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Kaplan and TechStars Announce Education-Focused Accelerator

Can the 10 start-ups invited to participate help revolutionize the current education system?
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Partnering up with Kaplan, TechStars announced that it has selected ten education technology start-ups to participate in its Kaplan EdTech Accelerator. The companies will participate in an intensive three-month mentorship and business development program in New York, according to a press release

"I have been very impressed by not only the level of talent and motivation of these teams, but also their passion to drive real change in education," said Bernardo Rodriguez, chief digital officer for Kaplan’s Test Prep business unit. "It will be exciting to work with these entrepreneurs and TechStars, and to see them in action over the next three months."

According to the press release, "the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator is the first corporate sponsored accelerator focused exclusively on the education sector, using TechStars’ mentor-driven, deep immersion model."

Here are the ten start-ups selected: 

Degreed 

Since learning does not stop with a college degree, Degreed has come up with a system to validate your lifelong education. Users can input their learning from accredited and non-accredited sources and build their overall degree score through credit hours and mastery levels. Basically, the San Francisco-based start-up jailbreaks your degree. 

Flinja 

Likened to a TaskRabbit for college students, Flinja is a marketplace where college alumni can list services they provide, find jobs and collect payments for complete assignments. The purpose, claims the San Francisco-based start-up, is to provide a safe environment for those with their .edu college address to reconnect with their college network and make the most of those connections. 

MentorMob 

Feeling overwhelmed by all the free resources that enable continued learning in this day and age? Have no fear, MentorMob allows its users to curate websites, videos, and blogs into a "learning Playlists." This way users can work together and learn from each other through crowdlearning, explains the Chicago-based start-up.

Modern Guild 

Offering three eight- to ten-week long courses at the price of $699 to $999, Modern Guild is attempting to give apprenticeship a new meaning. The online courses are taught to college and high school students and come with a personal career coach with whom students meet with four to five times every two weeks. The New York-based start-up offers courses for those at different levels in their career--exploration, immersion and acceleration. 

panOpen 

With increased popularity of open educational resources for teaching and learning, panOpen provides framework for such materials to be utilized by schools by supporting creation of institutionally-edited derivatives and offering services such as student user analytics. The New York-based start-up integrates with student information systems, learning management systems and financial aid.

PlaypowerLabs 

This Carnegie Mellon educational research initiative delivers an online platform of web and mobile math games for students in grades K through eight. In order to experience Pittsburgh-based Playpower Labs' games firsthand, users can try their hand at Fraction Planet. 

Ranku 

Aiming to bring transparency and accountability to the online higher education, Ranku ranks and markets full online degree programs at non-profit colleges. The New York-based start-up has not yet launched its platform. 

Uvize 

With the mission to help military veterans succeed in college, Uvize partners with colleges to incorporate their information into their preparatory class, thus providing incoming veterans with the opportunity to learn academic skills and go through university orientation prior to arrival. According to Uvize, this will help veterans transition and increases the likelihood of their success in college. For schools that have not yet partnered with the Boulder-based start-up, interested students can sign up individually. 

Verificient Technologies

Thanks to Verificient Technologies, online learning institutions can proctor their tests by isolating only the content that the test takers are allowed to interact with, preventing them from copying, cheating or sharing the testing content. The New York-based start-up also tracks potential abnormalities that might be breaking the rules of testing, which are then included in a report made available to the instructor. 

Whipsmart Learning 

Hoping to revolutionize the way students read, Whipsmart Learning has launched Newsela, an online news site that allows students to read content at their reading level. Newsela articles are written at multiple levels of complexity, each just a click away, and are accompanied by quizzes, which test reading comprehension and critical thinking. With the help of this New York-based start-up, teachers can utilize Newsela to assign articles, review quizzes and track their students' progress. 

IMAGE: Shutterstock
Last updated: Jun 20, 2013

JANA KASPERKEVIC | Staff Writer

Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.




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