Bobby Burch, Editor-in-Chief, Startland News, speaks with Carlos Antequera, co-founder and former CEO, Netchemia; Alicia Herald, founder and CEO, myEDmatch; Anthony Noll, founder and CEO, Loop; and Brad Sandt, founder and CEO, k12itc, at the Techweek Kansas City Summit 2016 to discuss KC’s EdTech companies as well as the innovation taking place in the education system. The panelists share their perspectives about EdTech and how it has helped in many areas, from recognizing talented teachers to introducing accessible technology in teaching curriculums.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Reasons for Success in Kansas City:
    Kansas City has an advantage as it is facilitated by great entrepreneurs and heavy investors, like the Kauffman Foundation, that provide an excellent foundation for the sector. Also, due to its small scale, the city has a meaningful impact on its education system as opposed to larger cities. With a large variety of schools, the focus should be on the digital divide, ensuring access to technology in education for every child.
  2. Technology’s Role in Classrooms:
    The mass online courses facilitate personalized learning, which further helps the federal changes with the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), offering equal education to all students.
  3. The Interaction Between Students and Parents:
    Kansas City is enhancing the interactions between parents and their children by sourcing from the communities of parents, students, and teachers, to identify problems and come out with possible solutions.
  4. Personalized Learning and Badging:
    Text messages will guide students with information like which building to attend their classes in, incorporating features to make the whole process interesting. Badging, which acknowledges when students have developed a particular skill, will make learning more exciting and encourage students to engage in tasks. 
  5. Change is the Hardest Thing:
    It is important to have challenges, making it crucial to believe that “less is more.” Not everything can be a success, hence, the parameter of success should not be the grades, but an interaction between students, and how they look at a problem and come up with solutions.
  6. Content is Expensive:
    Open source content comes with a price tag. Along with technology, manpower also plays a major role in the whole publishing cycle, which could be shortened substantially over time.

Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 0:14 – Bobby Burch introduced the panel of professionals that represent EdTech businesses, who then speak about their respective companies
  • 4:07 – The Kauffman Foundation has facilitated education innovation in Kansas City. The size of KC, its charter schools, and its market structure are also important factors
  • 7:30 – The introduction of cloud in schools is essential for the future of students and requires overcoming the resistance to technology
  • 8:23 – With the rapid evolution of education, technology will be playing a vital role in the classroom, benefiting students, parents, and teachers
  • 13:41 – The community can contribute towards the increasing innovation in education through well-implemented products that address the issues, and by ensuring that students are technologically skilled
  • 18:53 – In the future, technology will bring about a number of changes and opportunities in the field of education through badging, personalization of learning, new learning models, and more
  • 25:13 – The challenge of the digital divide between technologically advanced schools and rural schools needs to be resolved
  • 27:55 – Q&A session begins. How the panel’s companies are pushing higher education to develop at the same pace as K-12
  • 30:49 – EdTech companies need to understand and navigate through the cycles while introducing and implementing a new product
  • 33:42 – The decision regarding the type of curriculum used by schools should be considered carefully, whether the content is open-sourced or purchased from a publisher
  • 37:29 – The latest developments in technology, such as virtual reality, can be integrated into education
  • 39:05 – The panelists share the reasons why they got into the field of EdTech

Speakers

Co-Founder and former CEO, Netchemia
Founder and CEO, myEDmatch
Founder and CEO, Loop 
Founder and CEO, k12itc