EdTech in the Summertime: LearnLaunch Hosts a Very Cool Meetup

Education technology supporters LearnLaunch hosted their Summer Ed Tech Meetup in the PayPal office in downtown Boston with over fifty educators, publishers, academic leaders and industry experts attending.

Jean Hammond, co-founder of LearnLaunch and LearnLaunchX, organized the event “to bring together people with similar interests looking at them from different perspectives – and coming out with an enhanced view.”

One attendee saw the rich mix of EdTech enthusiasts this way: “The randomness of this meetup was great… just by chance I met a world-renowned adaptive learning pioneer from MIT and we had a great discussion about ideas I had, and I heard his take on them.”

Hakan Satiroglu, co-founder of LearnLaunchX, said “The group sessions around these topics proved engaging for our community and highlighted the possibilities as well as the challenges we face in EdTech today.”

It was as creative a format as one would expect from our beloved innovation-oriented LearnLaunch team: the participants were asked to collectively determine the five hottest topics in EdTech, and then split into groups to discuss. Thanks to frequent rotation, attendees were able to weigh in on many of the issues in a share/ideate/repeat cycle that was representative of the tech development lifecycle itself.

Were you unable to attend?  Here’s a sneak peek at the topics and some of the discussion:

Hot Topic #1: Mobile Use in Teaching

“When we used digital books, the students were still forced to buy hard copy books at the regular price, but got the ebooks for free. When we were in class, were they on facebook or actually reading the digital coursebook? I had to resist the urge to police them.” – A.C., technical writer in technology

“K-12 requires careful selection and coordination at the district level. From a tech development standpoint, we need the right platform, the right tool, to address the fact that all kids cannot afford their own.” – J.F., Principal, EdTech Consulting

Hot Topic #2: Adaptive Learning

“Tech makes adaptive learning an option. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw: ‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’ Technology is the vehicle that makes this possible!” – S.A., founder of e-learning company

“It’s the dream but not the reality. We need another layer of technology in order to implement.” – D.F., Director at top Boston area university

“The time it takes teachers to organize their content – it’s a problem that’s been around for a long time.” – J.S., tech sales engineer

LearnLaunch Meetup Photo 2Hot Topic #3: MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

“Where do credentials matter and where don’t they? To me it’s notable that 60-70% of those who didn’t complete an edX course remained active learners in course assessments and discussions. Perhaps this happens more in vocationally-driven courses where competency gains were more important than getting that credential.” – H.L., VP of e-Learning strategy

Hot Topic #4: Flipped Classrooms

“Does it leave room for more peer-to-peer learning? It feels like it has a long way to go.” – S.S., EdTech Entrepreneur

“Helps greatly with teaching where there is low teacher/student ratio, the teachers leverage themselves through technology.”- Anonymous

“Learning styles matter- what works best? Does reading a paragraph, seeing a video, or using tactile-text work best with a particular student? And can we really rely on students to self-select the best way to learn? Sometimes they choose what they percieve to be the easiest.”  – C.B., Media Developer in Education Publishing

Hot Topic #5: Hodgepodge – “Everything Else that Matters”

“Where is the monetization in this industry? How do we navigate the labyrinth of school districts and students and parents? And how do we get the attention of the investors?” – Anonymous pragmatist

This fall is full of more events for Boston’s EdTech community – check out LearnLaunch’s upcoming schedule here.

Laurisa Neuwirth

Laurisa Neuwirth

Laurisa Neuwirth is a shameless evangelist on behalf of the Greater Boston innovation economy. With a diverse background including software development, philanthropy and human capital, Laurisa blogs about technology disruptions in industries that are critical to our local economy. You can follow her @LaurisaNeuwirth.