• Jolie Radunich

EDTECHWEEK 2022 TAUGHT ME THAT THIS COMMUNITY NEEDS TO KNOW THEIR WORTH.


I’m used to crossing my fingers and hoping to hear at least ONE ed tech-themed talk, whenever I register for education or tech events.

Attending EdTechWeek 2022 was an event unlike any other. The conference took place at the Times Center and other hotspots around NYC. Every single event was at the corner of education AND technology.

These takeaways from EdTechWeek 2022 support the need for more spaces dedicated to discussing the groundbreaking, essential, and at times controversial work that goes on in the industry.

“Going to school for school's sake is no longer enough”

In a Q&A with NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks, he called the competition our young people will face in the world so steep, that we “need everyone in the game.” What resonated the most with me were his most straightforward takes on innovation in education:

  • We need to connect math and science to the real world.

  • Balanced literacy hasn’t worked, we must return to phonics.

  • School is boring for many of our students and there’s a difference between schooling and educating.

It got me thinking about the potential ed tech has to alleviate these issues.

E-learning is here to support you through all stages of your life

K-12: There’s such a wide net of learning goals for this age group that it’s difficult to summarize the market trends. Some major themes at EdTechWeek:

  • The need to get students reading by 3rd grade.

  • Kids must be exposed to the power of possibility.

  • ABCD doesn’t give kids true choice over what they want to learn.

Note that these themes go beyond a list of vague buzzwords like SEL and personalized learning.

Higher ed: Efforts for these learners are narrower, largely helping young adults figure out what wakes them up at 2am — and how to make THAT into a career.

Adult ed: Skill development sounds like a code phrase for adult education. It looks like the alternative pathway to a high-growth career that doesn’t require postgrad degrees, or any degree for that matter: microcredentials.

Ed tech is making waves, big and small

When national ed tech policy began in the 90s, the Office of Ed Tech was born. At the conference, one of the office’s team members spoke about the meetings OET has with ed tech developers to exchange ideas.

This federal government office “establishes the vision for how technology can be useds to transform teaching and learning.” The inspiring mission statement doesn’t make up for the snail’s pace influence of national policy. But conversations should always be welcomed, and are a start.

Hearing the impact of rising startups makes it feel like improving education outcomes are happening that much faster.

Christine Kennedy’s company offers families an alternative to public transit for their children. The comforting environment of the RideAlongNow experience primes students for their day at school, with accommodations for introverted students and students on the spectrum. Parents follow their child’s ride and get relief knowing where they are.

RideAlong is so well-requested that one of the startup’s greatest challenges is keeping up with customer demand.

Looking ahead: Expanding conversations around ed tech

Over the last few years, ed tech has taken on a larger role in the lives of students and educators.

For as long as the industry’s existed, it hasn’t been without controversy as issues like a lack of product evidence and teacher discouragement has led to pushback against its use in the classroom.

Acknowledging both the progress and setbacks in ed tech is the strongest case for creating more spaces. If we’re going to make useful, transformational products, we need more forums to talk about what’s going on.


 

The Edtech Marketing Effect takes a look at what goes into amplifying learning solutions that are changing the face of education.

If you want insight from someone breaking into ed tech marketing, let’s connect. You can reach me at jolie.radunich@nyu.edu and learn more about my work at jolieradunich.com and on LinkedIn.