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50 innovative education startups for 2012

List of education startups

Some of today's educational methods seem like relics of the one-room schoolhouse. Meanwhile, the academic performance of US students continues to slip, teachers burn out from boredom and administrative burdens, and those footing the bill grow increasingly frustrated with the cost. At the corporate level, a rapidly-changing business and technological environment has made re-training an ongoing essential rather than an occasional luxury, yet few companies are equipped to meet this educational challenge.

Subject

With new technologies and communication methods reaching the mainstream, perhaps there has never been a better time to update educational methods. The potential for using things such as mobile apps, multimedia presentations and crowd-sourcing to improve the process of education is starting to be tapped in a serious way. Here are 50 online tools and resources for you to explore:

Educational content for students

The following resources have hit the market recently to facilitate education of young and old alike:

  • > Academic Earth: Provides video courses and lectures from a variety of colleges.
  • >Chegg: A source where students can buy, sell, or rent textbooks.
  • >eduFire: Matches students with teachers and courses for live, online learning.
  • >Eleven Learning: Open-source textbook publishers focused on making content affordable and technologically up-to-date.
  • >Inkling: A provider of interactive textbooks for iPads.
  • >K12: Online education for students in grades K through 12.
  • >Khan Academy: A free online library of over 2,700 educational videos.
  • >Kno: Provider of e-textbooks and apps for organizing the material on tablets.
  • >Learn Out Loud: Audio and video educational materials.
  • >Matygo: Online technology courses in a personalized format.
  • >Myngle: Matches students with language teachers from around the world for individual attention.
  • >udemy: Compiles courses in a variety of formats so users can construct a customized program.

 

Teaching tools

These companies help teachers and schools update how they deliver and organize lessons:

  • >2tor: Helps colleges develop effective online programs.
  • >Better Lesson: A network of teachers sharing lesson plans and classroom materials.
  • >Blackboard: Technology solutions for teachers and schools.
  • >Curriki: An open community for sharing curriculum resources.
  • >The Education Arcade: A source for teaching games.
  • >Educomp: Provider of curriculum programs and teaching tools.
  • >Engrade: A tool to help teachers organize classroom data.
  • >Goalbook: An app to help teachers, parents, and students communicate.
  • >Haiku: Technology tools for classroom and online teaching.
  • >Learn Boost: A free organizational platform for teachers.
  • >Sclipo: Support platforms for online campuses.
  • >Skillshare: Helps people develop teaching skills so they can offer courses in their areas of expertise.
  • >Sophia: Automated tools that help teachers customize programs for specific students.
  • >Spongelab: Science content and teaching tools.
  • >Time to Know: A digital teaching platform that helps teachers create critical thinkers.
  • >Wireless Generation: Educational content and support systems for teachers and schools.

Study/learning aids

Tools designed to help students develop specific skills:

  • >CarrotSticks: Games to help students improve math skills.
  • >Grockit: Social media tools to help students prepare for standardized tests.
  • >Klablab: Crowd-sourced videos to demonstrate educational concepts.
  • >Knewton: An adaptive learning platform designed to customize content.
  • >Koofers: Organizational and learning tools, plus information on specific teachers and courses.
  • >Lumosity: Online training designed to improve the brain's performance.
  • >Mind Snacks: Mobile games to teach foreign languages.
  • >Motion Math: Mobile games to sharpen math skills.
  • >netTrekker: Tools that help access and organize educational information.
  • >Open English: Online training for English fluency.

Online learning communities

Sites that use social media principles to provide support for students:

  • >Inigral: Develops Schools App, a Facebook application for schools to help their students form a community.
  • >Livemocha: Engages people from around the world to help teach languages.
  • >Pocket Tales: Allows children to share reading experiences.
  • >Slader: Uses crowd-sourcing to provide students with homework help.

Corporate education

Resources for training in the workplace:

  • >eLearning Brothers: Helps companies develop e-learning programs for their employees.
  • >Mindflash: An online program to help organize corporate training programs.
  • >OpenSesame: A site which compiles information on e-learning courses for corporate training.

Miscellaneous

Some original ideas that don't quite fit into any of the above categories:

  • >Certified Business Laureate: A standardized test which allows college graduates to demonstrate business skills.
  • >Enzi: Funds students by offering investors a share of their future earnings.
  • >Imagine K12: Start-up advice for people launching educational companies.
  • >Teachers pay Teachers: An online marketplace where teachers can buy and sell lesson resources.

Whether for teachers or students, or intended for academic or corporate settings, the above startups and tools have been chosen for this list because they apply new technologies to an old challenge: how to make education effective, efficient and affordable.

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