The third Annual Venture Capital in Education Summit is currently taking place in New York which brings together a select group of entrepreneurs and investors with the hope of accelerating education innovation and investment.

Ten early stage education technology companies are being showcased, including: Magic Planet – a digital display with a sphere-shaped screen which provides global information visually; Late Nite Labs – a virtual lab platform which contains 150+ experiment simulations for distance and hybrid learning settings; LessonWriter – an expert-system that automates the detailed and time-consuming task of creating teaching materials, individualizing instruction and assessing performance; Skillshare – a community marketplace for offline classes whose mission is to democratize learning, turning cities into classrooms and its inhabitants into teachers and students; and many more exciting innovations that could revolutionize education.

A key theme of this summit will be the future potential of gaming technology in education which is perhaps one of the most exciting developments to take place in this sector for a generation. Students are already beginning to learn in virtual worlds such as GAIAonline, Neopets and Club Penguin and new adaptive learning games include MangaHigh, Dimension M, Dreambox, Carnegie Learning and Reasoning Mind. Leading the field in this area include organisations such as Games for Change, The Education Arcade, the Learning Games Network and Quest to Learn – a new game-based school in New York with an inquiry-based modular curriculum which incorporates gameplay dynamics into the learning experience.

The summit is designed for educational entrepreneurs and those committed to providing the capital and resources to support their latest ventures, including: angel and seed investors, venture capitalists, venture philanthropists, foundations, private equity investors and directors of education ventures. Politicians and bureaucrats are not invited, which suggests that their role in the future design and development of education is now becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Some education tech companies in NYC:

  • Easel – http://www.easellearning.com – combines hands-on learning with on-demand instruction
  • E-Line Media http://elinemedia.com – publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate and empower
  • Flat World Knowledge – http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/ – provides online, peer‑reviewed books by leading experts with teaching supplements and great service for free
  • Gabble Onhttp://www.gabble-on.com/ – online language learning tools and games for the fearless learner
  • Grovo http://www.grovo.com/ – learn to use the Internet better through online video training
  • Knewton – http://www.knewton.com/ – adaptive learning system to customize educational content to meet the needs of each student
  • LessonWriter http://www.lessonwriter.com – website for teachers that creates lesson plans and materials for teaching English language skills
  • Mindsnacks – http://www.mindsnacks.com – fun mobile language learning games (started in NYC, now in SF)
  • Neverware – http://www.neverware.com/ – virtual desktop appliance to allow schools to better leverage older, existing computers 
  • Noodle Educationhttp://www.noodle.org – offers socially-based search that helps students and families to find the formal and informal educational programs and services that are right for them
  • Project Noah – http://www.projectnoah.org/ – tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere
  • P2PU – http://p2pu.org – Peer 2 Peer University is an open community that enables learning with and from each other
  • Red Rover – http://redroverhq.com/ – helps students connect, find activities & contribute to their community
  • Skillshare – http://www.skillshare.com – online marketplace to learn anything from anyone where everyone is a teacher
  • Schoology – https://www.schoology.com – free web-based learning management system (LMS) built on a social network
  • SocratED – http://www.socrated.com – disrupting education by helping anyone to build class courses
  • TestingMomhttp://www.testingmom.com – test prep site preparing students for gifted and talented programs, private school admissions and public school placement
  • Tutorspree – http://www.tutorspree.com – online marketplace for K-12 tutors along the lines of accommodations network Airbnb but specific to tutoring (started in NYC, now in SF)
  • Unigo – http://www.unigo.com – free online research tool to explore college options
  • VocabSushi http://www.vocabsushi.com – website for anyone looking to learn vocabulary and have fun doing it
  • ZooBurst http://www.zooburst.com/ – web-based digital storytelling tool designed to let anyone create their own customized 3D pop-up books