Next week, innovative online educators will comingle with some of the hottest entrepreneurial minds in educational technology to foster an additional bridge between the world of business and formalized education.  Fostering more formative feedback loops between these frequently silo’d sectors of society is becoming more and more critical as technology continues to present compelling solutions to old teaching and learning problems and paint exciting visions for the future.  Ensuring today’s entrepreneurs are in dialogue with today’s educators is critical to the success of teaching and learning.  And that is the objective of the Launch Pad, the brand new program included in next week’s Sloan-C/MERLOT ET4Online Conference in Las Vegas, which I have had the honor of chairing this year.

Eight outstanding startups have been selected to participate in this year’s inaugural Launch Pad. They are listed below.  A representative group of the participants will participate in a plenary panel at the conference on Thursday, moderated by EdSurge’s Tony Wan.  If you are attending the conference, please be sure to come by the Launch Pad, explore the creative genius of these products, converse with the creators themselves, share your feedback about their products, and attend the plenary on Thursday morning which will commence immediately following a stimulating presentation by James Byers, co-founder of Wikispaces!

  • BuzzMath: a mathematical mission that leads middle school students to proficiency through supported practice. The student-centered and user-inspired design makes BuzzMath practical and motivational for students and teachers.
  • Ginkgotree: puts the power of curriculum curation back in the hands of the faculty who teach it, to lower students’ costs and improve their learning outcomes. The platform allows instructors to assemble online curricula from any resource, complete with automated copyright clearance and digital content sourcing.
  • HireArt: HireArt is a new type of jobs marketplace that uses online challenge-based interviews to vet job applicants. HireArt screens and sources candidates through work samples and video interviews that simulate what a candidate would do at the real job. 
  • The Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework: a multi-institutional data-mining project, managed by WCET. It brings together 2 year, 4 year, public, proprietary, traditional, and progressive institutions to collaborate on identifying points of student loss and to find effective practices that improve student retention in U.S. higher education.
  • scrible: a tool that lives in your browser that allows a user to seamlessly annotate and comment directly on webpages and save, share and manage them with others. Scrible makes online information usable and manageable.
  • Skyepack: a content-focused educational software environment that is designed to facilitate the delivery of learn-anywhere mobile content as an alternative to texts, course packs, and class handouts. Skyepack enables instructors to easily build mobile-ready learning content from a variety of media and resources, delivering video, audio, documents, self-assessments, and HTML5 applications.
  • STEMscopes: a K-12 comprehensive online science curriculum housed in Rice University’s Center for Digital Learning and Scholarship. STEMscopes provides hands-on inquiry activities, assessments, problem-based-learning, intervention tools, acceleration materials, and teacher support resources. Our program is 100% aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and meets the rigor and depth of both the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) and high school End-of-Course (EOC) assessments.
  • ValuePulse: Social learning platform that harnesses the power of social media to provides one-click access to a credible, curated news library to fuel discussions in a course.  Empowers students to achieve learning objectives by engaging current industry news as opposed to textbooks and understand how to effectively apply social media to their professional lives.

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