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Think with Things: Happy Memories of the OEC Tour


Think with Things has been moving forward and growing  quickly in the past  few weeks, but they found time to publish a passionate newsletter recalling their experience at the Open Education Challenge. It was a pleasure and an honour for all those involved to be part of the entire process,  and participate in the September and December 2014 tour, which helped Think with Things and our other alumni define and develop their goals. Julie Anne Gilleland, co-founder and CEO says: “an amazing accelerator is an understatement! We would call it a super-speed boost pack that pushes you into the arms of the top in education reform and allows you to be the best you can be, even if you didn't think you could be. “


It was the perspective of the OEC  that accelerated the idea and growth of Think with Things:  “Think with Things was born of the challenge. Endearingly coined the ‘love child’ of the OEC, we were off.” When they became one of the seven winning teams last July in Barcelona, it was the beginning of the adventure.


Helsinki was where the teams met and the OEC family formed. “We wanted all the teams to understand the simplicity and excitement of engaging with materials while thinking, and also to better understand why we were so passionate about sharing this idea with the world and especially with the education world. Everyone got to know each other while thinking like a mouse, like a Viking or collecting the data of the circles!”


Business, Technology, Promotion

After this phase of discovery, the focus in Paris “was on business, a new territory for Isobel and me, but we were up for the challenge. […] We felt very confident discussing our idea and passions and to learn from all the mentors, investors and business minds that we met. It was amazing, and really moved us along our path in a direction of not only thinking sustainably, but realising our idea had worth, was scalable and in fact doable!”


The next step was Berlin, where the key word was technology. “We went with our first demo on a device and were excited to share our progess with others. We had amazing meetings with other start-ups and innovative individuals, and received really great feedback on our demo as well as our first go at a complete business plan with numbers.”


With the concept and the model developed, the next step would be promoting the idea: the pitches at Dublin became great rehearsals for Think with Things and for the rest of the alumni. “We have never talked to so many people in our lives nor pitched so many times! As exhausted as we were, we would thoroughly recommend being an Alpha at one of these events. It was great practice in pitching quickly and getting loads of feedback. Not to mention the amount of contacts, possible collaborators and like-minded people you meet and the visibility it gives your ideas and projects.” These practices and the finalisation in London served as prepation for the final pitch and the EU awards, in Brussels.


Isobel Demangeat, Julie Anne Gilleland and Lord David Puttnam at the OEC Awards


Old Friends and new outlooks

“We found ourselves, all seven teams, nervous and ready in Brussels. The two days began with a wonderful opportunity to be spotlighted and awarded at the European high level conference for Education in the Digital Era. […] We had worked very hard through the accelerator program to get to this point. It felt so amazing and this is just the beginning.”


And we are delighted to announce that Think with Things is taking off to new horizons! “Building, communicating and launching!” says Julie Anne.  They launched their website in January and continue adding new content. Their platform will help build a community to share and exchange opportunities between educators and parents through Think with Things. “We launched our Website in January and will continue to add content throughout our process. The site will not only be a window to our product development, but the blog will help us create a community of like-minded educators and parents who want to share in the idea of learning with materials. We remind you that you still can join the Ambassador Pilot Program and be part of the reshaping of Edtech!”

The London Residential