Investing in Rewarding Moments: Prodege acquires popular education-savings rewards business Upromise

prnewswire | June 02, 2020

Prodege, a leading online consumer-rewards platform, announced today that it has acquired Upromise, Inc., a leading college education-savings rewards business, from SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae).  This acquisition furthers Prodege's mission to "Create Rewarding Moments" for its over 120 million registered members worldwide. Upromise provides unique opportunities for consumers to earn cash-back rewards for spending, shopping, dining out, and other activities, and then automatically deposit those rewards as contributions to any linked 529 Plan education savings account.  Those contributions can be invested and will grow tax-free over the years, and then can be withdrawn tax-free for qualified education expenses, including tuition, fees, books and room, and board.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Fullstack Academy Joins Blackstone-backed Simplilearn

Fullstack Academy | November 30, 2022

Fullstack Academy, a trailblazer in tech education, announced today it has been acquired by Simplilearn, the world’s leading online learning bootcamp offering digital skills training and courses to working professionals globally. Simplilearn is based in San Francisco and Bangalore, India. Backed by Blackstone, Simplilearn has had exponential recent growth, launching new programs and scaling its operations to successfully serve over 70,000 active monthly learners and over 500 enterprise clients. Simplilearn is dedicated to bridging the digital skills gap by providing learners across all career stages with the professional skills needed to succeed and keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital economy. News of Simplilearn’s acquisition of Fullstack Academy comes after a recent new funding round led by GSV Ventures to boost growth plans in India and international markets. This acquisition establishes the edtech company as the largest digital skilling company in the United States. Fullstack Academy will continue its current brand and bootcamp offerings and operate as an independent business unit within Simplilearn. Fullstack is poised to undergo continued growth, building on its 10-year history and experience in the U.S. bootcamp space.Since its founding, Fullstack has expanded its offerings, introducing new bootcamp programs and disciplines within Fullstack Academy, the Grace Hopper Program, government programs, and twenty university and industry partners, growing to over 7,000 alumni across the U.S. In 2022, Fullstack Academy was designated an AWS Authorized Training Partner, enabling delivery of official AWS Training and Certification in high-demand skills areas such as cloud computing. Fullstack was selected to join the 2023 Amazon Career Choice program, offering bootcamp programs to eligible Amazon employees across more than 30 metropolitan areas. Additionally, Fullstack Academy was selected by LinkedIn Talent Solutions as the winner of its 2021 LinkedIn Talent Awards for Best Acquisition Team in the Education category. Simplilearn credits Fullstack Academy’s established reputation for quality outcomes, positive student feedback, trusted partnerships, and talented employee base as the primary factors behind its acquisition of the tech bootcamp provider. Following the acquisition, all of Fullstack’s employees will remain in their roles as part of the combined organization, bringing Simplilearn’s total employee count to over 2,500. Under the agreement, Fullstack Academy will keep its name, leadership team, and staff. It will continue to serve its students and partners as it does today, with no changes to its bootcamp delivery or offerings. Fullstack Academy CEO Jerrad Tausz will remain as the chief executive for the company’s operations. “This acquisition marks an exciting opportunity for our organization,Simplilearn is the world’s No. 1 online bootcamp. Together, we share an aligned mission of transforming lives by helping students from all backgrounds and skill sets learn the technical skills needed to secure in-demand jobs. We are very confident in the future success of our organization and excited about what the change of ownership will bring to all staff, students, partners, and alumni. I look forward to leveraging our shared vision with Simplilearn to bridge the digital skills gap in the U.S. market.” Tausz, CEO of Fullstack Academy. Founded in 2010, Simplilearn offers over 100 programs that teach early- to mid-career professionals the digital skills needed for careers in cloud, DevOps, data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital marketing, and cybersecurity, among other industries. Simplilearn also partners with top global and Indian universities and corporations, such as Caltech CTME, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, UMass Amherst, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, IBM, and Amazon, to provide training to help individuals and organizations keep up with the constantly changing demands driven by digitization. More than 3 million professionals globally have studied with Simplilearn to date. Bootcamps have been an extremely popular concept in the edtech industry, and there is no denying that learners are looking for the holistic learning experience that bootcamps offer. Through Fullstack Academy’s strong footprint in the U.S. with its bootcamps and elite partnerships with top universities, we are confident that this collaboration will enable us to accelerate our global expansion plans. It is amazing to find a business whose vision is similar to ours and complements our pedagogy and belief system. We are certain to leverage each other's capabilities in a prolific way to attain synergies,” said Krishna Kumar, Simplilearn Founder and CEO. Tyton Partners acted as financial advisor and DLA Piper acted as legal advisor to Fullstack Academy and its parent company. About Fullstack Academy Fullstack Academy is a national tech education provider based in New York City. Founded in 2012, it offers web development, cybersecurity, data analytics, DevOps, and product management bootcamps. Fullstack Academy also offers the Grace Hopper Program, an immersive software engineering course for women and non-binary students, in addition to partnerships with leading universities nationwide, including Virginia Tech, Caltech CTME, and Louisiana State University. Graduates have been hired by Google, Facebook, Amazon, Fortune 100 firms, and startups.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

University of Phoenix Leadership Presenting at 1EdTech Digital Curriculum and App Innovation Summit

University of Phoenix | November 09, 2022

University of Phoenix announces that Eve Krahe-Billings, Ph.D., dean, Academic Innovation and Evaluation, Mary Elizabeth Smith, director, Learning Innovation Strategy, and Shelly Hodges, senior director, College Operations, are leading a session on the collaborative work of the University’s journey toward university-wide skills-aligned curriculum at the 1EdTech Digital Curriculum & App Innovation Summit held November 7-10, 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland. 1EdTech's new Digital Curriculum and App Innovation Summit is intended to showcase prime examples of how educational institutions leverage technology to make life easier for educators while also improving student learning experiences and outcomes. Krahe-Billings, Smith and Hodges will lead the session, Curriculum to Careers: Radical Collaboration in Assessment + Analytics + Design on November 9, 2022, at 8:30am EST. As University of Phoenix leadership in student learning assessment, data analytics, and learning experience design, they will detail the University’s journey toward university-wide, skills-aligned curriculum, and the steps taken to successfully vision, design, and implement a skills-aligned curriculum framework focused on career identification and development across all academic programming at the University. “University of Phoenix is a place that, knowing our students and the value they place on the practicality of education, has emerged from a pandemic period with over 85 percent of programs open for new enrollment revised, skills-tagged, and ready for use by students,I look forward to sharing how our highly collaborative process made this both possible and successful.” Krahe-Billings, Dean of Academic Innovation and Evaluation As Dean of Academic Innovation and Evaluation, Krahe-Billings' accountabilities are divided between identifying and vetting emerging trends and current best practice across higher ed for use at the university and oversight of all student learning assessment, leading teams devoted to academic and institutional assessment as well as the tech systems that ingest and aid in analysis of data. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of University Administrators and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Humanities Council. Hodges has been in higher education for over 20 years in a variety of leadership roles, spanning work within student services, product management, data analytics and operations. In her current role as Senior Director of College Operations within the University of Phoenix, she analyzes data to identify issues and develops recommendations for solutions, working closely with academic leadership to improve operations for the colleges including student experience, retention, graduation rates and progression outcomes. Smith has been involved in educational innovation for over thirty years, working in curriculum development, learning design, faculty development, faculty, and e-learning roles for four universities and several community colleges, as well as two educational software companies. 1EdTech is a worldwide member-based non-profit community partnership of educational providers, state/national departments of education, and edtech suppliers. The 1EdTech community provides collaborative leadership that shapes the foundation of an open edtech ecosystem now and into the future to enable unlimited potential in every learner. About University of Phoenix University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Service-learning model for families receives Congressional Resolution

National Center for Families Learning | November 28, 2022

Creating a community garden; making the route to school safer for pedestrians; organizing donation drives to benefit elderly community members—the common thread that is woven throughout these projects is that they were all carried out by families using a service-learning model developed by the National Center for Families Learning. NCFL is a national nonprofit that supports family success and well-being through education by partnering with communities on initiatives where families develop their literacy and leadership skills. Family Service Learning is a co-designed, research-based learning process in which families identify problems within their own communities and carry out service projects to address them. Challenges within communities are best solved by those who are closest to and experiencing those issues, and the most impactful solutions are co-designed with and by families. On November 14th, Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) introduced a Congressional resolution that designates November 14-18, 2022, as National Family Service Learning Week. For the 7th consecutive year, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have recognized Family Service Learning as a dynamic tool for families to not only work towards meeting their educational and career goals, but also improve the communities in which they live. I am proud to once again introduce this resolution formally recognizing Family Service Learning Week and the meaningful impact this model has had on education and community-building throughout our country," says Rep. Yarmuth. "As my final term in Congress comes to a close, it has been an honor to represent the Louisville-based National Center for Families Learning and help champion the remarkable work they do. Research shows that we can strengthen families and build a better future for all by tackling these issues simultaneously, with a comprehensive approach that helps learners of all ages. Family Service Learning was developed in 2013 and continues to serve as a vehicle for families to explore their strengths, develop or sharpen skills in leadership, advocacy, and employability, envision solutions to community issues, conduct root-cause analysis, and establish and sustain new community partnerships. Results from an independent evaluation of Family Service Learning have found that Family Service Learning can: Increase formal learning, including content knowledge research and academic skills; Increase technology skills; Increase opportunities to develop work-based skills; Elevate family voice and build social capital through networks of participating adults; Expand self-efficacy and self-confidence. "For seven straight years Family Service Learning has received Congressional recognition, attesting to the value and importance of creating learning opportunities that extend beyond school walls and are grounded in local challenges and inequities facing communities across the country, Positive shifts occur across communities when there's a focus on the lived experiences of individuals who have the potential to shape and influence better conditions, policies, and practices for this generation and the next. When parenting adults grow their leadership capacity and become drivers of change in their neighborhoods, communities are elevated by their influence and ultimately thrive." NCFL's President and CEO, Dr. Felicia Cumings Smith. Education solutions, such as Family Service Learning, are embedded into NCFL's research-backed model programming and pathways in family literacy, family engagement, and family leadership. The organization believes that creating a family learning system of these pathways is key to building and supporting a thriving, equitable community. NCFL recently unveiled its 60x30 vision that by 2030, coordinated and aligned Family Learning Systems will be established in 60 communities throughout the country.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Tynker to Combine Live Coaching With Coding Courses to Help Meet Booming U.S. Demand for Coding Education

Tynker | November 23, 2022

Tynker, a BYJU's company and the world’s leading K-12 coding education platform, has launched live coaching from expert instructors – including two free sessions – across all of its e-learning subscription plans for students aged 5-18. The new Tynker Quick Start bundle is part of the company's effort to ensure the U.S. can meet outsized demand for technical skills in the job market, which is outpacing the rate the country’s youth are learning to code. The demand for effective coding education is acute. According to a recent Oxford Study, nearly half of all jobs today are vulnerable to automation. At the same time, jobs requiring technical skills will outpace overall job growth by nearly 300 times between now and 2031. In the U.S., roughly half of students have some access to some form of coding education — but less than 5% of students were enrolled in the 37 states where data was available. Stats like these highlight the pressing need for students to learn coding to keep the U.S. at the forefront of the digital economy. With this enhanced offering, Tynker is doubling down on its mission of ensuring every high school graduate learns to code by 2033. Tynker is currently the only platform to offer bundled coaching with a deep, proven catalog of courses, apps and lessons to accelerate kids’ coding proficiency. Coding coaches are highly educated and trained instructors who help demystify the coding experience and enable budding coders to build confidence quickly. "It’s increasingly essential that every child develops coding skills to meet the demands of the digital economy over the next decade, The strength of the U.S. economy depends on helping students learn how to code now, to meet the forecasted demand for jobs requiring technical skills. When we democratize coding, and guarantee access to coding instruction, we're opening up new worlds for students from every walk of life." Srinivas Mandyam, Tynker CEO and co-founder. Getting Kids Coding Instruction Is Essential for Economic Growth As students learn to code, they gain additional essential skills — including problem-solving, logic and critical thinking — which lead to overall improved academic performance. Many education experts and technologists agree that learning to code can and should start at a young age. Several European countries, including Estonia, Finland, Italy and the U.K., are already incorporating coding into classroom instruction. Tynker’s award-winning, gamified courses and learning platform offer engaging activities for children of all ages – from pre-readers to elementary and middle schoolers to computer science Advanced Placement students. The addition of coding coaches ensures that children start at a suitable level and that learning is fun and engaging while building coding confidence. Tynker is the first and only coding education company to bundle two FREE live coaching sessions with an online learning platform for as little as $15 a month. Tynker is committed to offering the best value in the market, especially for those kids who are eager to learn and could benefit from a structured onboarding approach to coding. For less than the cost of a couple of tutoring sessions, parents can get one year's worth of unlimited coding activities that start with personalized guidance to put their child on the path to success. The Tynker Quick Start Bundle includes: Two expert instruction sessions from a highly educated and trained coding teacher Full access to all Tynker courses, games, apps and lessons (5,000 coding activities) Six organized levels to help kids progress from novice to expert, with skills certification at each level Lessons, instruction and activities that are appropriate for ages 5-18 Discounts that are available during Black Friday (40%) and throughout the month of December (20%). ABOUT TYNKER FROM BYJU'S Tynker is one of the world's leading K-12 creative coding platforms, enabling students of all ages to develop the coding skills to design and power animations, games, music, robots and drones, smart devices, virtual worlds like Minecraft, and more. The company's award-winning platform helps kids engage at home, school, and on the go, while developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and programming skills to help them be successful today and tomorrow. Tynker's highly successful coding curriculum has been used by one in three U.S. K-8 schools, 100,000 schools globally, and over 60 million kids across 150 countries. Tynker's partners include some of the world's most respected brands, including Apple, BBC Learning, Google, Microsoft, Mattel, PBS, Lego, NASA, and more. Tynker is accessible from any computer with an Internet browser, as well as via the Tynker and Tynker Junior mobile apps, and offers both free and paid subscription options. In 2021, Tynker was acquired by BYJU’S, the world’s largest education technology company.

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