Education Startup Competition Sees Trends in Project-Based Learning and Products for Niche Audiences

Digital tools powered by artificial intelligence, products aimed at special student populations and a focus on project-based learning were the latest trends among the entrants in the University of Pennsylvania’s business plan competition for education startups.

Marking its 10th anniversary, the Milken-Penn Graduate School of Education competition award gave out over $140,000 in prizes this week to startup contestants. The competition has had over 125 finalists and 50 prize winners in the last decade, awarding $1.2 million in prize money.

This year Social Cipher, a Los Angeles-based video game studio that is developing a game for neurodiverse students, particularly those with autism, won the grand prize of $40,000 and $25,000 in Amazon Web Service credits. 

The game is designed to provide users with the opportunity to learn and apply social skills and practice social interaction through role-playing, said co-founder Vanessa Gill. In the space pirate adventure game Ava, users follow the path of an autistic girl through outer space as she goes on a mission searching for her missing brother.

Gill was diagnosed with autism when she was 14 and kept it a secret. “I hid my diagnosis for six years and I suffered from low self-esteem,” she said. “I didn’t want people to treat me differently or badly.”

Gill’s mother helped her learn social skills and improve her social interactions by using music, movies and turning Gill’s efforts into a game. Some of that sparked the idea for Ava, Gill said. The prize money from the Milken-Penn competition will go to the continued development of the digital game, which is set to launch in the summer of 2020, she said.

New Wave of Startups

Over the past decade, over 2,000 entrepreneurs have applied to the Education Business Plan Competition, from over 50 countries. Previous winners and finalists have also raised an additional $140 million since competing, according to contest officials.

Michael Golden, the executive director and senior fellow for Catalyst@Penn GSE, the school’s center for innovation, said he’s seen some new and continuing trends among entrants to the contest this year. Many of the ed-tech startup solutions tend toward mobile apps and include cloud computing aspects or are focused on how to harness data and share it in new ways, he said. The use of artificial intelligence and adaptive learning is also more prevalent.

Social Cipher is an example of a new wave of ed-tech companies with products designed to reach students with specific challenges. “Entrepreneurs are recognizing great potential in niche audiences and in satisfying those audiences,” Golden said.

In addition, Golden said education companies with a focus on project-based learning were more represented among contest entries this year. eCLOSE, a Philadelphia company providing biomedical research training to students and teachers and which connects students to scientists and real-world science projects, won two prizes totaling $40,000.

Golden’s also noting more diverse founder teams and more female-founded and led companies. All of the competitions’ winners this year are companies with female founders and last year four of the five prize-winners were led by women, Golden said.

All finalists in the contest received $1,000 in cash and $5,000 in Amazon Web Services promotional credits.

Follow EdWeek Market Brief on Twitter @EdMarketBrief or connect with us on LinkedIn.

See also: 

72 thoughts on “Education Startup Competition Sees Trends in Project-Based Learning and Products for Niche Audiences

  1. Thanks, mam for this great content. I like how you explain startup companies that will bring education to the next level. I also start my own startup where I provide free versions of apps to user.

  2. I want to thank you for the effort you made in writing this article. Your creative writing ability has inspired me to start my own blog right now.

  3. Your article is very good, I have read many articles but I am really impressed with your posts. Thank you, I will review this article. To know about me, try talking to me.

  4. This type of blog is of great importance for all those who, like me, have very limited knowledge, I hope they help me clarify some issues.

  5. Above all, it is important to apply technology to the school, for any institution, education must be the priority, at any level, it is to sow the seeds of a country with the support of new resources.

  6. Most Effective Pet Hair Remover ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ You have my word: This is the last pet hair remover you will ever need! This is the most EFFECTIVE Pet Hair Roller Remover on the market! Special Offer Today: FREE Shipping + Sale Off Up to 60%! ✅ Remove hair and fur instantly from any surface (furniture, clothes, carpet, car interior- literally anywhere)! ✅ 100% reusable ✅ Never buy lint rollers and replacement rolls ever again! 100% Customers LOVE this hair roller remover. AND WE BET YOU DO Get Yours Today – Limited Time Offer! ⏳⏳ See Less Grab Yours Now

  7. Are you searching ways to watch amazon prime videos for free then just look at these amazon prime cookies and enjoy free prime for lifetime on Modlelo

  8. Watch Online Kurulus Osman Season 1 All Episodes Urdu And English Subtitle By TvFun4u. Watch Turkish Drama Series Kurulus Osman Season 1 In Urdu And English Dubbing Complete In HD Quality.

  9. thnx for awesome post sir, can you plz help me out with the Pinoy Lambingan and how to use it? Pinoy Tv Replay and the most papular Pinoy Teleserye Replay …. pinoy tv

  10. Welcome to Pinoy Teleserye. Watch your favorite Pinoy Channel, Pinoy Tambayan, Pinoy TV, Teleserye Replay. Keep checking back for fresh new videos update everyday. Thanks!

  11. e live in a digital age and having such a worthy resource by your side is nothing less than a blessing. So, no waiting for hours and no looking around for the TV shows that you love.

  12. beauty full article after long time i can read this type of article about artificial intelligence. i can struggling about to Create artificial intelligence tool on my Asian drama website.

  13. The unequivocal guidelines are given in this article. You can recognize narratives in the best quality with CineHub APK on Android gadgets. Each film is a few ticks away.There are a huge stack of distant streaming applications accessible on Android.

  14. Kepala Bergetar, Kbegetar, Melayu Drama Malay Tonton Cerekarama dan Download Drama Akasia Pencuri movie Live Episod Telefilem Terkini senarai drama.

  15. Watch your favorite Tamil TV Serials & Tamil Tv Shows. TamilDhool Provided Sun TV Serials, Vijay TV Serials, Colors Tamil Serials, Polimar Tamil Serials and the most famous Zee Tamil HD Quality Serials, Live Streaming Serials. Vijay TV Serial Zee Tamil Serial

  16. Assistir Gênesis NOVELA Não se esqueça de curtir e compartilhar este, marque também este site para ficar por dentro dos diários do NOVELA Gênesis AO VIVO.

  17. Exclusive episodes of Vijay TV serial Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar only at Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar Tamil Dhool TV in high quality.

Leave a Reply