AltSchool Raises $100M to Build Microschools


Reposted from IndustryWeek:

Tech industry leaders including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have raised $100 million for an education initiative aimed at “reimagining” schools from the elementary school level. The San Francisco-based AltSchool announced Monday the latest funding came from the venture capital groups Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation led by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla. Other contributors included Omidyar Network created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and venture investor John Doerr.

“From SpaceX to Airbnb to Oscar, today’s strongest entrepreneurs are creating technology-enabled models to transform some of the oldest and most established industries in the world. We believe the time has come to reimagine education,” said Brian Singerman of Founders Fund. “The US education system has remained largely unaltered for decades. AltSchool has the audacious vision and scalable solutions to accelerate truly transformative change in the education space.”

AltSchool calls itself “a collaborative community of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers, deep research, and innovative tools to offer a personalized, whole child learning experience for the next generation.”

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Read/Listen to the NPR interview/podcast on AltSchool here.

Ed Tech Start Ups Convene in Arizona


Reposted from the New York Times:

The annual ASU+GSV Summit conference here, an effort put on by Arizona State University and GSV Capital, an investment firm, started six years ago as a modest event in the desert where investors came to hear company presentations from about 50 education start-ups. The conference has since become the central event for investors and companies scouting for the next big thing in education technology — a melting pot for executives from McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, Google and Microsoft, Kapor Capital and the NewSchools Venture Fund, and start-up entrepreneurs.

This year about 270 companies are presenting, all represented by either their chief executives or founders. Among them are companies like Degreed, which developed in an ed tech accelerator financed by Kaplan, the test-preparation company. Degreed has attracted angel investors including Mark Cuban, the investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Deborah Quazzo, a managing partner at GSV Advisors.

“It’s a place where it’s all senior people,” said Ms. Quazzo, one of the conference organizers. “So conversations can occur at a high level.”

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A Challenge to Educators with Innovative Ideas


Reposted from EdTech Digest:

Teacherpreneurs are teachers solving problems through scalable edtech start-ups. We’ve lived through the systemic issues facing education and we’re able to use strategies that we know will work to solve them. I’d like to challenge educators who have innovative ideas to try their hand at building a business. Rather than subjecting yourself to a new “program” that may or may not work, you’ll have concrete affirmation or denial through the market itself. Every educator I’ve ever spoken with has a unique perspective on the classroom. You’re already doing invaluable and groundbreaking things in your classroom and the rest of the world deserves to share in your success.

We’re launching an experimental answer: a Kickstarter campaign for Adaptive History. BirdBrain History will be our second content area of adaptive and differentiated reading. We’re an early start-up that’s served over 50,000 students and teachers in the last year. In no way does this mean it’ll be easy. To date, the only edtech tool that’s run a successful large-scale crowdfunding campaign was Mathalicious in 2012! Our goal is to create the most accessible curriculum tool on the market for students to read and schools to pay for.

If you don’t know where to start, there is a growing network of edtech entrepreneurs and do-gooders that would love to connect with you. Teach For America connects their alumni through the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, and you’re able to connect with many other education enthusiasts through local Meetups, Accelerator events and StartupWeekendEDU.

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The Mind Subway: Which Line Do You Usually Ride? [INFOGRAPHIC]

mind subwayI was riding the New York subway a couple of years ago. Got lost and came out in the wrong place.  Same with thoughts – you find out you got on the wrong line of thinking. This infographic by Funders & Founders concisely makes the case for thinking generatively and entrepreneurially in order to make a difference in our life and the lives of others.

View the original posting here.

7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs


Reposted from Entrepreneur:

Enter “entrepreneurial traits” into Google, and the menu of frequent searches will complete the query with “… of Steve Jobs” and “… of Bill Gates,” among others. These are the forces of nature that spring to mind for most of us when we think of entrepreneurs – iconic figures who seemed to burst from the womb with enterprise in their DNA. They inspire, but they also intimidate. What if you weren’t born with Jobs’ creative genius or Gates’ iron will? There’s good news for the rest of us: entrepreneurs can emerge at any stage of life and from any realm, and they come in all personality types and with any grade point average.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, you don’t have to be Type A – that is, an overachieving, hyperorganized workaholic–or an extrovert to launch a successful business. “Type A’s don’t take the risks to be entrepreneurs,” says Elana Fine, managing director of the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, adding that the same goes for straight-A students. “Very often it’s C students who become entrepreneurs.”

However, the best entrepreneurs do share a collection of characteristics, from tenacity to the ability to tolerate risk, that are crucial to a successful venture. An analysis of 23 research studies published under the title “The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Entrepreneurial Status” found that entrepreneurs have different personality traits than corporate managers, scoring far higher on traits such as openness to experience (curiosity, innovation) and conscientiousness (self-discipline, motivation) and considerably lower on neuroticism, which allows them to better tolerate stress.

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3 Reasons Skateboarders Make Great Entrepreneurs


Reposted from Entrepreneur:

“Skateboarders’ controversial traits are precisely the things that let them defy convention. They may be just the folks to do things other people won’t when they transition from the world of skateboarding to the business scene.

Skaters might spend hours every day learning how to switch hard flip down six stairs or land a nollie overcrook down a handrail. You might think they’re dedicated or addicted, but in reality they’ve learned how to make something difficult something so much fun it doesn’t feel like work. Entrepreneurs might be able to relate.

When these kids grow older, they may not skate three to six hours a day, but they’ll never forget what it felt like to try a trick 200 times for six days before landing it once, and then trying another 100 times to land it a second time. Here are three reasons a 14-year-old skateboarding son, who can’t be nudged to do his homework, might end up as the CEO of a successful tech startup some day…”

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13 Ways To Become An Extraordinary (ED) Entrepreneur [INFOGRAPHIC]

Extraordinar Entrepreneur

This infographic from cites thirteen traits and values that can help anyone become a more effective, successful entrepreneur. Think entrepreneurship is just for business? Read this list and consider its implications for leading in education. Then think about the implications for students preparing to work in a global marketplace of ideas. Entrepreneurship is key!