Conference Videos

Over the past six years at our Across Boundaries Conference, luminaries in the edtech industry have shared their experience and wisdom with attendees. Explore the keynote highlights and breakout sessions below to learn about the latest challenges, trends, and innovations in this rapidly growing field. 


The State of the Edtech Market Place

Tom Vander Ark, Author of Getting Smart, Smart Cities, and Smart Parents, CEO of Getting Smart, Partner at Learn Capital

The State of the Edtech Marketplace

    • What ten things will educators, parents and students be doing 5-10 years from now that they are not doing now?
    • What needs to happen in the next two years for these predictions to be true?
    • What are the critical actions ed innovators should be taking now?
    • What are likely stumbling blocks and how can they be avoided?
    • What is happening in the marketplace related to ed innovation growth outside the US compared to in the US?
    • What have been surprises in development over the past two years?
    • What can edtech stakeholders do to support the marketplace in the coming years?
Will Robots Eat your Job?

Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Professor, MIT Sloan School of Business

Will Robots Eat Your Job?

“Software is eating the world.” As artificial intelligence capabilities increase, computers and software are doing more jobs that humans used to do, but they’re also creating new opportunities. MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, the co-author of The Second Machine Age, will address what’s in store for the economy and what it means for students and educators. Given his pioneering work on the combined power of people and machines, he will challenge and inspire the audience.

What Neuroscience has to say for Education 2.0

John Gabrieli, Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT

What Neuroscience has to say for Education 2.0

Neuroscientists and cognitive scientists are working to uncover more insights on how  humans learn. What key insights emerging from basic science should be incorporated into teaching and learning by educators, and the development of new education products and services by entrepreneurs?   What key questions remain?  Gabrieli will provide both an overview and deep insight into his area of inquiry: the formation of memory.

Transforming Education: Personalizing K-12

Phyllis Lockett, CEO, LEAP Innovations

Transforming Education: Personalizing K-12

In order to help all kids achieve their true academic potential, it’s time to rethink the way we do education – to shift our focus from a one-size-fits-all model to personalized learning, a process as individual as learners themselves. LEAP Innovations is a social enterprise, headquartered in Chicago, dedicated to connecting innovation and education to transform learning for all kids. Ms. Lockett, along with her team, has worked with more than 70 schools across Chicago and leads a national network of organizations that are advancing education innovation. In her keynote, Phyllis will address:

Business Trends in EdTech

Victor Hu, Global Head of Education Technology and Services Investment Banking, Goldman Sachs

The education industry is undergoing a tremendous transformation, and capital is forming around new trends at an unprecedented rate. And how should entrepreneurs, educators and investors navigate a new environment moving towards digitalization and personalized learning?

Navigating Fast Growth: Big Changes in Edtech

Facilitator: John Kim, Senior Lecturer in General Management, Harvard Business School

Panelists: Larry Berger, Chief Executive Officer, Amplify & Rob Waldron, Chief Executive Officer, Curriculum Associates

Entrepreneurs are shaking up education. Two of the most prominent edtech entrepreneurs will candidly discuss what it takes to build a successful company that delivers meaningful educational results.

K-12 Education: 2016 and Beyond

Stacey Childress, CEO, New Schools Venture Fund

K-12 education has seen a surge of innovative “schools and tools” emerge in the past 5 years. Stacey will share her view on global trends in the adoption of digital learning as she looks at K-12 education: 2016 and beyond.

Higher Education 2.0: Readying for a Changing Landscape

Interviewer: Scott Kirsner, Innovation Economy columist, Boston Globe & Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

Three developments are poised to change  higher education: competency-based education, “unbundling” of higher ed, and the move towards micro-credentials.  How can educators and entrepreneurs support changing how time, staff and technology are used, and create Higher Education 2.0?

Fireside Chat with Jose Ferreira and Michael Horn

Interviewer: Michael Horn, Venture Partner, NextGen, Co-founder of Clayton Christensen Institute & Jose Ferreira, Founder of CEO of Knewton

Knewton is an adaptive learning platform that harnesses the power of normed content and big data to provide personalized frameworks for student learning. Founder and CEO Jose Ferreira joins interviewer Michael Horn to discuss Knewton’s revolutionary approach to adaptive learning and his thoughts on the future of education as a whole.

New Technologies in Neuroscience

David Rose, Founder and Chief Education Officer, CAST

New media changes the equations between children and their learning environment. Neuropsychologist David Rose explores what we have learned about learning thanks to advances in technology and neuroscience.

Summit Public Schools: The Promise of EdTech

Diane Tavenner Founder and CEO, Summit Public Schools

Summit Public Schools designs schools that align with the world students live in today and the world they will inhabit in the future. EdTech is an essential component in disrupting the factory model of schools and making possible the future model.


How Can Edtech Scale Student Success?

Moderator: Leonard Medlock of EdSurge

Panelists: Aaron Feuer, CEO Panorama Education; Andrew Joseph, Co-Founder, TenMarks, an Amazon Company; & Carol Vallone, CEO Educated Online

This panel features prominent EdTech entrepreneurs who will discuss how they have successfully built their businesses, including isolating the problems they were trying to solve, proving outcomes, and raising capital to grow their teams and products.



Putting Together the Puzzle of 21st Century Learning Technologies

Chris Dede, Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard University Graduate School of Education

To move towards a 21st century model for education, teachers must develop fluency in using emerging interactive media, complement presentational instruction with collaborative inquiry-based learning, and unlearn almost unconscious assumptions and beliefs and values about the nature of teaching, learning, and schooling

EdX: Reimagining Education

Anant Agarwal, CEO of EdX

EdX is a massive open online course provider that hosts courses from the from the world’s best universities. CEO Anant Agarwal discusses how this partnership between MIT and Harvard dramatically increases access to education worldwide while re-imagining and reinventing how education works on university campuses.

The Future of K-12: Are We There Yet & What Should We Do Now?

Seth Reynolds, Managing Director and Parthenon-EY

Seth offers a consultant’s perspective on the edtech industry. He speaks about the challenges facing the current K-12 education climate, the changes on the horizon, and what improvements can be made.


State Education Departments' Roles in the EdTech Boom

Secretary Gregory Bialecki, Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development and Luis Rodriguez, Director, Office of Digital Learning, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts is proud to be at the forefront of the innovation economy, especially when it comes to education. As technology enters the education market at the policy level, many questions emerge. In particular, what are social entrepreneurs doing to improve the K-12 experience to help all students be prepared for success beyond high school?

How Do We Build Lasting and Fundable EdTech Companies?

Anthony Kim,  Founder and CEO of Education Elements

Anthony Kim advises edtech entrepreneurs on three key things to consider when building their businesses: identifying a pure addressable market, building a sustainable model that demonstrates profitability, and delivering outcomes for the schools.

Selling to K-12 and Higher Ed: Navigating a Trust-Based Market

John Katzman, Founder and CEO of Noodle

John Katzman provides suggestions for how fledgling start-ups can succeed in the Higher Ed and K-12 marketplace. He acknowledges the challenges that companies must overcome to cross the education market’s trust threshold and predicts the traits of companies that will prevail. 

Breakout Sessions

Interoperability: The Next Frontier

Panelists: Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw HillErin Mote,  Executive Director, InnovateEdu; Mike Baur, Program Officer,  Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
For personalized learning to reach its potential, students and teachers must be able to rapidly enter their digital learning environments, organize their work, readily access learning material at the right level, and interpret results data from multiple sources of software. Today this is often a complex, mostly manual task. This session will look at how schools and districts are likely to evolve to get to this vision.

Social Justice, Civic Participation, and Edtech

Moderator: Adam Strom, Director of Scholarship and Innovation, Digital Facing History and Ourselves

Panelists: Kristen Harmeling, Partner, YouGov ; Louise Dube, Executive Director, iCivics

Districts desire to provide opportunity for students, close achievement gaps, and prepare students to be active, engaged citizens. In the aftermath of a heated election and increased attention on the need for civic education, how can digital technologies help achieve that goal? What are the challenges and opportunities facing the classroom  in  teaching about social justice? How can edtech using digital tools help  tackle the challenges of the 21st century? What are some of the promising practices in the field and how can they be scaled in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the growing  divide in our country?

The Promise of Intelligent Adaptive Learning

Moderator: David Dockterman, Chief Architect of Learning Sciences for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Panelists: Bob McCabe, Vice President for Education and Outreach, Lexia Learning and Rosetta Stone; Tim Hudson, VP of Learning, Dreambox; Al Essa, VP of Research and Data Science, McGrawHill Education

Intelligent Adaptive Learning (IAL) promises to meet the needs of learner variability, increasing student achievement by applying proven learning theory to individual student learning. Students are placed at individual levels of development, proceed at their own pace, experience rewards for learning, and repeat work as needed. Educators are provided with rich formative data so they can create groups or individual conferences to further student growth.


Personalizing the System, Not just the Classroom

Moderator: Anthony Kim, CEO, Ed Elements

Speakers: Peter Sanchioni, Superintendent, Natick Public Schools; Eric Conti, Superintendent, Burlington Public Schools; Mary Skipper, Superintendent, Somerville Public Schools

More districts are looking to personalize education for their students. Leaders are seeking to learn the best approaches used by their

2017 Learning Innovation Showcase: Ignite Sessions

The Learning Innovation Showcase uniquely presents the voices of learners and enables diverse groups – educators, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers – to see a wide range of edtech tools applied in real learning environments. Our inspiring showcase is an opportunity to learn about innovative programming that personalizes learning for students of all ages through access to effective, cutting-edge edtech.

Twenty teachers and student teams have stepped forward to showcase emerging models of teaching and learning in Secondary Ed (6th – 12th grade), Higher Ed, and learning programs outside of school.

2017 Learning Innovation Showcase: Tour

The Learning Innovation Showcase uniquely presents the voices of learners and enables diverse groups – educators, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers – to see a wide range of edtech tools applied in real learning environments. Our inspiring showcase is an opportunity to learn about innovative programming that personalizes learning for students of all ages through access to effective, cutting-edge edtech.

Twenty teachers and student teams have stepped forward to showcase emerging models of teaching and learning in Secondary Ed (6th – 12th grade), Higher Ed, and learning programs outside of school.

K-12 Edtech Piloting: Mapping the Path to Successful Implementation

Moderator: Beth Rabbitt, CEO of the Learning Accelerator

Panelists: Mary Driscoll, Instructional Superintendent, Boston Public Schools; Andy Marcinek, Chief Information Officer, Worcester Academy & Former Chief Open Education Advisor, US Department of Education; Julie Baudreau, Director of Digital Learning, Westford Public Schools

How do schools decide which academic challenges to apply technology to? How do they identify which edtech products are suitable for a particular learning environment? There are so many important considerations: is the product is research-based, will it work in your context, is it implementable with your technology infrastructure, how much training will be required, will your students take to it, and whether you can be confident that it will create better student outcomes.


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

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.

The ABCs of Instructional Design

Speaker: Bror Saxberg, Chief Learning Officer, Kaplan

As digital learning offerings have grown, so too has the demand for savvy instructional designers.  They must be experts in UI, UX, learning science, content, and project management. Bror Saxberg, the Chief Learning Officer of Kaplan, will show how learning science is applied to creation of effective learning environments, and explore how to become a better “learning engineer” and instructional designer.

The Tech Behind Personalized Learning Platforms

Moderator: Sujata Bhatt, Managing Partner, Innovation, Boston Public Schools

Panelists: Adam Seldow, Head of Education Partnerships, Facebook; Erin Mote, Co-founder & Executive Director, InnovateEDU, Curt Allen, CEO, Agilix

Is the future one of playlists curated based on a student’s mastery? Definitions of personalized learning often include personalized learning plans, student portfolios. A number of companies are offering platforms: Facebook’s Summit Learning, Agilix. What are the pros and cons of the platforms? How do they incorporate your favorite content?

Overcoming Barriers to Technology Adoption in Schools and Beyond

Moderator: Meg Campbell, Executive Director, Codman Academy

Panellists: Melissa Dodd, CIO, Boston Public Schools; Craig Powell, Founder and CEO, ConnectEDU; Deb Socia, Executive Director, Tech Goes Home

This session discusses the challenges of implementing education technology in K-12 classrooms, including security, bandwidth, and privacy issues.


Investment Theses in the Education Market

Moderator: Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures

Panelists: Jennifer Carolan, Partner, NewSchools Ventures; Matt Greenfield, Managing Partner, Rethink Education; Todd Hixon, Founder and Managing Partner, New Atlantic Ventures; Matthew Witheiler, Principal, Flybridge Capital Partners

This session discusses various VC perspectives on the education market and why they are choosing to invest in this sector.

What to Be Aware of When Selling to K-12

Moderator: Dean Millot, Managing Partner, K-12 and Charter Schools, Good Harbor Partners

Panelists: John Antonucci, Superintendent, Westwood Public Schools; Andrew Joseph, President and Co-Founder, TenMarks Education; Jed Lippard, Head of School, Prospect Hill Academy Charter School; Jordan Meranus, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevation; Nicole O’Brien, Technology Lead, Newton Public Schools

This session tackles ways to effectively sell to the K-12 market, lessons learned, and how to reach the right people effectively.

What to Be Aware of When Selling to Higher Ed

Moderator: Douglas Banks, Associate Vice President for Economic Development, University of Massachusetts

Panelists: Chris Hartigan, Vice President and General Manager, Jenzabar; Stephen Marcus, Founder and CEO, Matchbox; Mike Pickett, CIO, Brown University; Carol Vallone, CEO, Educate Online

This panel addresses ways to effectively sell to the higher ed market, lessons learned, and how to reach the right people effectively.

Recruiting & Attracting Talent

Moderator: Sharon Kan, Entrepreneur in Resident (EIR), Babson College

Panelists: Meagan French Fisk, Marketing and Sales Manager, Renaissance Network; Alex Grodd, Founder and CEO, BetterLesson; Beth Marcus, CEO and President, Playrific; Aaron White, Co-Founder and CTO, Boundless Learning

This session discusses effective recruitment techniques for education technology startups, including hard to fill positions.

Heading Towards Hybrid Learning Models

Moderator: Shawn Rubin, Director of Technology, Highlander Institute

Panelists: Dan Callahan, Co-Founder and Chairman, EdCamp Foundation and K-5 Instructional Technology Specialist, Pine Glen Elementary School; Tarunya Govindarajan, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Edmodo; Ray Schleck, Director of New School Development, Match Education; Jean Tower, Director of Technology, Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough

This panel discusses blended learning, flipped classrooms, 1:1 schools, and other learning models and how these methods of instruction are changing the traditional classroom.

Education Technology Ecosystems and Incubators

Moderator: Katie Rae, Managing Director, TechStars Boston

Panelists: Heather Gilchrist, Founding Partner and Program Director, Socratic Labs (New York), Christopher Nyren, Founder, Educated Ventures (Chicago); Eileen Rudden, Co-Founder, LearnLaunch (New England); Tony Wan, Associate Editor, EdSurge (Bay Area)

This session discusses the education technology landscape in different cities across the U.S. Panelists will discuss the strengths of each community and ways they can mobilize and collaborate to help shape the future of education and learning in the U.S.

Targeting Underserved Populations to Help Them Improve Their Learning Outcomes

Moderator: Melissa Dodd, CIO, Boston Public Schools

Panelists: Kristina Buenafe, Math Teacher, Josiah Quincy Upper School; John Maycock, Co-Founder and President, The Achievement Network; John Werner, Managing Director and Chief Mobilizing Officer, Citizen Schools and Founder, TEDxBeaconStreet

This session discusses innovative approaches to working with underserved students, including the role data and assessment play in improving student achievement.


The Future of Adaptive Learning

Moderator: Irene Greif, Chief Scientist for Social Business, IBM

Panelists: Nikhil Goyal, Student and Author, One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School; Brian Fitzgerald, VP Product Development, Knewton; Gerard LaFond, VP Marketing, Alleyoop

This session examines how big data and game-based rewards are being used to promote student achievement. It will also examine what entities will be developing this technology in the future, how long it will take them to develop it, and who will invest in this sector.

The Challenges of Testing Products in Schools

Moderator: Sergei Daniel, Senior Director Strategic Partnerships, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Panelists: Ben Berte, Founder, Socrative; Judd Caulfield, Vice President, Legal Affairs and Data Privacy, ConnectEDU; Shelly Chamberlain, Executive Director, MassCUE; Greg Schwanbeck, Physics Teacher, Westwood High School

This session discusses how entrepreneurs can get their product beta tested in schools and how teachers can become beta testers.

LearnLaunch Accelerator

LearnLaunch’s selective accelerator program promotes the growth of the education technology sector in greater Boston by providing promising edtech startups with seed-funding, unparalleled mentors, and tools to help grow their companies.  Discover the accelerator’s valuable contributions to the edtech ecosystem in the videos below.

LearnLaunch Accelerator's Breakthrough Showcase at 2017 Conference

Speaker: Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage

Pitches by LearnLaunch Accelerator Breakthrough Cohort

Jean Hammond on the Benefits of LearnLaunch Accelerator

LearnLaunch Partner Jean Hammond discusses why education techonology startups should joing the LearnLaunch Accelerator program in Boston.

Cashtivity Demo Day Pitch 2016

Watch CEO, Marissa Di Pasquale pitch Cashtivity for Math in the video below. Educators, education administrators, investors, students, and industry experts were given a preview at the LearnLaunch Accelerator Demo Day.

LearnLaunch Accelerator's Breakthrough Program Demo Day Highlights

Highlights FROM LearnLaunch Accelerator’s Breakthrough Program Demo Day. Featuring ChalkTalk, Cram Fighter, Riipen, EduMetrics and Zulama.