is being emphasized for two reasons: 1) the computing industry is growing and we need to prepare our kids for these jobs, and 2) programming makes the brain connect things better and more systematically.
At SXSWEdu there was a presentation by Matt Venn and his presentation focused on three topics:
- How to teach computing without a computer
- How to teach programming without code
- How to teach computing without being boring
I was really impressed by his titles and was amazed by the time he finished the presentation. As a university programming student, I thought it would never be possible to teach computing without a computer or without coding. Matt’s presentation showed me that it’s very simple to do all of that with kids by using different approaches to programming besides just going to the keyboard and typing everything.
First, he made us understand that coding is really about the logics behind it. Logics and parameters are easy to understand and are applicable for everything in our world. His example was to ask for a blindfolded person to move from one place to the other.
Of course this is difficult with obstacles, so we had to devise some basic instructions, like walk a limited number of steps, define the size of each step, turn right or left 90 degrees and stop. This may sound silly but basic programming could be something like that:
- define step = size of your foot;
- walk straight ahead for 20 steps;
- turn left_90_degrees;
- walk straight ahead for 5 steps;
- turn right_90_degrees;
Kids would easily understand these basic concepts and then you would go further into coding by introducing other real-life activities to teach them more about the logics behind it.
That was a lot of fun to do! If you are a teacher you should try it!
2) Bring Hollywood to class
New research and different experiments show us that we can’t just teach kids in a passive way. We need to motivate them to be curious, active and go learn by themselves. One very interesting approach was shown at SXSWEdu by using different aspects from Hollywood, video games, and storytelling.
At the Playground Talks & Hands-On (an awesome place where you learn by doing), we had the privilege to engage in an activity hosted by Allan Staker. There, around 10 adults were on a quest to find a missing researcher that was solving a very important mystery.
By using different elements, like Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, we were involved in solving the whole mystery behind the story by learning trigonometry, geography, history, and other things. We also got a free compass! Yay!!!
The main idea is to bring the students to a journey that has mystery, drama, and action. A journey where they are active characters, and their job is to solve whatever the mission requests of them. This is an interesting approach, but also a little tricky, because the teacher must find new ways to teach the same curriculum but embedded inside the context of the story.
Storytelling is very important, and structuring an exciting story is key to success.
Maybe very soon we are going to be seeing some RPG games with quests that include some math problem solving and biology research embedded in it. We’ll see!
3) We don’t know (yet) which model is the best: Old vs New
I’ve been working to innovate education for a while now and meeting Brian Greenberg from Silicon Schools was simply an honor. The guy is amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I could not have imagined that there would be somebody willing to confront him on a public panel, fervently defending traditional schooling. (For those of you who don’t know, Brian is an advocate for new school models). That was before I met Anthony Kim, the super smart CEO of Education Elements. They were in a battle to defend their points of view during the panel School Models: Tried and True vs. Shiny and New.
Heather Staker was responsible for mediating the conversation and made it even more rich by asking very difficult questions.
While Brian was defending how we can develop new and innovative schools by using different methods, Anthony brought the traditional point of view for solutions in education.
For us in the audience, it was really interesting to see these two points of view being discussed at the same time. Is the old school model so bad after all? Are these brand new learning methods going to really work in the long run?
One thing’s for sure, this is a debate that will go on for a long time.
More about Education Entrepreneurs
Education Entrepreneurs is the largest initiative in the world focused on helping people use entrepreneurship to improve education. Its suite of offerings include Startup Weekend Education, Startup Digest Education, Workshops, online resources, and a global network of Community Leaders. Spanning six continents, Education Entrepreneurs has created an unprecedented opportunity for anyone, anywhere to shape the future of education.
Miyakawa is a Startup Weekend Education Organizer and the Founder of Kotobá, a connector of students to engaging Japanese language lessons.
***Read about Miyakawa’s Startup Weekend Edu Youth Recife event. For the first time, outside the US, young people set up educational startups in 54 hours.
What do you like to do for fun?
Watch tv shows, read books, talk, and travel. Try and do exciting things: Cook, surf, play, standup comedy.
If you could have any teacher (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be and why?
Nelson Mandela. He engaged people to make a better country. The humbleness he had when he left the prison and thanked the guard, the determination he had to be against the values of that time…. I have many things to learn from him.
What’s your favorite edtech company and/or innovative school, and why?
Udemy. It’s simple, practical, and skill-focused learning.
How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs (EE)?
After my first Startup Weekend, I was hooked. I talked to Gerson about it and we started Organizing one in Recife.
What’s been your involvement in EE to date?
What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?Finding Sponsors.
What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?
Seeing that I’m part of change and making the world better place! People leave the event empowered and talking about next steps. That’s fantastic!
What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to those trying to build an education innovation community?
Engage with schools, teachers, professors, policy makers. They often don’t feel part of the entrepreneur world as devs and designers do. We have to make educators comfortable and communicate that they are the key people that will making things happen.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to people trying to create edtech products?
User experience is important. Engaging students to learn smoothly is the challenge in this mobile and internet world. It’s getting accessible, easy-learning, almost free, so the business model is challenging too.
You just launched the first ever SWEDU Youth Edition outside of the United States – congrats! Why did you decide to do it?
Youths are often excluded from entrepreneurship. “Too soon, too young” is the same excuse. We wanted to include them, hear them and challenge them to build educational solutions. There’s no convention that holds them back, and we wanted to see where all that creativity would take us.
What’s different about a SWEDU Youth Edition than a regular SWEDU?
In SWEDU Youth has step-by-step workshops. The kids don’t know pitches, costumer validation, etc. So we have to teach them in a practical way. Also, dedicated mentors make a huge difference. They act as godparents, guiding the kids through the whole weekend.
For those Organizers who may want to do a SWEDU Youth Edition in their community, what are the three biggest pieces of advice you’d give them?
- The role of mentors is SUPER important. They stay together with the kids the whole time, they’ll be dedicated coaches.
- Finding mentors that not only understand business and education but also is great with kids.
- Having a consolidated school as partner is great to have trust from parents (and help approach the attendees’ parents)
What’s the legacy you want to leave in education?
Accessible and high-quality learning for everyone. We have technology to make it possible! I don’t wanna see a single person not taking a chance of his life because he didn’t have the opportunity to learn something.
Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
be fun and engaging for everyone.
What are the books, events, videos, etc. that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?
Meetups (organize one!)
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really happy to be part of the EE community and help things happen here in Brazil. Being an Organizer at Startup Weekend Education is really enriching, it’s an honor to help people feel empowered by entrepreneurship. It’s a huge learning each time. We have lots of challenges to overcome in education but one thing is sure, we’re not alone. Peace 🙂
Entrepreneurship is a Journey
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve all heard this phrase used to set the context for those about to take their first leap into entrepreneurship, and I think most seasoned entrepreneurs would agree with the point it’s trying to make. The development and sustainment of a successful startup doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes months upon years of hard work, sacrifice, discipline, and execution to produce a venture that’s secured product market fit and established a solid foundation to ensure its livelihood for years to come. Due to the various obstacles entrepreneurs will have to overcome and the wide range of emotions they will experience trying to turn their vision into reality, some might argue that entrepreneurship is neither a marathon or a sprint – it’s moreso a marathon, a sprint, an Ironman Triathlon, Tough Mudder, and Tour de France all rolled into one, while carrying 50lbs on your shoulders.
No matter what you compare it to, the fact is, becoming a successful entrepreneur and building a successful startup is quite the arduous process. Success doesn’t just happen; large amounts of time and energy must be invested over extended period of times, and throughout various stages of the company’s development. Recognizing this, UP Global, created The Entrepreneurs Journey. Broken up into six stages, The Entrepreneurs Journey outlines the specific phases every entrepreneur goes through in pursuit of creating a prosperous venture. In order to ensure entrepreneurs’ needs are met at every stage, UP Global has created complementary programs for each one, including Startup Digest, Startup Weekend, Startup Next, Startup Week, and Entrepreneurs Across Borders.
Education Entrepreneurship is Unique
Recognizing that entrepreneurs aiming to build education businesses face unique problems (e.g. developing products that align to both the needs of students and teachers, securing pilot opportunities in schools, navigating government policy around student data), UP Global developed Education Entrepreneurs. The goal of Education Entrepreneurs is to create a suite of programs and resources specifically to meet the needs of education entrepreneurs. Beginning with the popular “turn your idea into a startup in 54 hours” program called Startup Weekend Education, Education Entrepreneurs offerings have expanded to include Startup Digest Education, Bootcamps, and Summits. Whether interested in exploring different options to innovate in education, excited by the opportunity to build a prototype in a weekend, or ready to jump full steam ahead into the world of being an official edtech founder, Education Entrepreneurs is giving more people than ever the opportunity to utilize entrepreneurship and technology to solve problems in education.
Partnering With Imagine K12
In the past year alone, Education Entrepreneurs has expanded from 12 to 74 events, 9 to 59 cities, 3 to 24 countries, and 2 to 6 continents. This means nearly 7,000 people around the world have joined our community and are engaging in the innovation process. As we help increasingly more people enter education entrepreneurship, we want to make sure they have access to the best resources, mentorship, and funding opportunities throughout their journey. Earlier this year, we partnered with edSurge, the leading source of news and resources on education technology. This partnership has provided our community with access to important and timely content, valuable resources, and unique opportunities.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we are partnering with Imagine K12, the leading edtech accelerator. This partnership will give our education entrepreneurs better access to crucial mentorship and funding opportunities to scale their ventures and ensure the solutions they develop actually reach the learners they were designed to help.
Since 2011, Imagine K12 has cultivated hundreds of edtech entrepreneurs and companies by providing them with funding, mentorship, connections, and incredible guest speakers, like Mitch Kapor, founder of Kapor Capital, Eric Ries, founder of The Lean Startup, and Paul Graham, founder of YCombinator. Here’s some data highlighting Imagine K12 results to-date:
Launched more than 70 companies
Imagine K12 companies have raised more than $120 million
More than 10 million students and more than 1 million teachers are using Imagine K12 products
Remind, 2014 Educators Top Messaging App
Code HS, 2013 NBC Innovation Challenge
Hapara, 2013 NYC Schools Gap App Challenge
Raise Labs, 2013 GSV/ASU Education Innovation Summit
LearnSprout, 2013 MBA Impact Investing Network
Bloomboard, 2012 SXSW LAUNCHedu K-12
NoRedInk, 2012 NBC Innovation Challenge
ClassDojo, 2011 NBC Innovation Challenge
Over the past three years, several Startup Weekend Education and Startup Weekend alumni have been admitted into the Imagine K12 cohorts, including the founders of Class Dojo, NoRedInk, Blendspace, Plickers, Learning Jar, and Tioki. With a goal of connecting even more Startup Weekend Education alumni to valuable funding and mentorship opportunities, our new partnership with Imagine K12 will give all first place winners of Startup Weekend Education events a guaranteed interview with Imagine K12’s investment team, if they choose to apply. All teams participating in Startup Weekend Education events as part of the Education, Empowered Track during Global Startup Battle this weekend and next (November 14th-23rd) are eligible for this opportunity, and local Facilitators and Organizers will be equipped to answer participant questions.
As Education Entrepreneurs grows over the years, it is our goal to support education entrepreneurs at every single stage of their journey, and we’re excited that our partnership with Imagine K12 will help us achieve that.
More About Imagine K12
Imagine K12 is a startup accelerator for companies that are creating innovative technology solutions to enrich and transform K-12 education. Starting a company is hard, and the education market presents unique challenges. Imagine K12 has a singular goal: improving your company’s chances of success. They do this through a combination of strategic advice and mentorship; supportive networks of investors, educators, and entrepreneurs; and a small amount of initial funding (about $100,000). Over the past three years, Imagine K12 has helped to launch 70 companies, which have collectively raised over $120 million in funding and reached millions of classrooms around the country. Read why Imagine K12 is excited to partner with Education Entrepreneurs.