DULLES, VA -- (Marketwired)-- Echo360, the market leading active and distance learning solution, announced the acquisition of ThinkBinder, a social collaboration tool that enables crowdsourced learning and online study groups. Students at Echo360 institutions will be able to share their notes, insights and ideas with their peers, improving the learning experience with knowledge gleaned from fellow students.
ThinkBinder will be included in current Echo360 technology, complementing the existing lecture capture and student engagement features, and results in industry's only comprehensive active learning solution.
Research indicates that the use of social media tools like Twitter® outside the classroom can positively influence student learning outcomes(1). ThinkBinder allows educators to take advantage of today's social media environment to improve the learning experience. Students and instructors form invitation-only online study groups for courses. They can collaborate and complete group projects with familiar social tools like discussion feeds, collaborative whiteboards, file management, and text/video chat in a private cloud solution.
"The acquisition of ThinkBinder brings the best of social media to the Echo360 active learning solution. Students benefit with crowdsourced learning while instructors can participate and monitor as needed," said Fred Singer, CEO of Echo360. "This drastically improves an institution's ability to enhance the experience for on-campus, distance and even MOOC students by creating a connected and collaborative online learning experience."
This is the second acquisition by Echo360 since investment from Revolution Growth in early 2012 and signals continued rapid growth for the company. In November of 2012, Echo360 acquiredLectureTools. Founded at the University of Michigan, LectureTools enables instructors to engage students through digital polling and questions during traditional class time.
Echo360 fuels teaching and learning moments before, during and after the class. Instructors ask questions and poll students to increase engagement and participation levels during the class session. Echo360 then records, broadcasts and archives traditional classroom lectures and instructional material. These materials are available after class on virtually any smart phone, tablet or computer to help students increase the efficiency and effectiveness of study time. With the addition of ThinkBinder, communication between students is pushed beyond the traditional classroom or face-to-face study group by driving instant and continuous communication between peers and the instructor.
"Colleges and universities are realizing the significant value of distributing their course material online, and Echo360 enables the creation of that content at scale," said Greg Golkin, Founder of ThinkBinder and now Head of Platform Innovation at Echo360. "Together, Echo360 and ThinkBinder add a contextual conversation to the content, transforming the once passive viewing experience into a dynamic, social and engaging learning opportunity."
Launched in 2012 ThinkBinder operates out of their office in New York City. The ThinkBinder team will transition into positions with Echo360 and the company plans to expand the office. Financial terms were not disclosed.
(1) R. Junco, G. Heibergert & E. Loken. The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.
More than one million students in 6,000 classrooms at 500 institutions in 30 countries rely on Echo360 active learning technology to enhance their educational experience before, during and after class. Developed for educators by educators, Echo360 increases in-class participation with digital polling, provides a rich out-of-class experience by recording and sharing course instruction, and delivers deep usage analytics to help instructors gauge student progress in a course. Students watch, collaborate and participate on smartphones, tablets and laptops, wherever, whenever they choose. Echo360 was recognized with the Product Line Strategy of the Year Award from Frost & Sullivan, is CSIA-certified for outstanding customer service, and was named a Visionary Vendor in Educational Technology by IT research firm Basex. Echo360 is backed by Revolution Growth led by Steve Case, Ted Leonsis and Donn Davis.
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Gabriel del Rio