Technological advances will continue to change the way teachers educate their students in and out of the classroom. Towson University has a long, storied legacy for excellence in teacher preparation and education, and is working in a number of ways to enhance the educational experience and support technologies that could give students the ability to learn at optimum levels.
To that end, TowsonGlobal has strategically created a specialized network dedicated to education technology entrepreneurs and firms. The university’s business incubator and entrepreneurship hub will focus its support on this burgeoning industry.
The EdTech initiative at Towson lends strategy and momentum to the university’s history of excellence in education, while also bolstering its more recent programs of developing new ways of teaching and learning. Towson is honored to have Dr. Nancy Grasmick as its Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Education. Also, the Department of Educational Technology and Literacy within the College of Education prepares Towson students to effectively use technology in classroom instruction.
Towson has also launched an Office of Academic Innovation that seeks to transform how programs are developed and courses are taught. Further, Towson faculty and staff are the award recipients of significant education research grants, and the college is host for the University System of Maryland’s Center for Application and Innovation Research in Education.
Supporting the effort, Frank Bonsal has joined the team as TowsonGlobal’s interim director. Bonsal taught in middle and high schools for many years before moving into a career as a venture capitalist. A venture partner in New Markets Venture Partners and Bonsal Capital, he has specialized in EdTech business start-ups and investments.
Since joining the team, Bonsal has helped bring two EdTech start-ups to TowsonGlobal: Common Curriculum and Immersive 3D. He is in discussion with other companies about joining the incubator and will continue to pursue businesses that share the organization’s vision.
“With Frank’s expertise and the university’s history of effectively blending technology, teaching and learning, EdTech is a natural growth area for the incubator and Towson,” said Dyan Brasington, vice president for the Division of Innovation and Applied Research.
The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore released a report in May that shows that the Baltimore metropolitan area is uniquely positioned to support a thriving EdTech industry. Citing the concentration of information technology professionals, local universities and Maryland’s nationally acclaimed school system, the EAGB reports that the region has the capacity to be a national leader in the field.
“Baltimore will be a force in the EdTech industry and TowsonGlobal will be a major contributor to its success,” said Bonsal. “We have the talent, the entrepreneurial expertise and the passion for education to make this successful. We’re looking for teacherpreneurs who share our vision.”
Vince Talbert, cofounder of BillMeLater and vice president for PayPal, is a member of the Towson University Board of Visitors and the TowsonGlobal Advisory Board. An avid proponent of education, Talbert leads the EdTech charge for TowsonGlobal and recognizes the value the university and region will bring to the EdTech industry.
“Education will be revolutionized by technology and the Internet-connected world. There is no better place on earth to be the hub of education innovation than Baltimore,” Talbert said.
“We have a great heritage of education innovation starting with the Calvert Method in the early 1900s, moving to the Sylvan network of companies in the late 90s and the first part of the millennium, and more recently with Connections Academy and MoodleRooms. We have a strong ecosystem to support education innovation and entrepreneurship. Now we need a place for these opportunities to incubate. Towson University, with its heritage as the Maryland State Teachers College, is perfectly positioned to provide this service to the community.”