Many are turning efforts to improve student performance into for-profit education ventures

education-techSchool districts spend millions of dollars a year training teachers in ways to improve instruction.
It’s rarely effective, contends Nicole Tucker-Smith — if lectures bore students, why force teachers to sit through them? The former Baltimore City teacher and Baltimore County school administrator had another idea.

After watching creative teachers who could share their successful methods with colleagues move on to training jobs elsewhere, she developed LessonCast, a mobile application that allows the sharing of lesson plans and classroom videos. School districts can use the app to create, share and save training materials, rather than paying expensive consultants to lead development conferences.

Tucker-Smith is among a growing number of entrepreneurs, many of them former educators, who are turning efforts to improve student performance into for-profit ventures. Investors are joining them in predicting a windfall — investment in the “ed tech” field is booming as the technology is seen as increasingly effective and easy to use in the classroom.

Next page: Why the education technology firms are thriving