A prickly path towards integration for EdTech


By now, most people that own a computer have heard of one or two EdTech companies. EdTech, despite being an industry that’s often not as glamorous as subjects in other technological fields such as machine learning or space exploration, still stands as an important piece of how humans normalize their interactions with the exponential nature of technology.

A Brief History of EdTech Tools

Khan Academy, an initially individual venture, along with many universities like MIT, began offering basic lectures on important topics. The instruction that these sites offer, at no cost, for topics like engineering, algebra, statistics, calculus, chemistry, and so forth, helped jumpstart the possibility of leveraging online resources to aid struggling, isolated students. Since then, other sites tailored to helping students with specific subjects or questions, such as StackExchange for coders, have erupted in popularity.

Despite the significance of education on a society, it was reported that the EdTech industry received only about $1.45B in funding last year. Compare this space travel, a tech sector with much less feasible prospects along with longer term goals, which received $3.9B in private investment in the same year.

Being the flower against the wall, it’s no surprise that most EdTech companies seeking to integrate their service with more traditional schooling systems, fail because they either lack the funding or simply due to some fundamental incompatibility. Many new technologies are too small and have not received enough testing to prove that such technologies would be able to function robustly given a variety of unexpected circumstances.

The Problems Facing EdTech as a Whole

Learning Assembly, a national network dedicated to piloting new EdTech solutions and learning strategies, reported that only 33% of parents found that the child’s school did an excellent job at integration a specific technology with a that child’s school. That’s not a terrible statistic when accounting for the lack of proof many newer EdTech methods have for the viability of integration.

As a simple example, consider an EdTech integration that allows teachers students to submit their answers using an interactive screen. Ignoring why such an implementation would be useful, those attempting to integrate that technology would require a number of contingency plans.

“What if the integration fails due to some technical error one day” and “What happens to the students who find themselves handicapped because they do not learn best when using such an interface or device?” are two questions that can apply to, and possibly ruin, any EdTech integration’s chances of success.

Other common arguments are the idea that the end users, the students, are too removed from the decision-making process of EdTech companies and their executives to be able to craft an effective tool that will also not become obsolete within a few years. Some even argue that many EdTech products fail because they do not even fulfill a specific role or niche that would benefit learning in a school environment.

Eliminating Roadblocks to Integration in EdTech

Just because barriers exist does not mean that reliable and effective integration of EdTech tools is impossible in the near future. There already exists a wealth of literature in a number of sociological and psychological fields what are the most effective learning methods observed in the classroom. Concepts such as spaced repetition – where retention increases as a student is exposed to new material over consistent periods of time – or social facilitation have started to emerge with stronger evidence of their causal impact on learning.

EdTech companies should strive to succeed as a marketplace before attempting a large scale integration with academic institutions. The market functions as one of the best ways to weed out and optimize which tools work and which fall flat, and many EdTech companies work vigorously to examine leads to the best learning outcomes for their clients.

Going back to the example of taking a page out of the existing literature, the rising EdTech company Studypool utilizes a number of feedback mechanisms to help maximize the effectiveness of its unique microtutoring philosophy. Microtutoring bases its rationale on the impact of spaced learning by limiting the communication and sessions between students and tutors so that only that most essential and pertinent information is communicated.

Due this limitation to how frequently students can interact with tutors, the effect mirrors spaced repetition as students must return and recap with their tutor on where they left off. Again, while successful in the marketplace for helping students crack concepts such as chemistry, EdTech integration with a physical curriculum and a localized set of students may still introduce a lot of uncertainty, even when they employ well-established models of learning.

Author Bio: Darshan Shah is a young entrepreneur, digital marketer and blogger. He’s founder of TheWebReach.com and providing Digital Marketing services. He loves to help people to grow their business worldwide through his digital marketing knowledge. He’s enthusiastic about creating blogs and writes creative content for the readers.