Startup Education Partners Broaden Horizons and Missions

EducationPartnersAs an ed-tech startup, we look for ways to partner with other education companies to expand our reach. Partnering is common in the education marketplace. It seems to me as if the education industry is more collaborative than other industries.

After all, we all share the same goal: accelerate learning outcomes for students.

I know we can have more impact with Listenwise when we work with partners who have similar goals.

It’s not always easy to find the perfect-fit partnership. At Listenwise, we have a unique offering, using NPR stories to engage students and build their listening skills. Because we occupy this niche, potential partners have often approached us.

Choosing the Right Partner

One of our first partners was Socrative, a real-time quiz making tool and tracker. At the time, Socrative was a small startup not much bigger than Listenwise. Ben Bert, the co-founder of Socrative, had two or three people working with him and we often met at a coffee shop. He suggested I make Socrative quizzes for the stories we post so that he could promote Listenwise to his users.

Over many lattes at a coffee shop in Cambridge, we worked out a plan to collaborate. A few years later Socrative was purchased by MasteryConnect and its scope and influence has grown.

This has been a lesson that small partnerships can suddenly grow very large.

Startups Can Share a Mission

Another early partner of ours was Facing History and Ourselves. I was drawn to their mission of teaching empathy and I could see that the content in public radio easily aligned with their teaching approach.

We work together now to highlight news stories by posting NPR stories with teaching resources on their website that connect with history and tie into their teaching resources. We also collaborate on webinars and conference presentations. Recently I sat down with Adam Strom, the director of scholarship and innovation at Facing History, to do a webinar on teaching empathy (watch here!).  

This partnership has been very beneficial and has broadened the exposure of Listenwise.

Partnerships Spread the Word

Share My Lesson has been another great partner. By publishing some of our lessons on their site, we’ve allowed thousands of teachers to discover Listenwise on another platform. We contribute to the feature Today’s News, Tomorrow’s Lesson. And we’ve participated in Share My Lesson webinars that allow us to share research we’ve gathered on auditory learning with a larger audience.

Finally, as a company that seeks to build critical listening skills with public radio, we’ve worked with KQED’s education team to bring more listening to their free resources for teachers. We’ve contributed to the Do Now feature that is a weekly activity for students to engage and respond to current issues using social media tools like Twitter. We highlight a public radio story, such as a story about whether the government should spy on its own citizens, and build a conversation online around the story.

All of these partnerships provide a free way for teachers to access and use Listenwise on different platforms. By diversifying the ways teachers can discover us, we continue to grow awareness and reach.


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