My first Meetup event

I spent this evening at my first networking event for EdTech in Boston. Organized by LearnLaunchX, I joined maybe forty guests in a hot, no AC room on the sixth floor of the PayPal offices on Oliver Street, walking distance to the aquarium.

We mingled, we exchanged business cards, we awkwardly looked at each other wondering who would crack the ice first, and we all probably had wished it went on for a few more hours… After our initial meet & greet session, we broke into groups to discuss topics that we previously chose on mobile, adaptive learning, MOOCs, flipped classrooms and ‘others.’

In the alotted time, there was only an opportunity to meet twice in small groups. For my first discussion on adaptive learning, we defined this method of using technology to adapt to different learning techniques, and shared ideas how to blend adaptive approaches and individualized learning. Everyone who contributed brought their own unique background and knowledge into the conversation.

The second discussion I sat in on was about MOOCs, or massive open online courses. We identified ways they are disrupting traditional pedagogical approaches — no more brick and mortars. (We now have face-to-computer interaction with virtual teachers.) Conversly, MOOCs are furthering our idea of a competency-based curriculum and everyone agreed with my point, MOOCs can become influential in the K12 market if used as a supplemental learning device. And we also talked briefly about the number of class enrollees verses those that actually completed the course. To no surprise, the number of enrollees far surpasses the latter.

What I learned about my first event: Butt in, but be polite, don’t drink the beer unless you want a bad breath (no I did not indulge, I needed to be an observant pedestrian taking public transportation back home) and print those business cards. I walked away with a small pile of business cards and if you can make at least one really good connection, you are all set.

Oh, did I mention the beer? There was Coors Light and some other generic brew. Now that’s where my entry fee went…

UPDATE: FB photos from the event

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Is Beantown the next Silicon Valley of EdTech startups?

Any good startup starts with smart, curious people. We ask each other why and observe from one another. We seek comfort knowing we are collaborating with like-minded people who believe in the same values.

Its the strength of a team brainstorming and working together in close quarters that fosters growth; a seed with the help of a community that flourishes into a sustainable tree.

In Boston we have an EdTech boom! There are numerous publishing powerhouses (Pearson, HMH [now IPO], Cengage, Wiley, etc.) and companies new (Socrative) and old (Khan Academy) offering educational resources to K12 & Higher Ed markets.

LearnLaunchX is Boston’s first EdTech accelerator, with an inaugural cohort program for eight lucky startups. The chosen companies receive funding and a three-month residency at Back Bay’s Exponential sharing space.