Education Technology Makes the Grade with Three Trending Tools

With a lot of negative press about education and technology, it’s no surprise this sector isn’t well-received. However, this could change from three trends piquing private and venture investors’ interest.

Supporting Common Core standards, the use of “adaptive” learning technologies and an increase in education social media may change the conversation, according to Fast Company.

Take a look at these three trends supporting personalized education and its investors.

Common Core Standards

Currently 46 states support Common Core’s math and English language arts curriculum with many adapting it. It  has developed a following as each state creates a unique curriculum with large companies bringing in sales forces for textbooks or school products.

It’s a challenge to make a transition to this curriculum but MasteryConnect, an educator who has adopted Common Core, has developed a tool for educators to discover and share assessments identified to Common Core standards.

Who’s investing? $1.1 million includes NewSchools Venture Fund, Learn Capital and Imagine K12.Investment.

Adaptive Learning

Adaptive, one of the education industry’s buzzwords, means that the program will accommodate what a user does such as a student who needs easier problems after failing a quiz.

One example is Washington state-based DreamBox Learning. It has developed an adaptive program for young math students from kindergarten through third grade. Its program monitors each mouse click made by the student and then accommodates for 60 unique student behavior patterns such as how soon a student answers questions and  the number of prompts needed by the student to get an answer.

The program then puts together the students’ answers and identifies areas of weakness.

Dreambox can then alter a lesson’s pace and material for the student in current and future lessons. This essentially delivers a personalized strategy for the student, allowing them to more easily grasp the information.

Who’s investing? $11 million includes Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings (via Charter School Growth Fund), a private investment from venture capitalist John Doerr, GSV Capital Corp., and investor Deborah Quazzo.

Social Networking

California’s Edmodo is quickly becoming the LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) of the students’ and teachers’ world. This popular social networking tool lets teachers communicate with one another and their students. Edmodo accounts have increased from September 2010’s 500,000 members to 4.5 million teachers and students today.

In addition to communication, Edmodo also enables teachers to exchange materials.

Interested Edmodo investors include professionals from the big social networks. This includes Reid Hoffman, the founder and chairman of LinkedIn and current managing partner at Greylock Partners as well as Matt Cohler, who is the former vice president of product management at Facebook; he is now at Benchmark Capital as a partner.

Both have joined Edmodo’s board.

Who’s investing? $15 million series B includes Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital.