AT&T Names 8 'Aspiring' Educational Groups It Will Help

From a video by Weird Enough Productions, which combats fake news. 

AT&T today is announcing the eight winners of its 2018 Aspire Accelerator Class competition, a way the telecommunications giant helps fund companies and groups that help bring social and educational innovations to students. Each winner get $100,000 from AT&T.

The “class” is a snapshot of modern-day technology and communications promises and pitfalls. It includes Unruly Studios from Boston, which combines STEM education with  physical play, so kids learn to code and get to exercise at the same time, and Weird Enough Productions, a non-profit 501(c)3 from Lithonia, Ga., that teaches students how to combat fake news and  detect media bias and how to create positive content of their own. 



“I love getting to meet and learn from innovators from all walks of life,” says Anne Wintroub, AT&T’s director of social innovation, in a blog post. “When people from diverse backgrounds — geographically, culturally, ethnically or professionally — come together to address social challenges, the results are awe-inspiring.”

The Accelerator, started in 2015, is part of AT&T’s larger education-bent philanthropic Aspire program to which the company has pledged $400 million since 2008. Since it started, the Accelerator has supported 19 organizations, 63% of which were female-led companies, and 44% led by minorities.

Most of the organizations and companies chosen this year have a tech component central to their mission. 

The Accelerator groups this year are described like this by AT&T: 

  • Zoobean (Arlington, Va.) As seen on “Shark Tank,” Zoobean provides a web application, mobile app, and prospective hardware device through which families can track their independent reading and stay motivated to read.
  • Caribu (Miami) allows any trusted adult to read and draw with children, through an interactive video-call, no matter how far apart, available today on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
  • Unruly Studios (Boston) revolutionizes learning by combining STEM education with physical play. It teaches kids how to code and gets them active.
  • MindRight (501(c)3 / Newark, N.J.) empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression trauma – including structural violence, poverty, racism and discrimination – with support via text message.
  • Move This World (New York) uses multimedia content to develop social skills and strengthen emotional intelligence in pre-K through high school.
  • Substantial (501(c)3 / Oakland, Calif.) creates training, resources and information substitute teachers need to be successful. The program customizes for each school system’s unique context, and delivers it online with modern, mobile friendly technology.
  • Weird Enough Productions (501(c)3 / Lithonia, Ga.) teaches students how to combat fake news, identify media bias and create positive content through an ed-tech tool.
  • Words Liive (Washington, D.C.) makes it effortless for teachers to integrate music into lessons.
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