This week, GoodCall is at TechCrunch Disrupt learning firsthand how technology is changing education as we know it. It’s easy to see how technology is changing how we manage our daily lives from tracking our spending to sending mom a custom video for Mother’s Day, but in the education space, technology is not only changing how we live from day-to-day, it’s also changing how we learn and the schools we attend.
Emmie Chang, CEO & founder of Future League. Photo: GoodCall
Emmie Chang, CEO and founder of Future League, is setting the stage for a whole new generation of coders and engineers. Her newest startup, called Future League, provides robotics and engineering workshops to students in grades K-8. The idea behind it all is simple, just like students who take piano lessons over the course of many years learn to play better, Future League’s workshops will expose young students to coding and engineering skills from an early age so they can become proficient in these programs by the time they go to college.
The classes use design thinking concepts adapted from Harvard and Stanford’s education and computer science departments. Classes are hands-on and project-based and are provided as part of after-school programs or in community centers. All in all, the programs consist of 100 hours for kids in grades K-8, during which they complete 3 small projects and 1 capstone project.
“Students who take part in Future League go to college with a ton of project building experience in robotics and engineering – and with a lot more confidence,” Chang explains.
Funded by Y-Combinator and other prominent angels, who’ve also invested in Uber, Classpass and Airbnb, Future League is launching online pilots this summer, offering its workshops through Camperoo – another startup that Chang launched in 2014 as a marketplace for programming and engineering workshops and camps for kids.
Anasofia Monteblanco, ByteKnack founder. Image: GoodCall
ByteKnack teaches computer science to kids ages 6 and up using storyboard-style online lessons. It’s powered by Artificial Intelligence that serves as a learning assistant for students. Plus, the software can assess in real time what students are learning and when/if they run into stumbling blocks.
With the strong focus on getting kids learning computer science early among the startups at TechCrunch Disrupt, ByteKnack aims to get more girls interested in computer science by using storytelling rather than games. Currently, there are companies that offer gaming-style lessons that appeal more to boys but have not proven popular among young girls.
Founder and CEO Anasofia Monteblanco tells GoodCall that the startup is preparing to run a demo featuring students ages 6-10 years old.
Classtag is revolutionizing parent-teacher communication and opening up new channels for parent-to-parent collaboration. The startup’s app connects classroom parents and children to faces and names, enabling parent-to-parent collaboration on a safe and secure platform.
It’s also bringing K-12 classrooms up-to-date with the latest technology for calendar integration and sending automated reminders to parents about class activities. No more tracking paper slips with parent signatures. Teachers can easily see which parents will be attending and who hasn’t replied yet. They can also track which parents have read homework and test announcements, creating parent-teacher communications that are more open than ever before.
Time Machine Tours
Kyle Hudson, founder of Time Machine Tours. Photo: GoodCall
Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Now, there’s an app for that too. Time Machine Tours is a new app that leverages GPS technology and historical images to let people travel, virtually, back in time to see what a specific place looked like in years past.
Founder Kyle Hudson launched Time Machine Tours with his winnings from being a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The app, which started using QR code technology, now runs off his proprietary GPS technology that allows users to pinpoint, within feet, where a photographer was standing when taking a photo.
According to Hudson, “I think for the most part kids are still taught today, the way they were 100 years ago. History lessons are presented to them in big blocks of text and their eyes glaze over. Time Machine Tours lets kids access and experience history in a way they’ve never been able to before.”
Students, through their school, local museum or library – can build historical tours of their hometowns by using historical photos and the Time Machine Tours app. Tours are shared on the Time Machine Tours community and can be accessed by any other user. Student privacy is a big priority for Hudson who says that all of the user information in Time Machine Tours is kept private.
“Students are naturally fascinated with history, with what has come before them, but most of them just don’t know it yet,” says Hudson. “Time Machine Tours changes all of that.”
Time Machine Tours is helping learners get as close to time travel as possible with a free iOS app that lets you relive history as you walk through the streets of cities like Chicago, New York and Washington DC.
Imagine students taking a field trip and walking through the scenes of the Great Chicago Fire with the images in hand on their mobile devices, or imagine rather than watching a Powerpoint presentation in a history course, students taking virtual field trips using the app to relive history in class or anywhere in the world. Time Machine Tours currently has tours of New York City, The Bronx, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Philadelphia, and they’re adding new content each month.
2016 EdTech Movers and Shakers
Earlier this year, education technology startups announced big changes, with several already showing how they’re changing the education model, from creating new online degree programs that teach in-demand computer science skills, connecting graduates to jobs in the tech industry, or finding ways to help teachers use data analysis to manage their classrooms and students’ progress.
These next three EdTech startups are already showing us what the new models for education will look like.
“Our mission is to help people change their lives by getting the qualifications they need to get a great job in the tech,” said Ryan Carson, Treehouse co-founder and CEO, in announcing the program. “These are not jobs in Silicon Valley alone – they are jobs across America, in every sector of the economy. Our goal is to help fill these vacancies with well-qualified and highly motivated people from a wide variety of backgrounds.”
Building on the success of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms, which offer courses taught by professors at top universities from around the world. Udacity was founded in 2011 by Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun and the startup has made waves for taking the MOOC concept to partnerships with industry giants like Google, Facebook, AT&T and many others.
Udacity’s platform offers free courses as well as paid nanodegree programs that teach the skills employers need today as well as offer credentials endorsed by tech employers, at a fraction of what it would cost to attend a traditional school.
This online university by “Silicon Valley” seems to be paying off for students, who are landing jobs at major technology leaders. In an earlier GoodCall article, Shernaz Daver, CMO of Udacity, said “FlipKart is hiring Nanodegree graduates as Android developers without interviews, simply based on their Udacity profiles and projects, a move they dubbed ‘interviewless hiring.'”
This January, Apple acquired LearnSprout, an education technology startup that’s empowering educators with tools to understand big data and use it to improve outcomes for students, classes, schools and school districts. To date, the startup’s technology is being used in over 2,500 schools, 200 school districts, and 42 states across the country.
But technology is not only changing education, it’s also changing how recent graduates get jobs. Don’t forget to check out the six startups we met at TechCrunch Disrupt 2016 that are transforming the recruiting and hiring industry.