Learn Launch Across Boundaries Conference: Start Ups Meet Student Innovation

On February 3rd, I attended the Across Boundaries Learn Launch conference at the Hynes Convention Center. As the tech director for a catalyst district, it is a great opportunity to get a better handle on the dynamics of the Learn Launch community and the MAPLE personalized learning initiative in Massachusetts.

North Reading’s Middle School robotics project Mission to Mars was accepted as one of the 28 ignite sessions of student groups who presented their innovative projects. The other sessions targeted educators, ed tech start ups, venture capitalist’s and collegiate academics. A range of topics from the role of Big Data to the challenge of scaling start ups in the ed tech space.

This conference was a great opportunity for students to share and connect around their projects. Students spoke from their heart around topics such as Makerspaces, design process, green engineering and robotics. With each year these topics become more embedded into schools in a variety of formats and curriculum’s and challenge the traditional formats of school.

The energy which comes from the presentations related to ed tech businesses and student learning creates a ranges of diverse feeling and dichotomies as the understanding of educators as to what is important in an ed tech product is sometimes different than the perceptions of an ed tech entrepreneur. Over time, I am sure the dialogue between these two groups will congeal and become more streamlined and open.

As a catalyst district I feel the MAPLE personalized learning initiative will assist districts in moving forward with expanding the discussion and strategies around blended and personalized learning methodologies in schools. This conference provides a chance to connect and build new relationships in a new context of ed tech.



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