The Shape Of Edtech To Come


The future of edtech includes better grading systems for educational tools, technology that supports deeper learning and ever-more-sophisticated data analysis.

Edtech is well past the orientation period.

Ninety-nine percent of K-12 classrooms in America have reached at least the minimum internet bandwidth target established by the FCC. At the same time, more than three quarters of teachers say students use Google’s G Suite in the classroom. And even though survey data collection is imperfect, estimates have shown that more than half of students have access to a laptop or tablet. As EducationSuperHighway’s most recent State of the States report concluded, “the classroom connectivity gap is now closed.”

To at least some degree, that assessment may be misleadingly optimistic (more on the subject soon). But with the infrastructure bedrock established, generally speaking, we’ve definitively entered the next stage in edtech.

“The role of education technology is to support learning and support the classroom, and as access gets more ubiquitous, that really becomes much more possible,” Karen Cator, president and CEO of edtech nonprofit Digital Promise, told Built In.

So what exactly is possible? With venture capital investment growing more and more targeted, how will the edtech landscape shape up, long-term?

Built In spoke with three edtech leaders to get a big picture view of where classroom technology and tech-related teaching approaches are headed. They include:

  • Karen Cator, who also formerly served as director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. There she helped spearhead the 2010 National Education Technology Plan, a watershed blueprint in edtech.
  • Tonika Cheek Clayton, a managing partner of edtech investment for the NewSchools venture fund who previously worked at curriculum assessment firm Amplify.
  • Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, an education nonprofit that studies edtech trends and advocates for STEM resources.

These edtech insiders spoke of increasingly sophisticated, subject-specific tools — while also underscoring that edtech resources will increasingly support higher-order learning. Some mentioned greater teacher autonomy in terms of tool selection — even as procurement roadblocks stand steadfast. And they spoke of high and still-climbing edtech adoption rates — even as an “avalanche” of products, as Evans put it, intensifies the paradox of choice and complicates how to measure effectiveness.

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Source: Stephen Gossett | Built In

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