Are K-12 Curriculum Tools a Smart Investment? What Investors and Our Data Say

edsurge | September 18, 2019

“Curriculum is becoming commoditized.” So says Jason Palmer, a general partner at New Markets Venture Partners. And he’s not alone. In conversations with edtech investors, some reported that the K-12 market has seen an influx of instructional content, particularly in the form of open educational resources (OERs). That can give them pause when it comes to investing in propriety K-12 curriculum products.The increasing availability, accessibility and quality of OER materials offer districts the opportunity to move away from textbook publishers and develop their own curriculum. OERs are openly-licensed educational materials that can be downloaded, modified and shared with others to help support student learning. Some are even free. The trend has won admirers in the upper echelon of the education system as well. Through the #GoOpen initiative, launched in 2015, the U.S. Department of Education has encouraged K-12 school districts to use OERs in the classroom, and free up funds typically spent on textbooks for other much-needed resources. With OERs, educators can become curriculum makers. Many tools give teachers the flexibility to customize lesson plans for their students by pulling in up-to-date content and activities, without waiting for the latest textbook versions to hit the market.

Spotlight

INTED is one of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector. After 14 years, it has become a reference event where more than 700 experts from 80 countries will get together to present their projects.

Spotlight

INTED is one of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector. After 14 years, it has become a reference event where more than 700 experts from 80 countries will get together to present their projects.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Texthelp Launches New EdTech Tool, OrbitNote, to Increase Accessibility in PDF Files

Texthelp | January 25, 2022

Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced the premium launch of OrbitNote, a web app that makes PDFs more accessible from right inside the document, including the ability to type, highlight, and leave voice memos on documents. OrbitNote will allow users to transform and interact with digital documents in a completely different way. Users will be able to create an accessible, dynamic, and collaborative space that works for everyone. Today, Texthelp is also honoring International Day of Education, an international day of awareness to promote inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all. Texthelp is committed to helping users understand and be understood through the use of assistive technology tools and software. This past year, Texthelp released data revealing that 90% of teachers had planned to use EdTech tools in the classroom this school year. With the rise in technology use, having access to tools that create an accessible experience for all users is highly valuable. Products like OrbitNote will promote collaboration, transparency, and communication among students and educators. Key Benefits of OrbitNote: Makes PDFs More Accessible and Actionable: OrbitNote ensures that students have access to the tools they need to succeed – such as text-to-speech, highlighting, and vocabulary support – across all class content. If a PDF is image-only or unreadable, OrbitNote has a built-in scanner that will find the text and read it aloud without having to leave the PDF. Provides Multiple Ways to Demonstrate Knowledge and Give Feedback: OrbitNote allows students to express their understanding in multiple ways. Users can type or draw their thoughts on the page, or add shapes and images to their work. Users can also highlight the key points in a comprehension piece or when studying. In the classroom, both teachers and students can use their voices to share ideas and feedback. Boosts Productivity, Connections, and Collaboration: Using OrbitNote allows for seamless student-teacher collaboration. For example, teachers are able to leave a quick voice note for students, providing feedback and identifying areas for improvement mid-project, rather than waiting for students to turn in the final piece. Students can use a range of tools to ask teachers for help and garner support before problems arise. Typical pen and paper projects can become digital spaces for working together, allowing collaboration between teachers and students, as well as group projects. OrbitNote works with Google Classroom and Schoology. In the coming months, Texthelp will expand support for more LMSs like Canvas and Brightspace. OrbitNote is also compatible with Texthelp's Read&Write product, a literacy support tool, and EquatIO, a digital math tool. Users can try all of the features in OrbitNote for free for 30 days. "We have seen education change drastically in the past two years. Many subjects and tasks that relied on pen and paper are now becoming digitized. I am excited for OrbitNote as it will help educators and students continue to collaborate in this new digital space. The tool will also be very helpful in regards to accessibility and eliminate barriers that often arise while using PDF files." Martin McKay, CEO and Founder of Texthelp About Texthelp Founded in 1996, the Texthelp Group is a global technology company. On a daily basis, it helps people all over the world to understand and to be understood. For the last three decades, it has led the way in creating innovative education and workplace technology. Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability, or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand, and communicate through the use of digital literacy and accessibility software. With over 45 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, EquatiO®, OrbitNote, WriQ®, Fluency Tutor®, ReachDeck®, and SpeechStream®. These tools work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G-suite. This allows for its products to be quickly integrated into any classroom or workplace with ease. Texthelp is backed by Five Arrows, the private equity arm of Rothschild Group.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Milwaukee School of Engineering Partners with Everspring to Expand Online

Everspring | March 02, 2022

Everspring, a leading provider of higher education technology solutions and services, announces a new partnership with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) to support the strategic expansion of its online educational offerings. Everspring will support MSOE university-wide with market research, supplemental course development, and marketing services to grow program enrollments while preserving the university's unique applied learning methodology. MSOE offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificate programs, primarily in engineering, business and nursing. The university is known for its hands-on, experiential learning methodology that emphasizes practical application. Courses are highly collaborative, and students receive strong personal attention from faculty. In developing its online courses and programs, the university sought a partner who could preserve this highly interactive academic approach. "We are excited to launch our partnership with Everspring and grow a suite of online programs that align with our institutional mission to provide students engaging, experiential learning. We are building on our foundation of strong enrollment. And with this partnership, we can expand and translate our academic approach into online and hybrid modalities, enabling us to educate in innovative ways." Eric Baumgartner, executive vice president of academics at MSOE Everspring's market research will identify the best opportunities for online growth based on workforce trends and other data, helping the university prioritize which online programs to grow and where to focus for new initiatives. With Everspring's marketing support, MSOE will expand its reach and grow online enrollments with highly qualified students. "MSOE has a great set of high-quality programs and numerous opportunities for growth," said Beth Hollenberg, president and co-founder of Everspring. "Everspring is excited to partner with MSOE to help them set a roadmap for their future growth and thereafter support them to build and scale exceptional online and hybrid programs that embody and reflect the university's academic ethos," said Beth Hollenberg, president and co-founder of Everspring. About Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee School of Engineering is the university of choice for those seeking an inclusive community of experiential learners driven to solve the complex challenges of today and tomorrow. The independent, non-profit university has about 2,800 students and was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering, business and nursing. Faculty are student-focused experts who bring real-world experience into the classroom. This approach to learning makes students ready now, as well as prepared for the future. Longstanding partnerships with business and industry leaders enable students to learn alongside professional mentors and challenge them to go beyond what's possible. MSOE graduates are leaders of character, responsible professionals, passionate learners and value creators. About Everspring Everspring is a leading provider of education technology and services solutions for higher education. Our advanced technology, proven marketing approach, and robust faculty support and instructional design services deliver outstanding outcomes for our university partners, powering their success online. Everspring offers a range of full-service turnkey solutions, as well as standalone fee-for-service offerings, and innovative self-service products that enable universities to establish themselves as leaders in the digital delivery of higher education. Based in Chicago, Everspring serves a growing number of colleges and universities, nationwide.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Pluribus Technologies Inc. acquires Pathways Training & eLearning Inc.

Pluribus Technologies | August 25, 2021

Pluribus Technologies Inc. ("Pluribus") announced today the completion of the acquisition of Pathways Training & eLearning Inc. ("Pathways") in Toronto, ON. Founded in 2006, Pathways is an agency that supports its blue-chip clients through the design and programming of learning technologies, including live action video, eLearning, mLearning, gaming, animation and simulation along with traditional instructional design, corporate training and change management. Richard Adair, CEO of Pluribus Technologies states, "Pathways represents our fifth acquisition in the eLearning vertical and brings an impressive client base of Fortune 500 companies. As one of Canada's leaders in the provision of gamified mobile learning and virtual reality enabled 360° video, we are excited to introduce these leading-edge offerings to the Pluribus customer base." Pathways has always strived to be at the forefront of training in the Canadian marketplace, including being the first in Canada to offer virtual reality enabled 360° video for learning. "We are thrilled to join the Pluribus team." says Kurt Tiltack, Managing Partner of Pathways. "It will be wonderful to witness Pathways current client offerings both support and be amplified by the amazing companies in the Pluribus portfolio. Our collective capabilities will ensure learning successes for our clients now and into the future." About Pathways Training and eLearning Inc Pathways Training and eLearning Inc. (Pathways) is a Toronto-based learning and development agency. Pathways specializes in the design of learning technologies and traditional classroom programming, including eLearning, animation, simulation, gaming, live action video and 360° virtual reality. For over 15 years, Pathways has had the pleasure of working alongside some of North America's most celebrated brands, as their trusted learning and development partner. About Pluribus Technologies Inc. Pluribus Technologies (named from the Latin term meaning "from many, becomes one") was founded in 2018 with the goal of consolidating the smaller players in the B2B software industry. Pluribus helps entrepreneurs exit their businesses by providing them with a liquidity event when they are seeking a succession plan. The management team of former owner-operators builds upon the legacy created with loyal customers and employees, taking businesses to the next level of success.

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