The Business of Education for Better or Worse

In the top Ed-Tech trends of 2012 Audrey Watters writes about many issues but the issue I am concerned with is the issue of the business of Ed-Tech which is a rabbit hole of many issues that hit home for an educator

In the review Watters begins with a brief introduction to the buisness of Ed-Tech by providing a number of examples.  She is concerned not only with education technology but more so the business of education and the growing trends that surround them.  Watters focuses on the particular trend of education technology start up companies – “Clearly education technology entrepreneurship exploded this year”.  Watters follows up this statement by explaining the reason for this explosion, such as the low cost of business start up, the rising cost of public education and consumer call for education technology among others.

Watters introduces a handful of education entrepreneurs who were successful this year.  Of particular interest are entities like Coursera which offers online classes from some of the countries best universities, Khan Academy which offers users the opportunity learn many subjects for free and which is a site designed for educators to buy/sell/share a variety of resources.  By following the links in this section Watters really points to the entrepreneurship in education.

In the next section Watters details the issue of education technology investments and this issue really hit home as a college student and future educator. Watters looks at the investment numbers comparing the internet boom of the late 90’s to the present numbers.  It reveals that there was a boom in ’99, a boom in ’11 with a lull in the years between.  This suggests that education technology is on the rise and is very profitable for investors.

The issue I found interesting in this section was a point Watters made about how a large number of investments are being made to Ed-Tech start up companies as opposed to funding for public education.  Watters  uses the example of  California in which the state is freezing enrollment of 470,000 students into public universities. As a student and future educator this is a big concern of mine because it points to the trend of limited access to higher education in the future and it is also discouraging that investments are being steered toward business rather than public education.

Cal State Freezes Student Enrollment

This is a trend students and educators in many communities may have to face in the very near future. To me this is the most relevant issue in Watters review, on one hand you have a boom in education technology business and on the other hand the investments into these businesses is taking away from funding for education, therefore this boom in education technology business is like a double edge sword and it is up to us to decide which path to pursue.

Overall I found Watters review of this topic to be very eye opening, I came to understand the elements of entrepreneurship with regard to the business of educational technology and just how diverse technology is influencing education.  Yet my biggest conclusion on the issue of the business in Ed-Tech is where the funding is coming from, who its going to and who is getting left out.  I feel that technology in the classroom is the future but it should evolve around learning as opposed to money making.






2 thoughts on “The Business of Education for Better or Worse

  1. Education is evolving fast with the help of technology. Many resourceful teachers and Business owners are taking notice of this and are trying to earn profits by developing new educational tecnologies. This is good for the teachers and student in someways but I agree with you, Anthony Omor, it is a double edge sword. Investment into such businesses shouldn’t take away funding from the education system.

  2. I agree that it is a cause for concern that investment dollars are being funneled into private education based ventures, but on the same token, there is a benefit. Business are designed to be lean (if they don’t, they close shop). They need to deliver on their corporate goals unlike the government run public school system. The public school system has massive amounts of overhead in which the end goal is often forgotten. For example an investment in the school infrastructure or introduction to computer programming in the lower grades has yet to have been made. This would be step 1 in a corporate run education venture. Bottom line is…Students will always win because they are the customers.

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