Education institutions including schools, colleges, and universities have had to shift to online teaching and learning as the pandemic meant closing their doors to students. Although this has sometimes been met with frustration by those who have had their studies disrupted, we must ask ourselves, are they unintentionally being provided with an introduction to the workforce they can be expected to enter?
It’s not typical for students across such a wide variety of ages to be taught entire terms and semesters of their education online, but this lack of normality is in keeping with the theme for last year, and perhaps also this coming year. With many education institutions still teaching online, we will continue to see a further demand for edtech brought to the fore, so students do not feel as though they’ve wasted the last year (or longer) of their academic lives.
We are already seeing a boom in edtech funding, with it being reported that US edtech startups raised over $2.2 billion in venture and private equity capital in 2020, a nearly 30% increase from the $1.7 billion invested in 2019. This is something we can expect to continue as teachers look to shift learning online, and come up with new ways to keep students engaged. Edtech organisations are also diversifying. With the world shifting in and out of lockdown over the last year, adults have looked towards technology to learn new hobbies and skills. Organisations have capitalised on this and are honing in on adults looking to develop their skill set, just as much as they’re focusing on their primary student target audience.
Various education and technology organisations such as Duolingo and FutureLearn have been making moves in this space for quite some time, and Kahoot! even reported its revenues increased by 220% in the first quarter of 2020 alone. We can see this through the various PR and advertising campaigns companies have pushed into the consumer market as they continue to ride the edtech wave. For example, Duolingo recently revealed the top phrase from learners in 2020 (if you’re wondering it’s “I am eating bread and crying on the floor” – we’ve all been there).
As a team who has many years of experience in the edtech space, whether that’s coding toys or with schools and universities themselves, we’ve seen movement in the edtech industry for quite some time. At Gallium we have worked with organisations like Hult International Business School and a range of STEM toy startups, and personally, one of my previous roles was with an education business partnership where we encouraged students to consider a career in STEM, introducing them to new skills all the way from coding to coming up with their own technology startup ideas. We expect the edtech popularity to continue, and with the travel sector no longer spending money on advertising, there is now a big gap that needs to be filled.
Now is the time for edtech startups and organisations to show what they have on offer and shine – while the world is watching.