The Edvocate’s 2017 EdTech 10: A Ranking of Global Edtech Companies
Every day, technology innovations transform the way people learn and how educators teach. In the last few years, the edtech field has attracted a lot of talented people, all with excellent knowledge bases and ideas. Though the edtech industry has been around for a few decades now, the last few years, in particular, have seen a surge in investment from both school districts and investors.
The education market is currently worth around $5 trillion globally, and it is forecasted that education technology investment alone will reach $252 billion by the year 2020. This growing investment into edtech startups has created some exciting changes in the world of education. Naturally, with increasing capital, the number of edtech companies is also growing.
Who are the top edtech companies in the world? The Edvocate editorial team has exhaustively researched companies in the edtech space and selected 10 of the top global edtech companies. To frame our methodology, we decided to define the term edtech company broadly. On this list, you will find startups, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as perennial juggernauts, etc. who are transforming the edtech space as we know it.
The companies that we chose are all active in the area of edtech, doing something influential in 2017, well-known throughout the edtech landscape, and making an impact globally. We are excited to witness how these companies continue to change the world this year, and we are anxious to see who will stand on the shoulders of these giants, and as a result, make our list next year. Without further ado, here is The Edvocate’s 2017 EdTech 10: A Ranking of Global Edtech Companies.
Company Description: Knewton is an adaptive learning technology. Its adaptive learning platform is based on decades of research into psychometrics, item response theory, cognitive learning theory, and intelligent tutoring systems. It collects data on students as they complete tasks, recording their learning preferences, strengths and weaknesses. It then creates personalized lessons for each student to maximize learning. Knewton has had real success, with Arizona State University seeing a 17% increase in pass rates once Knewton was incorporated into their math courses.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: Knewton provides educators with the information that they need to help students be successful in the classroom and in life. Its platform makes instructional recommendations based on the student’s current level of academic performance, ability, aptitude, etc., and assists educators with setting goals for individual students. This helps teachers to provide students differentiated instruction and timely interventions. Also, students can see how they are progressing academically, and administrators and parents can get valuable insights. Knowledge is power in this world, and having real-time information about how students are progressing towards mastering skills and goals is a powerful tool for educators. We predict that tools like this will help the US education system to close the achievement gaps in the coming decade.
- myON – The Personalized Literacy Ecosystem
Company Description: myON is an award-winning personalized literacy environment that incorporates a state-of-the-art learning platform, enhanced digital reading content, the Lexile® Framework for Reading, cutting-edge literacy tools, and embedded metrics to monitor activity and growth. myON NEWS, launched earlier this year, breaks new ground by being the first literacy program that matches digital articles to digital books, with unlimited access to both. myON NEWS presents students with five news articles written specifically for students at their reading level every day, 52 weeks a year. Together, these components power a Literacy Ecosystem that is built upon five pillars: personalization, unparalleled content, unlimited access, collaboration, and student success.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: myON is transforming the edtech space by bringing unlimited access to books and informational media to as many children as possible. Through content that encourages student choice, myON provides an innovative, 21st– century approach to personalized literacy that engages students and inspires a lifelong love of reading. Through the first-of-its-kind integration of myON NEWS and its literacy ecosystem, educators have the ability to seamlessly link literacy curriculum with real-world current events and introduce their students to a wide array of digital books published by industry-leading partners around the world. Any article students select is also linked to a fiction and/or a non-fiction book, encouraging them to dive deeper into subject matters and increase their curiosity about reading and the world around them.
Company Description: Noodle is an online program management (OPM) solution that helps institutions launch online degree programs while providing technical and support services to support enrollment, retention, and student outcomes. It brings a unique approach to online learning, with its pricing model and its list of pre-qualified technology support providers. Noodles endgame is to create a comprehensive online model where its clients can use their proprietary features, and also take advantage of their pre-qualified cohort of vendors and its instructional design services.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: Instead of charging institutions a portion of tuition, Noodle offers a fee-for-service model. This allows institutions to keep more of their student’s hard earned money. It operates as a contractor for hire, charging a flat rate for its services and subcontracting its partners to handle various aspects of the online program, such as retention and student success. The fee-for-service model is nothing new, but in a sea of convoluted profit-share models, it’s proving that although it wants to make a profit, it plans to do it without being greedy. This means the world to higher institutions who are barely staying afloat in today’s competitive marketplace.
Company Description: One of the most popular classroom behavior management apps is ClassDojo. ClassDojo allows teachers to track positive and negative behaviors for each student with just a few clicks. Each student has a unique icon which teachers can click on and note behaviors. Students earn points for good behaviors and lose points for bad behaviors, so it’s easy to incorporate ClassDojo in with a classroom reward system.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: The reason that ClassDojo is so popular is that it keep parents in the loop. Parents can get updates on how their child’s behavior was that day. If their child gained or lost points, they could see why. Students can also get alerts when their teacher adds or takes away points, so they know what they did without a verbal redirect in front of the class. This app allows parent and teachers to work together to nip behavior problems in the bud before they cause students to experience academic failure, which is a major factor when it comes to the decision to drop out.
Company Description: Classtag markets themselves as a “complete parent-teacher communication solution.” Classtag believes that collaborating with parents is key to student success. This edtech platform creates an inclusive classroom community for teachers, students, and parents. Up-to-date schedules, newsletters, and important announcements are all available through Classtag as well as a space for organizing events, recruiting volunteers and discussing ideas. “ClassTag’s mission is to help teachers engage parents in the classroom by handling the busy work,” says Vlada Lotkina, CEO, and co-founder of ClassTag. “Our service is carefully crafted to simplify logistics and communications issues in classrooms.”
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: Teachers struggle to connect with parents. Parents struggle to keep up with everything their kids have going on at school. What if all of those texts, emails, and scraps of paper could be aggregated to one place, though? A spot where questions, messages, school needs and other information could live and be easily accessed by parents, students, teachers, and administrators? This is exactly the task that the creators of Classtag sought out to accomplish through their streamlined communication platform. Classtag works to solve the problems associated with paper notes and emails, by helping teachers’ keep in contact with students and their parents quickly and efficiently.
Company Description: With the rise of globalization, being able to learn to communicate in other languages is becoming increasingly necessary. The problem is that the perception most people have about learning languages is almost entirely negative. This is because language learning requires dedication and the ability to follow through even when things get tough. Language learning is one of the best areas for gamification, and few have mastered how to do that like Duolingo. The site offers 71 full courses on a range of languages. There are several languages currently being beta tested (you can join them if you want to help them make better lessons). There are also some languages that are currently in the incubation period, and once they reach beta, you can start to learn and provide feedback.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: The lessons are not just about real world languages. One of the languages currently being incubated is Klingon, a language from Star Trek. It goes to show that the makers are game for trying things that are both common and uncommon to make something that anyone can enjoy. Each of the lessons are divided up into very easy to manage sessions. They provide a daily goal for you and track your progress so that you can see what you have learned. Over time, you will need to go back and refresh what you have mastered so that you do not forget, and this does count toward your daily goal, then you can continue with the next lesson. The lessons are also presented in a way that makes it easy to understand, remember, and learn the spellings and sounds. It also is incredibly easy to work into your regular routine. You can download the app if you want to keep up your language lessons on the go.
Company Description: No two people learn exactly the same, yet classrooms usually offer only a single approach to problems and solutions. CK-12 offers solutions that go above and beyond to ensure that you can give your students a more personalized (and customized) look at what they are learning. The best way to do that is with games and lessons that are online.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: With CK-12, students can go back and learn about things at their own pace, review lessons you covered, and get an assessment of how well they understood the lessons. There are also some amazing simulations that illustrate some of the most challenging fields that really can’t be followed on paper (such as Physics and Chemistry). The best way to understand what they have to offer is to go to their website and peruse the many areas and games that are available. There is definitively a math and science heavy approach, but there are other available lessons and games for a few of the arts.
Company Description: Lightspeed is dedicated to improving teaching and learning with award-winning classroom audio solutions. Our passion is to improve the listening and learning environment for every child. Lightspeed believes technology should strengthen the connection between teachers and students, and enhance daily instruction. Lightspeed classroom audio systems are designed to engage the whole classroom, activate group learning, and promote growth and collaboration during professional development.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: Lightspeed is focused on helping educators effectively use classroom audio systems to enhance instruction and improve student achievement. Lightspeed’s Access Technology products are wireless, easy to use, and engage the whole classroom by providing clear, low-volume, highly intelligible sound that is evenly distributed throughout the classroom. The company’s newest product line, Activate, promotes a collaborative, student-led learning environment. Activate features two-way interactive pods that provide direct insight into conversations happening in small groups and double as handheld microphones. The Activate App captures video, and allows users to push the content to a cloud-based video storage platform used for collaboration and growth within individual learning communities. The app is ideal for professional development, strategy-sharing, or showing evidence of student achievement.
Company Description: Hero rethinks traditional discipline policies and builds programs to recognize students in a positive way on a school-wide or district-wide scale. While Hero does have a process to manage and track undesirable behaviors and their consequences, Hero is more about recognizing and rewarding students who are on task. Hero takes a school’s behavior framework such as PBIS, RTI, SEL or other district-led initiatives and builds a system to recognize, reward, and reinforce those behaviors. Hero connects to student information systems and gives teachers a single-sign-on to see their individual class roster the moment they log in.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: What makes Hero transformative is its emphasis on redirection, which makes it possible to drive a positive school climate and bring everyone – students, teachers, administrators, and parents – into the process. Hero is accessed from a browser, mobile phone, tablet, or any connected device. Hero mobile behavior tracking allows schools to capture behavior where it happens: in the hallways, field trips, bus rides, lunch room, assemblies, or school events. Hero is one of those apps that is so powerful, it can only be described as game changing. Its emphasis on redirection is its best feature as it creates a positive, inclusive environment. When kids feel as though their voice is heard and that the school climate is inclusive and welcoming, you can’t keep them from attending school.
Company Description: Alma is a student information and learning management system that combines a vast range of reporting features that are typically only available in several fragmented systems – instead of a central location. Alma brings together lesson planning and curriculum management with student and classroom management to give teachers all the tools they need right at their fingertips, and with one login.
How They Are Transforming the EdTech Space: Alma has customized solution plans based on the needs of the school, and the budget being used. Alma is a cloud-based system which means that there is no cumbersome hardware or software to install and maintain. There is optional set up support for schools who would like the hands-on help, but it is not a requirement for schools that have the staff and ability to handle it on their own. Most schools will be able to set up the system in a day or less. As a former public school teacher, I wish I had access to the type of technology and reporting that Alma offers. I still remember thinking of the school bell at the end of my day as the signal of my “lunch break” and that there were still many hours of work ahead of me. So I feel the pain of today’s teachers, asked to do even more in an already-tight schedule.
As you can see, there is no shortage of edtech companies out there. With these innovative education technology companies in mind, it becomes clear that the landscape of education is vast and technology is carving a new path for present and future educators. Who did we forget? Do you have any edtech companies who you know and follow? Let us know.