On September 26, Startup Weekend Education returns to Chicago and the site of last year’s highly successful event, National Louis University. To capitalize on this excitement, Educelerate is also partnering with NLU and SWEDU to create our very first Educelerate Conference on the Friday of StartupWeekend.
Building upon NLU’s mission serving non-traditional students, our Conference panels will address innovative approaches to serving adult, online and other non-traditional students with equal parts focus on pedagogy for the practitioners in our audience as well as actionable business strategies for the entrepreneurs and investors. And it all costs $115, with proceeds to benefit a prize for the SWEDU team that best addresses the unique challenges of non-traditional students.
Last year marked the very first Startup Weekend Education in the Midwest and, perhaps not surprisingly, some of our visitors from the Coasts immediately remarked how all the SF and NY SWEDUs were held at cutting-edge tech start-up co-working spaces and asked “just what kind of college is this anyway”? Well, just 54 hours later and the top two teams were both led by members of the NLU community.
Chicago SWEDU was also notable for drawing more sponsors than any other Startup Weekend (Education or otherwise) to-date, with the Midwest’s education leaders Apollo, Benchprep, Britannica, CompTIA, Deltak, DeVry, ECMC, Joyce Foundation, Starter League, WyzAnt and others rallying to support us both last year and now again. And we were all the more successful with new teacher led start-ups and education company sponsors during our organization of Twin Cities StartupWeekend Education. In this way, our volunteering for SWEDU has immeasurably helped further Educelerate’s own mission of, in the words of Mandela Schumacher-Hodge (Startup Education’s director), “creating the space for people in other parts of the country to show what they can do when it comes to innovating and improving education.”
Indeed, in every blog post here or tweet @Educelerate or @cnyren, every Meetup in Chicago and the Twin Cities, every comment lobbed at mainstream tech media or in meetings with Silicon Valley VCs, we want to remind all of these self-styled arbiters of edtech that there is a hundred year history of education innovation across adult, low income and minority students, open enrollment, charter schools and distance learning. And much of this innovation has occurred in places like Chicago with teacher training at NLU, Champaign-Urbana with computer based learning, Minneapolis with K-12 edtech at TIES or even Scranton with distance learning!
We are very proud to be involved with a group like Startup Education that is blessed by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and EdSurge, but all the more proud that we have helped a few folks from such influential institutions open their eyes to the front-lines of education innovation being advanced every day at non-traditional schools like National Louis University and humble Meetup groups like Educelerate.
We would love for educators reading Educelerate here on EdReach to consider joining us for the Weekend – just register at bit.ly/ChiSWedu9-26 with the promo code “EdReach”.