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Friday, April 12, 2019

Ed + Tech = ???

Ed + Tech = ???
EdTech is as old as Ed and Tech.
For about hundred years, as soon as an invention was made, someone started promoting it as a tool for reshaping education.
That happened with radio, television, tape recorders, video tape recorders, computers, the Internet, tablets, smart phones, and now the latest fad is AI.
Of course, there are always some combinations, too.
Nowadays, a technical part (using specific devices, establishing physical connectivity) becomes less attractive as writing software (programs, apps).
What does Tech offer to Ed?
For decades, education had, has and will have the same set of functions: content preparation, management and delivery; class observations and management (student-content interactions, student-student interactions, student-teacher interactions), assessing student’s progress, assessing teacher’s efficacy; and then there are levels of a single institution, of a district, of a state, and then there are administrators, parents, politicians, hence there are great many processes that may be augmented by the use of a device or devices.
An EdTech entrepreneur approaches someone from the target audience and explains how his/her invention will change the life of students/teachers/parents/administrators.
"Hi, we have a solution! Do you happen to have a problem our solution solves? No? Thank you for your time."
Then eventually the sale is made.
Then things don’t change much.
Then a startup goes bankrupt.
Then another startup is born and the circle of life and death repeats itself.
Not all EdTech startups fail.
But almost all.
Why do so many EdTech startups fail?
I had a piece on this matter: Why Do Many EdTech Startups Fail? Really!
But in one sentence, the answer is: EdTech startups know a lot about Tech and do not know anything about Ed.
Well, anything important.
I saw a publication that stated that about 40 % of purchased apps are not being used afterwards.
Why would a professional paid money for something and not used it afterwards?
There are different reasons.
There are people who are naturally curious and just love trying new things.
They tried it; it did not do what they wanted, they dumped it.
There are people who want to do a career, and for that they need to look “innovative”.
Those people do not care about what they purchase, because they do not do it for making their work better; they do it for having a better look. If they don’t care about using it, they don’t use it.
There are people who have been forced in using some new “innovation”.
Since they did not want it in the first place, they will not use it; the best they will do is faking using it.
And those are just the major reasons.
But if there is no real demand for an innovation, that innovation will not ever make it into a breakthrough technology.
And eventually it will die.
And the startup that developed it will die, too.
But a new one will be born.
Who knows, this time it may be “the one”!

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