MN Cup: Lessons Learned

Last week, we completed the last round of competition in the 2011 MN Cup. We had won the High Tech division the week prior. In this last round, we competed for the overall prize against other division winners (Clean Technology, BioSciences, Social Entrepreneur, General, and Student). The overall cup was awarded to the BioSciences division winner AUM Cardiovascular, a company that has developed a handheld device capable of detecting coronary artery disease. Congratulations to AUM Cardiovascular founder and CEO Dr. Marie Johnson!

Although we did not win the overall prize, we learned valuable lessons from the competition. We learned how to do better presentations. We learned that other entrepreneurs and the business community support education and edtech. But important of most of all, we learned how to better tell our story.

And our story, as it has been from day one, but is now better refined, is that we started Naiku to improve education by engaging students and empowering teachers. We engage students by enabling them to use their mobile devices like iPods and iPads for test taking and for learning. We also engage students in a metacognitive process called reflection. This is a key component of the formative assessment process, which educators know produces the largest student learning gains ever garnered by educational interventions (Black and Wiliam, 1998).

We empower teachers to use that same mobile technology to instantly evaluate and connect with their students. We also empower teachers by providing them with a professional social network where they can create, collaborate, and share instructional best practices. And the assessment results that we give to teachers empower them to adapt their own instruction to personalize learning for each student.

That’s our story. And we’re sticking to it.

Thank you again to all the educators and students who continue to use Naiku. Thank you to the business community for supporting Naiku and for supporting education.

I have one last bit of good news to share. Yesterday, we found out that we are a finalist for Minnesota Tekne Awards in EduTech. Thank you to the Minnesota High Tech Association for the recognition. We look forward to the 12th annual Tekne Awards, which will be held Nov. 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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