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ISTE 2013 Notable PitchFest Ideas


At ISTE 2013 PitchFest, 20 companies went head to head to compete for the chance to be picked as one of the final six teams to pitch for a pot of start up gold (money and support) worth $10,000. They had just five minutes to pitch their ideas. Here are some highlights from the Monday and Tuesday pitches:

  • Actively Learn:  Actively Learn is an online reader that allows teachers to embed questions in a digital text. The company currently has 150 digital texts embedded with Common Core-aligned questions designed to promote critical thinking. Though Actively Learn received next to the highest number of audience votes during their round, the judges didn’t move them to the finals. Even so, coincidentally on Wednesday night, Pearson announced that it picked Actively Learn as one of its six "Catalyst" companies.
  • BirdBrain Technologies: Bringing the joy and creativity of the maker movement, the company's Hummingbird Robotics Kit contains components that bring together the worlds of robotics and crafts. Students learn to build and program their unique robots with this kit. Robots can then be used to teach or illustrate ideas across curriculum.
  • Citelighter: Popular with the PitchFest crowd, Citelighter is a tool that allows students to capture information and research they highlight from the internet. Students can then organize that research, record their thoughts and arguments within the platform, and export it all to a word doc to begin writing.
  • Gobstopper: An e-reading platform that allows teachers to embed questions and quizzes into digital text, get immediate feedback as students respond, and embed additional media to enrich their reading. While teachers can use the platform for free with public domain texts, the company has formed partnerships with publishers so that teachers can rent texts directly from Gobstopper for up to $3.99 per student per year.

  • LearnZillion: With over 5,000 lesson plans on their platform created by 123 top teachers across the country, LearnZillion is now moving into the professional development space by adding 300 expert tutorials and short videos on best approaches, common misunderstandings, and context behind common core content.
  • Livingtree: Formed around family engagement, Livingtree is a platform for families, teachers, and schools to streamline information and manage the multiple relationships around a child, such as coaches, tutors, teachers, and parents. The platform allows this community to share content, calendars, and messages.

  • Zondle: Zondle blends a database of education content, with a database of gaming apps, and allows teachers to develop their own games to support their learning objectives.

On Wednesday the final six teams will pitch to a panel of five judges, who will make the final decision on who will come out on top of this year’s ISTE PitchFest.



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