Classting Awarded 2016 Spirit Award by the San Diego Yokohama Sister Society

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On Sunday, September 25, 2016 in San Diego, California, Classting was presented the Spirit Award at the San Diego Yokohama Sister Society’s 59th Annual Luncheon and Meeting. SDYCS President, Steve Sigafus, SDYCS Vice President, Eddie Park, and San Diego Unified School District Board of Trustees President, Dr. Mike McQuary, presented the award to a Classting representative.

Classting was given the 2016 Spirit Award due to its “dedication and support to having students connect globally through education, which happens to be one of [the] core missions and visions of [the] Society”.

The San Diego Yokohama Sister Society has a 59 year old history and was one of the first sister city societies in the west coast of the United States. Over the years, the two cities have exchanged cultures in the form of art, wildlife, and student exchanges. Though they had a long standing history of student exchanges, recently the San Diego Yokohama Sister Society have made the decision to use Classting as a source of contact between students, in order to optimize the use of technology to deepen this historical relationship between the two cities.

We’re looking forward to seeing great things happen in the online exchanges between the students of San Diego and Yokohama schools.

 

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A special thank you to the San Diego Yokohama Sister City Society for presenting us with this award.
We are extremely honored and grateful!

 

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Classting Summit 2016

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The first ever Classting Summit was held in Los Angeles on June 25, 2016 with the theme “Thank you for your hard work”. We invited Classting users and their friends for lunch and a fun professional development session. Users were able to share their testimonies, while those who were new to Classting could ask questions and share ideas.

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The event had 2 primary objectives:
– To connect with other Classting teachers
– To walk away with different ideas on how to integrate Classting in your classroom

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The event kicked off with a brief introduction to Classting. Classting veterans assisted their tablemates as they signed up and learned how to use Classting. This lead to the discussion of the functions within Classting and how Classting was already being used in the classroom. Veteran teachers shared their experiences, in responses to various questions and concerns by those unfamiliar with the service.

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After a delicious lunch, the fun resumed with teachers getting into groups to brainstorm creative ways to integrate Classting into their classrooms. Teachers discussed obstacles that they faced in the classroom and how they might be able to solve them through Classting. Teachers first paired up and wrote down on post it notes what they thought were valuable ideas or what potential classroom issues could be solved.
The pairs then shared with their table groups what they had discussed. Table groups then chose a designated speaker to share 1 unique or particularly good idea that their team had come up with.

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A couple of administrators who attended the summit shared that this was a way for them to connect multiple schools together by creating classes for administrators from multiple schools to share the techniques that were implemented in each respective school through photos and files. Some administrators who had connections overseas also pointed out that, though language support is pretty common, it’s hard to find services that have support staff in different countries. For them, Classting was a common ground to connect schools from around the world; if there was an issue at a school in Japan, the American administrators had peace of mind that Japanese Classting support staff was readily accessible.

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Teachers found Classting a good resource to create a closer community and to connect with their students. Using Classting for in-class research, as many young students did not have personal computers at home, email addresses, or USB devices, was another creative solution that was brought up during the presentations.

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As the event winded down, teachers were able to take fun and memorable photos at the Classting photobooth!

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Here’s what teachers had to say after the event!

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Missed out on this year’s summit?
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Don’t worry, we’ll be back with an even bigger and an even more fun event next year!
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Thank you to all the teachers who attended.
Can’t wait to see you all next year!

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THE SECRET TO BUILDING GREAT EDTECH PRODUCTS? TEACHERS. @Fastcompany

“THE GAP BETWEEN SILICON VALLEY AND REAL, LIVE CLASSROOMS IS FINALLY NARROWING.”

Dave Cho, a South Korean elementary school teacher, never intended to become a startup CEO. “I’m an educator before an entrepreneur,” he says. “I miss my students.”

But for the last several years he has been focused on Classting, the classroom-based social platform he launched in 2012. “I used social network services like Facebook and Twitter in my classroom, but it was very difficult because of privacy issues,” he says, calling from his office in Seoul late one evening. “I decided to make a more fun educational service, and a more safe service to communicate in the classroom.”

His idea has become a runaway hit in South Korean schools, where students and teachers now discuss assignments via the Classting app, which combines practical features like document integration with kid-friendly touches like animal “stickers.” As of June 2015, Classting had won 1.7 million student and teacher users spread across more than 12,000 schools.

Now Cho is taking Classting to the U.S., in addition to China, Japan, and Taiwan. Here, he’ll face stiff competition from established classroom management and messaging tools like ClassDojo and Remind. He’ll also join the growing ranks of educators getting involved in education technology—a few as startup founders, and many more as engaged early adopters, ready and willing to provide critical feedback.

SOME OF THE MOST PROMISING, EXCITING COMPANIES HAVE A TEACHER ON THE FOUNDING TEAM—THAT’S A SIGNAL TO US FOR SURE.
Technologists and educators used to operate in separate spheres, resulting in frequent classroom-level frustrations. While software developers were hard at work refining the adaptive algorithms behind their curriculum apps, teachers were hard at work helping two dozen eight-year-olds reset their forgotten usernames and passwords. When the two groups did come together, in hopes of solving those practical challenges, cultural differences would often stand in the way of progress. But recent developments suggest that teachers are finding their voice, and that technologists are increasingly eager to listen.

“It seems to me that programs are becoming more intuitive to teachers than they used to be,” says Marlena Hebern, a veteran educator based in Mariposa, Calif. She attributes the shifting dynamic to the competitive landscape: “There are a lot of companies vying for our attention.” As a result, “they’re listening more to what teachers want.”

Indeed, the edtech market has exploded over the last two years. In 2010, venture capital firms invested $414 million in education companies, according to CB Insights. By 2014, that total had quadrupled to $1.6 billion, spread across over 200 deals.

Even a dominant company like Google, which has built a significant education business through Chromebook sales and Google Classroom, is taking pains to design alongside its classroom users. Hebern, for example, found the text size of a particular Google Classroom interface too small for her students to read. She raised the issue on a message board, and “the next thing I noticed they had changed it,” she says.

Educator Anderson Harp has observed a similar shift. He recently left the classroom in order to oversee technology initiatives at the Browning School, an elite private school in Manhattan. “I have contributed feedback, and I know other teachers have,” he says. Though he still sees many products focused on multiple choice “drill and kill” or distracting bells and whistles—”I’ve seen some things get better.”

Efforts on the part of nonprofit leaders within the education community have also had an impact. Phyllis Lockett, founder and CEO of Chicago-based LEAP Innovations, left the charter school sector in order to, as she puts it, more efficiently “link up supply and demand.”

“Technology companies, honestly, are sometimes developing in a vacuum, too far away from what students and teachers need in the classroom,” Lockett says. “We are bringing educators and tech companies together to collaborate. We’re also training educators on how to personalize learning.”

In the LEAP model, teachers are the judge of which apps are worthy of their students. After participating in a professional development program alongside their principal and technology specialist, teachers interview a set of edtech companies that have been vetted by a national panel of experts. The companies that survive their turn in the hot seat win an opportunity to test their software during the school year.

“The teachers get to choose what they want to pilot,” Lockett says. “They’re in the middle of that experiment; they have to be.” As for the companies: “Many are hungry for that feedback and innovation.”

It doesn’t hurt that, in parallel, investors are rewarding companies with strong school ties. “Some of the most promising, exciting companies have a teacher on the founding team—that’s a signal to us for sure,” says Stacey Childress, CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund. She nods to a few—Clever, Motion Math, Schoolzilla. Teachers’ understanding of school-based workflows, among other factors, she says, is an “incredible advantage.”

In July, Childress announced NewSchools Ignite, an accelerator program designed to encourage aspiring education entrepreneurs to build technologies for often-ignored areas of need. As much as $1.5 million in funding will be distributed to the first cohort focused on science, via $50,000 to $150,000 philanthropic grants.

“Even with the real explosion over the last few years in innovation and capital going to edtech, there’s still some gaps in market segments where we’re not seeing vibrancy,” Childress says. “The call that goes out to the entrepreneurs takes the voice of teachers from classrooms and turns it into a language that they can hopefully understand.” Startups that make the cut will have access to the fund’s long list of school contacts.

There’s still room for improvement, however, despite these signs of progress. Education, says Matt Candler, founder and CEO of 4.0 Schools, needs to find a way to embrace change without abdicating its responsibility to families. “For educators, you have the world on your shoulders; these kids’ lives are at stake,” he says. “There’s a huge aversion to taking risks.”

The workshops that his team at 4.0 runs are designed to foster a spirit of hospitality, in the hopes of sending the message to educators that their ideas are welcome, no matter how zany. “It takes a lot of sustained hospitality to make a space where you can explain the trouble you’re having and get out into the open the things that you want to see solved,” he says. “Teachers and parents and even students are so hesitant to talk about their dreams for schools because of this pressure to not screw up”—a far cry from Silicon Valley’s “fail fast” ethos.

Once upon a time, California-based Hebern might have been one of those teachers. Now, in part due to connections she’s made through EdCamp, a loosely affiliated network of “unconferences” for educators, she feels confident evaluating new classroom technologies and recommending the best ones to her peers. She’s the founder of EdCamp Yosemite, and has even started a website where she reports on her favorite resources and lesson ideas. Whatever technology emerges next, she and her fellow teachers will be ready for it: “We’re professionals, and we can improve our practice with each other.”

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John Kerry mentioning Classting

Today, thanks in part to President Park’s commitment to build a, quote, “creative economy,” the ROK is a virtual synonym for Internet success stories, such as the educational network service Classting; or the Kakao, your messenger app which is one of the fastest-growing tech firms in all of Asia; and GRobotics, a company which has revolutionized the robot industry and, incredibly, it was originally conceived by an amazing 11-year-old child. Just two weeks ago, Ambassador Lippert joined President Park at the opening of the Google Campus for startups and entrepreneurs right here in Seoul – an initiative designed to spur the exchange of ideas and digital growth in both of our countries.

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Eric Schmidt acknowledges Classting

“The world has often looked at Korea’s achievements in education with such envy that if it there was to be a way to export great teaching, Korean classrooms would probably rival smartphones. Actually, there is a way to export it. While many parents and teachers shudder at the sight of students using their smartphones, a Korean start-up called “Classting” saw an opportunity to forge new connections between teachers, students and parents. Teachers and students across the world are using the app and the company has got a 1 billion won investment from Softbank Ventures.”

-By Eric Schmidt (Google CEO)

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Read full article: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/tech/2013/11/133_145293.html

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Google Fosters South Korea Startup @Wall Street Journal

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“Mr. Cho, the 28-year-old former teacher, first cooked up the idea for Classting—a social-media network for the classroom that allows teachers to interact with students and their parents—after trying to first engage his students through Facebook and Twitter.

Mr. Cho found that students weren’t willing to open up their social-media profiles to their teachers and parents, or that schools wanted to ban smartphones outright in the classroom.

So Mr. Cho and his co-founder, a high-school friend and programmer, developed an app they thought could fill that need. They spent two years working on the app, which they named Classting—a portmanteau of “class” and “meeting”—while working their day jobs.”

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Read full article: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304243904579199193111992638

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