Which startups are making an impact in classrooms?
Startups, by nature, have a tendency to disrupt seemingly every industry they touch. But one particular area of society has yet to experience drastic change: the classroom.
That disruption may soon be coming, however. Numerous startups are looking for ways to change the classroom experience. Heading into 2017, it's becoming clear that educational technology represents an area of untapped opportunity.
Virtual reality is an educational tool
If virtual reality is used in professional industries like construction and medical, it can make an impact in education. VR can help students immerse themselves in some of the most famous novels, in important moments throughout history, or see the mitosis process up close and personal. These virtual field trips can add a new element to the educational process and help students better understand parts of their curriculum.
And one startup is trying to bring VR to the classroom. In 2015, Alchemy VR partnered with Google to deliver its Cardboard VR system to schools around the world. Students could then watch Alchemy VR's critically acclaimed stories from their desk and immerse themselves in their studies. As VR continues to improve, students will be able to experience even more lifelike worlds.
Parent-teacher communication is vital
Children often hide things from their parents, particularly when they're struggling in class. Startups can help bridge that communication gap by introducing new ways for parents and teachers to contact each other more often.
Classtag is a startup trying to revolutionize parent-teacher communications. The company's app lets teachers schedule conferences with parents and share important classroom news. An open line of communication ensures no classroom updates, such as if a student needs extra tutoring, are hidden or go overlooked.
The family is an important pillar in a child's education, and technology has the power to create a stronger relationship between parents and a teacher. Together, everyone can work together to help a student succeed.
Entry-level coding can be taught
With each passing year, it's evident that knowledge in computer science or coding is increasingly important. Future League - which has received startup financing from angels who've also invested in Uber and Airbnb - wants to create the next generation of coders by teaching such a curriculum to K-8 students, according to GoodCall.
Future League CEO and founder Emmie Chang believes students should learn computer skills over the course of many years so by the time they reach college, he or she has a solid foundation off of which to build.
"Students who take part in Future League go to college with a ton of project building experience in robotics and engineering – and with a lot more confidence," Chang said to GoodCall.
Curriculum can be tailor-made
Not every student absorbs classroom material the same way, and some need more time to comprehend certain topics or ideas. Teachers can use the platform built by Knewton to dive deep into the challenges that come with teaching a diverse classroom.
Knewton uses adaptive learning technology to inform teachers which students are struggling or excelling on particular assignments, or even if a video portrays a lesson better than text, Built In NYC explained. With the help of adaptive learning technology, teachers can strive to meet the individual needs of every student.
Computers and tablets have enhanced the classroom experience, but it's time to go one step further. Edtech startups are putting their resources into ideas and services, like VR, in order to truly transform the educational experience.
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