Global EdTech Startup Awards 2014

Overview: The Finalists of the Global EdTech Startup Awards

Over the past couple of months edtech founders across the globe were invited to submit their startup to the Global EdTech Startup Awards. The awards are organized by a group of edtech incubators and accelerators including MindCet, p.a.u. education, Edtech Incubator and Socratic Labs. You might remember them from the Open Education Challenge earlier this year.

The GESAwards don’t offer a monetary reward or investment but the winners will be invited to visit the different incubators over a period of four months, getting free workspace and mentoring.

The four winners will be announced on September 15th, three by a panel of judges and one by the audience through social media.

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Ardusat enables K-12 students to remotely control small Satellites carrying Science Experiments

Ardusat, a Utah-based education company focused on enhancing student engagement through hands-on experimentation, launches a platform that will enable K-12 students to remotely control small satellites called “cubesats” carrying science experiments.

The company aims to get more kids interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by letting them track storms or study solar flares from space.

It also claims that this new platform will democratize access to space for a new generation of students who won’t see NASA’s shuttle program in action.

The platform is itself available to K-12 schools during the 2014-2015 school year, with initial participants from classes in the U.S., Brazil, China, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Israel.

Truth be told, Ardusat wants to make business with schools. Schools have to purchase the Ardusat classroom package to be able to access data from the satellites. That said, Ardusat will also produce curriculum based on its cubesat experiments that will be free for any teacher to use in the classroom.

More details in the press release

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HEDLINE: Pluralsight raises $135 million Series B

Pluralsight, a Salt Lake City-based online training platform for technology professionals, has raised a $135 million Series B led by Insight Venture Partners with participation of ICONIQ Capital and Sorenson Capital.

The round brings Pluralsight’s valuation close to $1 billion reports TechCrunch. Pluralsight previously raised a $27.5 million Series A in January 2013 from Insight Venture Partners.

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Startup Profile: StudyPact

Motivation is a crucial ingredient when it comes to successful learning. Therefore, we are going to take a closer look at motivational factors in language learning at our upcoming event “Multilingualism in Europe” and discuss how citizens of the EU can be motivated to learn at least two foreign languages.

In this Startup Profile we learn about StudyPact, an edtech startup that adds a crowdfunded motivational layer on top of learning apps and products. The concept is easy: as a learner you get paid when you reach your study goals. If you miss your goal, you have to pay a fine which is then used to reward other successful learners.

Continue reading hires former and EF Englishtown executive Andrew Wait as CRO

The same day Udemy announced its three new management hires, shared that itself made an important new hire. Andrew Wait becomes Chief Revenue Officer, overseeing the company’s strategic direction including, global expansion, marketing, customer experience and enterprise sales. Wait will report directly to CEO Eric Robison.

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Udemy new hires

Udemy hires Seasoned Execs – Focus on Scale and Growth

Udemy added three seasoned executives to its management team which further underlines that the startup days for the course marketplace are over.

The new hires will take over roles as vice president and general manager Udemy for Organizations, vice president of business development and vice president of finance and operations.

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Second Languages in Europe

Infographic: Second Languages in Europe

To start off the coverage for our September event on multilingualism in Europe, we chose an Infographic from which illustrates the respective second language for every European country.

A few of the findings come as little of a surprise. Of course, English is a strong second language in many countries in Europe including France, the Scandinavian countries with the exception of Finland and Italy. Russian has also maintained its strong position in several of the Eastern European countries including the Baltic states and the Ukraine.

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Startup Profile: ClassDo

Since the advent of VoIP, countless edtech startups have tried to leverage the technology to build learning platforms that connect learners and teachers from across the world. Most of these early startups are long gone but thanks to faster Internet connections, better hardware, new protocols like WebRTC and video calls entering the mainstream, live video lessons have seen a renaissance.

ClassDo is one of those new startups aiming to build a global marketplace for lessons of all kind. Based in Tokyo but with an international team, ClassDo has attracted users from all continents mainly through word of mouth.

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Language Assessment

Radically Re-thinking Language Assessment

Editor’s Note: This post is co-authored by Paul Gollash, founder and CEO of Voxy and Katharine Nielson, chief education officer at Voxy.

English language learning is fraught with ineffective products and failed instructional approaches, complicated by disparate proficiency scales and non-standard interpretations of terms like “intermediate” and “advanced.” This leads to confusion about what results learners should expect after language study. It also contributes to unclear guidelines for stakeholders who evaluate learners’ proficiency, from university admissions offices to future employers.

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EdTech Funding News

EdTech Funding July 2014: WeSpeke, OpenEd, MamaBear, ClassOwl

Digital Education logo smallOur EdTech Funding Coverage is brought to you by Digital Education.

In this EdTech Funding Roundup we take a look at investments we haven’t covered in our regular news rundown in July.

WeSpeke, a social network for language and cultural exchange, raised a $3 million Series B. OpenEd, a search and recommendation engine for Common Core aligned resources, raised a $2 million Seed Round. MamaBear, an all-in-one parenting app, raised a $1.4 million Angel Round. ClassOwl, a communication and organization app for college students, raised an $850k Seed Round.

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