Kevin Michael Berkopes, a mathematician in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has launched an education and logistics technology company called Crossroads Education LLC.
Berkopes, founder and CEO, said the company creates innovative, collaborative learning spaces and the technology that drives and supports them.
“We support the work of K-12 schools, institutions of higher learning and community centers,” he said. “If key stakeholders are rethinking how to design and implement education in their context, we can assist their work through our technology and our Learning Commons learning spaces design.”
Berkopes said the company’s model constructs education around multiple access points, including a differentiation between students’ first access and second access to content. “First access” is defined as the collaborative work between teacher and students in the formal classroom. “Second access” is peer-to-peer informal content collaboration, which Berkopes believes is missing in most models for education contexts.
“Students and teachers no longer have to rely on only what happens in lectures to gain or provide access to content,” he said. “We help our clients build learning centers that provide a campus or school with vetted second access to content that supports the work done in the formal first-access setting. We believe that these spaces must include educational technology, as well as learning spaces like whiteboard-painted walls to heighten content-based social interactions. The system works together to improve social and academic interactions, content distribution, and remediation. We also provide professional development, especially for mathematics teachers, to support the work they do in the more formal lecture setting.”
Berkopes is executive director of two learning centers at IUPUI, the Mathematics Assistance Center and the Statistics Assistance Center, both redesigned around the Learning Commons model. They saw 73,000 student visits in the 2014-15 academic year, and Berkopes expects a total of more than 85,000 this year. These numbers are up from 18,000 student visits prior to the implementation of the LC model.
Crossroads Education already has clients in the higher education and community center sectors and three prospects in the K-12 sector, he said. The company was also a finalist in a school design competition hosted by The Mind Trust during its first Charter School Innovation Summit in April.
“My goal is to implement the LC model in the three target sectors by the end of 2016,” Berkopes said. “This will allow me to research more rigorously the impact of the learning spaces, and to nuance that research to each of the target educative settings. I am also in the process of seeking funding to hire four full-time full-stack developers to build out our technology and refine how we provide the technology and logistics support for our LC center clients. I am currently negotiating with Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. and IUPUI on how some of the generated revenue from Crossroads Education can be earmarked to provide full-ride scholarships to IUPUI students who are interested in studying in STEM fields and STEM education fields.”
Berkopes has received research funding from the National Science Foundation and internal grants through Indiana University to help develop his research and his Learning Commons models for student programs. Crossroads Education is a member of the SpinUp program at Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. The program helps IU faculty and researchers bring promising discoveries to market by launching their own companies.
About Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.
IURTC is a not-for-profit corporation tasked with the protecting and commercializing technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated more than 2,700 inventions resulting in over 3,900 global patent applications being filed by IURTC. These discoveries have generated $133 million in licensing and royalty income, including $111 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.