Boston's ed tech startup scene might have received a large spotlight in the U.S. over the past year, but it's hardly alone when it comes to fast-growing education companies. Right in Washington, D.C. — Education Dive's backyard — are a number of promising companies, backed by incubators like 1776 and True Ventures, looking to upgrade learning at all levels, and in a variety of ways.
From publishers to social networks, here are 11 D.C. startups looking to make a mark on education.
With myEDmatch, educators and schools can connect based on shared missions, beliefs and goals. The job-matching site has teachers and schools build online profiles, search for jobs and candidates, and communicate with the best matches. Ultimately, the site aims to land the right teacher in the right classroom, thus leading to better student outcomes.
Similar to myEDmatch, but with a different audience, Interfolio is creating a professional social network for the higher ed sector. Its platform will give faculty, scholars, administrators and other powers-that-be at colleges and universities a place to connect, collaborate and strategize. By mixing a professional network with enterprise SaaS products, Interfolio's goal is to sidestep the inefficiency and bureaucracy that can often stifle progress and collaboration in higher ed institutions. Products include a portfolio management solution, a collaborative review and rating service for committees, and recommendation letter submission and management system.
Education publisher Flat World Knowledge was founded with the goal of giving students and faculty a better option for textbooks. Their approach combines fair prices starting at $19.95, the freedom for students to choose the book’s format and for professors to update to a new edition when they choose, and the ability to create open-source texts. Flat World Knowledge’s material is also written by experts and peer-reviewed, supplemented with test banks, manuals and lecture slides. The company’s content is used by over 1 million students, 44,000 faculty and 3,500 institutions around the globe.
On CampusSplash, users can ask and answer questions about college, grad school, study abroad and internship programs, financial aid, and a variety of other higher ed topics. Questions are answered by admission officers, students, parents and other users who know, and “Splash Karma” is awarded for answering and sharing questions, or when students use the site’s tools in their college decision-making process. Also on tap are an admissions calculator, a textbook rental store, dorm reviews and a blog with posts like “5 Reasons to go to Your Professor’s Office Hours” and “4 Ways to Get Involved on Campus.”
With education funding stretched thin, educators need all the help they can get. Edbacker is a crowdfunding platform for K-12 educators looking to fund projects, events and ideas through a simple and transparent platform. This way, donors are able to find the projects they’re most interested in funding, from small-scale science experiments to large-scale facilities like playgrounds and sports courts.
EverFi offers learning platforms on topics including financial literacy, student loan management, digital literacy, cyberbullying, alcohol abuse and sexual assault awareness. As a result, it’s a valuable tool at both the K-12 and higher ed levels, and 5.8 million students are currently certified at the 5,500 institutions in its network. The company provides its technologies and services to K-12 schools for free, via partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, while colleges make their purchases directly. Through its “Commons – Digital Town Square” platform, it also provides civics education. Its platforms utilize media, gaming, simulation, social networking and virtual worlds.
CollegeSnapps is a free mobile app for iPhone and Android that gives students timely, high-quality, institution-specific information, reminders and tips while also letting school counselors and advisors monitor student progress via a Web-based dashboard. Students are prompted to answer fully customizable messages, and the answers trigger appropriate action. Students are kept in the loop via Twitter-style messaging, mobile meeting requests, personalized reports for counselors and advisors, and automated warning messages.
AlwaysPrepped provides a dashboard that gathers and analyzes key classroom performance data. The free analytics tool can draw data from accounts like Engrade, Socrative and Khan Academy to provide a more well-rounded idea of student progress across these platforms.
Interactive and personalized, CollegeAppz guides students and their families step-by-step through preparing for college. The company’s free program uses student criteria and school characteristics to conduct a comprehensive search, providing information on academic classes, activities, PSAT/SAT/ACT/TOEFL test prep, applications and financial aid, and it can link to Facebook. CollegeAppz also lets administrators share announcements, documents, events and links with students while also providing tools that track student progress based on factors like grades, test scores and college application completion. A more advanced search is also available.
StudyHall is an online tutoring and classroom management tool for middle school to college-level students. The site provides access to thousands of qualified, private tutors online in subjects ranging from standards like math and reading to test prep, and it also provides storage for notes, homework and projects. Its three plans range in price from $79 a month to $399 a month.
LaunchPad's goal is to help students find their calling in life so they don't spend tens of thousands of dollars on a degree field they don't really like. With free assessments and a variety of workshops, the startup helps students build confidence in their decisions by identifying their strengths and helping them build a roadmap for their college career. With that in mind, it could be a useful additional tool for college advisors.
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