Live Blogging LAUNCH Education & Kids - Day One

[Marshall Tuck, CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, shares which technologies LA's worst-performing schools use and what they've learned.]

Thirty-one amazing education/kid startups launched or launched new products on stage at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View June 12 & 13, 2012. Check here for all the action on Day One; here is Day Two (including winners).

Event details at

Spreadsheet of all presenting companies here and our photos here.

5:28pm: Thanks to judges, we start at 9am tomorrow, doors open at 8am. More great companies and Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese!

5:20pm: Judge discussion of Session 2 companies

Scoble: Had three ties on my sheet. GatherEducation, Kno, Launchpad. In terms of this conference, I want to help teachers more than consumers, going with Gather. It lets teachers teach to wider audience. One of my rules in life is get more scale out of what I do. Teaching in online context like this makes teacher more scalable. I'm hopeful that the world moves to something like this.

Stefan: Also Gather. Felt natural. LearnStreet also a top.

Christine: Timbuktu aside, really liked Penyo Pal, demo with Alejandro clinched that.

Alan: Tie between Timbuktu and Launchpad Toys. Liked creativity in both of them. Comment on Gather: seems gimmicky to have Kinect but big fan of having full person there. Holodeck way more interesting.

Vivek: First time where I liked everything at a conference.

[ love fest -- Launch team is great, Vivek says we really support entrepreneurs. ]

Vivek: Penyo Pal, so impressed with what kid learned from it. Marhsall gave PlayTell 9 out of 10.

Jason: Your favorite of first group?

Vivek: Not enough notes on that.

Jose: Everybody did amazing job. Launchpad Toys, Timbuktu, Penyo Pal. Favorite was Launchpad Toys.

5:16pm: Alejandro played with Penyo Pal, let's test his Chinese. [Jane having conversation with him]. He names the pear, orange and apple -- all correctly. He says it was fun to use the app. Says he has done language in school but didn't learn much. Tells Jason he would prefer learning on tablet to learning from teacher.

5:10pm: Q&A with Launchpad Toys

Martin: I would play with it, would pay $10 for it.

Jason: Didn't think much difference [between Toontastic and Monkeygram], shorter and quicker?

Andy: Toontastic is 10 minutes, share with kids. Monkeygram make in a minute, send to best friend. Storytelling tool meets Instagram.

Alan: My kids love Toontastic. Could use it to send thank-yous to grandparents.

Stefan: Not sure I buy it, maybe I'm too old. Hopefully I'm wrong. Felt too kiddie and too long to get across compared to LOL.

Peter (12 years old): Can you customize music?

Andy: Not yet, working on that.

[ Peter says he would definitely use it. ]

Jason: You must have tested it. Are we correct in saying it looks kiddie but it's right? How do you get tone right?

Andy: Lesson #2 for us. We give it to teens, then we pull it away at the end. If they are clamoring for it, we know it's ready. If not interested, we know we need to work on it.

Stefan: Cost money?

Andy: App free, can buy more postcards.

Martin (kid): [says to Andy what he wants in Monkeygram]: vampires, werewolves. Personally, can you make it for me? If this is successful going to make app similar to it?

Andy: We have a couple more ideas for animation, move on to movies and music.

Martin: is it on computer yet?

Andy: All on touchscreens, not planning on computers until they have touchscreens.

5:09pm: LESSON: teens not too cool for play and storytelling, just takes different format.

5:08pm: Built Monkeygram because teens spend 10 days a year of their life writing text messages. Squandering it on emoticons and OMG.

5:06pm: Andy and Martin are making zombie cartoon together with theme of "braaaaiins!" Takes photo of Martin, puts him in the Zombie character. They record the story and play it back.

5:04pm: We thought teens too cool for storytelling, drop-off [for Toontastic] when they turn 13. But they are not too cool for play, just that their storytelling takes different format. Their stories are messages, characters are their friends. Launching new app: monkeygram, messaging for teens to create and share cartoons in form of messages and share over Facebook and Twitter.

5:02pm: Welcome Launchpad Toys! Andy - we are building digital legos. Similar in philopshy to Sifteo but without the plastic, for touchscreens. First app was Toontastic, enables kid to draw, animate, narrate own cartoons and share. Kids creating 300k cartoons every month.

4:50pm: Q&A with Timbuktu

Ari (kid): Thought good way to teach you stuff. Taught you stuff in fun way, showed you tricks, how not to be scared of stuff.

Jason: How old are you, do you have an iPad?

Ari: 9 and have ipod but no ipad. Favorite apps are dragonville and monkeyball 2.

Jason: Fave website?

Ari: YouTube.

Scoble notes that he can't download Timbuktu over his LTE network, too big. Jose wants to talk design.

Jose: Hard to find quality illustration. How are you guys convincing people to work for startup?

Elena: Beautiful design and layout and vision for products for children.

Jose: Vision and work already done [yes, founders agree].

Jason: Being educational they will do [the work] for less money?

Francesca: Quality is not more expensive but need to be able to choose it.

Vivek: Kids in CA different than in Idaho, Shanghai, Delhi. How do you build content when value systems different?

Elena: We already have users all over the world. This product can be appealing to different cultures. Localization have in mind and planning on.

Vivek: Skeptical - in Japan fathers work late, mothers spend time with kids.

Francesca: Japan our second market, app in English only right now.

Jason: Do you need to change the content or trying to go for universal truths and stories?

Elena: Usually think of language first. Universal narratives that appeal to all cultures.

Jose: Beauty transcends all language.

Vivek: But all illustrations are white-looking people. Have to be aware of that.

Question from Betsy of EdSurge: Looks like all content your own stories. Will you open up and be a hosting place?

Elena: Great question. We think of as platform to host other people's stories that fit our vision. We curate other people's content and then put it in our layout.

Jason: How do you find those stories?

Elena: Searching ourselves [so far]. The illustrators already online. This new version, calendar version, will open to user-generated content.

Jason: I would pay you to make illustrated version of stories I tell my daughter.

Stefan: Cost money?

Elena: free.

Christine: We invested in Timbuktu. We see a lot of kids' story apps, we set bar higher. For Timbuktu what struck me was how beautiful design was and how core to their titles. I like the approach they have, not just create some stories for kids. Feel only startup that has talked about traction, 60k downloads.

Vivek: Go global, get Japanese story one week, Chinese another week. Tog et millions have to go global.

Francesca: Work with network of 30 artists, from 20 countries, Lisbon, Delhi, Berlin, work with international network.

Alan: Hook up with PlayTell.

4:48: LESSONS. Be brave. When got rid of paper metaphors, imagination boosted, then made huge progress. Do Ir early need a cover? Or flip pages, need bookshelves? Second, clearly indicate what is interactive. Okay to use arrows. Third, meet your customers. First version shipped, found out people couldn't get past first page.

4:44pm: Welcome Timbuktu! Elena and Francesca. Every day new activity to do with kids. Like advent calendar, best children's content from all over the world. Kids get stamps on their timbuktu passport. Story about cricket -- how it works. Next day, infographic on things that happened at night. Tap each element, how many kids born, how much hair grew, how many times breathed. Then explored home for vampires, following instructions on Timbuktu. Then tricks for fighting fear of the dark.

4:37pm: Q&A with Kno

Scoble: How does my 18yo know how much of his courseware available form you or Inkling?

David: Focused on scale because of number of books. Inkling maybe 110 books. WE have over 200k. Community lagging in rights clearance, but every year getting better. Everything getting cleared.

Alan: How long working on this?

Dave: three years

Alan: Numbers?

Dave: In rush market, we were #1 education application for rush period and #2 revenue application across the i-marketplace in all categories.

Vivek: how do you get 200k books done and what about cheap tablets?

David: Immense time on ingestion process. In 12 minutes turn publisher content into Kno content. Platform: iPad, Android we will be on every mobile platform student has. We can't be missing.

Scoble: diff between tablets, treat iPad better?

David: No, but some differences. Android version: pen coming, won;t see in iPad.

Jason: is 30% Apple takes, make economics prohibitive? Similar to what bookstore would make?

David: They can buy at website, benefits that we can't give them in Apple Store. They can return the book (for example). Apple is marketing cost, not distribution cost.

Scoble: when I interviewed surgeon at Stanford. Everything he learned is obsolete. How fast can I, as author, shove new info in system and get in student hands?

David: Smartlinks is real-time technology. Publish new info within minutes.

Jason: Exclusives with publishers, or they will give ebook to any number players? Anyone can publish on ibook. How much of competitor is ibooks?

David: No, not announced on exclusives. Publishing content is more than producing book, don't see that product scaling to needs of commercial content [ibooks].

4:36pm: Lessons. Everything about user experience, about the student. WE do oriamry research, ethnography, everything to figure out what they are doing. We have reading patterns by grade. Second thing, evolution not revolution. grate ideas for new textbook. But this is market that has an autoimmune system. Taken conscious strategy of not throwing away books, show in way professor understands, help the community evolve. But when it sees radical change it tends to freeze up.

4:35pm: Students saving time every week with Kno, efficiency is their #1 issue. Portability: student has 15lb backpack, they can't carry everything with them, with this they can spend 15 minutes here and there.

4:32pm: Take content directly into book. Bring CD-ROM content into the page. Students look for [videos] on Google because easier than in the book. Also 3d content: allows to put in "lab"  -- do photosynthesis, not just read about it. Quiz me now: answer questions about the product as you go. Study aid for student, zero cost for publisher and more engaged experience.   Journal product: extracts all your highlights and turns into companion document for studying.

4:30pm: Product: Highlight in multiple colors, search the book, search Internet. What we've done, though, is create layers of interactivity. Every textbook comes with glossary. Used tech to scrape out of back and deep link into content. When touch on any word, there it is. Cost for publisher? Zero. Flashcards for every chapter - no cost to publisher.

4:26pm: Welcome Kno! David: we are one of later-stage startups. We are focused on post-secondary. Kno is digital content company, not just etextbooks. Mix of textbooks and new forms, but all are content. We are platform, fit between content providers and consumers. Help, in consistent and scalable way, interactive, social and measurable. For education to scale, we have to flip the model.

4:19pm: Q&A with LearnStreet

Scoble: Can people be retrained with this, how could they get a job with Jason's company?

Greg (co-founder): Basic tools to get core proficiency. Before can promise, job at Facebook, could do basic work on elance. CodeGarage designed with that in mind -- can you fix that bug?

Stefan: Favorite so far, personality -- in instructions as well. I can see who take from no proficiency to some fairly quickly.

Jose: love exercises, how differentiate from competition?

Greg: We like all those [Treehouse, Codecademy].

Christine: distribution plan?

greg: Social media strategies, events

Scoble: Viral loop?

Greg: looked at coding challenges. Stanford vs Berkeley, bringing that down a level.

Scoble: Thinking about how to design for more females in engineering?

Greg: yes, want that. We'll have to learn [how to get there].

Jose: Great point. Not just women, a lot of career changers.

Jason: Vivek, do you buy the argument?

Vivek: How are you going to compete with Codeacademy?

Greg: We test like mad, they can do that too.

Vivek: Common thing we do is build for tech world. So many opportunities in vocational world, how do you operate nuclear plant? I think you are missing the bigger opportunity. Only going to train maybe 100K programmers. They will pay $1k to learn new vocational skill.

Alan: Certification is issue and assessment of what learni

4:18pm: Lesson: don't be afraid to fail. We tried a lot of things, some failed. From your failures, learned what we needed: best UI, best course instructors. Through failures got to place where it's a great way to learn code.

4:14pm: Welcome Learn Street, also stealth. Rajiv tells story of Neil, who graduated but has tough time finding job, needs to pay school debt. Most openings for programmers. He hears about LearnStreet that teaches to code. Python, Ruby, JavaScript, decides to learn Python. Starts with beginner course, unlocks lessons as he goes, sees progress bar for each lesson. Video sets stage for course. Applies what he's learned in CodeGarage -- tinker with existing code. LearnStreet going live today with public beta.

4:05pm: Q&A Penyo Pal

Scoble: Have tested with kids, how long does it take?

Jane: It's early. Even after 10-15 minutes able to recognize characters. Eager to test further.

Jason: takes kid volunteer who wants to learn Chinese (take backstage).

Vivek: want to learn chinese but too childish for me.

Jason: why do cartoons work?

Jose: Art is great, congrats. Getting art right is hard. I would probably use but I'm 12. Huge market across other languages: Spanish, Chinese. Excited. I give you a 9 out of 10.

Jason: How can they get better?

Jose: I would improve depth, texture. One level deeper into the aesthetics of it. Cut the Rope does that, flat but tiny bit of texture.

Scoble: I liked it. German class was drudgery, would like try it. Want to see what kid does.

Stefan: matching verbal, how good is the matching?

Raf: We're using some open-source and proprietary components. Not doing tonal matching just yet [from demo]. It tries to find closest words might have said.

Jason: going up against Rosetta Stone?

Raf: Yes.

Jason: Cost?

Raf: Free and buy additional content at $0.99.

Alan: crowded market, didn't see anything new except auditory. Are you doing auditory locally or in the crowd?

Raf: Locally. If we know trying to say, can do locally. On tech side, trying to figure out of blue, then you need power of cloud.

Alan: you picked hardest language with tones. I like language things. You could extend easily to other languages, encourage you to do that.

Christine: same thing, we invested in MindSnacks. What makes you defensible?

Jane: we focus on kids. We want to have the immersion piece.

Vivek: Wouldn't worry about competition, pick a niche.

Jason: I love dashboard. If it e-mails me everyday or when she used it, I could catch up with her.

Jane: Can set for daily email or whenever you want it.

Jason: That's killer piece right there.

Scoble: Competition piece?

Jane: Working on viral piece, looking into that.

Jason: My wife could challenge my daughter and I to learn…

Jose: In Hispanic community, losing language, not cool enough to do it. Upsetting to older generation. You might not listen to parents but do there.

Raf: On competitive note, boys like that. Girls, not what they look for. Have to realize different audiences.

Jane: Girls like shopping, customization.

4:04pm: Penyo Pal is in the App store as of 2 hours ago. Thrilled to change way families learn language together. LESSONS: cute is really powerful. Found that people who are older want to use the game, up to age 25. Bigger thanks to cute graphics. 2) important to be clear with educators. Partnered with teaches in Canada. Initially thought they were trying to replace them.

4:01pm: Food Frenzy game: drop the words onto the correct food item, you hear the hear and see the word in Roman alphabet and in Chinese characters. Next game is Crazy Kitchen: learning the word for shake, so you swipe and shake. Penyo cafe game: private conversation game. She learns how to order food from Chinese restaurant. Records and play backs what she says. App can tell when she is correct.

3:59pm: Welcome Penyo Pal! Jane introduces Kristen and Kayla, who don't speak Chinese, can't communicate with grandparents. Dad signed them up for Chinese school - but they played Angry Birds during class instead. Enter Penyo Pal -- learn Mandarin on iPad.

3:53pm: Q&A GatherEducation

Jason: this is far-out stuff, what do you think:
Alan: what problem is this solving

Pano: Online education solutions pretty poor.

Alan: what is scaling, not tech, but for size of class?

Pano: Can handle 1k, not best learning environ. Video game tech around for awhile, moving few

Scoble: teacher need a kinect?

Pano: No.

Vivek: Want to see 3.0 version with holodeck.

Pano: No, not far away from that.

Vivek: should have video in this.

Pano: Easy to pipe in.

Stefan: How do PPTs show up?

Pano: appears on blackboard yes.

Stefan: Can you hit on women in the class?

Pano: you will be able to interact with other students.

Scoble: How many screens for teacher and how do they control?

Pano: Tile them, drag and move around. Easy for us to do that. Can also put on desktop.

Christine: how do you sell?

Pano: charge transactionally. Tutors want us to handle billing for them. This is at same phase as blogging platform was a few years ago. Number of teachers who look at this as way to accelerate presence beyond university.

Jose: As designer, one of challenges is replicate people in room thinking and sketching. This makes inroads to solving that. Curious what other educators do. I teach twice a week live on internet (This Week In). Without a staff, it's awful. I'm positive on [this].

Pano: also ask Greg [teacher], he's here.

Scoble: Make this a brand and get your MBA this way?

Pano: Had university approach us about doing this exclusively for them, exec MBA program.

3:51: Lesson: technology takes a backseat to learning. Only takes a few minutes for the teacher and student to get up to speed. All  my skills as classroom teacher translate, key to successful technology. Second, virtual as good as physical. Didn't think Kinect would work, but teacher found he used hands more than he thought. Greater than expected engagement resulted.

3:50pm: New feature: inverted classroom with break-out sessions. Teacher can hover across break-outs to see what is happening. Create as many groups as they want. Teacher jumps between sessions in real time. Student gets notification: you are being moved.

3:48: Pano asks students to say hello. Acceleration motion class. Thumbs up if you don't need review, thumbs down if you need review. Nobody will see their responses but the teacher. All thumbs down, so he needs to review the concept. Student writes answer for question on the board.

3:46: Back from break - Welcome GatherEducation! Pano is in front of Kinect and showing how he looks inside a virtual classroom. If he raises his hand, his avatar moves also. Uses iPad to control what appears on the "blackboard." Kids only need browser.


3:19pm: Discussion of scores judges gave Session 1 companies and why.

Jason: Robert, who scored highest and why?

Robert: AlwaysPrepped, a little early but I like that.

Christine: 2 or 3 same score. But the ones that ranked highest, DemoLesson really interesting. Solivng real problem, would like to dig in deeper. My brother0in-law teacher at public school. I could see that [problem of tenure]. AlwaysPrepped was the other one.

Stefan: I'm a PlayTell fan, ton of opportunity.

Ted: JoyTunes. You've got to pieces of equipment present in a lot of homes. using clever software. Skeptical that microphone will work as you advance. But it's really logical to me and interface nicely done.

Marshall: With work hat on, AlwaysPrepped. Definitely going to be huge in market. As parent, PlayTell.

Alan: Excited about PlayTell, on hunt for early literacy solutions. As described, would solve problem for reading problem wit grandparent. But where get kid practicing, that's huge.

Jason: No clear winner. Can we get big round of applause?

3:11pm: Q&A for Sifteo.

Scoble: going to be dead when I want to play with them. ANd my kids mixed all their toys, finding them going to be hard.

Dave: Valid concern. If you can convince to put back in carrying case then you have a shot.

Jason: how about a where-smy-Iphone-type of alarm?

Dave: Tried that [ speakers on cubes don't work as well.] Standard Sifteo pack is $149, comes with three cubes. Some games free.

Christine: how distribute?

Dave: Traditional retailers and online.

Stefan: Bought them on the street in SF. I played with it and said my daughter has to have it. But can't play with in car. Once you solve that problem it's perfect.

Jason: future version connect to iPad or iphone?

Dave: We're looking into it, on our radar.

Scoble: do they do anything when paired?

Dave: yes, we can pool and play a game together?

Ted: Bluetooth?

Dave: Protocol we wrote, like wireless mouse from Logitech.

Ted: I have cubeworld toys from Japan.

Dave: Yes, seen those.

Jason: Is this something for Kickstarter, your 2.0?

Dave: There is possibility. Funded already, but Kickstarter can be used to do project that is riskier.

Julian: where can you get these?

Dave: On our website, on Amazon, thinkgeek. Cool store coming to SF, the BrainStore, going to be in there.

Alexis: How do you get from game to game?

Dave: Great question: on PC, go to my games in game library, click on the game and hit play then it starts.

Kid Q: can you delete games if you don't want them?

Dave: Yes.

Jason: Who are the developers?

Dave: We have in-house game studio. SDK out there. Some hobbyists, game developers, teachers playing with it.

Jason: no branded games in your list. When will we see Disney or Marvel app?

Dave: Can't speak to specifics. Later this year see games with characters you know and love.

Jason: Christine, do you run from hardware?

Christine: For hardware, not something we know well. More capital involved in developing, not something we'd do a lot of. Doesn't mean we won't. Have done a few.

Jason: Kickstarter a threat in this space? [ for investors]

Ted: I think it's great. Exactly the kind of group that should look at this. Pre-sale instead of investment.

3:10pm: Lesson, give yourself time to imagine, then do it. Personal example: Sifteo was born from a what-if question?

3:09: best experiences don't leave physicality behind, what makes wii so powerful.

3:07pm: new kid volunteer, has to line up the colored dots.

3:04pm: Dave shows game that is like interactive Sudoku. Alexis puts 2 and 5 together and 7 appears on both cubes. You can try things and see what happens.

3:02pm: Welcome Sifteo! Dave: what if interacting with digital media was like putting your hands in Legos? We play with stuff, part of who we are as people. Sifteo cubes: hands-on platform for tactile video games. Display graphics on top, communicate wirelessly and sense motions. Dominoes with an app store.

2:58pm: Q&A DemoLesson

Ted: name doesn't talk about what you do.

Mandela: Demo Lesson is a process. Teachers and administrators familiar with term.

Scoble: Seems like a good idea. seen lots of hiring sites build significant businesses.

Stefan: Couldn't LinkedIn do this?

Scoble: They are not going to focus on this.

Jason: we use The Resumator. But not tailored to schools.

Brian: Not as many teachers on LinkedIn as you'd think. We found niche in education market.

Marshall: Can you cross-check credentials, are they legally qualified to see resume to hire?

Brian: Wverywhere form posting to scheduling. We don't do background checks. Didn't feel it was feature we needed but definitely could.

Jason: thoughts from teachers?

Question from Paul Walsh of Metacert: Are there privacy issues of recording kids?

Brian: All videos private. when you upload, no one sees until you apply to job. Second, no showing faces of students. Back of kids, raising hands, no faces to protect identities of students.

2:57pm: Lessons: 1) we don't do free trials. Schools could fit hiring process in the trial period. We sell to schools, they are used to paying for hiring solutions. 2) If going to sell, has to be easy to implement. We asked them their current process. 3) Teacher are innovators. You are in the trenches, best ideas from personal experience. Mandela, co-founder, was teacher who had this idea. Shared her idea, found co-founder, rounded up early beta testers.

2:54pm: Welcome DemoLesson. Brian: Melissa is an awesome teacher but got pink-slipped. She needs a new job. She starts a profile on DemoLesson. She uploads her credentials and a video from her camera phone so they can see how well she teaches.

2:42pm: Q&A for AlwaysPrepped

Marshall: Is this every day or once a week usage?

Fahad: use every day, several times a day. All about consumption of data. Only going to make it smarter so you can intervene.

Stefan: how do you apply weighting?

Fahad: Default is 90 is an A, etc. But teachers can change it.

Jason: Saying behavior and performance on math makes that weighted number somehow?

Fahad: yes, even with classdojo, on a scale of 0 to 100.

Jason: is it 10% or a side issue?

Fahad: Absolutely should be weighted. For the sake of the private launch, getting system up and running and what they can expect.

Scoble: my kids in SV area schools. What %age of classrooms going to be potential customers?

Fahad: Millions of teachers using.

Jason: are you too far ahead?

Fahad: I don't know.

Christine: How many apps integrate with now?

Fahad: Khan and Endgrid. Integrating with more. By beginning of school year, more. Hope to have 10-15.

Jason: Ted, you are going after disruptive tech. Is this a company you want a meeting with?

Ted: Similar concern about having enough to make aggregation work. Concerns about companies that have dependencies on other platforms.

Fahad: Points well taken.

Ted: Might be a little early.

Marshall: I agree, only question is timing. Are teachers ready for it now? It's going to be essential in future.

Teacher at Antioch High School: we desperately need that. I would switch my gradebook to whatever you had so I could use [your product.]

Woman who runs group of homeschoolers: tap into our market, we are farther ahead. We are in desperate need of ways to consolidate our info.

CIO for network of charter schools: product I've been dreaming about.

Alan: It's a little early, but that's the kind we tend to incubate. Initially skeptical. Teachers generally know when kid can't read. I wonder about value of raw data.

Jason: I am going with teachers and not VCs on this.

Scoble: would love parent version of this so I can help my kid.

2:42pm: Lessons, teachers have very little time. Fahad was helping student who had math problems, but she didn't know how to read in 3rd grade. Would help to know that with data.

2:40pm: He can go into account for student who's having problems. Can overlay academic data with behavior data to see if there's a correlation. Overlay reading data with math data.

2:37: Welcome AlwaysPrepped! Fahad: teacher he knows in DC is enamored with tech tools - Khan, Edmodo. Thousands of logins and data points. Where should he focus? We want to simplify that process so he can act without doing extra work.

2:34pm: Justin is 8 years old. Jason: is this a product you're interested in trying? Yes. I like that you can communicate from one place to another. I have a question? How did you come with idea.

Semira: I personally have this problem. Everytime I did Skype date it was frustrating we couldn't read together. I have this for work, I can see them on video chat and create doc together. It occurred to me I should be able to do same thing with my nephew.

Jason: Favorite app? Justin: megarun.

2:27pm: Q&A PlayTell

Christine: where does content come from?

Semira: Couple of own titles and some third-party publishers putting in there soon as well.

Alan: how do you charge?

Subscription for more games/books each month.

Semira: Ballpark is $5 to $10 a month.

Ted: Spoken to owners of iBooks or Amazon to use existing content libraries?

Semira: Plan to, targeting indie authors and game developers.

Stefan: How is Nana Sue going to get started?

Semira: grid of photos is there, tap on it, send push notification.

Jason: does subscription work $5 on each side?

Semira: $5 on each side.

Marhsall: Multiple people?

Semira: Right now just two.

Jason, Ted is this something fundable?

Ted: Mash-up of technologies out there right now. I would be concerned with long-term willingness to pay. Can see paying for content but paying for service, one of book platforms might build into own reader. Might be possible exit for you. Being stand-alone and not having own library or store, with all titles, feels difficult.

Semira: Focusing on own app right now. Exploring that SDK for them, powers that for their titles. We think good business in either of those.

Jason: Robert, is this something you would use?

Robert: Kids tend to fight over iPads. Have you tested with two kids in one house?

Semira; What found: had to broker that quite a bit. Thoe who can afford buy a second iPad. A lot like any other toy they have to share. Other thing seen, kids used to sitting in front of Skype together, so similar.

Robert: Interesting, would love to try it.

Alan: Like it, have thought of putting record button?

Semira: Yes that's coming soon, so that it always records or takes snapshots.

Stefan: And can play back experience?

Jason: That is the $10 feature -- the ability to record, that is the feature to pay for on both sides.

Alan: Would love recording of Grandma reading to me.

Ted: Spoken to public libraries? Semira: no not yet.

Jason: Go to dev shops and have them add? Semira: yes, talking about that.

Scoble: New iPad feature Apple debuted -- Semira says they are excited about it.

2:26pm: Lessons: Kids as young as 2 using iPads. Make bigger buttons and don't put them at the bottom of iPad screen. Also, exceptions to screen time. Things like PlayTell don't count toward that. Reall pop for tech to bring us closer together. We're trying to push boundaries. Launching private beta today, sign up at

2:24pm: Coming down the pike. Growing content of library as we introduce own titles and from 3rd party publishers. Also be able to share videos. Also, PlayTell will capture sessions.

2:23pm: Nana Sue gets notification, collection fo books they can choose from, Ryan chooses This Old Man. PlayTell keeps their iPads in synch. They spend only half their time reading story. Other half talking about pictures. Introduced feature that lets them do that -- point and tap. Other person will see a blue dot on top of picture.

2:22pm: Welcome Playtell! Semira: Nana Sue reads to Ryan, but now that they've moved, he wants to know why she doesn't read with him anymore. But with PlayTell can have storytime together even when they are apart.

2:20pm: Julian, age 11. Favorite website is Facebook. Jason: what did you think of piano app? Julian: can you play on it while telling you the notes on the top? Yuval: yes, without keyboard.

Julian: does it go faster and faster on the levels? Yuval: yes, starts slow.

You like levels and badges? Yes.

Favorite? Call of Duty.

How many hours: Maybe 3 a day…or week.

Jason: How are your grades?

Julian: I got honor roll.

2:19pm: Jason says we have kids here to give feedback. If you give feedback, get to choose a toy from the bag, best feedback gets Sifteo cubes.

2:18pm: Q&A JoyTunes

Ted: how sensitive is the mic? Diambiguate chords?

Yuval: Amazing. The engine by itself [ yes supports ].

Scoble: Can you use Android tablet? Yuval: currently no.

Marshall: Finding barrier between piano and iPad?

Yuval: Any piano will work, need it to be sort of in tune.

2:17pm: This app is to start. Sheet music is going to be integrated in more traditional way but with gaming dynamics. Diff age groups require diff apps.

2:16pm: Christine - how going to help students master pieces? As someone who grew up playing piano, might be for very beginning, but as mater pieces, going to integrate with sheet music? We've invested with other companies but they integrate with sheet music. Scoble mentions Chromatik.

2:15pm: Alan Louie -- seems might die off once kid gets basic skills, what keeps them playing the games?

Yuval: Two things. First seeing retention off the charts. Game dynamics and social aspects of it. that is keeping you in engaged. Once becomes learning process, having exercises from teacher, put it in gaming framework, then you have fun practicing. Then teacher can see how well you did, a lot of options come into play.

2:13pm: Scoble gives it a 10. Why did you love it? Scoble: social proof is there, love the demo, love the approach, kids will tell other people about. I don;t know how profitable going to be, what is biz model again?

Yuval: App is free. We add musical skills and turn into learning process and retention continues to grow, then add subscription model. Parents are used to paying so much for music education.

2:11pm: over 3pm songs played with this app since April. Share some important lessons. Walking a thin line between games and education. We started stronger on education sides. Received awards for recorder product, but it got us only so far. Kids needed more. That's when we added stronger gaming dynamics. Retention went way up. Over 1% recorder students in US have used the recorder game. Brought in because of ed value but kept playing because so much fun.

2:10pm: Launching pop for Tommy to personalize experience in game, become a power user. Leaderboards to compare to others across the world and can share his experiences with friends and family. We're really excited about the adaptive engine that learns Tommy's playing level and how he's doing and recommends songs based on his playing level.

2:09pm: Note will start flying in, Tommy needs to play the right note at the right time. [demos "La Bamba"

2:08pm: You don't need special hardware or adapters. Introducing the piano dustbuster, works with iPad microphone, let's fire it up and see it in action. Regular $30 keyboard.

2:07pm: Welcome JoyTunes! Yuval's nephew Tommy loves video games. But when it comes to practicing piano, he won't do it. Tommy is not alone. 8 of 10 kids will drop out because so hard to practice. This created phenomenon, the lonely piano. JoyTunes turns learning music into engaging experience for adults and kids.

2:05pm: Jason introduces judges.

1:55pm: Audience question - I was high school math teacher until 2 weeks ago. What product or services do you wish you had that you haven't seen yet?

Jason: Great question. Marshall: biggest gap, special ed population and products that better serve special ed. that can range from special needs student who has real physical or mental handicaps or kid eight serious psyhcological or emotional issues. we don't know what works really well for those young people. Early, tough market. ne we're really far on. I don't know what product would look like.

Jason: Aspergers or dyslexia, products to communicate, lower anxiety. Marshall: speech therapy, seen some good products.

1:51pm: Teacher/founder Q - We have supportive administration but not able to get tech to schools and support it. Trying to sell to teachers, where is the intersection of profitability and achivement in classroom?

Marshall: this is why we have to create model for public and prviate schools. You can get creative. Revolution Prep charges us differently than they charge families. One way to think about diff of model. Big central bureaucracies -- have to find places where core of system is that teachers and principals making decisions and buying solutions that solve their problems. In CA, you have to get creative.

1:48pm: Jason: Impact of free open-source courseware? Going to make its way into public schools or is textbook industry going to win?

Marshall: Lobbyists won't win, make it slower, but they won't win. I walk classrooms and I see teachers using the open-source curriculum in front of my face. You'll see Khan Academy there, one teacher googled math preparation and got free games come up, she liked two of them. Some push top-down, lobbyists powerful in CA, but it's turning. And the software has to get there. Had convo with Sal Khan, the answer was: their stuff very strong, but vast majority of market is people learning on their own. We have standards we have to teach to in California.

1:46pm: Jason: freemium big in our market. Do you think that is great strategy for public schools? Marshall: In CA public schools, so little money, create a market to show you can do it is essential. That doesn't mean not money to be made or value to add, be creative about selling and proof point. Ourpilot with ST Math really successful. And that gave us the confidence to do more with it. We also raise private money. Phimanthropic dollars to jumpstart solutions. BetterLesson: free product but benefits for a network. We saw what they had for free, liked what they had, raised money to fund a pilot, teachers like it. Going to keep paying for it. Spending on textbooks going away, freeing up money for software.

1:43: Marshall: private schools have more money, natural place for entrepreneur to focus there. The flip side is that public school market much bigger, it's just a tougher market to sell into. Think about working with public schools, find one that is entrepreneurial. Our organization wants to embrace doing things differently. Risk is required to drive change, but a lot more public school system run by orgs like ours, a great place for entrepreneurs to play. Behavior is different in public school than private.

1:41pm: Jason: What is the truth about teachers -- are there bad teachers and those who won't adopt technology? Marshall: You have bad employees in every sector in this country. Teachers I work with are committed. At this point they are distrustful of the guy in the suit with the new idea for this year. If give them tools that help them do their job and respect them, they will run with it. People getting the biggest pass in this sector: principals and administrators. We always pound the teachers. There are rules that need to be changed, no doubt about that. But that isn't the only problem in education.

1:40: Marshall: I was raised in a household where this was emphasized. First work and make a ton of money then help people. Investment banking, wasn't making sense to me. Volunteered in Zimbabwe, incredible kids. What would impact the most?

1:39: Jason: why did you choose to do this?

1:38: We need as much help as possible. If doing a startup in educaiton, not just successful for ourself but helping with the most important problem we have in this country. From our perspective, we are seeing really promising results that can have impact on a lot of folks' lives. Turn it back to Jason.

1:35: Teacher collaboration and teacher improvement. Hardest thing is to figure out how to get 30 kids to get inspired and fall in love. You want to collaborate. Technology has the ability to blow that up and change it. How do you create virtual communities so that it doesn't require visiting a classroom? Maybe my school doesn't have the best math teacher in town, but the school 40 miles away does? Launched BetterLesson, lesson sharing and videos, can create more customized network. Trying to get teachers to share videos and content around those videos, seeing more collaboration. Videotaping yourself not normal, have to get them comfortable with that. Early teachers are excited, a lot of potential. As long as collab tools make sense for teahcers and understand mindset of teachers and administators, huge potential to improve capacity of teachers. Have to give them more tools to be more successful.

1:33: Things roll out at a much faster pace if you get the teachers on board than if you force it through folks in suits like me. Math at middle school has been harder. Complexity of math and amount of teacher behavior change meant we had to be smart about scaffolding it up. Partner has provided service on the ground for teachers. Once teachers are comfortable, they will carry the water for you.

1:31: For writing, invested in Achieve 3000. 5K kids, middle of the school year, rolled it out. No money in the state for public schools. Got creative to raise that money and reallocate funds. Kids get consistent rewards when they read, they really like the rewards system. It's real-time content, developing reading and writing skills. Everyone reads the same thing but at different skill levels.

1:29pm: It changed the belief systems of the adults. They think it's the kids, even though that's not true. No one is off task, cranking and engaging, raising their hands when they need help. Forces you to reflect on your profession. Maybe I need to get better. We said, let's scale this -- now have 7k kids on ST Math. Had to raise significant money to do it.

1:28pm: When they get to ST Math, the kids enjoy it. They get excited to go into lab or into classroom. And when they are excited about learning, they learn. How does teacher know if student got it? Walking around, reading body language. With ST Math, I can see where everybody is and if you got it or not. Think about the efficiency there. I'm going to spend time where I know most kids got stuck. Saw big benefits in getting data to teachers.

1:26pm: Math is where we started. We are dying as a state. Thre of four kids are not at grade level in algebra. We invested two years ago with ST Math, pilots in two elementary schools. When you start earlier, get foundation for future. Elementary school teachers are more open to collaboration. Bought computers, bought software, raised money to do so -- and increased performance by 25% in one year.

1:24: Lots of problems we cn't solve today that are long-ter policy challenges. Great promise because the kids are wonderful. Go to Watts, they don't have any different DNA talent than the kids in Palo Alto. They have the same desire to learn, to be challenged as kids growing up here. The difference is we are not serving those kids effectively.

1:23pm: Only 15% of kids graduating from LA Schools are prepared for college. Not just in LA, around the country. Great about today's conversation: how can technology change that game? We need to change or we cannot compete internationally.

1:22pm: Marshall describes Partnership for Los Angeles Schools: lifting up the worst-performing schools in the LA Unified School District. Principals report to us, five-year performance contract. If they don't improve, we don't keep the contract. Benefits of charter school with public school to create a model that is scaleable.

1:20pm: Our first speaker I met on the basketball court [ introduction of Marshall Tuck, CEO of Partnership for Los Angeles Schools ]. Nobody better to talk about taking technology into the public schools. Give him a big warm welcome.

1:19pm: Format simple: companies present for 5 or 6 minutes. Share their product and what they have learned, something you can take back to your day-to-day life. The presenters will then take questions from the judges.

1:18pm: We want to make this a yearly event. We will need your feedback during and after the event. Live stream at

1:13pm: Jason welcomes everyone. Hard for us to select the 30 companies on stage, the companies who didn't make it to the stage received complimentary tickets for the event.