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EdTech for Export conference keynote, Frank Catalano, Intrinsic Strategy (Wellington, New Zealand, 18 June 2015) Edtech trends to watch – and fads to avoid
It’s dizzying to keep track of developments that affect education technology companies. From Open Educational Resources and student privacy issues to iPads and Chromebooks, which are long-term trends — and which are unsupportable fads? Long-time industry consultant, analyst, and tech observer Frank Catalano will highlight key trends that merit your attention, and hyped fads your business may do well to ignore, in the U.S. and beyond.

EdTech for Export conference keynote, Frank Catalano, Intrinsic Strategy (Wellington, New Zealand, 18 June 2015) Edtech trends to watch – and fads to avoid
It’s dizzying to keep track of developments that affect education technology companies. From Open Educational Resources and student privacy issues to iPads and Chromebooks, which are long-term trends — and which are unsupportable fads? Long-time industry consultant, analyst, and tech observer Frank Catalano will highlight key trends that merit your attention, and hyped fads your business may do well to ignore, in the U.S. and beyond.

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Frank Catalano keynote, EdTech for Export, Wellington, NZ

  1. 1. Frank Catalano Intrinsic Strategy et4e – 18 June 2015 EDTECH TRENDS TO WATCH – and fads to avoid
  2. 2. Source: Gabriel S. Delgado C. from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela (El Grito [CC-BY-2.0],via Wikimedia Commons
  3. 3. 1> BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
  4. 4. Source: The New International Encyclopædia, v. 18, 1905, p. 239 [Public Domain] Source: Seth Morabito [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
  5. 5. 23% 58% Gr 6-8 Gr 9-12 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% My Own DeviceWhat type of mobile devices do you use at school? (including: my own device, school laptop, school tablet, school Chromebook)
  6. 6. 2> OER (Open Educational Resources)
  7. 7. 3> FREEMIUM
  8. 8. How do you pay for each of the products that you use? Source: Gates Foundation, Teachers Know Best survey of 3,100 U.S. teachers, April 2014
  9. 9. Source: geek-and-poke.com [CC BY 3.0]
  10. 10. 4> STUDENT DATA PRIVACY
  11. 11. Source: Intel Education www.k12blueprint.com/privacy Source: Data Quality Campaign
  12. 12. 5> EDTECH INVESTMENT BUBBLE
  13. 13. Source: Diego Torres Silvestre from Sao Paulo, Brazil ([2005] Rusty Padlock & Fence) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  14. 14. 6> IPAD / CHROMEBOOK DOMINANCE
  15. 15. 7> MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses)
  16. 16. Source: Justin Reich, Edtechresearcher.com, 1 April 2015
  17. 17. 8> OPEN BADGES
  18. 18. Source: Blackboard Learn website
  19. 19. 9> COMMON CORE
  20. 20. Source: CoreStandards.org Common Core standards states, 2014-2015
  21. 21. POP QUIZ
  22. 22. Edtech Fad or Trend: 3-5 years Fad Trend Strong Weak BYODOER Freemium Data Privacy Bubble iPads / Chromebooks MOOCs Open Badges Common Core
  23. 23. EXTRA CREDIT> MYTHS
  24. 24. 1. Technology replaces teachers.
  25. 25. 1. Technology replaces supports teachers. (It changes their role.) 2. Tech alone can solve all of education’s problems.
  26. 26. 1. Technology replaces supports teachers. (It changes their role.) 2. Tech alone can help solve all some of education’s problems. (It’s a tool.) 3. Tech is used the same way in all levels and kinds of education.
  27. 27. 1. Technology replaces supports teachers. (It changes their role.) 2. Tech alone can help solve all some of education’s problems. (It’s a tool.) 3. Tech is used the same way in all differently for different levels and kinds of education. (It’s a configurable tool.) 4. Digital materials will replace everything, even if something else works now.
  28. 28. 1. Technology replaces supports teachers. (It changes their role.) 2. Tech alone can help solve all some of education’s problems. (It’s a tool.) 3. Tech is used the same way in all differently for different levels and kinds of education. (It’s a configurable tool.) 4. Digital materials will replace everything, even if something else works now what’s currently used if there’s a clear advantage. (If it ain’t broke….) 5. Tech in classrooms is unproven.
  29. 29. 1. Technology replaces supports teachers. (It changes their role.) 2. Tech alone can help solve all some of education’s problems. (It’s a tool.) 3. Tech is used the same way in all differently for different levels and kinds of education. (It’s a configurable tool.) 4. Digital materials will replace everything, even if something else works now what’s currently used if there’s a clear advantage. (If it ain’t broke….) 5. Tech in classrooms is unproven must prove itself, again and again. (Its bar keeps rising.)
  30. 30. 1. Technology changes teachers’ roles. 2. Tech can help solve some of education’s problems. 3. Tech is used differently for different levels and kinds of education. 4. Digital materials will replace what’s currently used if there’s a clear advantage. 5. Tech in classrooms must prove itself, again and again, as it gets better.
  31. 31. Q&A @FrankCatalano frank@intrinsicstrategy.com IntrinsicStrategy.com

Editor's Notes

  • Screen 1
    It’s dizzying to keep track of developments that affect education technology companies.
    Which are long-term trends? Which are unsupportable fads? What’s more complicated?
    This is my look ahead three-to-five years, to the U.S. and beyond, to K-12 schools and into K-20.
    What affects teachers, learners – and industry prospects.
  • Screen 2
    Easy to get overwhelmed by acronyms, hype, and confusing terminology.
    US-NZ translations:
    Grades = Years (13)
    Math = Maths
    Elementary = Primary
    Middle School = Intermediate
    High School = Secondary
    Standards = Achievement Objectives
  • Screen 3
    From my perspective as a long-time industry observer, executive, analyst and consultant.
    Two decades in edtech, working with or for established firms such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and a variety of startups.
    Based also on conversations and information at industry conferences, data from surveys and reports (some of which I’ve worked on for MDR’s EdNET Insight), and the cumulative push of developments, with my analysis and opinion layered on.
    Facts, charts and other information aren’t all of the supporting data, just the most illustrative examples.
  • Screen 4
    Let’s start with one of nine developments.
    The Bring Your Own Device movement in the U.S.
    Encourages students to bring their own laptops, tablets, and even smartphones to school to help get to 1:1 computing (that is, every student has a device) faster than relying solely on school-issued devices.
    First trend.
  • Screen 5
    Different from BYOD when I was a student.
  • Screen 6
    A strong trend, more so at the high school level where many students are more likely to already own a mobile device.
    This is data from the 2014 Speak UP survey of 431,000 U.S. students, recently released.
    Supported by surveys of individual schools and school districts from MDR’s EdNET Insight, and the NMC Horizons report.
    Big drivers are the move to digital materials, and strained school budgets.
    Challenges are network security and equity for students who don’t have devices or broadband access at home.
    Upshot: Design for laptop to smartphone, web, no matter who owns it or where it’s located.
  • Screen 7
    Second development: Open Educational Resources, or OER, in the U.S.
    OER are digital instructional materials that teachers are free to use, change, and share.
    Trend, a moderate one.
  • Screen 8
    It’s been propelled in the U.S. by foundation and government money, and by pockets of educators who develop the resources on their own time, or on school time as part of an institutional effort.
    “Free” is the appeal (except labor); a challenge is maintaining OER over time and getting the resources to combine neatly with other digital content a school may already have purchased.
    Examples: K-12 OER Collaborative of 12 U.S. states, New York State’s EngageNY curriculum in math and English language arts (may not technically be OER, but free to use).
    Upshot: Expect mixing of any content you create, in unexpected ways. Prepare to play nicely.
  • Screen 9
    Third development: Freemium.
    Products or services that have a useful version that is free forever, with an upsell for more scale (say, from individual classroom to school district level) or for more features.
    Moderate trend.
  • Screen 10
    This trend has its roots in the long-time concept of consumer or business freeware or shareware, brought to education by savvy startups either wholly aimed at schools (like Schoology) or that crossed over from consumer (like Evernote).
    Gates Foundation study results find 28% of teachers don’t pay for the digital products they use; they’re free.
    Once considered a fad, freemium moved to trend after some school districts stopped resisting the idea that teachers could identify, try, and recommend good products – and bought what teachers were using.
  • Screen 11
    This trend has a downside that may make not make it a long-term one: Startups count on having enough paying customers to support the free ones.
    And purely “free” products make their money another way.
    As these pigs can attest.
    There is a danger in educators relying on “free forever” products if the company isn’t solvent. It’s only free as long as the company is in business, and that could disrupt classrooms and students in a very bad way if they go under.
    Upshot: To penetrate teacher influencers, use freemium. But have a plan to make money, too.
  • Screen 12
    Fourth development: Student data privacy in the U.S.
    Protecting digital student data gathered by edtech products through security, policy, and practice.
    Not just edtech, but as consumer apps also enter the classroom .
    And pieces of the data persist across 12, or even 20, years of formal education.
    Strong trend.
  • Screen 13
    Big concern – by parents – is that student data isn’t under control of the student, that bad data will be hard to correct and follow students, and student data will be sold for marketing purposes.
    Educators see the value in connecting data systems to personalize learning, but the industry has been slow to respond.
    It’s only a moderate trend if you go with the edtech industry’s Student Privacy Pledge signed by 150 companies since last fall from the Software and Information Industry and Future of Privacy Forum.
    Other organizations are stepping in.
    Future of Privacy Forum released a guide to help parents understand student data privacy policies and legal protections, including for kids under 13.
    Nonprofit Common Sense Media is setting up a system to rate privacy policies of edtech products used by schools, to be formally announced at the end of this month.
    And then there is legislation.
  • Screen 14
    Several strong laws passed last year, including the key state of California, according to the Data Quality Campaign.
  • Screen 15
    And this year has released the floodgates of state laws.
    Plus there is proposed federal legislation based on a newer law in California that’s now considered a national model.
    You don’t want to be on the wrong side of this issue, or ignore it.
    This has moved from moderate to strong trend in less than a year.
    Upshot: Understand the laws. Put your privacy policy in English. Be specific. Get out in front.
  • Screen 16
    Fifth development: Edtech investment bubble, especially in the U.S.
    Too much investor money chasing too many similar or bad ideas.
    Trend.
  • Screen 17
    For the first time, edtech globally exceeded two billion dollars in venture investment in 2014, for all levels of education tech.
    Figures track from EdSurge, Ambient Insight, and CB Insights.
    Even stronger in Q1 2015, according to both EdSurge and Ambient Insight.
    It’s still a small amount compared to the investment in a single Uber.
    But the pace of increase is attracting stupid money, mostly at seed stage and late stages.
    The debate is about whether the bubble is limited to certain segments or is over-inflating all of education technology equally
    And how long it will last
    Upshot: Beware froth. Especially in your venture funded competition that might do stupid things if they get desperate.
  • Screen 18
    Sixth development: Betting on a single device to dominate, either in one country or globally.
    First fad.
  • Screen 19
    Reality: the cool device always is changing.
    In 2010 when it was introduced, it was the iPad. Huge for three years.
    In 2013, that began to change. Chromebook first introduced in 2011, began to take off when more companies made them.
    Futuresource Consulting, in a March webcast and subsequent interview and report:
    iPad sales are leveling off in U.S. and Chromebooks have overtaken them in education;
    Chromebooks still picking up, but expected to level off in a year or so;
    Chromebooks not a factor outside of North America.
    Other reports from IDC and Gartner support elements of this.
    Upshot: Device brands, and their closed ecosystems, are fads and will likely change in 3-5 years.
    Expect something light, inexpensive with at least a 10” screen and keyboard. Don’t lock yourself into a specific brand to run your product.
  • Screen 20
    Number 7: MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.
    Free classes held online at huge scale that are open to anyone.
    Faddish in K12 and higher education.
  • Screen 21
    After a burst of success with computer science topics, companies trying to make money from MOOCs have conveniently begun dropping words from the acronym.
    Mostly “massive” (limiting enrollment to a specific institution or company) and “open” (by charging to take part or protecting the instructional content).
    But it’s faddish, not a complete failure.
    While MOOCs haven’t led to higher education’s doom, they are slowly growing in a linear way, not exponential.
    Great study of HarvardX and MITx courses over time, explained by Justin Reich.
    They’re changing how some in-person instruction is done.
    They’ve being used as part of blended courses.
    Most important: They’re casting light on the potential of OC, Online Courses.
    Upshot: Your product may be part of a blended environment using chunks of what were MOOCs.
  • Screen 22
    Development number eight: digital Open Badges.
    Portable digital graphics with embedded data that represent a skill or achievement and can be easily and securely shared by the earner, then confirmed by an institution or employer, as micro-credentials.
    Faddish in K12, slow trend in higher education. But one area of promise for teachers.
  • Screen 23
    Launched by the Mozilla Foundation, Open Badges have failed to take off in K-12 schools as much more than digital gold stars for motivation during school and for after-school activities.
    “Chunking” and “stacking” individual accomplishments into, say, a degree or resume is better understood, for adults.
    Open Badges spec 1.1 just released last month; easier to find by search, more data fields.
  • Screen 24
    Where there is traction in K-12 education is to recognize teacher professional development, due to efforts by schools of education
    and organizations like Digital Promise, an education nonprofit created by the U.S. Congress.
    Upshot: No K-12 traction in U.S. for students yet. But there is for teacher professional development. Consider Open Badges for educators who master your products, not for students.
  • Screen 25
    Ninth and final development: In the U.S., the Common Core State Standards.
    They cover what K-12 students should know in mathematics and English language arts, and only those two subjects.
    Modest but continuing trend.
  • Screen 26
    The political hot potato is not losing as much ground as the news reports would have you believe. Has dropped from 46 states, when introduced in 2010, to 44 states, five years later (Minnesota half-adopted them).
    Even some states that have repealed it – Indiana in particular – kept the standards largely unchanged, and gave them a new name.
    The Common Core testing consortia tests have been in far more danger and are an easier target for repeal. The number of states willing to give those tests dropped to about 30 in 2014-2015.
  • Screen 27
    In this graphic from the National Conference of State Legislatures, green means still onboard with Common Core.
    Based on my count, two more states will leave for sure, and two more are considering it.
    But that still leaves, likely worst-case, 40 states in the next 3-5 years, plus Washington, D.C.
    Or for those who have trouble with math: 80% of U.S. states.
    Upshot: By any other name... Common Core is the U.S. education standards environment. Near-term.
  • Screen 28
    So let’s see how closely you are paying attention
    Biggest trends? Biggest fads?
  • Screen 29
  • Screen 30
    Since we have a few minutes, I want to go beyond trends and fads, and leave you with five bonus myths about edtech that the industry has to overcome.
    These are myths that strike fear into the hearts of teachers and learners, the focus of this year’s conference.
    Myths you need to overcome.
  • Screen 31
    Technology replaces teachers. (No. It changes their role.)
  • Screen 32
    Tech alone can solve all of education’s problems. (No. Poverty, inequity, parenting are not technology issues.)
  • Screen 33
    Tech is used the same way in all levels and kinds of education. (Markets in education are very different: K-12, direct to parent, higher ed, lifelong learning, corporate training.)
  • Screen 34
    Digital materials will replace everything, even if it works now. (No. Paper is cheap, portable, and can reach everyone.)
  • Screen 35
    Tech in classrooms is unproven. (No. Computer-based edtech goes at least as far back as 1960 and PLATO, and works when applied intelligently.)
  • Screen 36
    Technology replaces teachers. (It changes their role.)
    Tech alone can solve all of education’s problems. (Poverty, inequity, parenting are not technology issues.)
    Tech is used the same way in all levels and kinds of education. (K-12, direct to parent, higher ed, corporate training lifelong learning.)
    Digital materials will replace everything, even if it works now. (Paper is cheap, portable, and can reach everyone.)
    Tech in classrooms is unproven. (Computer-based edtech goes at least as far back as 1960 and PLATO, and works when applied intelligently.)
  • Screen 37
  • Screen 38
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