12 Austin edtech startups taking tech to the classroom

James Risley

Technology has shaped many aspects of our daily lives, but bringing those advancements to the education sector takes dedication. These edtech companies can improve life for students in the classroom, help administrators upgrade courses, allow teachers to track students and even provide continuing education to those who are looking for a career change.  

These 12 companies are dedicated to bringing powerful technology to education, helping tomorrow's leaders learn with today's tools. 

With everything a student does online, from researching on the library’s website to submitting a term paper, they are generating data. But data alone doesn’t provide much insight on how students are faring. Civitas Learning uses institution-specific predictive models to monitor how students are performing, along with graduation expectations and other key predictions. With a focus on data science, Civitas may even expand beyond education thanks to a $60 million funding round last year.


Driving and smartphones may not seem like the smartest combination for students, but Aceable has brought driver’s education to mobile devices with great success. The digital courses prepare students for the written portion of driving tests in Texas, California and other states. Students can also learn about defensive driving techniques, which can lead to insurance discounts or clear a traffic ticket from their record.


Meeting new people is a huge part of going to school, but PenPal Schools expands the pool of new people a student may meet to enhance learning and build understanding across cultures. By connecting classrooms around the world, the company takes the traditional pen pal experience and adds modern technology to turn it into a more powerful learning opportunity. Students in both classrooms can learn together, and teachers can track progress to monitor which lessons are working best.


Querium understands that everyone learns differently, and it tailors its lessons to each student. Crafted for kids who grew up on computers, Querium’s programs prepare students for college placement tests. An artificially intelligent visual tutor keeps students engaged, particularly with complex topics in STEM education.


Colleges and universities want the brightest students to attend, and that often means handing out scholarships to those who show great potential. AcademicWorks helps keep track of all those scholarships with a comprehensive management service. The company’s products handle everything from compliance to stewardship of scholarship funds at nearly 500 institutions. With their automated system, more students can apply to more scholarships too, making sure those funds are going to those who deserve it most.


While the ACT and SAT are meant to measure a student’s learning, those with the means for comprehensive prep classes often have an advantage in taking the tests. Prepify uses its free, online SAT/ACT prep courses to get low-income students ready for the potentially life-changing test. The business also sticks with students through the college application process, connecting them with schools that fit their skills.


Learning can be rewarding on its own, but the purpose of schooling is to get students ready for the workforce. MyEdu eases the transition between the two with tools for the classroom and the job search. The company keeps track of all the skills, coursework and experiences during a student's education, which they can show off to potential employers when it’s time to start the job search. For businesses, the platform provides a comprehensive view of a student’s career beyond what fits on a resume.


Education doesn’t end at graduation. With 360training.com, training and educating new employees or professionals interested in expanding job opportunities can learn new skills. By integrating e-learning technology with professional content, companies like Duke Energy and US Bank have efficiently trained employees for complex jobs using 360training.com’s programs.


To ensure a fair education for all, many schools abide by standards set forth by local, state and federal officials. Software maker Compass Learning makes standardized learning programs engaging at all levels. Many students enter the classroom with an understanding of technology, and Compass leverages that to keep students on track.  


Getting a tutor used to mean going to a stuffy room in the local library or waiting after school to meet with a senior looking to fill a bullet point on their resume. But Upswing brings tutoring online to help students stick out tough classes. With video, audio and virtual whiteboard tools, students and certified tutors or teachers can connect online. And Upswing’s data collection allows them to better engage with students who may be struggling, before they even know it.


As many entrepreneurs know, ideas alone can’t power a business. Amazing.com has courses for entrepreneurs of all levels. The service partners with business leaders to share information and get startups off on the right foot. Courses include short lessons to fit into busy days and range from financial literacy to courting clients.


Elite schools stay on top because of the great teachers that help students succeed. Tk20 keeps track of teachers and other staff with powerful assessment tools, making sure that students are learning as much as they can in the classroom and beyond. Integrated tools built on proven methodologies help keep institutions on track. Tk20 also provides tools for the accreditation process, strategic planning and institutional research.


Images via company websites, Facebook

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Edtech in Austin

An inside look at the Austin edtech scene. Discover the best startups and coolest companies changing education.

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