Baltimore: Ed-Tech Hub

Baltimore is an ed-tech hub. Pearson’s K-12 virtual learning company Connections Education is based here.  And Tom Vander Ark says so.

Towson University, a former state teachers’ college, which still provides Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) with the majority of its teachers, hosts Maryland’s only business incubator specializing in ed-tech, the TU Incubator. The University’s first Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation is Dr. Nancy Grasmick, the former Superintendent of Maryland public schools. The 2012 creation of this teacher-prep program — the seed money for which came from Grasmick’s friend, Baltimore developer Edward St. John, and from PayPal exec Vince Talbert — made Michelle Rhee very happy.

Baltimore is apparently becoming the hotspot for ed-tech conferences. We reported on two of them here and here.

Now another is scheduled for later this week. On September 28, Baltimore (City) will host the 3rd Annual Education Technology Innovation Summit (ETIS2016) at Mindgrub Technologies. The keynote speaker is Frank Bonsal, leader of the above-noted TU Incubator and self-described EdTech Investor and Edupreneur.

Topics include:

  • Building the Cyber Generation: Connecting the Dots from the Classroom to Employment
  • The Rising Interest in Alternative Credentialing
  • Why the Resistance to Innovative Technology in Schools? Let’s Solve it:  A Panel Discussion
  • Create Blended Learning Tools That Bridge Learning Across the Digital Divide
  • How EdFinTech Supports Financial Analysis for Schools and Equity for Students
  • Multi-Dimensional Learning: The Power of Game-Based Learning
  • VR, AR, and the Internet of Things are Changing Classrooms for the Better(Note:  VR=Virtual Reality, AR=Augmented Reality)
  • Case Studies in Mobile Gaming

Depressing, isn’t it?

But it gets worse!

Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools Fall 2016 Meeting will be held in Baltimore in early November. The meeting’s co-host is Baltimore County Public Schools.  We’re an LIS District, after all, and our Superintendent was:

a 2014 DILA Walk the Walk Award winner

(The write-up notes that Dr. Dance “leads the S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) initiative and reinforces this focus through his personal Twitter account, as well as with BCPS outreach on Facebook,, a blog, RSS feeds and more. When visiting all 173 schools, programs and centers each school year, he is rarely seen without at least one device, pushing the importance of technology as a useful communication tool.”)

and 2015 DILA Open Door Policy winner 

(Because we have so many corporate visitors, including many from BCPS partner Discovery Education, as seen in this video.  When you read the project overview, keep in mind that STAT only launched in 2014.).

In keeping with our open-door policy, the LIS Fall Meeting will feature two days of BCPS school visits — this was a feature of last November’s Mid-Atlantic Conference on Personalized Learning (linked above).  BCPS loves to showcase certain BCPS schools (the shiny new ones, not the decrepit ones) full of “engaged” young explorers in the STAT digital eco-system.

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