6 EdTech Companies That Are Disrupting Higher Education
There was a time when community colleges, online universities and learning annexes were the only options for individuals looking to broaden their skill set without committing to a pricey four-year undergraduate or graduate program.
Now that almost everyone is technologically literate, tech companies have found their place in the higher education market and are slowly but surely changing the way we approach self-improvement.
Looking to better yourself after high school or in between jobs? There’s an app for that.
1. CodeAcademy: According to recent reports and corporate executives, coding is the single most important skill for job seekers in an era of tech-based business models. With an abundance of free online coding courses like CodeAcademy, there’s no need for a $200,000 college degree to learn and apply coding skills in a time where, according to Burning Glass, programming jobs are growing 12% faster than the average market. CodeAcademy offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages including Python, Java, Ruby, and SASS. The website encourages users to start with a fundamentals course where they learn basic HTML and CSS before progressing into the complex world of Python and other advanced programming languages. Users learn interactively, creating websites, resumes, and social profiles while accessing virtual “labs” for extra practice. Other free coding sites include Coursera, Google’s Python Class, Khan Academy, and LearnStreet.
2. LocoRobo: LocoRobo may be designed for kids, but the company has launched professionals, professors and college students alike into programming literacy. LocoRobo is a non-profit organization that uses robotics hardware and high-tech mobile apps to help users learn about programming with hands-on robotics-related activities. Completion of LocoRobo’s program also provides learners with IOT skills and sensor training. Whether you’re a parent interested in helping your child advance in an ever-growing technological world, or an executive searching for a fun way to add a line on your resume, LocoRobo is replacing the college robotics classroom one app at a time.
3. Pearson (eText): Buying brand new copies of your required college textbook is cumbersome, ridiculously expensive and, thanks to Pearson, unnecessary. In 2012, Indiana University shifted required textbooks online to save students money. Since then, other universities and college students have taken the hint and switched from hard cover to screen-sized. Pearson’s eText app allows you to hear audio, highlight, take notes, bookmark sections, and even take practice quizzes and homework assignments. The app is slowly replacing the need for an in-person instructor to lay out lesson plans and break down complex material. Not to mention, replacing the age-old textbook, a once universal staple of student debt and the quintessential college experience.
4. Lynda.com: More and more universities are implementing Lynda tutorials into digital media, video curation, design, web development and software courses, which begs the question: why bother going to class? The site offers thousands of video courses taught by industry experts, and members are offered unlimited access to this massive educational library. If you’re a professional looking to sharpen your skills in any area, consider Lynda a convenient alternative to community college and expensive post-graduate programs.
5. Cerego: The twenty-first century is the era of personalization and, in that regard, the edtech industry is no different than a fast-casual restaurant or popular driving service. Cerego is a learning platform that uses neuroscience to personalize your educational experience. If your education requires memorization, Cerego uses spaced repetition, a scientifically-proven technique that increases intervals of time between previously learned material, to maximize retention and help you remember longer. To ensure user success, Cerego’s algorithm adjusts based on the user’s performance. In other words, their service adapts to the learner and doesn’t stop until the material is memorized. Say goodbye to tutors and hello to Cerego!
6. Udacity: Udacity is similar to Lynda.com in that it offers a massive archive of online courses equivalent to university courses and vocational training. What makes Udacity unique is its “nano degree” – an online certification earned in 6-12 months that teaches basic programming skills that all entry-level software and analyst positions require. In 2014, the Georgia Institute of Technology partnered with Udacity to launch the largest online open degree program in computer science. If a cash shortage has stopped you from furthering your tech education, their master’s degree program costs only $7,000. Not to mention Udacity nano degree holders work for companies like Google, AT&T, and Adobe.
The skyrocketing cost of a college education combined with the fierce competitiveness of today’s job market has allowed edtech companies to reach increasingly large numbers of online learners with thin wallets.
While traditional four-year universities haven’t lost their top spot in the world of higher education, these six edtech companies are filling in educational gaps, satisfying an ever-increasing demand for online assistance, and introducing breakthrough educational initiatives faster than anyone imagined.