eSchool News staff recommends three edupreneurs to watch in 2014 who are transforming how technology can deliver instruction more effectively and enhance the student experience.
In October 2013, The Atlantic highlighted three “edupreneurs,” or innovators, who work tirelessly to not only advance math and science education in the U.S., but to energize attitudes toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.
The list included Vince Bertram, president and chief executive officer of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a provider of STEM programs. Under his leadership, PLTW has expanded in more than 5,000 schools, reaching more than 600,000 students each year.
Linda Kekelis, executive director at Techbridge Girls, made the list for inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers. Linda has helped create after school and summer programs for mentoring 4,000 girls in science and math. Cordelia Ontiveros, associate dean of the College of Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, is also recognized for advocating STEM education and encouraging Hispanic females to pursue engineering degrees.
To remain competitive in the global economy, educators in the United States are examining other novel approaches on ways technology and innovation can deliver instruction more effectively and enhance the student experience.
(Next page: See which edupreneurs you should watch in 2014)
As a former Teach for America Corps member who taught 10th grade English in South Central Los Angeles, Beth Schmidt wanted to provide disadvantaged students with an equal opportunity to excel. Beth founded Wishbone, a new nonprofit that sends low-income high school students to after school and summer programs. Low-income students in grades 9-12 living in New York and San Francisco who are interested in science, leadership, and music can receive funding for top extracurricular programs by donors, foundations, corporations and program providers.
Wishbone aims to eliminate opportunity gaps by offering students exciting after school and summer programs that build confidence and encourages students to pursue their passions. Students can share updates about their experience with donors online and by email.
In 2010, a Turkish-born edupreneur named Eren Bali launched Udemy, a platform that allows people to teach and learn online. Udemy is similar to the massive open online course (MOOC) in that anybody in the world has free access to study under quality instructors, but differs in that instructors can be anybody qualified without necessarily possessing a PhD or being a distinguished academic. Udemy teachers can create online courses with both on-demand lectures (via videos, presentations, articles, eBooks) and live classes using the web-based virtual classroom application Udemy Live.
As of August 2013, 1 million students are using Udemy and more than 8,000 courses are available in 10 languages. With more than 25,000 Twitter followers and 117,000 Facebook “likes,” Udemy is carving out its own niche in the ed-tech space.
In 2011, Brad Hargreaves and Matt Brimer launched General Assembly, an international educational institution that transforms thinkers into innovators through education in technology, business and design.
From web creation and programming to business fundamentals, General Assembly offers full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and short-term classes, and workshops taught by top practitioners with real-world experience. General Assembly’s global network has more than 70,000 students, alumni, instructors, and entrepreneurs. With almost 40,000 fans on Twitter and 42,000 Facebook subscribers, expect continued growth for General Assembly in the near future.
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