Lessoncast, a startup in the TU Incubator at Towson University, is transforming how teachers get better at what they do in the classroom. K12 schools and teacher education programs use Lessoncast to develop, capture, and share effective teaching practices through a unique video technology and real-time analytics aligned to student learning data.
Each year schools in the US spend $8 billion on teacher training and development. Recent reports, however, have shown that schools have zero evidence to show to what extent this investment is benefiting teachers or students. This low ROI is because typical teacher professional development is one-size-fits all and lacks proof of classroom mastery.
Flipping traditional methods, Lessoncast provides schools with their own personalized teacher learning platform. Teachers access professional learning aligned to the needs of their students. The Lessoncast web app captures video evidence of classroom application. Principals and superintendents get dynamic reports showing how teacher learning impacts student outcomes. In recognition of the high yield potential for this type of teacher learning technology to improve student learning, Lessoncast was a recipient of a grant from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to expand use of the data analytics to create more effective learning environments.
TEDCO helped Lessoncast through the Technology Commercialization Fund, which enabled the company to launch a pilot with Baltimore City Public Schools in partnership with the Baltimore Teachers Union. This pilot helped to validate using Lessoncast to demonstrate local teaching frameworks of effective teaching and paved the way for implementation with some of the company’s largest customers.
Lessoncast works with school districts and teacher education programs in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Florida, and California. In 2017, Lessoncast will begin a contract with schools in Toronto as well. While the sales cycle has been notoriously difficult in the education market, this company has survived and excelled by partnering with more established professional development organizations looking to augment their services with the Lessoncast technology.
“The Lessoncast team has been relentless in their development of technology for K-12 professional development”, said Neil Davis, TEDCO’s Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives. “The Company’s focused bootstrap strategy has leveraged our investment into a business that is expected to break even in 2017 and be profitable in 2018.”