Although it has been two weeks since I attended the Clinton Global Initiative, I am continuing to feel the good effects.
I was an active member of the 21st Century Credentials group, a subset of Workforce Development.
President Clinton announced our company pledge of “Pathbrite marketing and offering 1 million free digital portfolios to underserved students and veterans of military service.”
The reason we made the pledge is that this portfolio technology has proven to optimize learning outcomes including: course-passing rates, writing proficiencies, critical thinking skills and even job placements.
So often we find that best, cutting edge tools are only available to the wealthiest and most privileged in society. We at Pathbrite are already serving some of the top universities in the world, as well as companies on the planet.
We are equally committed to making sure that adults seeking jobs and students looking to maximize their investments in education get the access to the very best there is—for free!
At a press conference called “Apps for Heroes” [View Here] with the White House, Joining Forces, Code For America and Veteran’s Administration, we kicked off the process of educating our military vets on our free cutting edge technology. We even integrated with Military Occupational Classifications so that when vets use our portfolios, they can embed their achievements (certifications, badges, etc) into their portfolios so that prospective employers and schools considering the candidates see what they know and have done.
We have a long way to go to letting our vets know about the tools available to them that will improve their chances of being accepted into post-secondary programs or landing that competitive job.
We will also continue to deliver on our commitment to providing our portfolios in public K-12 and post-secondary schools. We look forward to partnering with the CGI family to get the word and the Pathbrite portfolios out.
We’ve just added the ability to preview documents of all types right in the comfort of your own portfolio. Our new document preview feature works with presentations, spreadsheets, documents, pdfs and text files. Check it out…
I’m thrilled to announce that Pathbrite has secured $2.5 Million in Series A funding from one of the leading EdTech investors, Rethink Education with strategic investment from ACT, the U.S. leader in college and career readiness assessment. We’ve alerted the press and blogosphere so look out for coverage of our announcement throughout the day. With this fresh infusion of capital, we intend to continue product development and our focus on user acquisition.
The round brings the total outside investment raised to just over $4 Million, which includes support from a dynamic list of Angel Investors such as: Ben Cohen, Founder of Ben & Jerry’s; Golden Seeds Angel Fund, Silicon Valley; Joshua Mailman of Serious Change and Jalia Ventures; Karen Riley, SVP, Global Services for Siebel at IBM; David Rose of Rose Tech Ventures and Silicon Alley Angels; and Steve Schoettler, Co-Founder of Zynga and Founder of Junyo. Rethink Education Managing Directors, Rick Segal and Matt Greenfield, and ACT’s David Cumberbatch will join Angel Investor Joshua Mailman and myself on Pathbrite’s Board of Directors.
So what is Pathbrite about? I like to say life is an endless series of evaluations, and Pathbrite enables individuals to truly differentiate themselves and to stand out from the crowd.
Currently, much of a student’s learning data, including certified transcripts, report cards and earned credentials, has been trapped in digital “walled gardens,” making it difficult for them to easily share this data with potential colleges or employers. Pathbrite offers students the opportunity to aggregate all of their digital artifacts – no matter what kind, no matter the source – into a single place where they are able to curate and publish portfolios for either targeted or broad audiences. By including certified, official transcripts in a portfolio side-by-side other artifacts that tells the whole story of an individual, reliance on outmoded ways to transmit official documents is eliminated. Students can also share their portfolios across their social graphs, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to bolster job-networking efforts.
In fact, for most young people, landing that first internship or job is more competitive than ever. Pathbrite Portfolios are the best way to collect, chronicle and showcase a lifetime of learning and personal achievements, enabling students to differentiate themselves and to stand out from the crowd. On the other side of the equation, evaluators of all kinds, including employers, institutions, teachers and administrators, can better assess academic or lifelong learning progress, predict future performance, and gain institution-wide knowledge of learning outcomes.
The current basic version of Pathbrite Portfolios will always be free to individual users. Overtime, Pathbrite will introduce premium features for both individuals and institutions for which fees will be charged (hey — we’ve got to make money somehow, right??).
I’m grateful for the confidence our investors have in our vision and look forward to their ongoing support and guidance as we grow the company.
Here’s some quick resources to learn more about Pathbrite:
- Any individual can build Pathbrite Portfolios for free: http://www.pathbrite.com
- Institutions interested in learning more about the Pathbrite Portfolio platform and knowledge graph should visit: http://www.pathbrite.com/institutions
- Current college students can become a Pathbrite Campus Ambassador: http://www.pathbrite.com/ambassadors/
- Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pathbrite
- Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Pathbrite
- Subscribe to us on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Pathbrite?feature=mhee
- Follow us on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100056636393637471522/posts
Kids today. I hear the refrain all the time. For those who despair that today’s young people lack the values or judgments of earlier generations, there’s new research that provides insights into the minds of recent college graduates that should give you hope.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) annual meeting, which is the professional association for campus career readiness center officials and the employer-recruiters with whom they regularly work. The association conducts annual surveys of graduating seniors to understand their hopes and goals for their careers, and the aspects of employment that are most important to them.
Presented by NACE researcher Edwin Koc, the findings proved illuminating.
Check out my NACE 2012 Conference Portfolio (and email me with more artifacts to add to it if you’d like!): https://pathbrite.com/portfolio/PVM1Ps0/NACE-2012
The last four years of war, economic upheaval and political unrest have had profound impacts on young people, and the first waves of graduates who’ve lived through it all are now entering the job market.
It would be easy to assume they would emerge from such jarring events jaundiced or cynical. But that’s not the case. Unlike graduates of only a few years ago, these young people are generally more empathetic and intuitive, according to the NACE research. As a result, they are more focused on navigating careers that have meaning and result in positive broad social impact.
When asked where they’d like to begin their careers, the top five responses were all in the government or non-profit sectors, including categories like human services, professional services and social services. While they are also concerned with receiving appropriate compensation and health benefits, they also want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
“In other words,” said Koc, “today’s graduates want to know that their work will have some meaning beyond a paycheck.”
Koc also said the survey showed young people are much more conscious about their contribution the community. When asked what aspects of their private lives they would be willing to give up in order to work more than 40 hours per week in a new job, respondents said they’d be willing to give up things like family time and social time – virtually everything except time spent in the community volunteering.
Finally, the survey also indicates that new graduates are looking for opportunities for growth—that is, they’d like to be employed someplace that is willing to invest in their ongoing growth, both professionally and personally.
All this indicates a crop of young people are entering the workforce who are not only introspective and concerned with personal growth, but who are also altruistic and deeply concerned with the welfare of their fellow human being. Koc said this trend began to emerge with last year’s graduating class and accelerated with this year’s.
He further speculated that the trend was likely given birth during the first presidential campaign and subsequent election of then-Senator Barack Obama. His was a campaign run on highly aspiration themes such as hope and change, and the idea that everyone should pull together for the greater good. Apparently young people just entering college were
deeply influenced by these ideas.
It’s not unlike what followed President Kennedy’s election and his call to a generation to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” His call to action deeply informed an entire generation of young people—individuals who went on to create the Peace Corps and Special Olympics, the Internet and NASA, and solar power and modern organic gardening practices.
Like that generation, today’s graduates enter the workforce bringing with them a set of hopes and aspirations not just for themselves, but for the world they’ll inherit. Employers and marketers of all stripes should keep this in mind when trying to connect with these individuals. They also bring with them a wealth of experiences that may not be perfectly linear or purely academic, such as volunteer work, art or performance projects, and work on political campaigns.
Candidates for employment are whole human beings, and today’s young people expect to be considered as such. Moreover, employers are increasingly concerned with finding people who are not only qualified for a job, but who will also be a good fit to the organization. It’s important that those evaluating these young graduates for internships or jobs consider the whole person and not simply some select slice of their lives. It’s why we built the Pathbrite Portfolio Platform. We believe that people are more than the sum total of their work experience — and a there’s a whole variety of evidence to prove that, including the official sort such as certified transcripts. A traditional resume just can’t capture all this.
For those marketing job opportunities to recent graduates, the kinds of messages and images that will move them will have little to do with naked self-interest – today’s grads are simply not in it just for themselves. If you’re Home Depot, highlight your good works in the community. If you’re a consumer packaged goods company, emphasize your sustainability practices. If you’re KPMG, highlight your dedication to good governance and ethical management practices.
We’re seeing the vanguard of a generation that aspires to something greater than its own self-interests. They want to do well by doing good. And let’s face it: that’s something to celebrate.
Here at Pathbrite, when we show off our technology, many people want to know how it works. Our CTO, Mauvis Ledford recently did a presentation at the HTML5 Developers Conference in San Francisco and a lightning talk at the Backbone Conference in Boston, MA on the topic of buidilng Responsive Web Design Applications. Particularly with the open-source franework we use called Backbone.
As the number of students, and learnings of all ages, access their work product and credentials via mobile phones and tablets, smart Ed-Tech companies, will realize they must quickly find a way to meet their users needs for true portability. Sites built for display on a PC, even if cross-browser support is included, still provide a limited experience mobile and tablet devices.
Responsive Web Design or RWD is the forward-thinking alternative to building out separate applications or relying on device-specific templates in your web application. But be careful, as organizing the many pieces of a modern RWD application can become just as unwieldy. In his presentation, Mauvis discusses the tools, tips, and tricks to organize a Backbone application gracefully without a sweat, and dispel common misunderstandings about RWD.
Check out his deck here.
- RC c/o ML
SXSWedu 2012 will always hold a speacial place in the hearts of Team Pathbrite. The 2nd Annual homage to all things Ed Tech provided the launching pad for Pathbrite as a product and company. We were lucky enough to not only sponsor part of the event, but our CEO, Heather Hiles, was selected to present at the conference. Her presentation on “Liberating Student Data Using Next Generation e-Portfolios” sparked some great discussions and debate about how students, parents. teachers and administrators can use data to improve learning outcomes. The good folks at SXSWedu have decided to share the audio podcast of the presentation and part of the audience discussion. For those of you unable to attend the event in Austin, this is a great way to learn about innovative ways to use portfolios in the learning process.
Founder and CEO, Pathbrite
Liberating Student Data Using Next Generation e-Portfolios
Students have work product, transcripts and other evidence of learning and achievement trapped inside of LMS’s, SIS’s, and other places. Innovative Higher Ed and K-12 institutions are clamoring for tools to optimize learning outcomes and tools to help their students differentiate themselves from other applicants when applying to colleges, and for highly coveted job opportunities. Our in-depth discussion of how ePortfolios can track and showcase knowledge and achievement will provide the audience information for how to optimize student success via ePortfolios. Ed Tech start-up CEO Heather Hiles will lead the discussion.