edtech

How 7 EdTech Companies Are Tackling SEL

Say it isn’t so — summer is coming to an end and back-to-school season is here again. Teachers and students are ready with new school supplies and tools to get them through the semester. While many edtech tools are designed to aid and measure success in testing and a variety of different subjects, there’s now budding interest in a less tangible form of knowledge: social and emotional learning (SEL).

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According to 74 Million, SEL is defined as “a method of promoting holistic child development by teaching students skills such as self-regulation, persistence, empathy, self-awareness, and mindfulness.”

During such uncertain times we experience today, where daily news causes anxiety in adults and children alike, it’s no surprise why SEL is on the minds of educators more than ever. SEL doesn’t just help pave the path to moral citizenship. In fact, studies show that effective SEL intervention can increase academic test scores by 11 to 17%. But how do we go about measuring something that seems so subjective?

Of course, edtech does what it can to help educators along the way and incorporating SEL is no exception. Here are 7 companies that we think are nailing SEL and could be helpful for your back to school season:

1. ClassDojo

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As a parent, you may have wondered from time to time what your kid is up to at school. And as a teacher, there may have been moments you would have loved to share on-the-spot with your students’ family. ClassDojo aims to close the communication gap between families and school. This classroom app can be used by parents, students, and teachers to share photos, videos, and messages throughout the school day.

Furthermore, according to their website, 1 in 3 US kids aged 5-14 have learned about Growth Mindset and Empathy using ClassDojo. This app is currently being used by 90% of K-8 schools nationwide!
 

2. Kickboard
 

Integrating Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and SEL into the classroom is no easy task. In fact, in order to implement it successfully, it must be done so at every level, not just in individual classrooms or with individual students. Thankfully, Kickboard has created evidence-based solutions to track, monitor, and analyze at the student, class, grade, school, and district levels. Using rigorous analytics, Kickboard not only give educators “vivid insights at every level” but also provides educators with solutions to implement intervention where needed.
 

3. Hero
 

Being late to class usually comes with negative consequences -- pink slips, detention, and so on and so forth. Hero wants to change that by empowering students to not only get to class on time but also to make good decisions by using positive reinforcement. Their tools uses strong analytics to help educators reinforce good behavior, manage the classroom, and enact positive cultural change school and district-wide. According to their website, some schools have had their tardiness reduced by 98% and suspensions reduced by 81%.

4. 7 Mindsets


7 Mindsets calls themselves the “Google for SEL” — and they’re not wrong for it! 7 Mindsets has quickly become the one-stop-shop for all your SEL needs. From infographics to training sessions, 7 Mindsets provides everything that an educator needs to start cultivating SEL in your classroom or school.
 

5. Peekapak

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SEL doesn’t always mean tracking behavior and sifting through analytics. If you and your students respond to storytelling, Peekapak is the SEL fit for you. Set in the diverse world of Peekaville, the characters Menka, Cody, and Leo the Hedgehog will guide students through ELA lessons, all the while learning SEL skills such as self-regulation, teamwork, and empathy.

6. Sprig

Sprig uses immersive storytelling techniques both online and offline. Not only do they have engaging stories, but they also provide interactive puppets to “promote fun and deeper assessment results with a loveable, familiar puppet that interacts with technology, engages learners and breaks traditional assessment bias.” What we love about Sprig is that they extend this experience beyond the classroom and give caregivers a chance to explore SEL with their kids, too!

7. Gone Home

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What would you do after you come home from a year abroad and discover your home ...completely empty? Gone Home is an award-winning interactive first-person video game that allows you to explore and uncover clues to find the answers. Published by the Fulbright Company, the game has received critical praise, especially for addressing issues youths in LGBTQ have to frequently face.

 

Because SEL is booming, we’re sure we have missed some edtech companies who are doing great work. What are some of your favorite SEL-based companies? What resources would you like to see more of in and out of the classroom?

Want to learn more about SEL? Send us a message, and we’ll be happy to guide you!

How A Cold Email Led To An MBA Internship

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Our team at ProjectEd is made up of teachers, designers, entrepreneurs, and life-long learners. Not only are we passionate about edtech, but we also believe in moving education forward in every sense of the word. Learning comes in all shapes and sizes, and it does not stop outside of the classroom. Whether you are in high school or just about to graduate into the “real world,” internships are a great way to learn on the job for the job you potentially aspire to have after school.

With concrete aspirations intact and a clear passion for edtech, Columbia Business School student Jessica Langman cold emailed us early in the spring, hoping we would have room for an MBA internship. Turns out, this wasn’t Jessica’s first rodeo in the tech industry. Before becoming a full-time MBA student to pivot into edtech, she’s held leadership positions at three innovative, fast-paced companies — from digital marketing at Rokkan, brand strategy at WeWork, to storytelling at WME | IMG. She tells us that she was impressed with our business model and our roster of edtech clients, but we were just as captivated by her resume. Our CTO, Gillian, reached out the very next day and after a week of interviews, the rest became history. We hired our very first MBA intern, assisting us with business development and project management.

You may be thinking that this was just a stroke of good luck, since most cold emails tend to go straight from the inbox to the trash — right? When you play your communication cards right, you may be surprised by how cold emails can help you in your career.

Here are some tips we’ve learned from Jessica about how to make the most of your network, when you are just starting out in your career.

1. Take advantage of your alma mater and alumni network — they are there to help!

While we may cringe at how The Office’s Andy Bernard eagerly represented his college alma mater, he may have been on to something. Jessica knew she wanted to work in edtech after graduating, so she took the time to reach out to alums who were already thriving in the industry:

“I was astonished and supremely grateful for the swift responses I received from CBS alums who work in edtech, all of whom were incredibly eager to offer insight into the industry and support during my internship search.”

Every university/college has an extensive alumni network you can tap into. The shared bond already puts you ahead of the game, and most alumni are always willing to lend a helping hand in the industry.
 

2. Birds of a feather flock together at meetups and events.

If you’re interested in something, chances are there are other people who share that interest in your local area as well. Jessica advises aspiring edtech students to join local edtech meetups. If you are in NYC, she recommends Built In NYC and filtering for local edtech startups.

Whether you’re interested in niche edtech technology such as VR/AR or the vast landscape of edtech conferences, there will always be something of interest to you (and people who want to help you move education forward, too)!

3. When finally reaching out, remember the 3 Ps.

If you’re Googling “cold email templates,” you may be going down the path of emails that go straight to junk. When you finally decide to reach out to your network, we recommend integrating 3 Ps in your message: make it Personal, show you’re Passionate, and have a Plan of action.

Here’s what we mean: When Jessica reached out to us, it was Personal — she let us know who she was and why she was interested in our work. She further showed that she was Passionate about edtech, so she wasn’t just looking for any MBA internship. Jessica wanted one that would specifically help her reach her edtech career aspirations and goals. Last, but not least, she had a Plan of action: she asked if we had any opportunities for her or if we could give her some time to learn more about us.

When you’re sending out a lot of cold emails, it can be easy to fall into the trap of sending a template that is “one size fits all” because it’s easier and less time-consuming. But if you do take a little time, who you are reaching out to will surely take notice of the effort.
 

After 6 months of interning with us, Jessica is back at Columbia Business School to finish her degree. When she graduates May 2019, she hopes to find “an awesome role in edtech in either growth or product marketing.” You’ll want to keep in touch with this future edtech rockstar — we know we will!

 

Interested in learning more about a career in edtech? Feel free to send us a message. We’ll be happy to guide you along the way!