It was a full house this afternoon at the Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) Expo at the Stanford School of Education. I was not at all surprised by the size and engagement of the crowd given the impressive quality of the teams and their final presentations. The groups took on a diverse set of learning challenges, ranging from learning math through music, addressing learning needs for children on the autism spectrum, skills retraining through the Kinect to religion and sex education. I was honored to attend the morning presentations as a reviewer, specifically for Handily and The Presence Project, and it was interesting to see the details behind several of the projects.
What was most inspiring for me was to see how this program has evolved, especially over the past few years. Karin Forssell, Director of the LDT Program (now referred to as the MA in Edtech), captured the essence of the program with her thoughtful closing message as she officially launches this cohort into the world. She stated that the challenge with education technology is to start with the learning goals, push assumptions on what is possible and what we expect from current technology tools to design solutions focused on the learners first and then incorporate the technology.
Kudos to the Stanford School of Ed for creating this environment that is incubating authentic edtech solutions, focusing on prototyping various approaches to specific learning challenges, grounded in research and classroom practice and then thinking about potential for commercializing those efforts. I think a few of these teams have particularly promising ideas and I hope they will continue building on this initial work. Like most incubator programs, some teams are on track to be more successful (and marketable) than others and that’s typical.
For today, they’ve all launched and for that they should be extremely proud.