Author: Frank Bonsal III

CourseArc: A Case Study in Course Design, Ecosystem Leverage, and Persistence

Baltimore Supports EdTech Company Prepped for Scale Approximately ten years ago, Katie Egan met and hired Bethany Meyer, a fellow UMBC alumna, to help with her consulting business. The two set out to build quality, customized online courses for a variety of clients. Katie was the experienced instructional designer; Bethany was the engineer and web developer. Along the way, they realized that they just might be able to build and scale a platform that would allow instructors to more easily design and launch their own online courses. The task for Katie and Bethany was to avail an affordable, easy-to-use,...

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Baltimore EdTech Continues Growth

TU Incubator Hits Milestone There’s a storm coming to Baltimore, the kind you relish, that avails more innovation and change than ever before experienced. This storm affects Greater Baltimore’s citizens in a myriad of ways: health, energy, cyber security, manufacturing, retail, and, none too soon — education. As Towson University’s President, Kim Schatzel, is apt to declare, ‘TU Matters to Maryland!’ Certainly, this is an understatement when it comes to education innovation and TU’s longstanding service to teacher preparation and leadership. However, this becomes even more relevant when one considers edtech innovation and the university’s incubator, where Maryland’s largest cluster of...

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What’s an Education Innovation Cluster and How Do We Get One?

Last Thursday evening, the March rendition of the Baltimore EdTech meetup was fortunate to have Katrina Stevens speak on the subject of education innovation clusters (#edclusters). Katrina is a former Deputy Director of the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology and an expert on education, education innovation, and how technology and ecosystems or clusters apply to the same. In her two year stint at the USDOE, she became immersed in the nascent but growing concept of education innovation clusters, #edclusters. Katrina and the team led by former Director Joseph South were instrumental in furthering the work begun...

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Value at the Core of TU Incubator’s EdTech Innovation Showcase

Where Entrepreneurs, Customers, and Investors Engage The evening of Thursday, December 8, 2016 is a milestone for the Towson University Incubator, aka TU Incubator. At the EdTech Innovation Showcase, 50+ carefully chosen attendees will have the opportunity to engage with 12 companies who are solving problems in K-12 and postsecondary education via solutions in formative assessment, access & admissions, classroom funding, language & literacy, professional development, project-based learning, and parent engagement. The event’s purpose is to bestow a focused medium where entrepreneurs can interface with customers and investors. The broader mission is to enhance education, to laud innovation, efficiencies,...

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TU Incubator Member Spotlight: The Whole Teacher

At Towson University (TU), we look for a variety of ways to positively impact education systems. We look for quality that has scale merit, as that’s the only way to drive sustainable, systemic improvement. This is something we’ve been doing persistently as an institution for 150 years. And, we are very good at it. From TU Incubator, we have a sincere, purposeful focus on education technology and innovation and work with enterprises that could be construed small business and those that have true venture scale. Our education technology emphasis evolves and increasingly takes on nuance. A recent adaptation to...

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TU Incubator Provides Value as Host to Dreamit ‘Customer Immersion’

TU Incubator, Towson University’s business incubator, has been thoughtfully building an education technology focus the last 2+ years. Last week, in the midst of Baltimore Innovation Week, was a milestone in the way that we partner with outside organizations to add value to various stakeholders. We have been considering a relationship with a nationally renowned edtech accelerator so that we might add value to 1) companies in respective accelerator cohorts, 2) our TU Incubator company members, 3) companies throughout the Baltimore metro, and 4) prospective customers who seek out new and innovative solutions. The Nexus of All Things Value-Added...

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Baltimore’s Top 10 Emerging K-12 Enterprises

The Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner, Baltimore is a city that loves most things that afford a hat tip to the past but focus on the present and future, most things crustacean derived out of the Chesapeake Bay, most things that induce curiosity, and all things that catalyze and sustain learning innovation and opportunity. Baltimore is increasingly adapting to and becoming a 21st Century culture blended by an open-minded, innovative, and entrepreneurial citizenry. Baltimore is the charming, quirky, curious, gritty city I opined on in a previous post here. Bringing Solutions to K-12 Education’s Greatest Needs As The Baltimore...

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TU Incubator Member Companies Triumph at Milken-Penn GSE Competition

Last week availed a milestone for Towson University, TU Incubator, Baltimore EdTech, and, most importantly, a few unique, emerging edtech companies. Three (3) TU Incubator member companies were finalists in the 7th annual iteration of the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition at the University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall on May 10 and 11, 2016. This nationally prominent competition awards $140,000 in prize money to some of the best education ideas and emerging enterprises in the U.S. and beyond. There were twenty-one (21) finalists from hundreds of applications in Idea Path and Venture Path categories. The room was packed...

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Accelerators, Incubators, and Ecosystems

At Towson University, in Baltimore County, 8 miles north of Baltimore City’s Inner Harbor, we run a high quality business incubator program called TU Incubator. We are currently supporting ~20 companies, ~50% of which are in-residence (flex space or private office), ~50% are virtual. This mix is quite purposeful, as we have a smaller footprint co-mingled and leveraging three other business units in the Division of Innovation and Applied Research whose collaborative strengths encompass continuing education, event coordination, economic and business analysis, GIS, marketing, partnerships, and workforce training. Our current incubator foci are 1) edtech and 2) support, one...

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Class Compete Gamifies Test Prep

At the Towson University Incubator (d/b/a TU Incubator), we look for entrepreneurs and solutions who are a match for our program and who we believe can either change the game or who might initially be building a sustainable, independent lifestyle business. Either way, the impact is real and there’s a good partnership that begins and evolves. TU Incubator is about impact, but we are an incubator — not Y-Combinator. Our role is to support the scale-worthy and the small business, the mid-life first-time entrepreneur and the undergraduate who rallies a team attacking a big problem or more independence-inducing lifestyle on the...

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