Bark Technologies | September 06, 2021
Online safety company Bark Technologies today announced the addition of Microsoft Teams to the list of platforms it monitors at schools nationwide. Bark is the latest company to offer this level of protection on the popular Teams platform.
Currently, Bark monitors more than 30 of today's most popular social media platforms and apps, as well as text messages, chats, emails, and Microsoft OneDrive files. Bark also monitors images, text within images, audio, and video that can be attached to Teams channels and chat messages as part of its suite of safety solutions. The addition of Teams monitoring in schools reinforces Bark's commitment to protecting more than 5.6 million children across the U.S.
Throughout the pandemic, Teams has been one of the most heavily relied-upon platforms for educational institutions, growing exponentially as schools switched to distance and hybrid learning. Even as students return to the classroom this fall, more than 230,000 educational institutions rely on Teams to communicate and collaborate online.
Using highly sophisticated AI, Bark detects and alerts families of concerning behaviors in a variety of categories, including cyberbullying, depression, suicidal ideation, violence, and online predation. Throughout the challenging months of 2020 — the hardest year for families in recent memory — Bark analyzed more than 2 billion online activities from teens and tweens across the U.S., noting a significant uptick in behaviors including self-harm and suicidal ideation. Kids faced a pandemic, social unrest, and virtual learning, and through it all, they relied heavily on online communication to stay connected with family and friends.
"With more than 100 million students currently using Microsoft Teams, there has never been a greater need to ensure their safety when communicating and collaborating on school platforms," said Brian Bason, CEO of Bark. "We are thrilled to add this extra layer of protection by adding Bark's monitoring services to Teams."
"We're happy to see companies like Bark joining the Microsoft Teams ecosystem and adding value by integrating their safety solutions with Teams Graph APIs," said
Yaron Hezroni, principal program manager for Teams Ecosystem at Microsoft. "The added safety measures Bark brings to Teams helps ensure that students are protected and in the best position to succeed."
Bark helps families manage and protect their children's digital lives. The award-winning service monitors 30+ of the most popular apps and social media platforms for signs of issues like cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, online predators, threats of violence, and more. Bark's web filtering and screen time management tools empower families to set healthy limits around the websites and apps their kids can access and when they can visit them.
Learnfully | December 13, 2021
Learnfully, a first of its kind personalized learning platform, today announced its initial fundraising and emergence from stealth.With 1 in 5 students diagnosed with learning differences — and countless more dealing with emotional and developmental obstacles, Learnfully empowers all individuals to gain access to the most effective learning approach for them. Learnfully tailors a programming plan to their needs based on the expertise of educators and connects them with proven specialists to provide individual instruction.
"For too long our system has overlooked those who learn differently and left them to fend for themselves, instead of emphasizing their strengths and catering to their unique challenges. We're proud to launch Learnfully to bring personalized learning solutions to scale for all learners and empower them to reach their potential."
Letha McLaren, CEO & Co-Founder, Learnfully
The launch of the Learnfully platform is especially timely given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as many learners are struggling to adapt to a digital environment. In fact, the Brookings institute found that students may make just 70% of the reading gains this year compared to the progress they'd see in a normal school year; this forecast found the gains would be less than 50% for mathematics.
While other offerings only tackle tutoring services or an initial assessment, Learnfully takes a holistic approach to every learner. Its assessment includes human insights which complement its groundbreaking technology platform that analyzes information, responses, and measurable impressions to create and maintain each learner's profile and plan. Based on these inputs, Learnfully creates curated learning plans and provides access to specialized professionals, such as educational and behavioral therapists, tutoring services, insights, and instructions.
Once a learner begins programming, Learnfully adjusts the educational approach on the fly through its feedback and progress engine, as behaviors and emotions can change rapidly. This helps learners, parents, and educators ensure that both short- and long-term goals are attainable. The result is the only true end-to-end solution — from assessment to instruction — available.
"Learnfully seamlessly helped my two kids from assessment to tutoring plan to finding the right instructor," said Joy Leonard, a California parent of two Learnfully learners. "The highly targeted learning sessions have been invaluable, making an enormous impact on my kids' abilities in a short period of time."
Learnfully is co-founded by Letha McLaren and Suchi Deshpande. McLaren has more than 20 years of diverse product management, marketing and business leadership experience in the technology and energy industries. Deshpande previously served as a product leader at MuleSoft, Edmodo, Opya and more.
"During the pandemic, parents have a front-row seat to their children's education, and many are realizing that they learn differently — and yet they have nowhere to turn for guidance," says Suchi Deshpande. "As a parent of neurodiverse kids, I know firsthand how challenging it is to navigate the educational landscape. Learnfully helps parents seamlessly get the support they need to unlock all learners' potential."
Learnfully raised $1.25 million in initial funding. Investors include Amol Deshpande, CEO & Co-Founder of Farmers Business Network, founder of Divergent Investments. Goodwater Capital, Incite.org, Figure Eight Investments and other investors also participated in the round.
"Learnfully is a mission-driven start-up focused on providing technology and specialists to children with learning differences," said Swati Mylavarapu, Founder of Incite.org "At Incite, we’re believers in Learnfully’s mission to better outcomes for neurodivergent learners and their families by empowering them with tailored support. Keely and I are proud to support Suchi and Letha in making this important mission central to the company they’re building.”
Learnfully is a win-win for educators and learners alike.
“Millennial families seek bespoke, digital-first learning solutions where they can access world class experts from the comfort of their homes,” said Diana Anthony, a K-12 teacher turned education investor, and Co-founder and Managing Partner of Figure Eight Investments. “Learnfully is bringing this model to neurodiverse learners and their families, providing them with unprecedented access to the educators and behavioral specialists that can transform their educational experience.”
Learnfully offers great benefits to professionals as well: they are matched with a learner that needs their skills and learns best with their teaching style. These learning sessions cater to the educator's schedule, so they can accommodate additional work. Educators, behaviorists, tutors, and therapists can all apply to join the platform. Accepted professionals gain unlimited support services, content resources, and access to an unparalleled educational community.
Learnfully is on a mission to ignite learning and unlock the potential of every learner. Based in San Francisco, Learnfully is a tech-enabled personalized learning service, empowering all individuals to gain access to insights into the most effective learning approach and build a programming plan based on the expertise of educators. Through its groundbreaking tech platform, best-in-class learning assessment, and expert educator network, Learnfully delivers true engagement and tangible results for every learner.
CORPORATE LEARNING SYSTEMS
Udemy | December 07, 2021
In a move to empower customers across the African continent with impactful and functional skills, Udemy, a global leader in online learning, is partnering with MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading entertainment provider, to provide access to thousands of high-quality courses to enable MultiChoice customers to invest in their personal and professional development.
The Udemy marketplace, with thousands of up-to-date courses in dozens of languages, provides the tools learners, instructors, and enterprises need to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Millions of people learn on Udemy from real-world experts on topics ranging from programming and data science, to team building, learning a new language, and business leadership.
For years, MultiChoice’s DStv and GOtv platforms have provided viewers with world-class edutainment, with content catering to personal growth for all ages. In addition to sports, local programming, news and general entertainment, MultiChoice customers can access educational content on Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, History Channel, DaVinci Kids, BBC and more.
While their respective platforms are distinct, MultiChoice and Udemy have a shared mission of providing a vast range of accessible content that enriches the lives of a broad audience with diverse interests and needs. This fitting collaboration will serve all of MultiChoice’s customers, particularly those with a passion for learning.
“As a global learning platform, our mission is to provide access and create new opportunities for learners around the world, across a wide range of content areas and at all levels of expertise. MultiChoice has a long history of prioritizing learning, and we’re proud to be working with them to unlock new possibilities for learners across the continent.”
Llibert Argerich, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Udemy
“We’re very excited to partner with an innovative and purposeful platform like Udemy, especially as the world shifts to an online learning future,” says Fhulufhelo Badugela, Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice Africa. “We are constantly seeking ways to enrich and progress the lives of our valued customers and tapping into learning and development is a natural next step. Investing in the future of our continent is a top priority and we are proud to be able to collaborate with another platform that values the accessible advancement of our customers as much as we do.”
MultiChoice’s DStv and GOtv customers can begin their learning journey by registering and enrolling in affordable courses that suit their learning requirements.
Udemy's mission is to create new possibilities for people and organizations everywhere by connecting them to the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a changing world. The Udemy marketplace platform, with thousands of up-to-date courses in dozens of languages, provides the tools learners, instructors, and enterprises need to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Millions of people learn on Udemy from real-world experts in topics ranging from programming and data science to leadership and team building. For companies, Udemy Business offers an employee training and development platform with subscription access to thousands of courses, learning analytics, and the ability to host and distribute their own content. Udemy Business customers include Glassdoor, On24, The World Bank, and Volkswagen. Udemy is headquartered in San Francisco with hubs in Ankara, Turkey; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Mountain View, California; Denver, Colorado; Dublin, Ireland; Melbourne, Australia; New Delhi, India; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
About MultiChoice Group
MultiChoice Group (MCG), which listed in the Main Board of the JSE on 27 February 2019, is one of the fastest-growing video entertainment providers globally, delivering entertainment products and services to 20.1m households across 50 countries on the African continent. Its track record of more than 30 years is reflective of a commitment to provide audiences with only the best local, sport and international content. MCG’s strong partnerships with distributors, installers and telecommunication companies, along with its well-established payment solutions, competitive pricing and choice of viewership packages continue to secure its place in the global market, while also providing solutions unique to the African market. Its direct-to-home (DTH), digital terrestrial television (DTT) and over-the-top (OTT) solutions enable the business to stay relevant and aligned to changing consumer habits while capturing new markets.
Content is at the very core of the business. MCG aims to deliver quality content anywhere, anytime and on any device through a comprehensive video entertainment offering at different price points. As pioneers in African video entertainment, MCG plays an important role in making information and entertainment easily accessible to Africans. MCG aims to secure content rights in a manner that is cost-effective and reflective of the diversity of its audiences. Its substantial portfolio includes award-winning local content (a key differentiator in its service offering), a leading sports offering (including production capabilities) and access to international content, which is all shared on the group’s platforms: DStv, GOtv, Showmax, M-Net and SuperSport.
MCG has superior technology capability through the security solutions that Irdeto, its technology company, brings to the group. These solutions enable MultiChoice to protect its investment, create new offerings and combat cybercrime. With 50 years’ expertise in software security, Irdeto’s software security solutions and cyber services protect over 5bn devices and applications for some of the world’s best brands.