SIIA Innovation Incubator Program Announces 2014 Finalists

SIIA announces finalists, and an alternate, for its Innovation Incubator Program. The program will be held during the 13th annual Education Industry Summit, the leading conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market. The finalists will feature their products during the event, May 12-14 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Awards will be presented to the Most Innovative and Most Likely to Succeed, based on the votes of conference attendees. The Educator’s Choice Award will also be presented based on votes from educators and administrators from around the U.S., and SIIA will award prize packages from program partners to the award winners.

The SIIA Innovation Incubator Program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in their development and distribution of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006 and has provided support for dozens of successful products and companies in their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content, and related technologies. The program is open to applicants from academic and non-profit institutions, pre-revenue and early-stage companies, as well as established companies with newly developed technologies.

Innovation Incubator Program finalists were selected from the applicant pool based on key selection criteria, including:

  • Ability to positively impact end users of the product
  • Ability to succeed in the ed tech market
  • Level of originality and innovation

All Innovation Incubator finalists will present during the Business Profiles Presentations Monday afternoon, May 12, which is immediately followed by the Innovation Showcase & Networking Reception where they will be available for one-on-one product demonstrations and in-depth discussions.

Innovation Incubator Program participants are:

Capture Education - A scheduling software that reduces data entry tasks and allows real data driven decisions to be made.

Crowdmark Inc. - A document assessment web application that allows instructors, or teams of instructors to easily mark up and grade documents.

EDUonGo - A cloud-based platform that allows highly collaborative learning and educational sharing.

Million Dollar Scholar - An open online platform that delivers highly tailored scholarship opportunities to students in High School and College and empowers students to achieve those scholarships.

Mondokio International News - The next generation resource for news articles in the classroom, it allows for customization to avoid bias and allows students to consider multiple perspectives.

Mosa Mack: Science Detective - A web library of animated science materials that engages students with a mystery format for each lesson.

Nepris - A web-based platform that seamlessly connects curriculum, industry expertise, and classroom needs to engage students in STEM and expose them to real job skills and role models.

Promethean/Classflow – An integrated learning platform that enhances education productivity by orchestrating and streamlining a collaborative teaching and learning process.

Ranku- A discovery engine for online degrees, using personalized search through LinkedIn and Facebook to help adults find reputable online degrees from accredited universities.

Smart Science Education, incInteractive video based online science labs for grades 4-12 that supply online science labs where lab space, cost and time challenge the use of hands on labs.

Alternate:

SchoolToolsTv.com A state-of-the-art video website that provides teachers with daily, one-minute videos that help teach important social skills, create a healthier school climate and reduce bullying.

For more information about the Education Industry Summit, visit siia.net/eis/2014/incubator.asp or contact Lindsay Harman at lharman@siia.net.

Big Data Improves Education Around the World

A recent article by the head of the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank Group, urged the responsible use of big data analytics to improve student learning around the world. IFC works in more than 100 developing countries supporting companies and financial institutions to create jobs and contribute to economic growth.  Supporting improved education is one of their strategic priority programs.

The IFC article highlighted several initiatives that they are supporting:

  • Bridge International Academies in Kenya uses adaptive learning on a large scale in its 259 nursery and primary schools, with monthly tuition averaging $6. By deploying two versions of a lesson at the same time in a large number of classrooms, Bridge can determine which lesson is most effective and then distributes that lesson throughout the rest of its network.
  • SABIS provides K-12 education in 15 countries including in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. It mines large data sets for more than 63,000 students, collecting more than 14 million data points on annual student academic performance that are used to shape instruction and achieve learning objectives.
  • Knewton is an adaptive learning platform that partners with companies like Pearson, Cengage, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Wiley to personalize digital courses using predictive analytics.

These uses of big data analytics will improve learning in developing countries and the IFC should take pride in its leadership role in spreading these techniques around the globe.

Some are concerned that the new use of data for improved learning threatens student privacy. As a recent Wall Street article says:

“Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to using data in schools isn’t technological, though. Rather, it’s the fear that doing so will invade the privacy of students.”

The IFC recognizes the concern and urges policymakers to get out in front of the issue and to design privacy protections into big data projects from the ground up to make sure that the information is used appropriately to support learning:

“To realize those benefits – and to do so responsibly – we must ensure that data collection is neither excessive nor inappropriate, and that it supports learning. The private sector, governments, and institutions such as the World Bank Group need to formulate rules for how critical information on student performance is gathered, shared, and used. Parents and students deserve no less.”

SIIA agrees.  As part of our effort to encourage privacy by design in the educational context, we recently published our recommended best practices for providers of educational services to schools, focusing on the need for an educational purpose, transparency, proper authorization and security in the use of student information.

The Administration’s review of privacy and big data is examining this issue in general and as it applies to student privacy.  We look forward to working with them to make sure that the promise of better learning for the world’s students is fulfilled through the responsible use of big data analytics.


Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow Mark on Twitter at @Mark_MacCarthy

SIIA Supports FY15 Funding for ConnectEDucators

Our K-12 education system continues its embrace of technology and digital learning to improve school operations and student learning. According to SIIA’s Vision K-20 educator survey, 81% of responding K-12 educators report technology integration as highly important to them. While educator support is strong, teacher knowledge and skills continue to slow progress. The same SIIA survey found that only 20% say their institution currently has a high level of technology integration. To that end, SIIA supports President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal for ConnectEDucators, which would provide $200-$500 million in funding “to help educators leverage technology and data to provide high-quality college- and career-ready instruction that meets the needs of all students.”

Support for teachers, principals and other educators is critical to the effective use of technology in education, which in turn is necessary to ensure student success in the digital age and global economy. Educators need support not only in how to use the technology, but as importantly, in how to redesign their curriculum and instruction to a more engaging, student-centered model. This means using data systems to better understand the performance and needs of each student on a regular basis, and using the Internet, creativity and communication tools, and digital learning repositories to mix and match resources that best meet each student’s unique needs.

The budget proposal is one element of President Obama’s ConnectEd initiative announced last year, which centers around ensuring student highspeed broadband connectivity. The proposed ConnectEDucators program, would provide: (1) formula-based State Leadership Grants to help enhance state and local capacity to support the transition to digital learning; and (2) competitive, 3-year grants to school districts to support the implementation of comprehensive plans to ensure that educators have the skills and supports needed to dramatically improve student access to high-quality instruction through technology and digital learning.  Among the envisioned uses of funds are support for educators to: deliver high-quality digital learning resources and content, use a wide range of devices and digital tools, use real-time data to personalize learning, use technology to increase engagement with families and other teachers, and access online professional learning.

SIIA calls on the U.S. Congress to respond to the needs of our teachers and students and appropriate at least $200 million in FY15 funding for the ConnectEDucators program.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

 

SIIA Says New York State Budget will Help Promote Digital Learning

SIIA today issued a statement on the 2014-2015 New York State budget. The New York State legislature approved, and Governor Cuomo signed, the 2014-2015 state budget last night, which includes school funding and makes a number of related policy requirements. The budget includes a $2 billion general obligation bond to fund enhanced education technology in schools, including broadband infrastructure and student devices. The bill also places new regulations on schools and their contractors with regard to student data privacy.

SIIA congratulates Governor Cuomo and the New York state legislature for passage of a historic $2 billion school technology bond initiative that will help ensure all students have access to digital learning necessary for their educational success. Included in the 2014-2015 budget, these funds will support the broadband infrastructure and computer devices needed for students to access rich content, online learning and creativity tools.

Importantly for the advancement of education technology in New York, the bill’s new student privacy requirements are improved from earlier versions. SIIA calls on New York State education officials to work with schools and service providers to put in place the clarifications and transition period needed to implement the many new student data requirements.  Doing so will help avoid unintended consequences that may limit student learning opportunities, and will give schools and their contractors sufficient time to understand the new regulations, as well as to update policies, practices and technologies accordingly.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

SIIA Announces Education Finalists for 2014 CODiE Awards

SIIA today announced the 146 finalists in Education categories for the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards. These finalists represent applications, products, and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

This year’s program features 31 Education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models. Winners will be announced during a special awards dinner at the nation’s leading education technology conference, the Education Industry Summit, in San Francisco on May 13.

This year’s finalists are breaking ground with new business models and innovative products. We are pleased to recognize the best in educational technology with these 119 products. I look forward to honouring them all in May at the Education Industry Summit.

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program. Educators and administrators conduct the first-round review of all education nominees. The judges are responsible for selecting the CODiE Awards finalists, and SIIA members then vote on the finalist products. The scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners.

Details about each finalist are listed at siia.net/codies/2014/finalists.asp. For more information on the Education Industry Summit, attending the CODiE Awards dinner, and to see a full schedule of events, visit siia.net/etis.

2014 CODiE Awards Education Finalists
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10 Reasons Not to Miss Ed Industry Summit May 12-14 in San Francisco

The SIIA Ed Industry Summit will be here before you know it! May 12-14 sounds far away, but if you register now, you can really leverage your time in San Francisco. Here are the top ten reasons for attending this year:

10. May and San Francisco. After the rough winters we’ve all had these past months, we deserve the nice weather that usually greets us on the West Coast at this time of year. You can spend free time during or after the conference enjoying the beautiful city!

9. Location. You know how many major high tech companies there are in San Francisco, let alone the Bay Area. To do business with them, you could come in early or stay another day to meet them. But….see them AT the Summit, saving you time and resources. We know how important networking is for our conference attendees. That’s why at the Education Industry Summit, you’ll find several key networking opportunities.

8. Innovation. Ed tech start-ups abound in the Bay Area, but our Innovation Incubator competition routinely brings the ‘best of the best’ to the Summit with our industry’s most innovative products and companies. Develop relationships with them before your competitors do!

7. Business Connections. Have SIIA schedule two hours of your time during the One-to-One Business Connections on Tuesday afternoon. With our partner Educational Systemics, we’ll help you meet the companies that can help you meet strategic and business objectives. These fast-paced exchanges will help pave the way for increased capital, revenue, and strategic alliances between participants. Meet the right people, for the right reasons!

6. Competitors. They may not be registered yet, but the Summit always draws the leading players in the industry. We already have many of your partners, peers, and competitors registered. Don’t be obvious by your absence! Look who’s coming.

5. Market Intelligence. Learn what’s coming in ‘the cutting edge’ of education and technology and how to transition your business to effectively reach decision-makers in K-20 institutions. Conference sessions will review what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a post-PC world, and will prepare you and your company to build the infrastructure, products, and services to support the changes that schools want or need.

4. Sales. Contact your best prospects for partnerships BEFORE the Summit by getting our pre-registration list of attendees. Names and their contact details too. But, to get the list, you need to register first.

3. Support. Be in the audience when your CEO, business partner, or customer is speaking or to help recognize the people who make this industry great. Show your support for speakers and the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ed Tech Impact Award.

2. The CODiE Awards. Accept your CODiE Award–or see who wins–at our 29th annual CODiE Awards Reception & Dinner. The SIIA CODiE Awards have been the premier award for the software and information industries, recognizing excellence for 29 years. If you are unable to attend the Education Industry Summit, you can still purchase tickets for the CODiE Award Ceremony reception and dinner.

1. Huge Savings. Save $300 with our early-bird registration rate. Leverage your budget dollars and go back to the office with actionable items you can implement. Can’t beat that ROI. In order to receive the early-bird rate, be sure to register by April 7th!

Innovative Policies, Developer Content and Data Tools are Key, According to Education Officials at SIIA Mobile Learning Forum

SIIA this week hosted a successful meeting with education policy makers to enhance dialogue with developers of moble learning and other educational technologies. Discussions helped SIIA members better understand how public policies, funding and regulations are impacting their K-20 education customers, and provided education and government officials with an better understanding of the industry’s role, questions and concerns. Among the clear conclusions from SIIA’s Education Government Forum on Mobile Learning: Educators and students are looking increasingly to deveopers and service providers for adaptive, mobile content as well as data analytics as the engines of instruction and the platform for student learning.

The conference agenda included:

  • Keynote presentations from Rich Crandall (Chief, Wyoming Department of Education), Robbie Melton (Tennessee Board of Regents) and Kathleen Styles (CPO, U.S. Department of Education);
  • Review of federal and state K-20 policy trends from both analysts and officials;
  • Discussions about the migration to mobile learning; and
  • Updates on pending regulations and funding shaping the market, includingthe E-rate, student privacy and Common Core State Standards and assessments.

Among the takeaways:

  • Leading educators are turning increasingly to mobile devices to personalize learning and meet student needs anytime/everywere — They are looking to developers for interoperable, adapative and aligned content and tools; and they are looking for flexible public policies to support that innovation including the E-rate.
  • Safeguarding student data privacy and data security are critical — A regulatory framework is now in place, and policy must not get too far ahead of the problem and unintentionally restrict data-driven learning.
  • Common Core State Standards and assessments are moving forward — Implementation is hard work, but educator and public support remains strong as does their need for aligned instructional resources, assssments and data-driven professional development.
  • Costs and quality remain primary concerns in higher education — Public policies are pushing toward an outcomes-based model built around transparency and flexibility, while entrenched interests and undefined competency metrics stand as barriers to reform.

 


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.