AI Influencing Emerging Education Tech Companies


AI technology is being incorporated in solutions offered by some of the 11 startups or newcomers to education chosen from a field of more than 40 companies as “emerging partners” by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) for the 2018-19 school year.

The program introduces companies to state-level digital education leaders, where they can gain insights into the K-12 market. For ed-tech directors, the focus is on locating companies that are “innovative and creative in solving problems that exist in the market,” said Melissa Greene, the director of strategic partnerships for SETDA, in an interview.

Among the newly selected emerging partners are Wonder Workshop, a company that built a national consumer brand, and is now looking to make inroads in K-8 coding instruction; a startup called Loose Canon launched by an author and former English teacher who wants to encourage educators to offer students free choice in the books they read for credit in classes, and Ask School Data, founded by a 35-year district technologist who wants teachers to be able to access student data by speaking to a device driven by artificial intelligence.

This is the sixth year that the collaboration has spotlighted new technologies for ed-tech leaders. “It opens the door to important relationships and conversations while providing valuable opportunities for these growing companies to get in front of nearly all 50 states at the same time,” said Tracy Weeks, SETDA’s executive director.

At the same time, the national organization benefits when the emerging partners “help teach us about what’s up and coming, what’s new,” said Greene. More companies are returning for year two of the program than ever before, she said.

Of the newcomers that applied, Greene said there were more niche ed-tech solutions this year than ever before. Where learning management systems and video education programs predominated in the past, this group of applicants represented providers aimed at more specific needs.

Companies Making State Connections

Returning for the third year of partnering with SETDA are Classcraft, LeaRn and MIDAS Education. Second-year returnees will be CatchOn, Cignition Inc., Readorium, Streamable Learning, and Vital Insight.

Here’s a look at the first-year cohort:

  • Ask School Data, based on Amazon’s Alexa platform, retrieves student data on voice command and recites it aloud to an educator;
  • Blending Education advances the idea of “microlearning” as a way of delivering content in small, manageable units, as an avenue to personalized learning;
  • GreyEd Solutions markets FilterED, an adaptive, cloud-based tool for school leaders to view the current technology landscape with the evidence, data, and context needed to prioritize, implement, measure, and monitor ongoing technology initiatives;
  • GoEnnounce offers a platform where students can build a positive digital image in their own learning e-portfolios;
  • Kiddom provides assessment, curriculum development, messaging, and analytics in one collaborative learning platform;
  • Leaderally is a learning platform that provides professional development;
  • Loose Canon is a web service designed to encourage English teachers to allow students to freely choose what they will read for credit;
  • is a source for locating and filtering RFP opportunities;
  • Tresit Group specializes in active threat response and risk management for schools and other organizations;
  • WISEDash Local is a Wisconsin nonprofit consortium connecting districts to data dashboards;
  • Wonder Workshop offers curriculum and professional development to teach coding in K-8 with its robots.

Read the source article at EdWeek.