VIF International Education, a K-12 professional development company, has acquired Participate Learning, a teacher resource aggregator and search engine. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Short for “Visiting International Faculty,” VIF was founded in 1987 to help universities recruit international faculty, and later turned its attention to K-12 educators and bringing international “visiting” teachers to the U.S. The organization later rebranded as VIF International Education in the 1990s, focused on providing more general professional development around developing educators’ global and cultural awareness.
Since the shift, VIF International CEO David Young tells EdSurge that he and his team have been interested in turning the organization “into a full-blown edtech company,” where VIF provides educators with the tools they need to do their job.
“We needed to train our teachers and provide them with resources to be successful,” VIF International CEO David Young tells EdSurge, adding that VIF currently has 20,000 teachers (1,000 of whom are “visiting international faculty from about 30 countries around the world”) on its platform.
Young believes that Participate, a platform that functions like a rudimentary combination of Pinterest and Graphite, can fill that void, such as with a search bar where educators can find resources and collections curated by educators. Additionally, on the Participate platform, educators can use "Participate Chats," an internal group chatting feature attached to a calendar of Twitter chats that offers users an alternative to using Twitter.
Young explains that Participate Learning’s online platform will power VIF’s programming starting in the 2016-2017 school year, with Participate’s team developing a “better user experience” to sustain “more stability, flexibility and scale.”