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They were all part of the 2013 National Charter Schools Conference in Washington D.C.  Rapper Pitbull kicked off the 2-day conference last week with a passionate speech supporting charter schools. Why Pitbull, you ask?  It turns out that when he’s not onstage crooning, “I Know You Want Me,” he’s the founder of a charter school for his two children.  Pitbull is opening SLAM charter school, in Miami, for the same reason 4,000 charter school teachers and administrators attended the conference: to continue enhancing the quality of education nation-wide.

Educational Innovation

One of the many ways that charter schools accomplish this is through constant innovation. At our booth, we talked to hundreds of charter school employees. Every single one said they are constantly looking for new tools and strategies to keep their students engaged, having fun, and, of course… learning! Listen Edition stood out at the conference as being one of the only companies to offer a product that fills this need.  Listen Edition provides teachers with a platform that allows them to identity and use public radio stories that are integrated with customized lesson plans.

We were psyched to be next to BrainPOP, the leading provider of fun educational videos in the classroom.  Their booth got a lot of traffic, which helped Listen Edition make our pitch to some BrainPOP users.  Most of the other vendors were service providers, selling uniforms, tools to manage donations, or other software.

Happy Hour in the Exhibit Hall!

Our team had a great time strolling around the booths and talking to teachers and vendors alike at the Networking Happy Hour. While the lights may not have been low (I don’t think you can dim fluorescents), the booze was free and the atmosphere was fun. Even during the cocktail interlude, however, Listen Edition was getting down to business. We met over 130 people interested in learning more about our product. Over and over we heard how awesome it was that Listen Edition makes engaging with public radio easy.  It doesn’t require intense training and fancy equipment to work in the classroom- just a computer and some speakers.

The National Charter Schools Conference was such a success that we’ve already booked our tickets for next year. See you in Vegas, baby. The next time you see our Listen Edition polo shirts… they’ll have sequins on them.