Tech Trends – eLearning / Ed Tech
The eLearning or Educational Technology is exploding at the moment and it is easy to understand why.
The Common Core Standards Initiative is standardizing K-12 across much of the U.S. creating tons of new opportunity. “We’re at a tipping point,” says John Krull, the Information Technology Officer of the Oakland Unified School District. “It’s sort of a convergence of common core and technology. Those two things have come together to create all this demand.”
The Government initiatives on education mean money is available. Educational spending by the US government is estimated to hit a trillion dollars in 2014. The ConnectED initiative aims to get next-generation connectivity to 99% of American students within five years, and begin this transformation of American classrooms immediately – to date there is over $1 billion in private-sector commitments to deliver cutting-edge technologies to classrooms, including devices, free software, teacher professional development, and home wireless connectivity.
The private sector is responding philanthropically and entrepreneurially. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and others have put $9M into EducationSuperHighway to improve school broadband. And in the first quarter of 2014, ninety-nice education technology startups have raised over $500 million.
Education investment can be segmented into several sub-categories: technologies targeting the K-12 classroom; technologies or services focused on secondary education; continuing education and professional learning; and consumer-facing educational products and services. The first sector, technologies targeting the K-12 classroom, is the most heavily invested in at this time. Some of the hot companies in this sub-sector are:
Institute of Play is creating learning experiences rooted in the principles of game design—experiences that simulate real world problems, and require dynamic, well-rounded solutions. They support teachers and other learning leaders in making learning irresistible—creating for students a powerful need to know, and a hunger to learn more. They are making learning relevant to the technologies that shape our kids’ lives, the passions that fuel their ambitions, and the demands of life in the 21st century.
A project brought of the Institute of Play, is GlassLab. Bringing together leaders in commercial games and experts in learning and assessment, GlassLab Games is improving education and transforming learning an assessment through digital games. Tailored games like SimCity and Argubot provide an experience is deeply engaging kids in a set of challenges that prepares them for real world success in tenacity, systems thinking, and problem-solving.
An educational technology company like no other, IXL is developing dramatically innovative, first-of-their-kind products used by millions of learners, from children to adults. The IXL.com product is the world’s most popular subscription-based learning site for K-12. IXL also produces Quia Web, the original ‘create-your-own’ website for teachers, and Quia Books, the leading online platform for world-languages courses.
Classworks provides educational solutions through a web-based K-12 curriculum resource in mathematics, reading, language arts, and elementary science. The company offers students, teachers and administrators educator-developed and research-based software solutions that are proven to be effective in raising student performance.
Run by executives from Blackboard, Starfish Retention provides student success systems, helping academic institutions address the significant number of students that do not graduate. The business-to-business, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions address this problem by identifying which students are at-risk, and then connecting those students to the resources designed to help them be successful.
Apex Learning offers digital curriculum and virtual learning for secondary education. The comprehensive online learning platform helps schools successfully engage all students and prepare them for high school graduation and beyond. The virtual learning enables schools to expand course access and increase options for students, while the differentiated instruction and active learning experiences enable effective student-centered classrooms.
eSpark is leveraging iPads to transform classrooms for kids. Their research-based approach is individualized, captures downtime for learning, and is convenient for parents. The personalized digital curriculum is based on each student’s learning needs and academic goals.
Focused on differentiated instruction, Achieve 3000 designs web-based literacy solutions to address reading comprehension and fluency, vocabulary, and writing proficiency for students and adults. Through a proprietary software engine, the company delivers tailored assignments to each student in the class based on his or her precise reading level. The company’s products are based on decades of scientific research and are delivered in engaging nonfiction, current event format and support core curriculum.
The mission of Empirical Education is to help K-12 school systems make evidence-based decisions about the effectiveness of their programs, policies, and personnel. Partnering with stakeholders, they provide research services to determine the effectiveness of programs. They provide information and recommendations to trade organizations, policy institutes, foundations, and government entities that make or influence policy and practices in education.
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