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BetterLesson launches unique teacher-to-teacher learning project with $3.5 million grant

Boston based edtech start­up “Bet­ter­Les­son”, which launched in 2008, has just secured a non-dilu­tive grant worth $3.5 mil­lion from the Bill & Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion, bring­ing the total fund­ing it’s raised so far to just over $6 million.

As any busi­ness devel­op­ment asso­ciate, chief rev­enue offi­cer or chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer famil­iar with edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy will be aware, edu­ca­tion star­tups usu­al­ly take a good while to scale, for­mu­late viable busi­ness mod­els and gen­er­ate sus­tain­able rev­enues.  That’s why the lat­est cash boost for Bet­ter­Les­son is such a shot in the arm for the inno­v­a­tive firm, which plans to use the mon­ey to ramp up its eight-strong staff team and launch a unique new teacher-to-teacher learn­ing project.

Tech­nol­o­gy to spread great teaching

Far from those sci­ence fic­tion fan­tasies of replac­ing teach­ers with tech­no­log­i­cal sub­sti­tutes, since its incep­tion Bet­ter­Les­son has been devot­ed to encour­ag­ing and sup­port­ing the best attrib­ut­es of real­ly great teach­ers.  A robot might not notice when young Suzie is get­ting dis­tract­ed and tex­ting her boyfriend on her mobile, or sur­rep­ti­tious­ly Googling for beau­ty prod­ucts in the mid­dle of math.
But a good teacher will deft­ly man­age the sit­u­a­tion and may pre­vent it from aris­ing in the first place by engag­ing stu­dents’ inter­est and curiosity.

The new project is based around the com­mon core cur­ricu­lum, but that’s just the start­ing point.  Crit­i­cal though the cur­ricu­lum is, the com­pa­ny knows that good teach­ing involves much more.
The project focus­es on how to get that cur­ricu­lum across to stu­dents most effec­tive­ly, offer­ing teach­ers class­room man­age­ment strate­gies and instruc­tion­al meth­ods.  And the beau­ty is that this guid­ance is drawn from class­room teach­ers them­selves, who can share their expe­ri­ence of what works best with oth­er teach­ers via BetterLesson’s new project.

Real exper­tise from real teachers

The start­up will gath­er knowl­edge from active class­room teach­ers, not self-appoint­ed edu­ca­tion experts who’ve actu­al­ly been nowhere near a class­room for a cou­ple of decades.  The project will reward its “Mas­ter Teach­ers” for their efforts in shar­ing their expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge — and it’s already hit the ground run­ning, offer­ing a math focus for grades 6 – 12.

By equip­ping teach­ers with prac­ti­cal tech­nol­o­gy to enhance their tal­ents and skills, Bet­ter­Les­son looks set to improve stu­dent edu­ca­tion sig­nif­i­cant­ly.  The firm’s prod­uct man­ag­er must be smil­ing jubi­lant­ly right now.

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