Last week at #SXSWedu with partners fromnNYCDOE iZone, Leap Innovations, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we hosted #SharkTankEdu. Modeled after the show Shark Tank, this event brings together educators and EdTech companies to build better products for K12 education.

Our panel of teacher sharks had the chance to listen to four innovative pitches and provide feedback during a Q&A session. This format is a great opportunity to learn about new and upcoming EdTech products and allow inventors to gain valuable feedback before going to market. Below is a summary of the four participating companies.

Improve Class, (@improveclass) leverages collective insight to provide teachers with feedback on recorded classes and lessons. The dashboard also allows teachers to create a professional growth plan. The teaching panel was impressed with the technology, but warned against making the comments and feedback in teacher lessons available publicly without some level of teacher control. The teachers appreciated the ability to control who saw their lessons and being able to shared with trusted colleagues.

Kiddom, (@kiddomapp) is a free dashboard that connects with Google Apps and allows teacher to use rubrics and other standards-aligned methods to assess and assign work to students. Teachers loved the tie in with Google Docs but did worry about having to keep two screens open to view an assignment in Google and grade within Kiddom. The ability to load and edit your own rubrics and align to Common Core and state standards was a well discussed benefit.

Wonder, (@Wonderlib) is a search engine for learning that allows users to curate content based on friends and influencer’s posts and shared content. The use of tags and titles for content help others searching for the type of content have easier access to it, much like a Pinterest of content. Through questions the teachers shared feedback on how to market the product and different applications for use in classrooms.

Sterio.me, (@steriome) the mobile homework app closed out the night at #SharkTanEdu. The app aimed at students and teachers, allows for extended learning on a mobile device, and comprehensive real-time analytics for teachers. The sharks appreciated the ease of use, ability to use offline and reminder functions. However, there was some concern about what types of devices students would have available at home to use for homework.

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