The Ed Tech Revolution is Coming. What Will it Look Like?

In 1971, we spent roughly $4,000 per student in public k-12 education. In 2011, this amount has nearly tripled to $11,000 per student. At the same time, students’ math and verbal test scores have stayed the same. We’re putting more money into a system that yields the same results. Something has to change if we wish to remain a competitive force in the World. This is where the Ed Tech Revolution comes in.

First Wave (0-5 years from now): a Change in Perception

According to the National Center for Education Information, 30% of public school teachers are under the age of 30. Meaning that 30% of public school teachers entered secondary school after the creation of Netscape and the Internet. The internet is a part of their everyday lives. Thus, they integrate it into their teaching by adopting web-based tools to become more efficient at their jobs.

Companies such as ClassDojo, Remind 101, and Educreations can be found in classrooms throughout the US because they distribute their products online to teachers for free and they make user-friendly programs that save teachers time.

Second Wave (5-10 years from now): a Change in Purchasing and Empowerment

Currently selling a product to a school is a “tops down” process, the purchaser of the product (superintendent) is rarely the user of the product (teacher). Resulting in an inefficient sales process and superintendents asking teachers what they need for their classrooms.

In the second wave a more efficient “bottoms up” sales channel becomes possible. When dozens of teachers in a school district are using the free version of a web-based product it is clear the the product is effective and necessary. Once the effectiveness of this “bottoms up” channel become apparent, superintendents will transfer purchasing power to teachers, giving them budgets to spend at online stores such as Apple’s App Store, Edmodo’s App Store, and EdShelf. Companies will be able to develop great low-cost products and offer them to individual teachers at a fraction of the price of what is currently sold at big publishing companies.

Third Wave (10-15 years from now): a Change in Process

We will finally see widespread change in our public school model, better reflecting students’ needs and the fiscal realities of today.

More specifically, schools will save money by moving away from traditional age-based and grade-based system towards one based on mastery. Kids will be able to test out of classes, allowing public schools to run more like a college and less like a factory.

Many of these models already exist today, mainly in the charter school community, but not exclusively. Two very exciting models are the “School of One” and “Quest to Learn“, both operating inside of the New York City School system.

(Based on an article by Tim Brady published on