2018 EdTech in Brazil

A Columbia Entrepreneurship, Fundação Lemann, and SIPA initiative


Improving education through Design Thinking and innovative technology solutions.


There is no greater social equalizer or pathway to upward mobility than education. But for so many children in our global society, a meaningful education is out of reach. The 2018 EdTech Design Challenge was a semester-long design challenge where 12 Columbia University students from across disciplines will work with clients solving deeply entrenched K-12 education challenges in Brazil.

EdTech Design Challenge 2018

The Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio and SIPA’s Center for Development Economics and Policy selected 24 students from across seven Columbia-affiliated schools to join with 12 Brazilian entrepreneurs, selected by Fundação Lemann, to embark on the 2018 EdTech Design Challenge. This  initiative was designed to generate tech-based businesses, products, and programs that solve deeply entrenched K-12 education problems.

Grouped into interdisciplinary and multinational teams of six, each team tackled one of the following issues:

Parent Engagement

Children have a better chance at academic success when they have a parent actively and effectively involved in their educational journey. With a parent’s engagement, a student can rely on a support system that, while functioning in cooperation with teachers and the administration, also extends into the home. The parent engagement teams will look to foster this involvement with parents who may be short on time, may have difficulty understanding information provided by the school, or may not see the value in a formalized education.


For students who fall behind in educational milestones and require remediation to catch up, it’s clear that more of the same will not do. The remediation teams will explore both teacher-centered and student-centered data to consider innovations to school curricula, classroom management, and support systems for teachers.

Special Education

Ensuring an equal education for children with special needs requires recognizing and adapting to their specific physical and developmental needs. These teams investigate opportunities for individualized learning plans, tools for teachers, and reliable diagnosis of special needs students.


The top teams split grants of $35,000! Congratulations to Olhares and Eu Ensino. Learn more about the journey and all the projects below.


The EdTech Kick-Off Forum held on October 10th, 2017  are collaborations between Columbia Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Design, the School of International and Public Affairs Tech & Policy Initiative, the Center for Development Economics & Policy, Teachers College, UNICEF, the Nasdaq Educational Foundation, and Fundação Lemann.