If you're trying to sort through the noise and make sense of how the seemingly limitless array of digital tools are being used in schools today, we've just published a new, valuable resource: Navigating the Ed-Tech Marketplace, a special Education Week report that examines the landscape of buyers, sellers, and end-users operating in and around districts.
The collection of stories covers a lot of ground. For starters, there's an overview of the market, and how the growth of mobile devices, slowly-but-unevenly improving school budgets, investment capital, and other forces are shaping the products that end up schools.
We also spend a lot of time examining the sometimes difficult, sometimes productive relationship between district leaders and company executives. One story, for instance, describes the most common frustrations ed companies face trying to find customers in the school market.
On the flip side, another article looks at how some schools, districts, and programs are trying to become more sophisticated buyers of ed-tech, so that they're aren't disappointed or hoodwinked by the rosy promises from companies pushing products.
Robin L. Flanigan writes about how the Common Core State Standards and assessments will shape schools' tech buying decisions. Ben Herold, meanwhile, examines how digital-content providers are riding a wave of rising revenues, while demand for adminstrative technologies appears to have lagged.
In addition, Michele Molnar probes the factors behind the strong market for instructional support, driven partly by assessment demands, and Amanda Fairbanks looks at the sources driving rising revenues in virtual education.
Molnar also writes about the churn of dealmaking, in the form of mergers and acquisitions, playing out across the K-12 sector. Michelle Davis focuses on a broader topic—the persistent worry among some who follow the ed-tech market that it's overheated and headed for a crash.
Finally, the package includes interviews with leaders of ed-tech companies, who talk about the challenges they face working in K-12 school systems.
Photo: Students lean into their work at Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center in Chicago, where Principal Barton Dassinger has set up a process for testing products offered by education technology companies. By Alyssa Schukar for Education Week.