Technology is disrupting schools, from K-12 through to higher education and adult learning. Education delivered through the internet (e-learning) is commonplace while areas such as mobile learning (or m-learning) are becoming more prevalent as mobile devices proliferate. These resources will help education entrepreneurs understand their market and the potential for technology to impact education systems and the education industry.
This page consists of the following sections:
I. Business of education
These links point to funding and mentoring resources specifically for education startups.
Education technology accelerators and incubators
In addition to general incubators and accelerators, education-focused or social venture programs also exist. The following are based in the United States and accept international applicants. Be sure to also check out our general listing of Accelerators and incubators.
Good Company Ventures: This incubator for social entrepreneurs runs a three-month program in Philadelphia.
Imagine K-12: Imagine K-12 is an education-focused incubator in Silicon Valley that operates a three-month program. In 2016, Imagine K-12 joined Y Combinator to create an education vertical for startups within Y Combinator.
Unreasonable Institute: This institute offers in person programs (ranging from 5 days to 5 weeks) to help social entrepreneurs scale up to meaningfully impact the lives of at least one million people each.
Education technology funding
The following investment leads focus on education ventures. Be sure to check out the Startup Library page Funding your startup for general funding information.
AngelList: This is a list of angel investors interested in funding education ventures.
Graduate School of Open Education Business Plan Competition: Milken-Penn’s GSE business plan competition is open to any international education entrepreneur.
LearnCapital: LearnCapital is a venture capital firm focused exclusively on funding education entrepreneurs.
New Schools Venture Fund: New Schools Venture Fund is a non-profit venture philanthropy firm that raises philanthropic capital to support education entrepreneurs.
Rethink Education: Rethink Education invests in technology for learning.
II. Education technology trends
The following reports take a broad look at education technology―examining trends, opportunities and challenges in K-12, higher education and adult learning.
Center for Digital Education: The Center for Digital Education is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. Check out their special reports.
Christensen Institute: Christensen Institute is a think tank that applies Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation to develop and promote solutions in education, healthcare, and economic prosperity. They highlight examples of these innovations in reports and research papers.
New Media Consortium (NMC): The New Media Consortium is an international community of experts in education technology. The Horizon Report is an annual report, which NMC publishes in conjunction with the Educause Learning Initiative, that discusses the top emerging technologies, trends and challenges that will significantly affect pre-college education over the next five years.
Digital Readiness Gap (Pew Internet, 2016): This report on digital readiness looks at American adults and their willingness to use digital tools for learning.
Ed Tech Map: This tool provides a visual representation of ventures currently operating in the education technology market.
New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology (World Economic Forum, 2015) (PDF): Education needs to address the 21st-century skills fully in order to prepare students for the evolving job market. This report examines the pressing issue of skills gaps and explores ways to address these gaps through technology.
K–12 Education: Opportunities and Strategies for Ontario Entrepreneurs (MaRS, 2011): This market research report gives an overview of the education system in Ontario. It covers themes from the reality of technology usage in classrooms, funding structures and collaborating with diverse stakeholders.
EMERGING AREAS OF EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY
E-Learning or online learning is education delivered through the internet. These links include snapshots on the state of e-learning in various jurisdictions.
International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL): iNACOL facilitates collaboration, advocacy and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning. They also publish research.
State of the Nation: K-12 E-learning in Canada, 2016 Edition (PDF): This report provides summaries of online learning in each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, looking at the level of K-12 distance education activity and regulations in each province or territory.
2015 Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States (Babson Survey Research Group, 2015) (PDF): This annual report covers the state of online learning in higher education in the US.
Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (Evergreen Education Group, 2015): This annual report provides an overview of the latest policies, practices and trends affecting online learning programs across the US.
M-Learning refers to mobile learning, or learning through the use of a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. M-Learning includes education apps.
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop: This centre conducts and publishes research on digital media and learning. Recent research includes:
- Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families (2016): This report explores the current use of digital technology in low-income homes to help encourage educational opportunities for school-age children.
- Getting a Read on the App Stores: A Market Scan and Analysis of Children’s Literacy Apps (2015): This report looks at trends among language and literacy apps for young children and provides recommendations for developers working to create child-focused apps.
- Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens (2015): This report explores how parents and teachers can help children link reading and digital media to increase knowledge, skills and critical thinking.
Education publishing refers to electronic textbook for classrooms. To provide education content to schools, startups must navigate the interests of multiple stakeholders, including the government, school boards, teachers and students. Visit the E-Publishing page in the Startup Library for additional resources.
International Publishers Association—Educational Publishing: This website provides information on educational publishing with its Educational Publishers Forum, Policy & Reports section and recent news articles.
Association of American Publishers: The APP offers sections on Pre-K to 12 and Higher Education publishers, presenting information on topical programs, outreach initiatives, special events and awards programs.
III. Education technology statistics
Ontario Ministry of Education: The Ontario Ministry of Education website publishes information about the Ontario school system. These resources provide a wide range of information:
People for Education: People for Education is a parent-led organization that produces annual reports on Ontario schools. One report of particular interest would be “Digital Learning in Ontario Schools: The ‘new normal’” which covers the increased use of education technology in Ontario schools.
If you are selling your product in Ontario, the following groups may also have information that will be of use to you:
- Ontario Public School Boards’ Association
- Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee (OSAPAC): This website details how school boards establish priorities for software licences. Be sure to read “Information for vendors.”
- Ontario Student Trustees’ Association
Statistics Canada – Education: Statistics Canada collects and publishes information on education, training and learning. The reports listed below provide useful education data.
Canada Year Book—Education, Training and Learning: The annual Canada Year Book charts key trends and indicators in the nation’s economy, population, society and environment. To download the full education section in PDF format, click on the PDF version to the right.
Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective (2016): This report presents data on 13 education indicators covering the following:
- the output of educational institutions and the impact of learning
- financial resources invested in education
- access to education, participation and progression
- the learning environment and organization of schools
Measuring Up: Canadian Results of the OECD PISA Study (2015) (PDF): This report provides pan-Canadian results of the PISA 2015 assessment of reading, mathematics and science.
The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC): CMEC is an intergovernmental body consisting of Canada’s Ministers of Education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and publishes research.
Back to School…by the Numbers (2014): This page presents a brief summary of data points related to students and education in Canada.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): NCES is a federal entity that collects and analyzes education data in the United States. The following are useful resources they make available:
- Digest of Education Statistics is a compilation of education statistics from pre-kindergarten through to graduate school.
- Fast Facts consists of selected education statistics with links to even more data.
- Projections of Education Statistics to 2023 provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, expenditures and more.
- Tables and Figures: This search tool lets you search all tables, figures and charts published in NCES publications.
Nation’s Report Card: The Nation’s Report Card informs the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States.
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC): ERIC is an online library of education research and information. Sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, ERIC provides access to education literature to support the use of educational research and information to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making and research. Abstracts are available for free. Access to full articles requires a subscription.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): UNESCO’s work on education involves the collection of international education statistics. Education statistics covering more than 200 countries and territories are available.
3rd Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (UNESCO, 2016) (PDF): This report from UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning examines adult education around the world.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): As part of its policy work, the OECD collects and publishes statistics on a variety of topics, including education:
IV. Tracking latest developments in education technology
These websites and events will help keep entrepreneurs up-to-date with the latest developments in education technology.
Education technology news and blogs
2¢ Worth: This education blog is written by David Warlick, a long-time educator and writer.
edSurge: The edSurge newsletter is great for keeping up to date on the education startup ecosystem. The weekly publication includes information on deadlines for funding programs and key industry initiatives.
edtech Digest: edtech Digest is a blog focused on education technology that features “movers and shakers” in the industry.
Getting Smart: This online community focused on innovations in learning was co-founded by Tom Vander Ark, author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and director of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
Tony Bates: Tony Bates is an e-learning and distance education consultant. His blog contains a large collection of e-learning and distance education resources.
The Wired Campus (The Chronicle of Higher Education): This blog from The Chronicle of Higher Education covers the latest news on technology and higher education.
Education technology events
Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA: This organization represents and supports developers of educational software applications, digital content, online learning services and related technologies across the K-20 sector. See their Events page for upcoming events.
Games + Learning + Society (GLS) Conference: This University of Wisconsin-Madison event covers video games and learning.
ISTE Conference & Expo: This annual conference is held by the International Society for Technology in Education. This association is for educators and education leaders working to advance excellence in learning and teaching through innovative and effective uses of technology.
Startup Weekend EDU: Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. Startup Weekend Edu creates products for the education and learning markets.