Essay Contest Winners Announced!

It’s with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the Future of Technology Summit Essay Competition.  Over 2000 essays from more than 800 schools were submitted by students in grades 5 – 12.  Separate awards were given for winners in both the US and Israel.

We encourage you to read the winning essays. They are truly impressive and a credit to the young authors, their parents and teachers.  As in all contests, unfortunately only one winner could be chosen from each category.  As encouragement, we are happy to list students as “honorable mentions” whose essays made it to final consideration.

The winners were selected solely on quality of writing and how well they addressed the topic.  Many fine essays were written on more specific technologies rather issues focused on its future.

Beyond the obvious goal of celebrating student writing and fostering deeper thought about technology, part of Literatu’s goal was to test and develop our engine for machine reading of student texts.  We are creating a very interesting set of metrics and algorithms that we hope will make teachers’ lives much easier while nurturing students’ desire and ability to write with clarity and effect.  We used the machine learning to gain insights about the essays before the human panel chose the winners.  This is the combined approach that we believe is best and has become our mantra:

“Let the software do what software can,
so teachers do what only teachers can!”


Insight Reflector Scaffold

Sometimes a blank page is confronting for writers of all ages.  Research shows that scaffolding writing tasks into meaningful “chunks” helps.  With this in mind, we’ve created a scaffolded structure for the Future of Technology Summit Essay Contest.

See if this “Insight Reflector” is helpful.  It prompts students to focus on certain aspects of the topic, provides links as inspiration and then merges the text passages into one draft essay. Students can then copy and paste the draft into their word processors and make the essay their own!

Here’s an animated intro:

Future of Technology Essay Contest

How Will Technology Impact Our Future?

Prompt: Reflect on how technology touches your life and how rapid advancements might change the way we live, learn, work or connect with others in the future.

Teachers can Register here

Here’s an animation of possible topics to get you thinking!





The Future of Technology Summit

Literatu is happy to be a premier sponsor of this year’s Future of Technology Summit.  Held on November 2nd in Washington DC, the Summit boasts top names in technology’s past, present and future like technology legends Ray Kurzweil and Steve Wozniak (and many others) who will inspires us to consider where innovation is going and how it will touch our lives.

We’re awed by all these leaders, but know that those who will have the biggest impact on the future of technology are probably sitting in today’s classrooms! That’s why Literatu is holding a special Essay Competition for young people in the US and Australia.  In 600 words or less, we want them to:

Reflect on how technology touches your life and how rapid advancements might change the way we live, learn, work or connect with others in the future.

Stay tuned to learn more!

Data Helps Students Dodge a Hurricane

Eighth grade US teacher Sarah Beachkofsky tells the story of how she was able to help students to progress their learning even after suffering the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. As an educator committed to using data to learn about her students as well as motivate them, she shares an insightful and compelling story. When you lose precious classtime (due to a natural disaster or a school-wide sport carnival 🙂 how can data help make up for lost time?

How do you use data to support your goals for students?

Please share your ideas!
image thanks to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center