EdTech: Definitions, Products and Trends 

EdTech is a broad term derived from a combination of two words: education and technology.  It is the adoption of hardware and software solutions which have the goal of improving teacher pedagogy and student learning.

The meaning and interpretation of the term will vary according to who is using it.  For example, a teacher will naturally have a focus on the solutions and approaches that can be used in the classroom, whereas an angel investor will have a focus on start-ups and the general state of the market.  The first section of this guide will break down the various interpretations of the term.  The second section will explore the range of products and the final section aims to identify future trends.

EdTech

SECTION ONE: DEFINITIONS

 

EdTech Industry/Market

The EdTech industry is a broad term comprising a variety of key players, including teachers, investors, product developers, policy makers, educational institutions, charity organisations and think tanks.  Often referred to as the EdTech sector, the state and direction of the industry is influenced by the general economy and the amount of investment in the sector by venture capitalists and the government.

The market can be categorised by region and sector and can also be broken down according to product type.  The use of the term is focused on the overall supply and demand of educational technology in a given region and is heavily influenced by industry forces.

Estimates vary considerably for the future direction of the Global EdTech market.  Holon IQ predicts that it could reach $404 billion by 2025 [1].  In comparison, Grand View Research [2] suggest that the market could reach $285.2 billion by 2027.  Dealroom and London & Partners [3] predicted a 15% increase in 2020.  These positive predictions could be attributed to the increasing investment in Asian EdTech, particularly in India and China.  It is this region which has witnessed the emergence of several Unicorns, such as Yuanfudao, Byju’s and Zuoyebang.

You can follow market news here: https://www.global-edtech.com/category/edtech-market/

EdTech Teachers

Teachers use EdTech to improve student attainment and promote personalised learning in their classrooms.  Students enjoy using devices as part of the learning process and therefore have a natural affinity for EdTech.  Teachers now typically use a wide variety of EdTech solutions in their daily practice, including mobile devices, interactive screens and cloud software.  Emerging EdTech solutions include artificial intelligence and immersive technologies.  The second and third sections of this guide will delve into the variety of EdTech products in more detail.

EdTech Conferences

Various EdTech events occur annually throughout the world.  Some of the key global players in this space include:

ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference is the premier K-12 EdTech conference in the US and is attended by educators from all over the world.  An exhibition hall provides vendors with a chance to share products with delegates.

BETT

The British Educational Training and Technology (BETT) Show is a large international EdTech event with a worldwide audience which takes place in London each year.  It operates at the intersection of education and industry and also has a large exhibition space to allow vendors to showcase their products.

EdTech X

The EdTech X summit is a large annual multi-national event which aims to bring together investors, innovators and thought leaders. It is more aligned with the EdTech industry than classroom teaching.

EdTech Vendors

EdTech vendors are companies that produce educational technology solutions.  They are continually innovating and developing solutions which they hope will help teachers enhance and transform learning in their classrooms.  Engagement with classroom practitioners is often achieved through attending conferences and events.  The largest players are Apple, Microsoft and Google with large well established educator networks.

EdTech Investors

Investors help both EdTech start-ups and established EdTech companies raise funding.  India and China have witnessed huge growth in their EdTech industries over the past few years.  Some of the highest profile investments have been:

Yuanfudao: $3.8B  in venture, seed and Series G funding [3]

Byju’s: $2.1B over 17 private and venture investment rounds [4]

Zuoyebang $1.3B in 5 funding rounds [5]

Other significant deals include Coursera, CampusLogic, Unacademy, White Hat Jr, Vedantu and Masterclass.  Despite the increased investment in Asian EdTech, Grand View Research reported that the US still leads the way in terms of EdTech investment with a revenue of 38.2% in 2019.  [2]

 

SECTION TWO: EDTECH PRODUCTS

 

EdTech products can be categorised according to their primary function.  Some of the major categories are listed below:

Learning Management Systems (Includes Remote Learning)

These companies provide online course management tools.  Also known as Virtual Learning Environments these are cloud based portals which staff and students can use to access and share learning resources.   Significant players include Blackboard, Moodle, Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams.  This category can also incorporate access to educational content such as videos, interactive quizzes and lessons.

Management Information Systems

One of the most important pieces of software for any educational institution is its database.  Usually these platforms are cloud based and modular and store student information, timetables and assessment data, amongst other data.  Some offer parent portals and alumni data.  Product vendors often tend to align with the region they operate in.  There are a lot of companies in the US market and popular providers include PowerSchool and Alma.  Other regions such as the UK also have competitive markets in this space.

STEM Products

STEM and STEAM products have become increasingly popular in recent years in schools.  These tools often allow children to both construct and code.  Examples include LEGO Mindstorms, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, littleBits and Sphero robots.

Online Tutoring

This category has witnessed significant growth in recent years and particularly in Asia.  Students are connected with tutors that can assist with homework and studying.  Examples include Yuanfudao, Byju’s and Zuoyebang.

Language Learning

Apps that support the learning of new languages have witnessed a surge in growth over the past few years.  Popular examples include Duolingo and Babbel.

 

SECTION THREE: TRENDS

 

Emerging trends include the development of artificial intelligence in education, the teaching of STEM and coding and the increased adoption of immersive technologies in teaching and learning.  The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly increased the maturity of remote learning tools and it is likely that online tuition and language learning will continue to proliferate in the coming years.  Parent portals will likely become more embedded in daily practice as schools need to communicate with parents more effectively and continue to offer home learning when schools are forced to close.

EdTech solutions that adopt adaptive learning algorithms and neural networks are likely to thrive in comparison to traditional learning software as they offer greater opportunities for personalised learning and parent feedback and reporting.

Virtual and augmented reality will likely continue to develop and grow as the technology becomes more accessible and affordable.

Asia is also likely to remain a growing market as a large education focused population creates a natural demand for innovation in EdTech.

Sources

[1]

https://www.holoniq.com/notes/global-education-technology-market-to-reach-404b-by-2025/

[2]

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-education-technology-market

[3]

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/yuanfudao/company_financials

[4]

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/byju-s/company_financials

[5]

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/zuoyebang/company_financials