Roshni Mirchandani Makes a Splash at Startup Weekend EDU in NYC

Highlander Institute’s own Roshni Mirchandani competed in Startup Weekend EDU in New York CIty this past weekend, winning the coveted “People’s Choice Award” after a grueling 54-hour pitch competition that pits teams from all over the nation against each other for top honors solving critical problems in education.

Roshni’s team, EduLinq, intends to solve the nagging problem of how to best match educators and entrepreneurs for the purpose of getting the most innovative tech solutions into classrooms.

“Let me tell you a story,” said Roshni during the final pitch, “Right now, I work for the Highlander Institute, and we have spreadsheets of hundreds of educators and entrepreneurs that come together for this purpose. We have to manually match up teachers to the most suitable edtech solution for their classroom. But there has to be a better way.”

This is true. Educators all over the nation are meeting with entrepreneurs in small groups like EdTechRI, which hosts monthly meetups for this purpose where the two groups collaborate, arrange for beta testing, and tweak technology, but sometimes opportunities are missed. Some entrepreneurs express that in today’s day and age where teachers have so many requirements, teachers don’t want to “take on an extra thing,” or worse yet, teachers feel that the entrepreneurs are vendors–just out to sell a product rather than innovate educational solutions.

Roshni wants EduLinq to eliminate those barriers.

Her initial pitch on Friday evening, which attracted some of the most votes, talked about the two groups who operate on “islands”, and don’t have the chance to communicate enough. The idea was to bridge that gap by creating an online platform which allows edtech companies to seek teachers and their valuable feedback, and for teachers to find feasible solutions for the classroom.

Roshni worked with a team of 7 talented innovators — Finn Smith (Business Strategist), Andrea Tejedor (District Technology Coordinator), Angie Ramirez (TFA Teacher), Vipul Lakhi (Business Strategist), Amit Rampurkar (Designer), Nader Chehab (Developer), and Sonia Brahmi (Developer). Along with winning the “People’s Choice Award”, the team received positive support from organizations such as 4.0 Schools, iZone NYC, and Noodle Education.

The bottom line is this — EdTechRI has emerged as one of the nation’s most progressive educator-entrepreneur groups, helping to put Rhode Island on the map for its edtech and startup friendly climate. Such genius shouldn’t be reserved only for the smallest state in the Union.

This weekend, Roshni did Highlander, EdTechRI, and Rhode Island proud at Startup Weekend EDU NYC. We’re hoping to see much more from the EduLinq team in the future, as it solves an important problem — how to get all the stakeholders in education innovation at the same table.

PBN Article: Teachers become tech testers

Shawn Rubin launched EdTechRI as a natural outgrowth of his experience as director of blended learning and technology integration at the Highlander Institute, a charter school in Providence. Blended learning is a combination of online learning through educational-technology software and face-to-face instruction with a teacher in a brick-and-mortar environment. Most of his work is professional development with teachers to help them integrate technology into their classrooms. Rubin works extensively with schools in Providence, as well as across southeast New England. The missing link Rubin discovered between educational-software developers and enthusiastic teachers – the classroom testing phase – ignited a spark that led to the creation of EdTechRI.

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