Friday, September 14, 2012

The Ed Tech Startup Space

Before giving my opinions on these Ed startups , it is important to define startup and describe their characteristics. A google search led me to these definitions:

"A startup business is a company that is in the first stage of its operations" (

"It is a new business that provides a new service to the target market" (

These two definitions stress the fact that a startup business is a new company whether the service provided is new or not. Startups are often financed by their founders as they try to develop their product or service according to Investopedia continued by stating: "Due to limited revenue or high costs most of these small business operations are not sustainable in the long term without funding from venture capitalists".  These characteristics seem make startups different from other traditional new companies in the sense that they are often funded by their creators. Why don't investors finance these companies in their first stage of operations? The survival of a startup depends on the existence of a need and capital.

I am not really attracted by the list of startups provided in the course as my ideas are based on providing open learning services synchronously and asynchronously. Coursera seems closed to my idea  but it provides open courses only synchronously and its courses are only taught by university professors where the traditional face-to-face model is duplicated online. I am also attracted by Degreed that seems to evaluate  formal and informal learning. I subscribed to it but there was a software error after logging. I might come back to it later to see how it works and make an evaluation. Codemy apparently seems good as it offers web programming but although it is free you have to subscribe in order to see what it offers. Class Dojo seems interesting as it proposes to solve behavior problems in the classroom. But it can only serve as an aid to the teacher. The assignment of points seems similar to a discipline method used in elementary school. Overall these startups are web 2.0 tools with the exception of Coursera and Codemy which  are some kind of open learning platform.

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