By Travis Moon
As the speed of new developments in technology increases, teachers, administrators, and policymakers face several challenges as they implement or enhance the tools they’re using in the classroom. New technologies (like 3D printing) and new ways of using existing technologies–like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives–hold a lot of potential for education. Research, testing, and policy changes can keep new ideas stuck in testing for so long they become outdated.
Baltimore has become a hotbed for new EdTech initiatives and development, and many of these innovators, whether they be startups or larger, more established EdTech firms, face issues when trying to get education systems to adopt the new technologies they’re working on. These innovators have a strong ally in EdTech Maryland, a community-oriented group helping EdTech companies connect with educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders in education. EdTech Maryland has been working hard to encourage the continued growth and innovation of these education-related technologies across Maryland. They’re now hosting monthly happy hour events at various interesting locations across Baltimore, such as Betamore, the STEM Robotics Center and the the recently launched DreamIT space.
Every month, a few individuals, companies, or educators share information about what initiatives they’re working on. Some of the recent speakers have included Code in the Schools, FutureMakers, and 1SQBox. These companies share their successes, demonstrate their products, and connect with a diversity of educators, programmers, developers, and investors from around the area.
These kinds of events are just one of EdTech Maryland’s many initiatives to keep the EdTech landscape fertile in Maryland. Their hope is to examine and review how technological innovations can drive the best outcomes for students of all ages. To meet this goal, they’ve arranged their vision across four strategic areas: research, policy, events and communication, and development.
Their research consortium supports efforts to improve on learning outcomes, and supports promising new education technology efforts. They share the knowledge of their impressive board members, and provide opportunities for these developers to learn from other members of the EdTech community. In addition, they provide advice on EdTech-related policy to help these groups reach into schools and education centers.
Katrina Stevens, a former teacher and administrator, founded EdTech Maryland; she now serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. Her passion for the topic is evident; in addition to her day-to-day work, Katrina hosts each of the happy hours, along with Ed Mullin, VP of IT Strategy at Mind Over Machines, promoting EdTech MD’s mission and providing a casual space for like-minded EdTech fans to meet and share their ideas.
These events take place the second Thursday of each month, with new and rotating locations. To keep track of upcoming events and see who will be presenting, visit their meetup page.
Travis Moon is a seasoned professional writer with experience developing content for audiences across the healthcare, higher education, government, communications, and financial industries. Travis lives in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore and is currently working as a senior proposal writer for a IT services and staffing firm.
You can find Travis on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/travis-moon/21/615/79b