3 Reasons there will be no lifeboats in EdTech.

The evolution of technology might be attributed to the S-curve. The S-curve term refers to the dominant shape of the growth of revenues and profits at a successful business, starting small, accelerating upwards through a period of rapid growth, and eventually tapering off as the market becomes saturated and the business matures. This shape of the evolution of the business resembles an S, not unlike the pattern an innovation follows as it matures.In the past, let’s say 1995-2005, educators had a decade to figure out what a computer was for and how to get about the Internet. There wasn’t exactly a great deal of new money or new pressure to do this – nor any real incentive, but there was time. Then we had the money, people started getting on stage and talking about the wisdom of the crowd, but goodness! how time flew. Now the money’s leaving, the songs the same, and for a vast number of kids – the delivery truck never arrived.

Today the S-Curve doesn’t last a decade – it lasts 12 months. Improvements in technology are driven increasingly on the basis of

  1. competition (the printed book verses the mobile screen)
  2. the distinctiveness of capabilities (the ability for others to to imitate the tool or how to use the tool)
  3. supply of talent (who can make these things for the organization).

What happens now is that these things rise and taper off much sooner than large organisations can cope with (or notice) without the switched on staff.  It also makes it more difficult for those who are not ‘savvy’ to leap from one technology to another. Avoiding it or sticking with something more comfortable will work only until the business falls over or someone rationalises the workforce (or the industry) with a new technology that has these 3 qualities.

There is no guarantee bricks and mortar schools will survive where bricks and mortar business failed. Education demands astronomical amounts of money to keep the doors open, yet hasn’t much liked being scrutinized. The question for a 10 year old today is not “what is the world wide web“, but “how does a recommendation engine influence what you read”. And their in lies the problem. Most of the people in the classroom would have no idea why this matters and at best would Google it. It seems to me that would be an excellent interview question.

These three things are key to any educational initiative thriving – and who’s to say these people will forever be called teachers – or even study more than basic learning theory as some sort of historical background. There is good news however. This is the era of people who MAKE and DO. They are the ones who will build the future, not just talk about. They are the ones who can ride the S-Curve and know when to get off an old idea – and that isn’t once a decade anymore.

Web2.0 is old and Web3.0 was a hoax. What else can we imagine?


One thought on “3 Reasons there will be no lifeboats in EdTech.

  1. I think the problem goes much higher than teachers. Most principals couldn’t answer that question, and without them, there’s no chance of schools can get on the S-curve. And there’s certainly no chance of it becoming an interview question until those with a strong understanding of ed tech are in positions of power.

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