Andrew McCann wants to make grading beautiful.
It’s hardly a professor’s favorite activity, he says. The software created by his company, Waypoint Outcomes, could change that.
The program, which can be embedded into education software like Blackboard, allows teachers to grade essays, presentations and other more subjective types of assignments online. It then stores that grading data so teachers can use it to analyze students’ progress and figure out just what their students are struggling with.
McCann was one of three Philly-based companies to demo at yesterday’s EdTech Meetup, hosted at presenter HigherNext’s offices at Callowhill incubator Venturef0rth. Each company used technology to tackle a different educational problem. Here’s more about the startups that presented:
Waypoint Outcomes — Founded in 2003 by McCann, the company recently released its version 2.0. McCann says 40 different universities are using the software, including one in the United Kingdom. Updated: For more context, as noted in the comments, Waypoint Outcomes was acquired by Bridgepoint Education Inc. in 2009.
ApprenNet [previous coverage here] — Dreamed up by a Drexel law professor who felt that law schools didn’t teach enough practical skills, ApprenNet helps students practice those skills through video, student interaction and input from experts.
ApprenNet uses different kinds of “meets” to teach its students. Co-founder and former KIPP Philadelphia Charter School teacher Emily Foote showed the audience how a “LawMeet” for law students works: Students get an assignment (An example from ApprenNet’s site: “Advise your client on the downside of joining a technology startup’s board of directors.” Any takers?), research different approaches and film their response. Students then get to see other responses and critique (and vote) on their peers’ work. Finally, practicing lawyers act as experts and comment on the top-performing students’ responses.
Twenty-one schools, including Temple University and Drexel University, have used ApprenNet in the past year. The startup is currently funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
HigherNext [previous coverage here] — A college degree doesn’t mean that much these days, says Wharton Business School graduate and HigherNext founder Guy Friedman. His startup aims to help graduates set themselves apart with a standardized business test, written by a team of business professors. HigherNext provides the study materials before the test and the recruiters after it.
Over the past year, HigherNext has received mentions in Bloomberg Businessweek and Forbes (under the name GF Education Group). The company has since relaunched. Friedman says 1,000 people signed up to take the test in the last month, many of them part of a “volume deal” with a nonprofit to test a pool of potential employees.
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