EdTech.MD to Boost Education & Economy

Baltimore is emerging as a technology hub, particularly EdTech. Regionally, Maryland’s over 20 technology incubators rival Manhattan as a hotbed.
EdTech Maryland, a new nonprofit, will leverage the momentum and provide statewide support to EdTech startups, connect teachers and tools, and develop an integrated ecosystem.
With a focus from early learning to job training, key initiatives include:

  • Convening EdTech stakeholders through formal and informal events
  • Sponsoring short cycle trials on new tools and innovative practices (like LEAP Innovations in Chicago)
  • Leading talent recruitment efforts to retain and attract entrepreneurs, educators, developers
  • Supporting schools to improve learning outcomes
  • Attracting and cultivating and attract philanthropic and venture investors
  • Highlighting Maryland startups and innovation
  • Advising policy makers.

Well-regarded consultant and commentator Katrina Stevens (@KatrinaStevens1) will serve as the executive director of EdTech.MD. Rather than launching a new EdTech incubator, Stevens said the new initiative will connect and support every EdTech startups in incubators statewide.
As detailed in the Smart Cities series, Baltimore is home to Connections Education, Sylvan, Calvert, Engrade, Laureate, PrometricsStraighterLineWords and NumbersLearn It Systems, and National American University. EdTech investors include Sterling PartnersNew Markets Venture PartnersCamden Partners, Calvert Street, TEDCO, Cammack Associates, and Wasabi Ventures.
Some of the EdTech startups that call Greater Baltimore home include:

  • Alchemy Learning: supports a flipped classroom by helping teachers bring digital content and instruction to students;
  • Allovue: finance and data visualization app for school districts;
  • BusyGrad: inspiring science, a social network for grad students;
  • Citelighter: academic research tool that provide an organizational framework for writing;
  • ClassTracks: a customizable blended learning platform for the foreign language classroom;
  • Common Curriculum: organizes a teacher’s lesson–and life;
  • Curiosityville: recently acquired by Houghton-Mifflin, a world of personalized preschool content;
  • An Estuary: disruptive developer of professional learning tools and experiences;
  • Immersive3D: combines 3D graphics and multiplayer gaming strategies into powerful learning experiences;
  • Lessoncast Learning: company focused on next generation teacher preparation & professional learning;
  • See Future: enables universities to streamline and optimize career services to get students jobs;
  • Three Ring: is a student work company; and
  • Unbound Concepts: organizes digital content, linking content developers and instructors in a digital dialog, and
  • We Learn Software: eNotebook is a digital notebook app for classrooms: and
  • 1SQBOX: an all-in-one management system and dashboard for schools and parents.

A dozen foundations support education and some focus on innovation. World class universities provide research and workforce development.
Digital Harbor Foundation has contributed to the Baltimore EdTech ecosystem as a convener, maker space, and incubator. Future Makers is a mobile maker-space for public schools. Code in the Schools teaches computer science to under-represented students and the Baltimore STEM Robotics Center supports robotics programs and provides internships for participating students.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor provides urban amenities at a fraction of the cost of Manhattan making it an efficient startup location.
EdTech.MD will add tech jobs to the economy, will connect teachers to new tools, and will support innovative new school models. It’s an example of the double bottom line initiative that every city and state should support.
For more on Baltimore’s EdTech environment, see:

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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