Courtesy Citybizlist – In my last column of 2013, I wrote about Citelighter’s arrival in Baltimore from New York City. In my conversation with its founders, Saad Alam and Lee Jokl, they answered the question of “why Baltimore” in moving their company. Their answer included the funding support they received here, the network of mentors, and the supportive nature of our burgeoning ed-tech community.

What’s Missing. What was admittedly missing from our conversation was, once in Baltimore, how do you get your promising technology to be actually used in a classroom. And while Saad understandably disagreed with my comment that parents, educators and administrators are all concerned about having students be “guinea pigs” for new technologies, my point was the region that figures out how to safely explore innovative solutions in the classroom will win the race to become the leading ed-tech region. Greater Baltimore has a real shot at being that region, so how do we become the nation’s leading “test kitchen” for promising technologies without compromising our students? The region that figures this out will have promising start-ups arriving in droves.

From the Cooks in the Kitchen… The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore has a working group focused on understanding how our region can support its ed-tech community. At one of these working sessions, I joined a group of teachers and administrators who talked about the “test kitchen” issue from their perspective. And what made the thoughts of this group compelling is they are among the most accepting of the promise of new technologies. They’re the “easy” sells… However, the themes they raised were telling and, I suspect, overlooked:

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