The Education Partners at NY EdTech Week

Dec 29, 2016 1:30:07 PM Emily Jensen


GEMS Americas was invited to mentor new education technology companies in an incubator program launched by New York University Steinhardt School and StartEd Companies Inc. GEMS leveraged their extensive experience in the field of education to work with companies selected for this three month accelerator program, dedicated to education entrepreneurship. The companies selected for this program had access to a powerful cohort of leaders with prominent experience in the fields of education and technology. This innovative program culminated with the NY EdTech Week in late December 2016, where selected companies presented to prominent venture capital investors. The conference was a global meeting point of ideas in the education innovation industry, leveraging entrepreneurship and EdTech to drive advancements in education and learning.

GEMS Americas, along with other industry experts and leaders, participated in serving as mentors in the program. Denise Gallucci, Chief Executive Officer and Mary Beth Wilson, Chief Learning Officer at GEMS Education Americas and The Education Partners (TEP) were invited to participate and share their experience in driving sustainable and scalable change through sophisticated learning technologies that transform systems and schools through rich teaching and learning practices.

Throughout the accelerator and incubator program, GEMS representatives worked with technology innovators and experts, entrepreneurs, policymakers, researchers, academics and teachers to foster new partnerships and exchange best practices. The GEMS team also worked with companies who are transforming the learning experience by integrating technology into the daily life of scholars and teachers.

ExpertKnowledge is a company pioneering the cloud-based design system by taking learning design and thinking processes from manual to automated. Ryan Austin, the CEO and Co-Founder of ExpertKnowledge, had the vision to create a ‘centralized learning platform’ addressing the many learning design challenges. The ExpertKnowledge platform brings the learning experience and instructional design pieces together, creating a system of designed learning. The central platform archives all designs while version controls further the understanding behind the decision making, helping the system make recommendations based on usage patterns. The aim is to increase learning outcomes through changing the elements of teaching and learning. 50 universities have signed up for the beta version as early adopter clients. GEMS Education is partnering with ExpertKnowledge to utilize GEMS expertise in education curriculum and design to help teachers develop curriculum in their K-12 beta space.

The GEMS team also worked with AugThat, an EdTech company focused on increasing student engagement through their technology, Augmented Reality, which provides a digital layer of information over a real world backdrop. Paolo Catilo, the co-founder and COO of AugThat, believes bringing 3D imaging to visual learning will help with student engagement, giving impetus to learning and enhancing learning outcomes. AugThat aims to use plug and play user-friendly technology in the classrooms to supplement the regular forms of learning and teaching by tapping into the growth of the digital era. 

Another leading company at EdTech Week was StepUp, a company that links kinesthetic learning with early learning to help struggling students become independent learners. The objective of the program is to remove the learning differences between students of similar learning profiles. StepUp’s interactive videos teach standards-based skills through multi-sensory activities. The intervention involves 160 days of structured content, with 15-20 minutes of practice each day. Jonathan Rowe, Managing Director of Step Up, aims to expand the reach of the program in the coming year. This year StepUp reached almost 150 schools and Rowe notes that a district in Illinois had a 23% increase in reading outcomes as a result of the StepUp program.

The integration of education and technology has assumed paramount importance today, whereby students are becoming digital citizens, as well as global citizens. The transformation model for growth must involve the organized symbiosis of education and technology which is extremely vital for enhanced learning and provide equal access to quality education for all.