If anyone can help divine what happens next for EdTech, Mark Schneiderman can. As the industry’s chief policy advocate for 15 years, his analysis is important for both executives and educators. In this episode, Mark breaks down his recent provocative post, where he provides a 3-point framework for the future:
The COVID-19 Disruptor
First, it is important to understand the evolving environmental impact. The K12 edtech sector has experienced quite a journey over several decades. In recent years, we made the fundamental shift from asking “if” technology to instead a focus on “how.” In these last few but very long three months, we have lived years’ worth of emotions as we moved through the stages of concern, excitement, fear, and opportunity about education and technology in the age of COVID-19. As a result, we are now at the cusp of what could be a generational leap for the sector.
COVID-19 Impact on School (Technology) Budgets
I expect that increased demand for remote learning and edtech will be outweighed by the difficult equation of other increased COVID-related costs plus decreased revenues and tighter budgets. In this COVID-19 budget environment, schools will again be forced to achieve more with less. Technology budgets may grow marginally, but certainly not nearly in proportion to the shift to remote or hybrid learning might otherwise warrant or suggest.
The Opportunity and Necessity of Industry Maturity
As a result, I expect many of the (too) many edtech products will ultimately lose customers and revenue and prematurely exit the market. I’m concerned for my many industry friends and colleagues who have dedicated their careers to the mission of student success. But it is my hope and expectation that those surviving companies will grow and, more importantly, grow their impact.