Learning 2.0 at the Techcrunch 50 and DEMO

If you are anything like me and have a feed reader filled to bursting point with all sorts of blogs that cover the web/start-up scene then you couldn’t miss this weeks blanket coverage of DEMO and Techcrunch50 (although we all know the big event this week was the ALT Conference in Leeds right?).  Now putting aside the various spats between Techcrunch and Demo what I’d like to focus on is the fact that around 100 start-ups essentially ‘launched’ over the last few days and as far as I can tell (and maybe I missed some – that would make me happier) only Grockit was focused on learning and a number of the other offerings were vacuous at best.  As far as Yammer winning at Techcrunch50 – why?  Its a Twitter clone right?  A pretty nice one but as far as I can tell apart from giving it an ‘enterprise’ focus its essentially a straight rip-off?

I’ve mentioned Grockit before and I’m really pleased for them – they were one of the runners-up and to my eyes had one of the most innovative ideas with a real understanding of the market they are aiming at (and maybe because that audience exists beyond the Valley it confused the judges?).  Anyway I love the idea – combining gaming and peer-to-peer learning is an increasingly popular strategy in education and building a start-up around that and focusing in on test prep seems ideal (that US test regiment seems like a really nice fit for this sort of thing – we lack anything similar here in the UK at the moment to really tie into as far as formal education is concerned).

Maybe we need to start our own Learning 2.0 event for start-ups with an interest in education and learning – something where the phrase ‘enterprise’ is banned and gossip sites are refused entry!

Oh and as I mentioned ALT earlier – congratulations to Josie Fraser for her Learning Technologist of the Year Award – well deserved as far as I can see..

7 thoughts on “Learning 2.0 at the Techcrunch 50 and DEMO

  1. What about enterprise learning? Or the Learning Enterprise?

    Learning products still needs a business model, Grokit have theirs nailed which is part of why its such a great idea.

    If it weren’t in London I’d suggest piggy-backing off BETT in Jan. Perhaps we need a BETTer (or in 2.0 parlance a BETTr) conference in Nov/Dec?

  2. John – I think my problem is that to me Enterprise is something that ‘boldly goes’ or somewhere your rent Ford Mondeos! People learn not ‘enterprises’..

    I understand the need for a business model but do they all have to be the same?

    I think something around BETT would be cool – the BETT Fringe??

  3. Matt – as you would expect I’d be up for helping out – this is just the thing I’ve been crying out for.

    I agree about Tc50 and DEMO having a lack of educational ideas – we have discussed this before.

    I think the idea of BETTr is great – give me a call!


  4. What do you think about Grockit?

    To me I think it a great idea – what strikes me is that the collaboration technology is very similar to some of the things the OU is coming up with.

    So how long before Grockit have open source competition?

  5. If Grockit is successful it won’t take long for open source clones to show up but I think beyond the technology Grockit have a pretty good take on the test prep market in the US and will have the advantage of being the first mover..

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