The following is a lightly edited excerpt of an August 29, 2017 blog post made by David Cross of the Towson University Incubator. Find the original here.
From pitch to pilot, Speak Agent, Inc. showcased its innovative new academic language application at the December 2016 inaugural EdTech Innovation Showcase and landed a pilot program with EdTech industry leader Sylvan Learning.
The Speak Agent team met the chief product officer of Sylvan Learning at TU Incubator’s 2016 EdTech Innovation Showcase. “As a direct result of this meeting, we executed a pilot agreement,” Speak Agent CEO Ben Grimley said. "We’ll be conducting the pilot this fall. This is a strong potential channel for Speak Agent’s K-5 academic language learning product. We’re so grateful for the opportunity provided by Towson University!"
Speak Agent is addressing a critical problem faced by English Language Learning (ELL) students, who often struggle with scholastic achievement. In Montgomery County, Maryland, where Speak Agent, Inc. is based, there is a 500% gap in the graduation rate between the ELL and non-ELL student populations. The significance of this problem is well-recognized at regional and national levels. Speak Agent is a digital learning platform that addresses the ELL achievement gap by providing interactive lessons with audiovisual supports, effortlessly adapting to each district, educator and learner to meet their specific academic vocabulary needs. Speak Agent helps educators meet the precise vocabulary needs of English and Spanish language learners by giving teachers the power to create custom digital materials in minutes without any technical know-how.
EdTech Innovation Showcase Hosted by TU Incubator, the EdTech Innovation Showcase is a networking event featuring education entrepreneurs who are solving today’s K-12 and post-secondary challenges. The showcase brings together a wide range of education stakeholders — administrators, educators, investors, innovators — from greater Baltimore. Eighteen EdTech entrepreneurs will be on hand to provide product demonstrations and a selective number of lightning pitches.
Sylvan Learning Sylvan Learning had several representatives attend the 2016 EdTech Innovation showcase, including Emily Levitt, Vice President, Education. Emily had this to say about the showcase and Speak Agent, “There are exciting things happening in the Baltimore edtech ecosystem, and the TU EdTech Innovation Showcase is a wonderful place to see what’s new. We were first introduced to Speak Agent at the Showcase last year, and we’re excited to kick off a pilot with them this fall. Speak Agent is helping to align digital ELL supports to our school-based curriculum, and we’re looking forward to the launch.”
With more than 35 years of experience and more than 750 locations throughout North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of personal learning for students in grades K-12. Sylvan is transforming how students learn, inspiring them to succeed in school and in life.
About TU Incubator TU Incubator supports and promotes venture creation and small business growth in order to stimulate economic development and further the respective missions of Towson University and Baltimore County. We provide business support and networks to seed and early stage companies that have a viable plan for growth. Even though we are a mixed use incubator, our location and networks provide a unique environment in which edtech companies can thrive.
is Chief Education Officer at Speak Agent, Inc.