On May 20th, in front of a packed audience in downtown D.C., Echo360’s founder and CEO Fred Singer delivered an elevator pitch on the company’s mission and plans going forward. The edtech event held at the new, 1776 accelerator campus across from the Washington Post building, featured 20 entrepreneurs, executives, and innovators from across the country who are working to disrupt and improve education. In addition to Singer’s presentation, leadership from companies such as Udacity,Pearson, Coursera,2U,Blackboard and others shared insights in the form of quick pitches.
Singer focused on what Echo360 considers the “main event” of higher education: the 100 million students worldwide on university campuses paying $1 trillion in tuition to earn a degree. Using digital technologies to improve the experience and lower the costs for those students is the core of the higher education challenge. Echo360 offers a suite of new technologies for teaching and learning, much as Blackboard offers a suite of technologies for administration functions. Singer touched on Echo360’s active learning solution that captures classroom video, audio, and supplemental teaching materials and converts them into digital formats ready for use by students on computers and mobile devices.
Think of Echo360 as a “TIVO for the classroom” that allows students enrolled in the class to watch the lecture and materials on any device at any time. With Echo360 today’s students who have grown up digitally can now just as easily watch “European History 101” as “Game of Thrones.” In doing so, Echo360 helps instructors engage their students before, during and after class – something that has been shown to increase satisfaction and learning outcomes alike.
While Massive Online Open Courses (“MOOCs”) received considerable attention for its potential in the future, Singer highlighted the other side of the conversation – noting that while MOOCS are a great innovation, they do not provide an improvement for those student that are on campus and paying tuition in pursuit of a degree. Singer also noted that while Echo360 is currently used by more than 600 colleges and universities in 30 counties, only 5% of all university classrooms are equipped with digital technologies.
The full list of presenters at 1776 last night included:
- Blackboard – Katie Blot, President, Education Services
- QuadWrangle – Nick Zeckets, Founder and CEO
- TechStars – Don Burton, Managing Director, Education Technology Sector
- Mytonomy – Vinay Bhargava, Founder and CEO
- Udacity – Sebastian Thrun, CoFounder and CEO
- Naaya – Amir Hudda, Founder and CEO
- Pearson – Jeff Borden, VP of Instruction & Academic Strategy
- More Than Money Careers – Mrim Boutla, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
- VentureBoard – Scott Block, Cofounder
- BrightBot – Azin Mehrnoosh, Founder and CEO
- VisitDays – Sujoy Roy, Founder and CEO
- CollegeSnapps – Don Fraser, Founder and President
- Flat World Knowledge – Christopher Etesse, CEO
- Coursera – Andrew Ng, CoFounder and CoCEO
- Echo360 – Fred Singer, CEO
- Watchitoo – Rony Zarom, Founder and CEO
- General Assembly– Jake Schwartz, Founder and CEO
- 2U – Harrison Kratz, Business Development Manager
- US Dept of Education – Richard Culatta, Acting Director, Office of Educational Technology
- Saylor Foundation – Jennifer Shoop, Interim Director