Teachers Lead Tech
One-line solution summary:
Personalised learning tool for primary school teachers to bring technology creation skills to ALL girls in the classroom
Pitch your solution.
Tech industry is expanding in new roles. It’s where the gender disparity is easiest to spot and where girls and women are outnumbered and underlooked. The gap between educational systems and the real world is widening, and girls aren't only disengaged but even discouraged by their environment to choose and enjoy technology classes at school.
We are focused on closing the gender gap by equipping primary school teachers, mostly women, to become role models and science capital builders for girls in early age. Our solution is a personalized learning program, community network, AI-driven learning path and ready-to-go teaching materials pool to lead technology creation(digital literacy, STEM, creative technologies and more) classes continuously throughout the year.
This solution will empower 1 million teachers by 2025 to be the learning designers and role models for girls in classrooms, inspire and upskill them with technology creation and active involvement in tech industry workforce.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
WEF suggests there’ll be 133 million new roles created by tech by 2022. The gap between educational systems and the real world is widening. Study by European Commission found that the percentage of Europeans within ICT-related education is decreasing. Although it’s a common trend for all genders, there are fewer women than men who take up ICT-related jobs and education. Also, gender-inequality in the digital sphere is essentially a result of the persistence of strong unconscious biases about what’s appropriate and what capacities each gender has, also technology in general - that requires fundamental cultural changes.
According to Microsoft 2019 study (UK), only 15% teachers feel confident about using technology as a learning tool in classrooms,77% agree that time for preparation is a key limiting resource. Moreover, global teacher aging tendency (on average 50, Lithuania), high percentage of female primary school teachers (on average 83%, OECD) makes it more challenging to break biases about technologies. Young girls continue lacking role models and encouragement to engage in CS related subjects.
If we started closing the gap from teachers who’re ready to give girls technology creation skills from an early age, they’d later succeed in ICT-related jobs and make the industry gender-inclusive.
What is your solution?
Teachers Lead Tech is a personalized learning program for primary school teachers to bring future-proof technology creation skills (digital literacy, STEM, creative technologies and more) to ALL girls in classrooms. The program offers 3 key-pillars to close the gap of teachers' lack of self-confidence, competence and having access to teaching content.
CONFIDENCE. Direct teacher mentorship through regular online skill-building sessions, individual pace and encouragement to practice skills in schools and improve. Moreover, confidence is built by community enabled support networks which work locally and globally through national ambassadors of technology creation and network builders-tech companies, NGOs, educational institutions. It’s a human-run personalization;
COMPETENCE. An online learning tool that helps to train teachers with in-product nudges and AI-driven personalization. 1 learning path visualised below:
CONTENT. Learning tool is continuously updated with innovative, time-saving, multidisciplinary learning and teaching resources based on best tech practices, experiential content ready for different levels. Topics vary from solar system to math formulas to arts, merged with programming, 3D-modeling, machine learning and other STEM subjects. The teaching content encourages girls to use hands-on tech and creativity skills while exploring topics and solving problems. It’s a ready-to-go content for teachers to apply in classrooms, each reaching ~10 girls.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
With Teachers Lead Tech, we’re unlocking the incredible potential of primary school teachers to be technology creation learning designers and to empower girls in classrooms. Our vision is to serve teachers and girls globally through technology. Primary school teachers are mostly women-83%, 31% of them are at least 50 years old(OECD). Girls of primary school age are digital natives who have tremendous curiosity in technology and lean towards consuming it rather than learning.
How do we know this? We’ve been teaching technology creation to kids, age 7-12, since 2015 in weekly classes with 1,000 attending nationwide. Moreover, we trained 1,000 primary school teachers in 2019/2020 who reached 20,000 kids (sponsored by Google.org). Impact:91% of those teachers say they feel confident with their skills,73% applied content in classes, there's also obvious growth in classroom engagement. Programs involved ~200 mentors-tech professionals.
With our solution teachers will get unlimited access to online guided learning, class-management and teaching resources to practice in their communities - classrooms, after-school clubs, summer-camps,etc. The growth of teacher confidence and competence will ensure the joy of experiential learning and continuous future-proof skill-building to ALL girls in their key interest development age, and raise the next generation of creative technologists.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Strengthen competencies, particularly in STEM and digital literacy, for girls and young women to effectively transition from education to employment
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
Our solution serves to empower primary school teachers to become role models and inspire girls in their classrooms as well as give them encouragement, competence and technology related skills. We suggest a solution which is tech-driven, gender, race and location inclusive education, devoted to equipping girls at their key development age with technology creation skills including digital literacy, STEM, VR, 3D modeling, design, among many others. These skills, including creativity and problem solving, are critical in building equal opportunities and a bias-free future job market.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Vilnius, Lietuva
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Founder and CEO Monika Katkute-Gelzine
If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new application of an existing technology
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
We are building a tech-driven solution to educators training, it will be personalized by scientifically proven AI-driven methodology and guided by community support as well as regular mentor-led online sessions. We are developing a learning tool that is a ready-to-go and time-saving teaching resource for different learning and teaching levels. It includes a customized learning path together with a big pool of technology creation tools, such as programming, VR, 3D modeling, infographics, digital storytelling, etc. Our team has been practicing in this field for 6 years and have data and experience collected to support our goals.
Teachers Lead Tech has no competitors who address the same problem and offer the same solution. On the other hand, it’s a growing field. Our non-direct competitors are CS related learning platforms such as code.org (project / sponsorship based - no continuum), tynker.com (CS/ coding based), Cospaces Edu (1 technology based - VR or 3D), Minecraft (kids focused, entertainment, self-selecting audience), century.tech (science and AI based with little focus on technology creation skills).
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
The key technological component of our solution is a personalized learning software which relies on the machine learning based data analysis. In the current product stage, it is being built and developed. Using machine learning will solve the challenge of trainees having different skill sets and experiences, and will give both quality and scalability to the product. For this model to work, scientific and technological framework and database concepts will be developed and followed by the comparative study of the currently working mixed competence teaching technologies and new feature development. Also, audiovisual, media and online conferencing technologies are included.
Provide evidence that this technology works.
Teachers Lead Tech will use widely accepted technology - machine learning. The evolution of the algorithm goes from integrating rules-based adaptive systems, and decision-tree adaptive systems, later advanced algorithm adaptive systems, and after there is enough data - machine learning. The customized learning path building will also depend on the qualitative and quantitative scientific data results. We will use the Learning Analytics discipline which is seeking to improve teaching and learning by critically evaluating raw data and generating patterns to characterise learner habits, predict learner responses and provide timely feedback. Moreover, Learning Analytics supports decision making, tailors readable content, simplifies realistic assessments and provides personal supervision of learners’ progress.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
Tech-driven personalized learning platform of digital literacy and technology creation for primary school girls’ educators
Ready-to-go, innovative, time saving teaching resources based on best tech practices
Mentorship, continuous guidance and regular online sessions throughout the year following participants pace
Community enabled support network and encouragement to apply the skills in classes for kids to create and learn
Teachers get digital literacy and technology creation skills
Teachers apply their skills in classes where girls are encouraged to try technology creation
Teachers are involved in the community network and share experiences
SHORT TERM OUTCOMES
Teachers realize the purpose and need of the digital literacy and technology creation skills for girls and their successful transition into the future workforce
Teachers demonstrate self confidence in digital literacy and technology creation, show ability to apply these skills every week while integrating it into art, music, technology or mathematics classes to inspire girls with creative side
Data analysis model gives a more developed learning personalization for better personal growth both for teachers and girls in classes
LONG TERM OUTCOMES
New approach to education – teachers acting in the role of mentors who give guidance on developing creativity and technological skills necessary for the future job market
Teachers become girls’ role models with future proof skills and expand science capital
Girls’ high competence and involvement into technology creation industry to ensure bias-free and equal opportunities
Findings from the concept evaluation stage after training 1000 teachers:
91% are confident with their skills, 93% agreed this program helped essentially with digital skills and teaching material during the COVID-19 lockdown; 73% applied content in classrooms:
“Kids see technology beyond social networks and discover it as a tool for creative expression in 2nd grade!”,
“Joy of learning becomes available to kids of various learning abilities”,
“Kids are highly engaged, solving problems independently and more willing to collaborate”.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
We are currently serving 400 teachers and around 4,000 girls.
In one year we will be serving 10,000 teachers and 100,000 girls.
By 2025 we’ll be serving 1 million teachers and 10 million girls.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
The goals within the next year are to:
Community: grow the community of technology creation skill building ambassadors globally to impact at least 10,000 educators in one year and 1 million teachers and 10 million girls within the next five years
Product and technology: fully build the platform with an integrated pilot version of machine learning driven methodology for personalized learning. Fully develop the tech driven personalization with the scientifically proven feedback and motivational model to ensure full learning transfer to girls in classrooms
Content: establish the best in tech content partnerships for technology creation materials
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
- Teachers as clients capacity barrier. Teachers or schools as clients may have limited financial resources to subscribe to the program. Moreover, there is a strong cultural bias which discourages girls to get interested in technology. Also, there is a social disapproval of technology usage in classes which are usually narrowed down to their usage as digital literacy tools, but not creativity and learning through technology creation tools.
Technical barriers. There are many schools and teachers who do not have access to technology and the Internet, as well as girls' parents.
Competitive market barriers. Technology education is a growing field and there are many various size players in the industry.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Teachers as clients capacity barrier. We have already started a pilot program to work with real teachers which is followed by useful feedback and first clients. Experience and research will help us improve the product and sales, communication and community growth will improve the issue of cultural bias.
Technical barriers. The infrastructure is improving steadily all over the world with current global pandemic speeding up school digitalization.
Competitive market barriers. To reach the current stage of our solution requires deep know-how and resources for research and development, therefore we believe that potential competitors will refuse to invest to reach better competitive advantage.
What type of organization is your solution team?For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
8 full time, 1 contractor.
How many years have you worked on your solution?
6 years of experience, 1 year of research, concept development, MVP and program pilot.
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Teachers Lead Tech team is passionate and experienced both in tech education and management to create new patterns in education. What’s unique is that everyone has been a kid / teacher educator to get to know the product beneficiaries, also with international degrees and professional experiences. To highlight a few:
Strategy and vision
Monika Katkute-Gelzine, the founder and team lead, she has been working to inspire future generation for 6 years now, starting with technology creation classes for 7-12 y/o kids with bit&Byte and national Hour of Code celebrations, scaling to 20,000 kids reached by trained primary school teachers, and continuing with Teachers Lead Tech. Monika is a visionary and a messenger of how to spark curiosity with technology creation. https://www.linkedin.com/in/monikakatkute
Design and content
Jonas Lekevicius - Product Designer, previously Head of Product design at Treatwell. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lekevicius/
Juste Kairyte - Content Lead. Previously content creator at bit&Byte. https://www.linkedin.com/in/justekairyte/
Ruta Kruliauskaite - Curriculum Designer, producer and STEM master https://www.linkedin.com/in/rutakruliauskaite/
Marketing and management
Rasa Syminaite - Marketing, previously CMO at CityBee. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rasasym/
Egle Konstancija Ramanauskiene - Sales and Finance, www.linkedin.com/in/eglekonstancija
Simona Karaliene - Project Manager, R&D at bit&Byte. https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonakaraliene/
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
We have two groups of partnerships:
Google.org sponsored the concept project ($250,000 grant)
Angel Investors are investing and mentoring. Angel investors are Vladas Lasas (Entrepreneur, Carbon War Room Co-founder), Mantas Mikuckas (Co-founder and COO at Vinted), Milda Mickute (Co-founder at Vinted), Tomas Balzekas (CEO at Media Bitės), Andrius Slimas (Co-founder and CEO at Oberlo, group of Shopify), Tomas Dirvonskas (Co-founder at Lemon Labs, Managing Director at Treatwell CXO), Maksim Golivkin (Engineering Manager at Instacart)
What is your business model?
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
What is your path to financial sustainability?
Our work is funded by a combination of income from:
- B2C (teachers). We have already started sales implementation plan and planning to have at least 600 teachers in our program in Lithuania only by September 2020, and
- B2B/B2G (tech companies, municipalities, governments) who invest in a new skill building for teachers as an economic priority. We have recently got funding from angel investors, applied for several grant options and continue communication with municipalities.
Why are you applying to Solve?
We are excited to apply to Solve to help us reach 1 million teachers and 10 million girls by 2025 and help them flourish in the technology creation and STEM related education and job market.
We believe that Solve can help us:
to get grant funding from technology companies willing to invest in teacher education (both globally and locally);
to get access to customers, i.e. governmental education institutions;
to get exposure in media and conferences, connections to educational, science, research institutions;
to get mentorship in product distribution, legal matters, funding and revenue model development.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
As described above, what we need in this product development stage is:
access to customers, i.e. governmental education institutions;
exposure in media and conferences, connections to educational, science, research institutions;
mentorship in product distribution, legal matters in the situation of scaling (intellectual property, finance laws, etc.), funding and revenue model development.