‘Teacherpreneurs’ vie for startup funds

“Teacherpreneurs” — teachers with ed-tech ideas — competed for start-up funding at a Brooklyn event organized by 4.0 Schools.

“I’m a high school social studies teacher, and I had a problem,” (Eric) Nelson told more than 100 educators, entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts in a crowded Brooklyn loft. “My students were disengaged when learning about the world in which they lived in an era in which global competence matters more than ever.”

Inspired by fantasy football, he developed “Fantasy Geopolitics,” an interactive game in which students draft countries to teams and earn points as their picks come up in the news. He now teaches a “Fantasy Geopolitics” elective at a Minnesota charter school and is hoping for “Silicon Alley” funding to reach more teachers.

When Borne Digital‘s Daniel Fountenberry volunteered at a Harlem elementary school, he saw teachers provide different books and assignments to different groups. ”The teacher was clearly overworked. She struggled to administer five different learning groups within one classroom. So I thought, what if a book could adapt to each child’s needs, so the students could read and learn together?”

Books That Grow, an e-reader, lets every student read the same story with easier or harder vocabulary. As students improve, the reading challenge grows.

Maya Gat left her teaching job at Bronx Community Charter School to develop Branching Minds.

The Web-based application lets users answer questions about areas where a child is struggling and generates a list of resources, from online tools and toys to classes and community resources, to help parents and teachers find necessary support systems.

Also up for funding was SmartestK12, an online platform that lets teachers transform documents into digital assignments.

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