Domestic, K-12, Opinion, Required, Startups, Technology, Universities & Colleges, Venture Capital - Written by on Thursday, November 1, 2012 9:23 - 0 Comments

Heard: Harvard Prof. Argues That The Lion’s Share Of EdTech Startups Are Lousy

Techstars 2010 class

Robert Scoble via Compfight

Professor Reynol Junco at Harvard (Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He researches the impact of social technologies on college students) writes on VentureBeat that “most edtech startups suck”. Do you agree or disagree? He cites the educational technology startup boom… including a doubling in venture capital investments in edtech firms since 2007 to nearly $1 billion in 2011… Data from the National Venture Capital Association indicates that investment in ed-tech companies has roughly tripled between 2002 and 2011. Junco thinks the market is flooded with these kinds of firms… and he thinks the business case motivation that leads to many of the ed-tech startups is often immature and misguided. He writes:

Many ed-tech startups typically build their product because one of the founders had a particular issue in college that they think can be addressed with a new technology or by building an education version of an existing technology.

For instance, a founder might think “I used to forget to bring my chemistry book to class so why don’t I develop a cool app that automatically texts students right before a class where they need a book?” (Please note that I did not base this example on a real startup; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if such a product existed). Other ed-tech startups have an idea they think should result in improved student outcomes and they run with it. I hate to break it to you…

This may come as a surprise to ed-tech companies, but you’re not going to invent the next big thing by shooting in the dark. Without knowing the research on how students learn and develop as well as the literature on how technology affects student outcomes, the chances of your startup magically creating student success are almost nonexistent….

Startups in other fields don’t behave this way. Imagine a genomics startup that didn’t talk to medical researchers and/or didn’t base their products on research in the biotech field. Such a company would never exist, let alone be funded by a venture capital firm.

Junco suggests: 1) Collaborating with an academic when developing a product. 2) Assessing outcomes to show the product impacts student learning or does what it says it will. 3) Refine your technology based on assessment data. 4) Publish what you find. 5) Learn about the culture of academic and help academia learn about the culture of startups.

Read Junco’s whole post at VentureBeat


Leave a Reply


Campus Buzz

We welcome Tips & Pitches

Latest WA Original Features

  • Twitter feed loading

APEI40.20  chart-0.17  chart -0.42%
APOL19.01  chart+0.33  chart +1.77%
AAPL460.16  chart-6.43  chart -1.38%
BPI10.74  chart-0.09  chart -0.83%
CAST0.11  chart+0.01  chart +10.00%
CECO4.08  chart-0.02  chart -0.49%
COCO2.40  chart-0.02  chart -0.83%
CPLA32.03  chart-0.41  chart -1.26%
DV30.69  chart+0.36  chart +1.19%
EDMC4.03  chart+0.07  chart +1.77%
ESI18.34  chart+0.04  chart +0.22%
GOOG792.89  chart+5.07  chart +0.64%
LINC6.20  chart+0.06  chart +0.98%
LOPE25.03  chart+0.36  chart +1.46%
PEDH0.45  chart0.00  chart +0.00%
PSO18.51  chart-0.27  chart -1.44%
SABA8.61  chart-0.16  chart -1.82%
SCHL30.87  chart+0.46  chart +1.51%
STRA51.95  chart-1.54  chart -2.88%
WPO414.41  chart+5.35  chart +1.31%
2013-02-15 16:00

Domestic, For-Profit, Gainful Employment, Infographics, Personalized Learning, Private, Public, Required, Universities & Colleges - Jan 31, 2013 6:09 - 0 Comments

Infographic: To Get A Degree Or Not To Get A Degree? Here Is An Answer

More In For-Profit

MOOCs, Required, Technology - Feb 16, 2013 10:04 - 0 Comments

MOOC Monitor: Must Reads This Week

More In Technology

Charter, Cost of Education, Domestic, Education Quality, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, K-12, Minorities, Regulatory, Required - Feb 7, 2013 12:23 - 0 Comments

Should For-Profit Companies Manage K-12 Schools? A Skeptical Review

More In Friend, Fraud, or Fishy