EdTech / eLearning TrendsMany Hands raise high up

Two great things that go great together

The marriage of technology and education is bringing about so many exciting opportunities in EdTech and eLearning. The increasingly affordable accessibility of devices and broadband is transforming the educational landscape and experience beyond anything we had as children. The possibilities are multiplying by the day and the goals are lofty.

Technology in education seeks to increase education mobility (only 5% of Americans whose parents didn’t graduate college will complete a college degree), bring access to quality educational tools regardless of geography, roll out the common core efficiently, better prepare high school students for college, arm educators with more tools and resources, diversify the educational milieu and the corporate landscape, as well as other lofty and creative objectives.

There are many permutations to and many approaches taken by EdTech including: Direct to Learner (consumer applications), K12 (content, platforms and tools used in schools and/or adopted by teachers), Early Learner Tools (Pre-K consumer applications), College Readiness & Application, Tutoring/Test Prep, Continuing Professional Development, Virtual University Education, and Life-Long Learning.

Investment is soaring

Investment in education technology has been growing dramatically over the last few years. Venture funding in K12 education technology grew 6% in 2013 hitting $452 million. In 2014 it was up another 32% to $642 million in the K-12 edtech market in 2014 (NewSchools Venture Fund). Home-to-School Communication companies, which keep parents and teachers in touch, raised more than $90 million last year.

There’s a great interactive bubble chart on the MarketPlace website that graphically depicts the 116 deals of 2013: The bigger the bubble, the bigger the investment. By clicking on a bubble, you can read more about each of the deals.

Some of our favs in the EdTech space

Clever’s mission is to improve the quality of education for students all over the world, through focusing on making powerful educational software easy to build and deploy. The company has recently partnered with the American Federation of Teachers in a campaign to expand access to free online instructional materials for thousands of U.S schools.

Listen Current offers a way for K-12 teachers to leverage public radio within the classroom. The founder was an NPR reporter, she created this cloud based service for teachers to easily find relevant public radio stories with lesson plans. Listen Current curates the best of public radio to keep teaching connected to the real world and build student listening skills at the same time.

Apex Learning is a leading provider of blended and virtual learning solutions to the nation’s schools. The company’s standards-based digital curriculum — in math, science, English, social studies, world languages, and Advanced Placement — is widely used for original credit, credit recovery, remediation, intervention, acceleration, and exam preparation.

Schoolwires has been able to serve over 10 million users in the US and China with their K-12 community platform for teachers, students and parents. In 2013, Schoolwires was named on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing privately held companies for the seventh consecutive year.

Kickboard is redefining student achievement for the 21st century with technology solutions that support individualized achievement for all students in grades K-12. This company reimagines the traditional teacher tool set, bringing greater visibility and collaboration across classrooms. It is powered by high energy, positive minded people who are passionate about making a difference in US education through a web-based application that delivers on the promise of fostering an environment where teachers and students can reach their fullest potential.

Classworks is a technology learning company that provides educational solutions through a web-based 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.

Further reading:

100 Experts in @eLearning and #EdTech

A closer look at K12 edtech venture funding in 2013

A closer look at K12 edtech funding in 2014

Venture capitalists make a big deal over education

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