Shaking up the classroom: Four ed-tech startups to watch

Like us, you’re probably keen to keep an eye on what’s happening in ed-tech because you want to keep up with your students, who’ll never miss an opportunity to jump on the latest app, game or device.

The summer holidays bring with them time for reflection, so we thought we’d make your job a bit easier by showcasing four amazing startups that each bring something unique to the classroom. They use the power of tech to completely revolutionise how students approach an area of their education – music, science, reading, coding and more.

First, meet ToneTree. It combines a small camera with its own music software so you can turn any physical surface into a custom musical instrument. Words can’t really describe how cool this thing is – just watch this 90-second video:

Then there’s VidCode. We’ve blogged recently about girls in STEM and teaching girls to code – well this project is the living embodiment of these movements. It takes a platform that’s popular with girls (Instagram, which has a 68% female user base) and teaches them to customise their videos using code. It’s simple but very effective.

A former Kickstarter staff pick, PocketLab calls itself the “Swiss army knife of science”. It’s a small device containing an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure sensor and thermometer. It connects to smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks to stream data that students can visualise straight away. We recently blogged about taking the digital science lab into the field – with this device it’s never been easier.

Finally BeeLine Reader is a piece of software available on a number of devices that applies colour gradient to text. This helps make reading text easier by naturally guiding the eye to the end of a line and then down to the next line. Their website explains and demonstrates this excellently – try it for yourself. It’s for all abilities, but they claim that readers with dyslexia, ADD or vision impairment reap the largest benefits.

Intel 4 ed tech start ups to watch.png

Some of these startups have a market-ready product that you can get right now (e.g. PocketLab, VidCode, BeeLine Reader), while others are still developing (e.g. ToneTree). So perhaps you’re wondering why we’ve chosen these companies in particular. Well they’ve all been chosen (along with four others) to receive up to $100,000 investment, plus veteran mentorship and a dedicated workspace in the heart of Silicon Valley thanks to Intel Capital - Intel Corporation's global investment organization. In making these investments – an initiative we call Intel Education Accelerator – we hope to see transformative technology used for the benefit of educators and students.

Can you see your students benefitting from these projects? Have you heard of them already? Have you used similar technologies in your classroom? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or via our Twitter or Facebook page.