“Educators are very busy,” says Evan Clark, co-founder and director of educational content provider ClickView, which launched nearly 20 years ago. Clark, who also advises other early-stage edtech startups, believes companies have little chance of widespread adoption across schools unless they address core teaching requirements or weaknesses that teachers regularly encounter.
“I am skeptical about the vast majority of new education technology products entering the space, where I know the million tasks and the task teachers already have to do,” he says. “Saving teachers’ time continues to be the recipe for success in educational technology.”
According to Pivot’s Bickerstaff, just as teachers, who are short of time, are driven by student success, so should investors.
“It can be an educational process for those interested in educational technology because measuring success is not limited to dollars,” she says. It could be easy to think of [investing in edtech] You will operate as other genres, businesses, or sectors. This does not happen. There are different types of schools, contexts, and societies. “
This is a message echoed by Mark Rohald, CEO of Cluey, who founded the company to address gaps in student learning outcomes in an “industrial model” of education.
“It’s not a quick-fire investment. Things take education time to change the connection.” If you’re going to ask something, you won’t know the value you’re creating until after a reasonable amount of time has passed.
“It is not a transaction like retail where you go online and promote your product and sell it or not. The result is not just payment for service but gains in learning and gains in optimization and utilization of services in the long run.”
Canopy Study, an AI-powered app that automates exams and diagnostic tests for students, is the latest educational technology startup to set up shop, attracting a $1.1 million investment from venture capital firm Folklore earlier this month.
Dan Fleming, an investor in Folklore, says the pandemic “has exposed a lot of weaknesses in education and showed us that it’s still in the early stages of technology adoption.”
“This is not just about integrating Zoom into the classroom; we are talking about technology that is reshaping the industry and the philosophy on how we learn.”
“The sector is still very ready for disruption,” he says.
Education is a slow-moving industry and often difficult to innovate in part because of its size and bureaucracy, but also because of the huge impact it can have, according to EduGrowth’s Linke.
“My point is that education really has to be a slow, creative space because you’re dealing with people’s learning, and what their lives are going to be like,” he says. No parent in the world wants their child in a classroom that is experimental.”
“You can’t get into educational technology because you want an easy path to making money,” Bickerstaff admits. But she is surprised by the growth in the social impact of investing in space.
“This motivates us to create the best possible thing, so that becomes the value.”
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