On April 18th, I attended TechDay, the US’s largest event for startup companies. Startups strive to bring innovative ideas to the masses, however, often times their path to success is very difficult. According to a 2015 Forbes Entrepreneur Blog, 9 out of 10 startups fail. TechDay aims to improve that statistic by increasing networking opportunities amongst this group.
4 Takeaways from TechDay
Although only a few of the startups were education-focused, it was easy to take some of the lessons learned from these companies and apply them to the way I think about and approach education.
- Startups are a great way to model creativity, nonconventional education, how to grow/learn from failure, and how to act on your passion to students.
- A large amount of the startups in attendance were built on innovative engineering, design, and computer programming. Because the job market is changing, 21st-century skills (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity) are becoming more valued by employers, and nonconventional ways of furthering education are becoming more widely accepted.
- Startups are a great way to help students gain skills in areas they are interested in. Startups are always looking for support and some are looking for creative volunteers. Try sending your students to the TechDay Website and let them research a number of the startups that are listed. Encourage those who are interested to reach out and try to get a summer internship.
- Use startups to teach entrepreneurship. Encourage students to develop their own business models and to get ideas from the startup community.
Notable Startups at TechDay
Below are the top twelve companies we enjoyed talking to at the conference. I’ve broken them down into three categories: Parent Resources, Non-Conventional Education, and Teachers.
- Go Kid
- This app is a carpool solution for families. You no longer need to read through long email chains to figure out which parents in your child’s school are willing to carpool and what your commitments are. You have a complete schedule, automated reminders, and peace of mind with this manageable platform.
- 4 Schoolers
- This group sets up babysitting, tutoring, and ridesharing services for you. They are serving only Massachusetts right now but look out for them in the next year.
- Best Class
- On Best Class, you can search for specific after-school classes and camps for your child.
- Upperline is coding school for high school students. They run workshops, after school classes, tutoring services, and summer programs to teach students how to code. The more exposure a student has to computer programming in high school, the more likely they will be able to follow a non-conventional track to continue their education.
- Be Somebody
- Be Somebody offers 4-week programs (on average) that teach students specific skills to get a job right away, and that success is guaranteed. Some of the courses include dental assistant, pharmacy technician, wellness, hospitality, environment, animals, and automotive.
Coding bootcamps are immersive programs that allow people to smoothly transition careers into computer programming, however, they require a certain amount of experience that a high school student may not necessarily have.
To increase their chance of admission, students can begin to build their coding skills by taking online coding classes, participating in summer internships at Tech companies, or going to school for an associates degree first.
For students that are ready for a bootcamp, check out coursereport.com, and take a look at these three NYC-based bootcamps.
- The Mouse House is dedicated to exposing students in underserved communities to educational technologies. The Mouse House holds makerspace workshops and is a great place to bring your students to explore and learn about technology
- Language Zen
- Language Zen teaches you a new language through popular music, adapting to your progress, and exploring your own interests. This is a great tool for English Language Learners!
- Teachers Pay Teachers
- This resource database allows teachers to create and sell their content as well as buy content from other teachers.
- Classroom Connect
- This last resource helps teachers inspire their students by setting up first-person video calls with professionals in various fields.
Let Us Know What You Think!
Let us know which startup listed was your favorite in the comment section below and be sure to look out for Online PD courses on any of these startups!