The Edutech Expansion
The largest education event in Asia-Pac and the Southern Hemisphere, EduTECH, has just launched in Brisbane, Australia, collecting educators and tech providers who will participate in eight congresses and eight post-congress masterclasses. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the significant role technology is playing in education, and a panel dedicated to students will explore how technology is already impacting learning. EduTECH is just one of the many events exploring the value of technology in education; later this year, Tech for Schools Summits will bring together motivated educators and edutech entrepreneurs and MakerBot Makeathon will be taking a look at bringing 3D printing into the classroom. Registration for BETT 2017 is already open, an international edutech conference focused on transforming technology through collaboration with Service Providers and experts. The assortment of events available demonstrates just how seriously both educators and tech experts see the edutech industry and bodes well for its growth and evolution.
The Edutech Expansion
Last year, edutech innovator Lynda.com was purchased by LinkedIn Corporation for $1.5 billion, the largest exit by an edutech company to date and LinkedIn’s biggest acquisition so far. But this is just one of the edutech success stories, and a host of leading edutech companies continue to make significant advances in the industry.
Out of San Francisco, AltSchool is a community of micro-schools focused on improving primary education. Using a personalized weekly plan and propriety software platform, AltSchool is shaking the system up with its non-grading system that doesn’t rely on on-screen learning.
Coursera is a business partnered with universities worldwide and provides free massive open online courses (MOOCs). Their aim is to provide quality education to the world, and their range of subjects is extensive covering the sciences and engineering as well as arts and humanities. Though the courses are free, making learning open to all, Coursera earns money through the provision of verified certifications.
Founded by former Kaplan, Inc exec Jose Ferreira, this edutech organization is aimed at personalizing education with a platform that uses data to analyze how students learn and then offer adaptive educational experiences and personalized educational content.
Founded in 2004, this company is attempting to open up professional technology learning through expert-led online training for IT administrators, software developers, and creative professions. The organization uses a subscription business model, paying course authors royalties.
The edutech realm is relatively new and, typically, those shaking up the established structures are innovative startups. According to a CB Insights report, funding for edutech startups reached $2.98 billion in 2015. With a new report suggesting only 2% of the $5 trillion global education market is currently digitized and predictions that the global edutech market will reach $252 billion by 2020, it’s no surprise pioneering startups are making their mark. However, Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquette, co-founder of EdTechXGlobal, suggests the edutech journey is likely to be sluggish, stating, “We estimate that the speed of digitization in education will be up to five times slower than has been seen in other sectors, due primarily to the increased number of gatekeepers involved in digital transition decisions, teachers, institutions, governing bodies, districts, and policymakers amongst a few”.
Despite the potentially demanding climate, several startups are encouraging growth and evolution in edutech.
Advancing parent-teacher communication, Classtag provides an app which connects the parents and children of a classroom for improved parent-to-parent collaboration. It provides calendar integration, sends automated reminders of class activities to parents, and lets teachers track which parents have read test and homework announcements.
Acquired by Apple in January this year, LearnSprout provides educators with tools to use big data for improved student outcomes.
An online database of children’s academic writing, Pobble endeavors to help teachers inspire and encourage literacy. Instead of providing students with dry, academic examples, teachers are able to offer their students samples written by their contemporaries, and audiences can share feedback and encouragement with their peers.
By Jennifer Klostermann