29 November 2013 ~ 1 Comment

TinkerED announced winner at Startup Weekend EDU, San Francisco Nov 2013

What is startup Weekend?

Startup weekend EDU helps you to kick start your education startup ideas. Over the weekend you form teams with the attendees and get advice and support from valuable mentors who are industry professionals.

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My Story

The idea for TinkerED came from my real life experience when I moved to San Francisco from Ireland. I set up a meet up group to make new friends and meet other teachers. My meet up group attracted the attention of Educational Technology companies who wanted to share their ideas with a teacher and get feedback. I noticed a gap in the market for these connections to occur and wanted to solve it.

I pitched my idea on Friday night alongside 54 other great attendees, only 15 of these ideas made it to the second round. Despite my initial pitch just missing out on gaining a top spot, I decided to continue my mission and set out determined to find my team. One by one it grew six persons strong and TinkerED was created. With the help of my wonderful team and fantastic mentors  we won 1st place. It was an amazing experience that I want to share.

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What does TinkerED do?

  • TinkerED connects education technology companies with expert teachers who want to help build the best educational tools of the future.
  • Sign up needs for education technology companies so far include: user testing, user feedback,  content writing and more.
  • Teachers have signed up as they want to get involved in creating the educational tools they will be using and also want to earn some extra cash.

What I learned from Startup Weekend

  • If you have an idea that you feel passionate about, go after it and find the evidence and support to prove its value by talking to people.
  • Take every opportunity to share your ideas. Getting up to pitch is very nerve wracking, but if you don’t take the opportunity, no-one will hear your voice. Plus everyone is really supportive towards each other.
  • Sharing your ideas with others helps your idea to grow.
  • Listen to feedback from expert mentors and attendees and learn from their experiences.
  • Make lasting connections with interesting people.

What’s next for TinkerED?

  • We want to continue to build our community of expert teachers and education technology companies and get them connected. EdTech companies and teachers can sign up here.
  • TinkerED’s win earned us the opportunity to apply for the Global Startup Battle and we need your votes to get us there.
  • To see TinkerED’s video entry and vote for us click here.
  • To contact the team or to find out more information, you can visit TinkerED or email me, suzy@teachersuzy.com

We would love to hear your thoughts on our mission,

‘Connecting education technology companies with expert teachers to shape the future of learning tools.’

To find out more about Startup Weekend and find events near you, visit the Startup weekend home page.

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One Response to “TinkerED announced winner at Startup Weekend EDU, San Francisco Nov 2013”

  1. William Jenkins 9 December 2013 at 1:27 pm Permalink

    Great post and fantastic idea! I discovered the need for greater collaboration with educators and their suppliers but did so from the other side of the fence through my sales and project management experience with EdTech startups.

    I found that any product that were developed with limited feedback or testing by educators needed 2 meetings and could take as long as 6-12 months before getting a decision.

    But when I working on projects that were either 1) Developed as an idea that was discussed with educators or 2) Started on a small scale with a pilot project involving 2-3 colleges until we had the results we were hoping for… These projects saw educators make almost instant decisions (within a matter of weeks) and some projects didn’t even require any meetings… the results spoke for themselves.

    We trust educators to teach our kids so why do some suppliers feel the need to remind them of what their services do with a monthly “follow up”? Why can we not leave educators to assess the value in products for themselves?

    If it takes 2 meetings and 6 months to come to a decision… this may be a result of the “value proposition” and/or benefit not being obvious enough.

    I have written a report on this subject using input and material from seasoned entrepreneurs like Geoffrey Moore and Dave Feinleib who highlight that, if suppliers have a product where sales have become stagnant after 1-2 years then, chances are the product has not achieved “product-market fit” which can only be achieved by collaborating with your prospective customers.

    My research has lead me to believe that any problems with slow sales in EdTech can be prevented if the company was to take the time to ensure product-market fit in the early stages. In education this can only be done by speaking to educators BEFORE you roll your product out… On the other hand this will be very difficult if the initial engagement with educators is through sales calls “Would you like to buy a product that has been relatively untested in the classroom… But we’re confident that you’ll like it”

    There are some companies who think education is “ripe for creative disruption” and that their product could replace teachers, how many educators will want to collaborate with start ups who have this kind of attitude?

    Most people agree that EdReform is needed, and that technology needs to be adopted more… but this will only happen with everyone coming together to test and improve emerging EdTech ideas, its this kind of process that has seen a few edtech startups achieve viral growth in a relatively short period of time.

    Its only when all stakeholders come together to tinker with new edtech and ideas that we’ll get it right… Less disruption in the class with products that are “not quite right” and more collaboration to make sure the product is right before its rolled out.

    I look forward to seeing how Tinker Ed develops and please don’t hesitate to get in contact if I can be of any assistance.


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