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Kidblog Acquires Minneapolis Edtech Companies, Rebrands to Fanschool

What to know about Kidblog’s latest acquisitions and rebrand to Fanschool:

  • Kidblog, the Minneapolis-based K-12 student publishing and portfolio platform, has acquired two Minneapolis edtech companies
    • Fanschool, an educational platform with a fantasy sports-like apporach
    • InsertLearning, a Google Chrome extension that transforms any webpage content into interactive lessons
  • The combined organization will be known as Fanschool
  • Fanschool founder Eric Nelson and InsertLearning founder Ben Pedersen will join the executive leadership team of the new organization
    • Nelson will focus on, “strategic partnerships with school districts and non-profit organizations”
    • Pedersen will serve as CTO
    • Kidblog co-founder and CEO Matt Hardy will continue to serve as CEO

The Quote: Matt Hardy, CEO of Fanschool

“U.S. schools are finally at an inflection point where ubiquitous online access and 1:1 devices create the foundation for tech-enabled learning experiences. Traditional learning management systems (LMS) have made big promises they haven’t kept: students have no power at school. In contrast, student-centricity is the basis for transforming education to be truly personalized, authentic, and engaging for all stakeholders.”

We interviewed Eric Nelson last year about his fantasy sports-approach to learning. Check out an excerpt below and read the full article here.

Education With a Fantasy Sports Edge

Like a lot of other things right now, the short-term future of sports is up in the air. While it’s a sure bet that thousands of fans won’t be pouring into stadiums anytime soon, the pause button that has been so viciously slammed by COVID-19 has also thrown a viral wrench into fantasy sports. Baseball, hockey, basketball, football… there’s a good chance you haven’t been able to obsessively pour over spreadsheets or come up with a pithy name for your team.

But the world — like it or not — isn’t going anywhere any time soon. For Eric Nelson, founder of FANschool, that’s a very good thing.

“We’re basically the only fantasy sports-like games that don’t get cancelled,” he said.

Eric Nelson

Gamifying and incentivizing a growing mind’s curiosity about the world, FANschool takes the trappings of fantasy sports — the dramatic draft process, the rivalries, the agony and ecstasy of competition — and applies them to a scholarly endeavor. Instead of running backs or center fielders, FANschool players draft countries, states, members of Congress, and others for games of fantasy geopolitics.

For Nelson, a former Forest Lake social studies teacher, the idea to merge fantasy sports and learning came from the realization that despite all of the technology available in the classroom, teachers were still primarily responsible for directly handing content to students. Rather than package education in pop quizzes or handouts, Nelson wanted to give students ownership over what they were learning while simplifying the often-complex information in the process.

“That’s always been the design base,” he said. “Take the world’s metrics and make them as easy to understand as batting average.”

Read the full article.

Alex Skjong
Alex oversees the content produced for BETA, Twin Cities Startup Week, and When he’s not writing or editing, there’s a good chance he’s enjoying a refreshing brew and explaining the merits of heavy metal (of which there are many).