EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

With Access for All Scholarship Campaign, edX Doubles Down on its Mission

edX | October 07, 2020

At edX, we believe that education has the power to change individuals and that individuals have the power to change the world. Yet, access to high-quality education—and in some cases, access to any education at all—has been a privilege of the few. We are launching the Access for All scholarship campaign to drastically increase the number of learners edX can help gain access to life changing education, especially during a time of economic struggle and job loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Requests for financial assistance on edX increased exponentially over the past year, up 240% from June 2019 to June 2020, with the biggest spike of 30,000 requests from March 16, 2020 - June 7, 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are supporting these learners by creating a dedicated scholarship program to help them reach their potential. As a non-profit, we’re uniquely positioned to bring together philanthropic organizations to create a scholarship program that gives back directly to our learners. Charitable gifts have always been an essential component of our funding; $50M to date of fundraising has been raised to support our mission.

Spotlight

In all parts of Asia, households devote considerable expenditures to private supplementary tutoring. This tutoring may contribute to students' achievement, but it also maintains and exacerbates socialinequalities, diverts resources from other uses, and can contribute to inefficiencies in education systems. Such tutoring is widely called shadow education, because it mimics school systems.

Spotlight

In all parts of Asia, households devote considerable expenditures to private supplementary tutoring. This tutoring may contribute to students' achievement, but it also maintains and exacerbates socialinequalities, diverts resources from other uses, and can contribute to inefficiencies in education systems. Such tutoring is widely called shadow education, because it mimics school systems.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

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

Texthelp | January 11, 2022

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. 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." Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp For more than 40 years, Don Johnston Inc. has developed technology tools and curriculum that have helped students and educators build literacy skills. The company's support and accessible technology is designed to accommodate children and adults with special needs and learning disabilities. Since its inception, Don Johnston Inc. has helped over 32,000 schools through technologies, implementation, and personal connections. "Don Johnston Inc. and Texthelp have worked in parallel in the edtech sector for decades. We share so many commonalities," said Don Johnston, CEO of Don Johnston Inc. "Fundamentally, we are both unified by a mission to help as many students as possible learn and succeed. I strongly believe that together we can achieve more, and I am excited to see what the future holds. My new role on the board of the Texthelp Group will allow me to continue to drive forward our shared vision. This is also an opportunity for our curriculum tools to forge their own path as a new organization, Building Wings. I am passionate about the role curriculum has to play in helping students, and I will maintain a leadership position with Building Wings as CEO." Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will work together to expand product innovation and help many more people fulfill their potential, beginning in classrooms and extending through to the workplace. The two organizations will combine their teams and products to create the best technology available to students, educators, and employees. Texthelp will add Don Johnston's Snap&Read™, Co:Writer®, Word Bank™, Quizbot® and uPAR™ tools to its suite of products and all employees of Don Johnston's Education Technology Division will become Texthelp employees. 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 50 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, EquatIO®, 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. Visit www.texthelp.com for more information. About Don Johnston Inc. Since 1980, Don Johnston Inc. has been a staple of the accessibility community, partnering with literacy experts, AT specialists, SLPs, OTs, and special education directors to develop popular assistive and evaluative tools including Co:Writer®, Snap&Read™, uPAR®, Word Bank™ and Quizbot®. Students across North America with dyslexia, autism, dysgraphia, and other diverse learning challenges rely on Don Johnston Inc. assistive tools every day to accommodate their learning needs in schools and at home. Education isn't the end of the transformation, it's only the beginning. Don Johnston Inc. tools open up possibilities right through the education journey and into the workplace. Visit https://learningtools.donjohnston.com/ for more information. About Five Arrows Five Arrows Principal Investments (FAPI) and Five Arrows Capital Partners (FACP) (together, "Five Arrows") are the European and US corporate private equity arms, respectively, of Rothschild & Co's Merchant Banking business. Five Arrows is focused on investing in middle-market companies with highly defensible market positions; strong management teams; business models with high visibility of organic unit volume growth and strong free cash flow conversion; and multiple operational levers that can be used to unlock latent value. The sector focus at Five Arrows is limited to healthcare, data & software and technology-enabled business services.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

LearnPlatform Releases Evidence-as-a-Service Subscription to Help Solution Providers Lower Costs

LearnPlatform | February 11, 2022

Today, LearnPlatform announces the release of Evidence-as-a-Service, a subscription model to support all edtech solution providers and their partners with the necessary evidence to meet market demands, demonstrate compliance with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and efficiently serve all students and educators. LearnPlatform, known for its innovative edtech effectiveness system trusted by districts, state agencies and their partners serving millions of students, worked closely with partners for over a year to test different service offerings to help edtech providers quickly and cost effectively develop the necessary evidence base to inform their product plans and comply with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires federal funding and stimulus dollars to be used for "evidence-based interventions." "The adoption of technology is here to stay. Districts manage an average of over 1,400 edtech products, and the numbers are not dropping this year," said Mary Styers, Ph.D., LearnPlatform's Director of Research. "Knowing how these tools are working, in which situations, and for which students and teachers is a critical question every district leader is asking." LearnPlatform offers three subscription packages to support any size and type of education solution provider and their partners. The packages are curated to help all providers meet ESSA compliance and build evidence-based interventions that empower districts and states to buy and use their products to drive student outcomes. Furthermore, given the influx of stimulus funds for nearly two years, this type of evaluation will provide districts with valuable evidence about the effectiveness of their education technology investments. Administrators can apply this evidence to inform their decisions and establish a solid foundation for sustainable, long-range financial planning. "As the country modernizes learning during and after the pandemic, everyone needs rigorous, practical evaluation to provide evidence at the speed of decision-making," said Karl Rectanus, CEO and Co-founder of LearnPlarform. "Our technology, team and model equips providers to work with their state and district partners quickly, safely, cost-effectively and, most importantly, towards the shared goals of better outcomes for students and teachers, no matter their size, solution, or context." In the face of massive change for schools, Evidence-as-a-Service offers providers at any stage – early, growth and established – to build an evidence base for their product(s) to better partner with districts and states to equip them with the ability to modernize their learning environments with ESSA-aligned evidence. Each subscription aligns with one or more of the four levels of evidence outlined in ESSA to demonstrate rationale and identify and show promising, moderate, or strong evidence that their product positively impacts student outcomes. Age of Learning®, creator of the ABCmouse® online learning program, leveraged LearnPlatform's services to validate and evaluate research for My Math Academy™, the company's personalized, adaptive math program that helps young learners master essential math concepts and skills. "We developed My Math Academy and My Reading Academy™ to support educators in providing equitable instruction and addressing the varying needs of young learners in order to ensure all students achieve proficiency in math and reading," said Sunil Gunderia, Chief Innovation Officer and Head of Mastery & Adaptive Products, Age of Learning. "We are partnering with LearnPlatform to develop a modernized approach to gathering evidence as it is an important element in validating the learning gains that our programs are designed to help students achieve. This evidence is essential to assisting schools and districts in identifying solutions that will work in their specific contexts to deliver learning outcomes." Whether a solution is for core curriculum, tutoring, learning loss, or another educational purpose, the Evidence-as-a-Service model provides a path to ESSA compliance in weeks, at a fraction of the cost of traditional models. "We work every day to fundamentally change outcomes for students through reimagining the role of assessments in the learning process. As soon as we spoke to LearnPlatform's team, we knew they were the right partner to run an independent study to examine just that," said Craig Jones, CEO and Co-founder of Formative, a web app for classrooms that allow teachers to give live assignments to students, enabling instant feedback and long-term student growth tracking. "The results found promising evidence and also confirms what we already know: the more visibility educators have into student learning, the stronger the learning outcomes can be." Nepris, an edtech platform that virtually connects working professionals to students, is another early adopter using this offering to work with district and state partners. "We have always known our platform increases student engagement in school and prepares students for the future of work, but outside third-party research was too expensive and no one read it. With LearnPlatform, we found a fast, practical approach that helps our state and district partners have confidence in what we do – and what we will do together – to reach their goals." Sabari Raja, CEO and Co-founder of Nepris About LearnPlatform LearnPlatform is a comprehensive edtech effectiveness system used by educators, leaders, and their partners to modernize their learning environments and ensure academic and financial return on their investments. The research-driven technology, central office automation, data-rich insights, and evidence services equip school districts, states, and providers to organize, streamline and analyze their edtech interventions to ensure they are safe, equitable, cost-efficient, and effective for all students.

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What Parents, Students, and Schools Should be Doing to Prepare for Coronavirus

k12 | March 13, 2020

As is now typical in our media-saturated society, sensationalist panic about coronavirus in the United States is spreading fast. People are scared, and rightfully so. Abroad, Italy just quarantined 16 million people. And on American soil, multiple states have declared themselves in a state of emergency – Washington state is considering its own “mandatory measures” – and school districts and colleges are either temporarily closing for deep cleanings, or shutting down for weeks out of an abundance of caution.

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