Start-ups, start-ups, start-ups
One of the centerpiece’s of this year’s SXSWedu is the LAUNCHedu competition. Ten education start-ups pitched their products and services in front of judges and a live audience on Tuesday. The three winners moved onto the final showdown round on Wednesday.

Those winners are Admittedly, an online college advisory platform; Procorio, a remote proctoring service; and RobotsLAB, an interactive teaching aid that uses robots.

Learning giant Pearson also announced it’s now accepting applications for the second cohort of its Catalyst For Education program. The start-up incubator’s first class — ClassOwl, Spongelab, Actively Learn, Ace Learning and VLinks Media — graduated from the program in December.

Similarly, Instructure, the company behind the learning management system Canvas, announced it was awarding $50,000 in education grants “to spur technological innovation from within the education community.”

Some of the winners include Virginia Stewart, who hopes to use problem-based learning and a cloud-based, open source ePortoflio as part of a core curriculum at Alamo Colleges; the University of Southern Indiana’s Katherine Winsett, who has developed a new data collection and analytics tool; and Robin Bartoletti, who plans on creating a blended learning MOOC at Texas Woman’s University that “can evangelize the maker movement.”

DIY and the maker culture
Speaking of the maker movement, that creative, do-it-yourself approach to learning was a common theme at this year’s SXSWedu.

“Making — messing around at the crossroads of science, technology, engineering, art and math — is a creative movement at the intersection of the physical and digital,” is the way one panel discussion described this burgeoning movement on college campuses.

From 3D printing to independent publishing, there were no less than 16 presentations devoted to students learning through creation.

Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake, and learn more about the goings-on at SXSWedu with the hashtag #SXSWedu.

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