The Electric Educator: 5 Companies to Watch in 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

5 Companies to Watch in 2011

Note: This is the first of my series "5 things to watch in 2011" Future installments will include: 
  • Five people to follow in 2011
  • Five trends to watch in 2011
  • Five technologies to watch in 2011
  • Five blogs to read in 2011 
 The folks over at Prezi continue to make their presentation product more and more compelling. When I first learned about Prezi I was impressed by the fundamental change it brought to the art of presentations. No longer was I constrained to a linear, one dimensional presentation format. In September Prezi meeting was launched which enables up to 10 people to edit or view a Prezi remotely. January of 2011 saw the launch of an iPad app on which to view presentations.

I have recently been researching curriculum providers for virtual schools. After interviewing many prospective companies I became frustrated with the lack of innovation and impressiveness of their products. Then I stumbled upon FYI Learning Online. This content provider has top-notch content for virtual schools and their crown jewel, Teacher Space, which enables virtual instructors to modify course content on the fly based on the needs of their students. FYI is a recent addition to the marketplace, but I expect that they will become very popular.

Alongside my search for curriculum providers I also began researching content management system (CMS) for virtual schools. While Blackboard dominates the marketplace, BrainHoney is a very impressive CMS geared toward the K-12 market. Built upon an exhaustive open API library, BrainHoney is posed to integrate just about anything you could wish. Better yet, BrainHoney has strategically placed themselves in the online marketplace and have secured an impressive endorsement from Clayton Christenson. Look for BrainHoney to capture a significant share of the K-12 virtual school market.

As a resident of the state of Michigan, I'm proud of the innovative and rock solid products being produced by TechSmith. Their core products Camtasia Studio (screen casting) and Snagit (image capturing) are standard on all of my computers. My podcast series "Google, More than Search" [iTunes link] was created entirely using Camtasia Studio. TechSmith has embraced the educational community by giving away $2.3 million in free software to Michigan schools and sponsoring #edcampdetroit this May.

Learn Boost is a startup company that has developed a gradebook program that has great potential. Unlike many of the gradbook programs I have seen/used LearnBoost is well designed, intuitive to use, and includes some powerful reporting and data analysis features. LearnBoost is also specifically designed to integrate with Google Apps. While I think the product needs a little bit of time to mature, I would certainly keep my eye on this company!

**Disclosure: I was made aware of LearnBoost when I was invited to become a guest blogger (gratis). After researching the company and their product I felt comfortable aligning myself with them. I will be cross-posting some of my post from the Electric Educator on the LearnBoost blog in the future.**

Check back next Monday for the second installment of my "5 things" series...

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't do what I do without techsmith. It is an amazing company with great folks who are making education better.


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