According to Tony, EdTech has been on the rise over the past decade as K-12 schools gradually integrated a greater degree of technology into their curriculums. More widely implemented broadband connections, cheap chromebooks and other technologies helped both students and teachers pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in education systems and then adapt accordingly.
As for businesses that built around selling equipment to schools, this pandemic has not been very kind to them. “It was a system shock,” said Tony. “It was a big short-term blow to companies that were relying on those deals with schools…this procurement cycle is very key to your survival year after year.”
As for online education and micro-credentialing platforms, business is better than ever. In fact, for some companies it’s maybe even too good, as Tony noted with an anecdote about Khan Academy seeking more funding for the increased server costs associated with higher traffic.
The two went on to talk about other challenges, such as education-parallel industries that have struggled, or failed completely, in the wake of the pandemic, such as ride-sharing services and networking services for teachers and substitute teachers.
As for the future of EdTech in a, hopefully, post-pandemic world, Tony had this to say: “No matter what returning to school looks like, I think that, for everyone, for the education system, this whole experience has kind of forced them to…better prepare for remote and virtual learning solutions.”