AT&T Aspire Accelerator Alumni

Get to know the members of our 2015 and 2016 classes. 

bitsbox_accelerator


Bitsbox

Boulder, CO – provides monthly subscription to coding projects that teach grade-schoolers to program apps.

Bitsbox teaches school-aged kids to love coding, because coding is about making stuff, and making stuff is empowering and important. Bitsbox delivers insanely fun app-building projects to thousands of subscribers every month. They print the projects on beautiful books and trading cards and stickers and (sometimes) whoopie cushions. They send them in the mail because kids love mail. Kids code their projects on the Bitsbox website and their apps work on any device with a browser. Since launching at the end of 2014, hundreds of thousands of kids have spent over 12 million minutes coding with Bitsbox. Teachers have said that Bitsbox is working great in schools, too. For 2016, Bitsbox is adapting the materials and tools to make them even better for teachers and students in classroom settings. Every kid deserves to experience the feeling of writing code, and schools are the perfect place to do it.

Team members

  • Scott Lininger, CEO, CTO & Co-founder
  • Aidan Chopra, Chief Creative Officer & Co-founder
  • Anastasia Miliano, Director of Operations
  • Alexandra Ostler, Director of Revenue

Learn more

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

CogentEducation


Cogent

Athens, GA – this interactive case study software has students acting like scientists, learning science concepts and honing problem solving skills.

In 2008, a research team at the University of Georgia received a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant from NIH that partnered scientists with high school teachers, game designers, digital artists, computer programmers and science education researchers. The team developed “interactive case studies” that allow students to solve real world problems by applying the scientific method. As students work through a case, their performance on critical thinking tasks is sent to teachers in real time, enabling them to immediately identify students that may need help. This is how Cogent Education was formed – as a partnership between professionals dedicated to improving science education. Research with more than 3,000 students, over 4 years, concluded that the effect of the products on student learning was “staggering,” and Cogent Education is now working with teachers to apply this new approach to all science subjects, at all grade levels. Cogent Education is committed to making products with teachers, not for teachers.

Team Members

  • Tom Robertson, PhD., Co-Founder & CEO
  • Tyler Gerhart Wood, President & CMO
  • David Ducrest, Head of Production & CTO

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

Commonlit_Accelerator


Common Lit

Washington, DC – a free digital platform that helps teachers find and plan engaging lessons and track student progress in reading.

High school success and career readiness require the ability to understand complex texts, write coherently, and communicate with peers about complex ideas. Unfortunately, about 62% of students graduate high school each year in the U.S. unable to read proficiently. These students are much less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree or secure a high-wage job. CommonLit addresses this problem by giving teachers the tools they need to deliver rigorous, engaging, and data-driven instruction in reading every day. At www.commonlit.org, 5th-12th grade teachers can access a free digital collection of news articles, short stories, poems, scientific articles, and historical documents – all organized by the themes students love to discuss. Teachers use CommonLit’s free platform to find and plan lessons, and collect actionable data about student progress in reading and writing that they can use to plan tomorrow’s lesson and meet the unique needs of individual students. CommonLit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Team Members

  • Michelle Brown, Founder & CEO
  • Aron Heintz, Chief Technology Officer
  • Sarah Mielbye, Director of Content Development

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

Couragion_Accelerator


Couragion

Denver, CO – an engaging app that exposes students to STEM careers using videos, games and self-reflection quizzes.

Couragion modernizes career planning with real role models who mimic diverse populations and build perceived personal capacity. In a learner-led environment, students see careers firsthand and rate their characteristics to determine those that match their values and interests. For best fit careers, students receive ongoing, personalized programming. This not only helps to further explore careers, but also to hone skills and make immediate progress towards improving their workforce readiness and employability. Educators have stated that Couragion meets unsatisfied needs of exposing students to careers in a more purposeful, cost-effective manner while being accessible to all regardless of place, gender, family income, or ethnicity. The educator companion app provides lesson plans and enables professional development. Couragion has been awarded an innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation. The project mission is to improve the awareness and perception of careers that require competencies in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Team Members

  • Melissa Risteff, CEO
  • Laura Farrelly, COO
  • Mike Castillo, CTO

Learn More

For more information, download the  fact sheet or visit their website.

GradGuru


GradGuru

San Francisco, CA – a nonprofit software service and mobile iOS and Android app that guides and motivates community college students by using customized nudges to take actions and engage in behaviors proven to help them graduate faster.

GradGuru is a prize-winning software service and mobile application that guides and motivates enrolled community college students to take actions and engage in behaviors that have been proven to lead to higher and faster completion rates. The smartphone application proactively delivers campus-specific deadlines, evidence-based tips, and tools to students’ phones to help them make the best decisions possible and finish community college more quickly. GradGuru helps students keep track of deadlines; better understand the milestones they need to hit; learn what behaviors lead to academic success; take advantage of existing student support and financial aid resources; and, share these lessons with one another. Students call GradGuru an “advisor in your pocket.” The iOS and Android app delivers its service in a framework that resonates with each student’s particular intrinsic motivators for completing community college. GradGuru makes navigating school less confusing, and more motivating and inspiring.

GradGuru is a 501c3.

Team Members

  • Catalina Ruiz-Healy, CEO

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

graide_accelerator


The Graide Network

Chicago, IL – an online platform connecting teachers with on-demand teaching assistants to grade and provide thorough feedback on student work.

The Graide Network’s mission is to improve literacy and student engagement through timely, actionable, and high-quality feedback. While high-quality feedback has a significant effect on student achievement, the sheer hours required are prohibitive, and teachers are often already overwhelmed. To solve this long-standing problem, The Graide Network leverages technology to facilitate a new and powerful collaboration between teachers and future teachers. The Graide Network is an online platform that connects middle and high school teachers with on-demand teaching assistants to grade and provide thorough feedback on student work. “Graiders” are highly qualified, vetted undergraduate education students, also known as pre-service teachers. They are being trained as educators, passionate about helping students, and seeking more and better fieldwork experience. Their support gives teachers more time to focus on the most impactful aspects of teaching while deepening their understanding of student progress. Most importantly, students receive more personalized feedback faster than ever before.

Team Members

  • Blair Pircon, Co-Founder & CEO
  • Liz Nell, Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

Lear(R)n


Lea(R)n

Raleigh, NC. – an education innovation firm providing a research-backed, online platform & services for educators and their organizations to know and manage the technologies that are best for their classrooms.

Lea(R)n empowers educators and their schools to know and manage which technology products are best for their classrooms. U.S. schools and districts spend $8 billion every year as they incorporate technology into classrooms; yet, they have no data to know which products will work best for their students, teachers and schools. To solve for this issue, Lea(R)n developed LearnPlatform, a research-backed online platform. Designed by and for educators, LearnPlatform combines rapid, contextual teacher insights with public and private data to create highly configurable portfolios, side-by-side comparisons and data-rich report cards on any technology product. The system allows schools and districts to run 80% more efficient, reliable product pilots and evaluations, resulting in better instructional and financial decisions. Whether an educator is a digital novice or a digital native, LearnPlatform empowers them to have a voice and improve their practice, while their schools, districts and states modernize product evaluations, make informed fiscal and instructional decisions, increase contract negotiation leverage and, finally, figure out which ed-tech works best for their students.

Team Members

  • Karl Rectanus, Co-founder & CEO
  • Ben Gilman, Co-founder & CTO
  • Wesley Burt, VP of Product Management
  • Daniel Stanhope, PhD., Senior Research Officer

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

MBL


Mindblown Labs

Oakland, CA – a financial wellness innovation lab empowers the next generation of Americans with financial capability skills.

MindBlown Labs (MBL) is a financial wellness innovation lab. MBL partners with financial institutions, government entities and non-profits to create gamified mobile and web-based solutions to engage, educate, and motivate teens and young adults to save and invest for the future.  One of MindBlown Labs’ first solutions is Thrive ‘n’ Shine (TnS), a mobile financial capability game for teens and young adults.  Thrive 'n' Shine has been proven to both increase players' confidence in thier money management skills and change their real life savings behaviors.

Team Members

  • Jason Young, Co-founder & CEO
  • Tracy “Ty” Moore, II, Co-founder & Director of Partnerships

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

playposit_Accelerator


Playposit

Washington, DC – a platform (web & iOS) that lets teachers create and share interactive video lessons.

Increasing class sizes and a widening opportunity gap prove the classic teaching model of “one size fits all” no longer does. Teachers struggle to find a manageable and engaging way for individualized, differentiated and data-driven instruction. PlayPosit is a freemium platform (web & iOS) that empowers teachers to create and share interactive video lessons. Teachers use PlayPosit to harness the power of video in an engaging, rigorous and student-directed manner. The offering also extends to schools and districts, where PlayPosit promotes instructional advancement through their professional development tool suite and pedagogical support structure. PlayPosit has over 100K modular lessons and rich supports, providing a community for teachers.

Team Members

  • Benjamin Levy, CEO
  • Swaroop Raju, Co-founder
  • Susan Germer, Director of Partnerships

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

Quill


Quill

Brooklyn, NY – A nonprofit literacy tool that builds students’ grammar skills through personalized writing and proofreading activities.

Quill is a platform for web applications that teaches writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills to K-12 students. It creates strong, effective authors by providing students with instant feedback and personalized activities. Teachers save time grading homework and can easily generate differentiated learning paths. Administrators and teachers can use Quill Progress Reports to ascertain students’ mastery of the Common Core standards. This powerful tool is free to anyone with an internet connection. Quill currently features three apps: Quill Grammar, Quill Proofreader, and Quill Writer. In the coming year, we will introduce apps that teach vocabulary, peer feedback, and expository writing. Quill is a nonprofit, open source community, and more than 100 educators and developers have contributed to it. Our long-term vision is to collaboratively build a series of educational apps. Together, we can engage students in every aspect of the writing process and empower them to write their own stories.

Team Members

  • Peter Gault, Executive Director
  • Ryan Novas, Operations Director
  • Donald McKendrick, Technology Director

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

TalkingPoints_Accelerator


Talkingpoints

San Francisco, CA – a multilingual texting platform that connects teachers, families and students via mobile technology.

TalkingPoints meaningfully connects educators, parents and students through a multilingual texting platform – educators can communicate with parents in their own languages and through text messages via two-way translation. Educators can also make use of premade and crowd-sourced content that are engaging and educational for parents. By 2030, half of US students are projected to speak a language other than English at home. Meanwhile, over 40% of low income families do not have ready access to data, hence text messages provide a simple, instant and accessible form of communication that is universally adopted regardless of income level. TalkingPoints addresses informational, language and tech barriers simultaneously so educators can easily reach parents by meeting them where they are and thereby improving levels of parent engagement in low-income, diverse communities. TalkingPoints is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Team Members

  • Heejae Lim, Founder and Executive Director 

Learn More

For more information, download the fact sheet or visit their website.

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