Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Launch Pad: What it is & Why it's Important

The Launch Pad (#LaunchPad)

Sloan-C MERLOT Emerging Technologies Symposium for Online Learning

April 9-11, 2014 in Dallas, TX

As emerging technologies continue to open new opportunities for improving education around the world, increasing the interaction and learning between educators and edtech entrepreneurs becomes more essential.  The gap between the minds that conceptualize and create the tools and the minds who facilitate teaching and learning must be minimized to increase the quality of emerging technologies moving forward.  If constant efforts are not made to bridge this gap, edtech startups will well, in the finessed words of Reynol Junco, "suck."

In the past several years, there have been an array of new "spaces" that have brought startups and educators closer together including Educause's Start Up Alley, SXSW LAUNCHedu, and the no fluff, no frills (meant in a good way) events put together by the dynamic community at EdSurge which includes the upcoming K12 EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit in Silicon Valley scheduled for November 2nd.  Each of these events acknowledge that we are all learners.  Entrepreneurs are business people with a quest to be successful and, yes, be profitable but to do so with the goal of developing a product that meets the needs and interests of real teachers and students.  Educators are continuously learning about the newest tools available to them and seeking to identify how they may improve the learning environments they have cultivated for their students.

Last year, the Sloan-C MERLOT International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (@ET4Online) stepped into the learning space, as well by crafting the Launch Pad.  It was a new, refreshing change for the conference and one that we are continuing again this year.

The 2nd Annual Launch Pad is now open.  Early startups in the edtech space are invited to attend the conference and, this year, learn with top online educators and Michael Staton, of Learn Capital.  If you are an early startup with a product focused on improving online learning, consider applying for the Launch Pad.

Applying is free.  Those who are selected will receive a deeply discounted rate to attend and a fabulous array of benefits (see site for details).

The Launch Pad application period closes on January 31, 2014. 
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