Don Johnston Incorporated Joins Texthelp Group; Edtech Giants Join Forces to Help Students Across North America and the Globe

WOBURN, Mass., Jan. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that they will acquire the Education Technology Division of  Don Johnston Inc., a leading assistive technology and special education curriculum company based outside of Chicago, IL. Don Johnston Inc. is the latest Assistive Technology provider to join the Texthelp Group. Following Five Arrows’ investment in December 2020, Texthelp acquired Lingit Group and Wizkids in 2021, expanding the company’s reach in the Nordics and the UK. Texthelp’s goal is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. Together with Don Johnston Inc.’s leading SaaS-based products, the Texthelp Group will become the global leader in assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One in ten people have dyslexia, and in the US, 12% of students are in special education, 15% of children at school are learning their 2nd language, and the average reading age is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help students overcome these barriers and harness their unique strengths. Both Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. have made it their mission to support equality and inclusion of all people, especially individuals with dyslexia and other learning needs. Together, Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will continue to offer their full suite of products, and customers will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks. Don Johnston Inc.’s curriculum division will form a new company, named Building Wings™, which includes the products Readtopia® and First Author®.

“Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed,” said Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp. “Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood. We are so excited to have Don Johnston Inc. join the Texthelp Group, and to have Don as an investor and board member. Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the US and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available.”…Read More

Prediction: The future of teacher evaluations is video

Over the last two years, educators have been forced into all kinds of unplanned experiments as we’ve searched for ways to keep students safe while continuing to advance their education amid a global pandemic.

At the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township, we’ve found that one of the pandemic-related changes we’ll be keeping around is the use of video for teacher evaluations. I think it’s a change we’ll see a lot of other districts making in the next year or two as well.

Based on our experience, here’s how I can see it playing out across the country.…Read More

Kajeet Appoints Industry Veteran Chris Felix as Vice President of Education Sales

MCLEAN, VA. Jan. 8, 2022 — Kajeet®, a leading provider of IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver safe, reliable and controlled internet connectivity to nearly 3,000 customers, today announced the appointment of Chris Felix to the newly created role of vice president of sales within its education business. In this role, Felix will spearhead business development and account management for Kajeet’s global education customers, further bolstering its mission of closing the digital divide in education and beyond.

“While significant progress has been made to eradicate digital inequities, over a billion school-age students worldwide are still without adequate internet access at home. We at Kajeet feel that this is unacceptable,” said Daniel J.W. Neal, Chairman, CEO and founder of Kajeet. “The addition of Chris to our mission-focused team will support our strategic growth in the global education market and reinforce our position as a leading provider of safe, reliable and secure IoT connectivity solutions for students and educators alike.”

Felix is a seasoned and strategic leader who brings more than 30 years of telecommunications experience to his new role. Before joining Kajeet, he served four years as vice president and general manager of government solutions at Sprint, where he successfully revitalized its federal government sector and aligned two sales organizations into a single, unified team on the heels of its merger with T-Mobile. Felix started his career in telecommunications at Verizon Wireless, where he quickly worked his way into management roles. Throughout his 27-year tenure at Verizon, Felix held several executive-level leadership positions, including a three-year stint as regional president of Verizon’s Upstate New York region and three years as vice president of federal government sales.…Read More

What did 2021 bring to K-12 edtech?

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 2nd most-read story focuses on the K-12 edtech predictions educators and experts had for 2021–were they right?

When we posted our 2020 predictions on January 1 last year, we–along with the majority of the world–definitely didn’t anticipate the curveball that was (and continues to be) the global COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 has been called a dumpster fire, the worst year in recent memory, and more. Abrupt shifts to virtual and hybrid learning laid bare the vast inequities that exist in the U.S. education system. The move to online learning also made people wonder: Are there practices we can continue when the pandemic abates? What can we take from this when we return to our classrooms? And will we return to our classrooms to teach in the same manner as we did before COVID?…Read More

Parallel Learning—Psychoeducational Telehealth Platform—Announces Official Launch Alongside $2.8m In Funding

NEW YORK, NY (December 28, 2021)—Parallel Learning (Parallel), the digital health company that
provides psychoeducational services to families, educators and students dealing with learning and
thinking differences, today announced its official launch alongside $2.8M in funding to date. The funding
was led by Eric Reiner and Dan Povitsky of Vine Ventures, with participation from Global Founders
Capital
, Great Oaks and social media influencers Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck of Gen
Z-focused venture capital fund Animal Capital, among others. These funds will enable Parallel to
accelerate its growth by expanding nationwide, increasing access to special education services for
students across the country.

Parallel’s platform provides cross-disciplinary support services to diagnose, teach and empower students with learning and thinking differences directly to families and to school districts on a contractual basis. The company employs licensed psychologists, learning specialists, occupational therapists and more in each state and matches students with providers based on their referral concern and desired services. With Parallel, evaluations begin within days instead of waiting months and cost a fraction of the price of traditional evaluations which can be upwards of $5,000. The digital health company worked with
prominent research institutions and renowned testing publishers including Riverside to develop its
American Psychological Association (APA)-compliant evaluation platform. This proprietary technology
cuts the evaluation time in half, allowing students to receive a full report within just two weeks. The
comprehensive services currently offered include:

Comprehensive Psychological Assessments
○ Licensed psychologists work through a series of assessments to uncover what impacts
the student’s ability to learn, help them improve their abilities and determine the
accommodations they need to succeed in the classroom.
Educational Therapy
○ Therapists provide intensive interventions to help students build on foundational skills by
using evidence-based, multi-sensory approaches to teach techniques for coping with
learning and thinking differences.
Executive Function Coaching
○ Occupational therapists teach students how to become more efficient learners and build
their confidence and independence by teaching organizational and management skills
that can help them in and outside of the classroom.…Read More

5 learning strategies that are here to stay

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 4th most-read story focuses on some learning strategies that have staying power.

In 2020, students, teachers, and parents made an extraordinary pivot to distance learning with no preparation at all. From the district perspective, investments have been made in technology and infrastructure that may not have been made otherwise. We all gained phenomenal skills and insights as a result of having to make this abrupt turn, and then having to sustain that as the global pandemic persisted.

Now, we’re at a point where students, parents, and teachers all deserve to sustain those investments and the skills that they’ve built over time in order to reach one another and continue the learning. There will be some undeniable academic, social, and emotional gaps, of course, because kids have been away from their friends, teachers have been away from their classrooms, and school leaders have been away from their buildings.…Read More

Texthelp Names Christine Mullin as Chief Operating Officer

WOBURN, Mass., Dec. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —  Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, announced that it has named Christine Mullin as its Chief Operating Officer. Mullin will be the first chief operating officer in the twenty-five-year history of Texthelp.

Christine brings to Texthelp more than two decades of experience in growing and developing technology businesses across multiple roles, including strategy, business development, finance, and customer operations. Most recently, she served as COO/CFO and a Board Director of Dext, a UK-based global SaaS business that provides productivity software solutions for accountants and was successfully sold to Hg Capital earlier this year. Prior to Dext, Christine was the COO/CFO of MetaPack Limited, an e-commerce delivery mgt SaaS business that was sold to Stamps.com in August 2018.

Previous roles include being the COO of Microsoft UK’s Advertising and Online division and the Finance Director of AOL UK. Christine started her career at Arthur Andersen in London where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant and has a BA (Hons) in Mathematics from Trinity College Dublin. She currently resides in London, England.…Read More

Ozobot Brings Learning to Life with MetaBot™ — the First Free Educational Augmented Reality Robot

REDONDO BEACH, CA – December 8, 2021 – Ozobot, global leader of programmable robotics and STEAM-based learning solutions for K-12 education that empower the next generation of creators, today unveiled its newest innovation –  MetaBot™ – the first free augmented reality (AR) robot for education. MetaBot™ is an interactive learning experience that enables all children to build coding literacy and create with technology in any environment using a single smartphone or tablet.  

Research shows that AR immersive experiences enhance K-12 learning outcomes and expand opportunities at all levels of learning¹. Starting today, students and educators of all backgrounds can unlock unlimited possibilities to learn with augmented reality and transform any space into an engaging 3D experience with MetaBot. Whether at home, in the classroom or on-the-go, students can use a smartphone or tablet to bring a 3D Evo robot to life instantly, right in front of their eyes. No physical robots, apps or fees required. 

“MetaBot is our answer to the digital divide and furthers our mission to democratize educational technology while also allowing us to stake a claim in the metaverse with education,” said Andy Fathollahi, CEO, Ozobot. “We believe every student should have access to STEAM education and equity in computer science, regardless of their circumstances or environment.” …Read More

PresenceLearning Acquires Global Teletherapy and Propels Next Phase of Growth with Majority Investment from Spectrum Equity and TPG’s Rise Fund

NEW YORK, December 8, 2021 – PresenceLearning, the leading provider of teletherapy and software for special education and mental health providers in K-12 schools, said today that it completed two transactions that will significantly propel the company’s growth and help build the next generation of technology for therapists to expand student services.

The company has acquired Global Teletherapy, the leading teletherapy service provider to virtual K-12 schools, and has signed a definitive agreement for Spectrum Equity, a leading growth equity firm, and The Rise Fund, TPG’s multi-sector global impact investing strategy, to acquire a majority stake in the company. Bain Capital Double Impact and Catalyst Investors will retain minority stakes and Bain will continue to have representation on the company’s Board of Directors. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

The investment comes at a time when teletherapy has emerged as a critical solution for ensuring students get access to therapy services they need and receive consistent, high-quality care. In addition, clinicians are demanding remote work alternatives and software solutions to make their work both more impactful and sustainable. Together with this new team of investors, PresenceLearning will invest heavily in its next phase of growth.…Read More

Labster’s STEM Excellence Awards Winners Revealed

  • 10 teachers hand-picked as part of Labster’s Teacher STEM Excellence Awards supporting the changemakers across the globe
  • The Labster awards recognizes global changemakers in the education sector 
  • Winners have developed student-centered learning programs and applied creativity and innovation to teaching during a difficult year

BOSTON, ZURICH and COPENHAGEN  – Wednesday, December 8, 2021 – Ten educators across the globe that have blazed a trail of innovation and creativity in schooling the next generation have been recognized for their transformative course stewardship work by Labster, the world’s leading platform for virtual labs and science simulations.

The educators selected include seven higher education professors and three high school science teachers.

Labster founder Michael Bodekaer Jensen said: “The STEM Excellence Awards honor the changemakers in education who are embracing edtech innovation to make a measurable impact within their community.  Their achievements create greater awareness of the remarkable work happening in the sector.” …Read More