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Why Innovators Can’t Get a Seat at the Ed Tech Table

It’s official. American public schools are now the world’s largest purchaser of iPads. And we thought that award went to moms who just want to get the laundry done.

In 2016, it’s no longer possible to argue that the age of digital education has yet to arrive. Walk into any classroom across the country and you’ll see teachers and students engaging with and learning from digital content. In fiscal year 2015 alone, American public schools spent almost $11 billion investing in educational technology for K-12 students . According to the Center for Digital Education, per-student spending for K-12 is projected to increase 18% to $13,200 by 2022-23.

With all this money raining down on education technology, surely school leaders are in touch with the innovators creating the products, right?

Wrong.

There is a serious disconnect between the innovators building products to boost student outcomes and the school-district officials and school leaders with access to the purse strings.

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Last week’s ASU GSV conference brought this reality home for me. Out in San Diego, I was captivated by the flurry of innovative ed-tech products on display — apps as far as the eye could see. Yet what resonated most were the conversations with entrepreneurs about how they’re rolling out their products in schools, how they’re partnering with schools to ensure that they’re aware of the niche that their product fills and how to use the product to best educate students.

“Ancient procurement and monetary policies” are what make it difficult to bring great ed-tech into the K-12 space, according to Adrian Fenty, the former mayor of Washington, DC. Our children are in great need of equipment for the digital age, but decisions about their learning are still regulated by outdated, inflexible laws and people who were raised

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Why Innovators Can’t Get a Seat at the EdTech Table

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It’s official. American public schools are now the world’s largest purchaser of iPads. And we thought that award went to moms who just want to get the laundry done.

In 2016, it’s no longer possible to argue that the age of digital education has yet to arrive. Walk into any classroom across the country and you’ll see teachers and students engaging with and learning from digital content. In fiscal year 2015 alone, American public schools spent almost $11 billion investing in educational technology for K-12 students. According to the Center for Digital Education, per-student spending for K-12 is projected to increase 18% to $13,200 by 2022-23.

With all this money raining down on education technology, surely school leaders are in touch with the innovators creating the products, right?

Wrong.

There is a serious disconnect between the innovators building products to boost student outcomes and the school-district officials and school leaders with access to the purse strings.

Last week’s ASU GSV conference brought this reality home for me. Out in San Diego, I was captivated by the flurry of innovative ed-tech products on display — apps as far as the eye could see. Yet what resonated most were the conversations with entrepreneurs about how they’re rolling out their products in schools, how they’re partnering with schools to ensure that they’re aware of the niche that their product fills and how to use the product to best educate students.

“Ancient procurement and monetary policies” are what make it difficult to bring great ed-tech into the K-12 space, according to Adrian Fenty, the former mayor of Washington, DC. Our children are in great need of equipment for the digital age, but decisions about their learning are still regulated by outdated, inflexible laws and people who were raised

Read More …

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4 Things Every Ed Tech Investor Needs to Know

Did you miss the 2016 ASU GSV Summit, which the New York Times calls the “must-attend event for education technology investors”? No worries — CER staff has you covered. Here are our top takeaways, from Brenda Hafera, Michelle Tigani, and Ted Allen.asugsv

1. Condoleezza Rice Reminds Us Why Education Is Essential

Condoleezza Rice delivered a superb keynote. She asked us to reflect on why an educated populace is so fundamental to maintaining our country’s national and the American Dream. The answer: because America is the experiment in self-government, education is crucial to our ethos. An uneducated populace is unable to govern itself, and therefore fails the demands of republican government. Smart words from a smart lady.

2. The Field of Education Is Ripe for Disruption

Presentations from tech innovators demonstrated how education could be the next Silicon Valley. These entrepreneurs highlighted the disruptive power of technology and its potential to transform this field. While policy initiatives can face pushback from special interest groups, invention and innovation aren’t subject to legislative approval. An idea is able to take root and shatter existing boundaries without asking permission.

3. Why Education Needs More Experimenters

Why is it that every field — from medicine to money — advances by trying new things, yet when it comes to education, all we hear are excuses why X can’t be done, why Y is impossible? This is exactly why ed tech is so important: because it compels us to embrace a mindset of experimentation. After all, progress doesn’t take place in a vacuum; it needs an environment that welcomes rather than rejects innovation.

4. The Essence of Innovation Isn’t What You Think It Is

Last week I met a thousand nerds who didn’t need data to sell their dream to me. Sure, it’s there,

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