As we navigate the roadmap drawn by COVID-19, we know there will continue to be accelerated digital transformation and rapid innovation of education intended to positively impact student outcomes in 2022. This will take many forms, from institutions evolving their operations to students optimizing their learning with technology to caregivers connecting directly with their children’s education through edtech services.
To support both new and existing solutions, while delivering engaging learning experiences, developing forward-thinking data strategies and building new revenue streams, edtechs are using Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. Offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally, AWS helps these organizations lower costs, become more agile and innovate faster technology solutions that support students and educators every day.
Early stage edtechs are also participating in the AWS EdStart program, the AWS edtech virtual startup accelerator, designed to help entrepreneurs build the next generation of online learning, analytics and campus management solutions on the AWS Cloud. The accelerator enables edtech startups to move faster through benefits such as equity-free financial support through AWS Promotional Credit, technical training and support, access to a global community of edtech experts and more.
In 2021, edtech companies continued to connect students, educators and families all over the world, resulting in another record year of investments, mergers and acquisitions and global expansion like never before. To help early stage edtechs entering the market navigate this unique point in history, we have developed the 2022 EdTech Startup Guide.
In addition to providing technology recommendations for those developing or scaling edtech solutions, the guide highlights seven current trends for startups to watch:
1. Data is abundant and the key to today’s edtech solutions
Data is critical to unlock the potential of edtech solutions. Forrester estimates that data-driven businesses are growing at an average of more than 30 percent annually. As the pandemic and shifts to virtual learning are only giving the flood of data more strength and momentum, today’s edtechs must be secure, data-driven organizations to be competitive and effective.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are powering the latest generation of edtechs
According to HolonIQ, spend on AI and ML is expected to grow to $6B by 2025. To implement these technologies, edtechs must first establish a solid foundation and strategy. AI can help improve business outcomes with ready-made intelligence for applications and workflow; whereas, ML is used for pattern recognition and learning.
Abheek Pandoh, CEO of Knowt and AWS EdStart Member, reflects on his company’s experience: “Knowt uses Amazon SageMaker, which helps scientists and developers prepare, build, train and deploy high-quality machine learning models quickly. By leveraging support from AWS EdStart and AWS services, Knowt is able to use the cloud-based training tools and automation features from SageMaker and significantly improve the performance of our app. Our deployment is smoother using SageMaker, saving time and reducing the amount of team resources for maintenance.”
3. Game-based learning is transforming how students learn
Integrating game-based solutions into the learning experience through the use of tablets, laptops and virtual reality (VR) can increase engagement and result in positive learning outcomes. As demand grows for high-quality education leveraging technology, the adoption of game-based and gamification education strategies by education organizations is on the rise.
4. Edtechs are at the forefront of digital transformation in the classroom
As education institutions lean into technology, edtechs have an opportunity to support their digital transformation. Edtech is in high demand for its advantages over conventional offline learning models, advanced technological infrastructure and the extensive reach of innovative learning and training solutions.
5. Workforce upskilling is being supplemented by edtech solutions
“Half of all employees around the world will need reskilling by 2025—and that number does not include all the people who are currently not in employment,” according to the World Economic Forum and PwC Upskilling for Joint Prosperity report. Edtech startups will play an integral role in upskilling the workforce, providing organizations around the world with digital learning tools for workplace training, personalized learning platforms to help employees and employers track progress and micro-credentialing programs to help learners demonstrate mastery in particular areas.
Hans Zietsman, CEO and Co-Founder of Kunjani, shares his perspective: “Upskilling is a crucial investment to keep your workforce adaptable to market changes. Kunjani, powered by AWS, increases the return on this investment by combining video conferencing, blended learning games and collaboration to make learning stick. AWS Promotional Credit gave us the freedom to iterate and fast-track our product development. With AWS, we can deploy and seamlessly scale our cloud solution to our corporate customers, giving them the peace of mind that they are receiving best-in-class security, thereby cutting our sales cycle in half.”
6. Edtechs are being called upon to help with student wellbeing
Educators, students and caregivers are all making use of edtech to address the long-term impacts of the pandemic. As such, it’s imperative that edtechs entering this space focus on ensuring that student privacy is taken into consideration. As new solutions are developed, regulations such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Production (GDPR), Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) must be addressed when working with sensitive student data.
7. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality are top of mind
The metaverse, a network of 3D worlds, is here, and edtechs are beginning to create immersive experiences for students. According to HolonIQ, by 2025, spend on AR and VR tools is projected to increase to $12.6B, double the expected spend on AI and ML. In education, AR can introduce virtual elements to real-world scenarios to encourage student engagement and further connect educators with learners, while VR can take users into completely simulated and lifelike environments.
This is an exciting time in the edtech industry, filled with endless opportunities for those looking to launch a new company. To learn more about how AWS EdStart can help you drive innovation forward, download the 2022 AWS EdTech Startup Guide.