A rebooted accelerator concept for LEANLAB Education put four edtech companies into Kansas City classrooms this spring — focusing more on helping founders conduct research on their products inside of schools and de-emphasizing previous entrepreneur training aspects of LEANLAB’s programming.
“As the first program of its kind in the U.S., this inaugural cohort represents a turning point for LEANLAB,” said Katie Boody Adorno, founder and CEO of LEANLAB Education. “We’ve coordinated an unparalleled network of innovative schools across the Kansas City region and plan to expand that network in the coming years across Missouri, creating a hub for education technology and innovation like no other in the country.”
The inaugural EdTech Pilot Research Program matched four emerging K12 education technology startups with focused support and resources to help them conduct research pilots in partnerships with school systems across the Kansas City metro, Boody said.
One of those companies — Boddle, a well-known former Kansas City startup that left the metro in 2020 to pursue funding opportunities in Tulsa, Oklahoma — returned for the pilot program, matching its gamified math platform with needs at Citizens of the World and Guadalupe Centers.
Partnering with LEANLAB for the research-based program was a “no brainer” for Boddle, said Edna Martinson, co-founder of Boddle.
“LEANLAB’s commitment to improving student outcomes and helping educators be successful is something that has been evident throughout the years, and their great approach to research that prioritizes the feedback of end users (students and teachers) is something that our team finds a lot of value in,” Martinson said. “Through this research, we’ll not only be able to measure our impact but also receive valuable feedback on how we can improve and better serve educators and students.”
The pilot serves as a critical forum for data gathering, she emphasized, adding that her team can observe first-hand how Boddle’s users are empirically utilizing the platform and identify further process and product improvement opportunities.
Such commercialization research for early to seed-stage companies focused on K-12 education is at the foundation of LEANLAB’s goals for the program, said Stephanie Campbell, vice president of communications of LEANLAB.
“With all of its challenges, Covid-19 ushered in an exciting era for the education technology industry, and we want to raise awareness about the most promising emerging tools that will give educators the capacity they’re craving right now,” Campbell said. “These entrepreneurs are defining the contours of precisely how schools and teachers can practice student-centered learning.”
Click here to learn more about LEANLAB Education.
Among the solutions presented by the four cohort members:
Boddle, Tulsa, Oklahoma
KC Partner: Citizens of the World & Guadalupe Centers
The Challenge: How might we develop math assessments and practice that are fun and engaging for students?
The Innovation: Adaptive math practice and assessments for K – 6th grade students through a fun game.
Click here to learn more about Boddle.
Levered Learning, Santa Cruz, California
KC Partner: Lee A. Tolbert Academy
The Challenge: How might we help students progress at their own pace in elementary math through an online curriculum?
The Innovation: Online math curriculum that allows 3rd through 5th grade students to progress at their own pace.
Click here to learn more about Levered Learning.
ClassCraft, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
KC Partner: Longfellow Elementary and George Melcher Elementary
The Challenge: How might we drive intrinsic motivation and streamline behavior management using a playful and collaborative learning platform?
The Innovation: Playful and collaborative learning platform to gamify behavior management and drive intrinsic motivation.
Click here to learn more about ClassCraft.
Sown to Grow, Oakland, California
KC Partner: Clinton County R-III and Gordon Parks Elementary
The Challenge: How might we help students improve their social-emotional learning (SEL) skills through goal-setting and reflection strategies?
The Innovation: Learning platform that empowers students to improve their SEL skills, setting goals and reflect on strategies through customizable modules.
Click here to learn more about Sown to Grow.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.