Edtech and Social Justice Path

Edtech can be used as a powerful tool for bringing social change and raising educational outcomes for all populations. Sessions in this path will feature key players in edtech, from educators to investors, highlighting how they are using innovative tools to promote social justice in the field.

*Please note that some times do overlap. It is up to you as a participant to choose what session you prefer.

What It Really Takes to Build a Diverse and Inclusive Education Company

Moderator: Brian Dixon, PartnerKapor Capital
Panelists: Raul Gutierrez, CEO, TinyBop, Ana Castro, CEO, Genius Plaza, Jinal Jhaveri, CEO, School MintJess Gartner, CEO, Allovue

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

Wanting to be a diverse and inclusive company and actually being a diverse and inclusive company are two entirely different things. In this panel, hear from four founders of education companies who are putting in the hard work to bake D&I into their company’s DNA. They’ll candidly share their ups and downs and lessons learned, and leave audience members better equipped to affect change in their own education organizations.

In this session, participants will:

  • Hear from entrepreneurs who have adopted the Founders Commitment how they have implemented it
  • Learn about the challenges they are overcoming
  • Understand how their businesses have changed as a result
Social Justice, Civic Participation, and Edtech

Moderator: Adam Strom, Director of Scholarship and Innovation, Digital Facing History and Ourselves
 Kristen Harmeling, Partner, YouGov; Louise Dube, Executive Director, iCivics

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Districts desire to close opportunity and achievement gaps. Digital technologies can be a powerful element to achieve that goal, but educators question whether the content will engage their students and how to implement it in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the digital divide.   

During this session, participants will:

  • Examine diverse set of issues that still exist with regard access to technology among communities
  • Compare how innovators address these challenges
  • Explore various ways schools are using edtech to power social justice
  • Identify opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs to help families, community leaders, local officials and media to access what they need to help their community thrive
Special Populations and Edtech

Moderator: Karen Janowski, Assistive and Educational Technology Consultant, Ed-Tech Solutions & Simmons College

Panelists: Ryan Knight, Director of Strategy and Evaluation, UP Education Network; Kathleen Colburn, Product Manager, TextHelp; Sara Davila, Director of English Language Learner Programs and Family & Community Outreach, Somerville Public Schools

Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

Special education populations have been using assistive technology for some time, but now a larger population of students are using digital technologies as part of their  learning. Educators and leaders are increasingly using edtech for interventions for many groups of students. Multi-tiered systems of support, RTI (Response to Intervention) and ELL (English Language Learners) focused interventions  are increasingly incorporating edtech.

During this session, participants will:

  • Examine research on the use of edtech products for intervention with special populations
  • Review what developers are saying about using their products to achieve peak results, and what this means for both in-class and pull-out settings
  • Explore with practitioners how the new generation of adaptive products – used by whole classes – is interacting with use solely by special ed students
Social Impact Investing

Panelists: John Duong, Director of Strategic Social Investments, Lumina; Shauntel Poulson, General Partner & Co-Founder, Reach Capital, Sky Lance, General Partner, Sustain VC, Nasir Qadree, Economic Opportunity Lead, Village Capital

Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
Time: 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

Impact investing is a growing source of capital,  and edtech is one of its focus areas.   With many financial investors focusing on existing portfolio companies, many  hope that this  will expand the pool of capital available to edtech entrepreneurs, while others wonder if it will increase competition and raise the valuations of edtech firms.

In this session, participants will:

  • Assess social impact investing trends
  • Explore what motivates social impact investors and how they measure success
  • Contrast how impact investors are the same or different than financial investors
  • Examine the flow of investment funds from both social impact and financial investors
When Mindset Meets Technology

Moderator: Martin Geoghegan, Principal, John T. Nichols, Jr. Middle School
Jillian Darwish, President, Mayerson Academy, Ami Shah, CEO, Peekapak, Sara Potler LaHayne, CEO, Move This World

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

Do students develop qualities like grit and persistence as they struggle through problems in adaptive learning curricula? Are they more likely to develop these qualities if they are working closer to their zone of proximal development? Does the construct of mastery learning help promote a growth mindset? Some edtech products that promote social-emotional development – regulating emotions, interacting well with peers, resolving disputes, have also recently been brought to market.   

During this session, participants will:

  • Explore the types of digital products that focus on student mindset, grit and persistence
  • Examine how educators have found adaptive curricula to impact student engagement and student mindset
  • Reflect on the roles of human interaction and supportive technology in this realm