Technology is disrupting schools, from K-12 through to higher education and adult learning. Education delivered through the internet (e-learning) is commonplace while areas such as mobile learning (or m-learning) are becoming more prevalent as mobile devices proliferate. These resources will help education entrepreneurs understand their market and the potential for technology to impact education systems and the education industry.
This page consists of the following sections:
I. Business of education
These links point to funding and mentoring resources specifically for education startups.
Education technology accelerators and incubators
In addition to general incubators and accelerators, education-focused or social venture programs also exist. The following are based in the United States and accept international applicants. Be sure to also check out our general listing of Accelerators and incubators.
Good Company Ventures: This incubator for social entrepreneurs runs a three-month program in Philadelphia.
Imagine K-12: Imagine K-12 is an education-focused incubator in Silicon Valley that operates a three-month program. Startups receive between $14,000 and $20,000, depending on the team size.
Startl: Startl is a three-month immersion into product design, market strategy and business development for early-stage learning enterprises. The program is run by DreamIt Ventures in New York and Philadelphia.
Unreasonable Institute: This intensive six-week program for social entrepreneurs runs in Boulder, Colorado. The Unreasonable Institute takes no equity but ask participants to pay (or fundraise) $10,000 to cover program costs.
Education technology funding
The following investment leads focus on education ventures. Be sure to check out the Startup Library page Funding your startup for general funding information.
AngelList: This is a list of angel investors interested in funding education ventures.
Graduate School of Open Education Business Plan Competition: Milken-Penn’s GSE business plan competition is open to any international education entrepreneur. First prize is $25,000. In addition, Startl sponsors a $25,000 award to the best business plan incorporating openly licensed content.
LearnCapital: LearnCapital is a venture capital firm focused exclusively on funding education entrepreneurs.
New Schools Venture Fund: New Schools Venture Fund is a non-profit venture philanthropy firm that raises philanthropic capital to support education entrepreneurs.
Rethink Education: Rethink Education invests in technology for learning.
Education technology course
Ed Startup 101: Ed Startup 101 is a free online course for entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs in education. The course began on August 27th, 2012 and runs until December 14th with live sessions every Wednesday. The sessions are conducted by a group of experts that include current education entrepreneurs, investors and more.
II. Education technology trends
The following reports take a broad look at education technology―examining trends, opportunities and challenges in K-12, higher education and adult learning.
Center for Digital Education: The Center for Digital Education is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. Check out their special reports.
Innosight Institute: Innosight Institute is a think tank that applies Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation to develop and promote solutions in education and healthcare. They highlight examples of these innovations in reports and case studies.
New Media Consortium (NMC): The New Media Consortium is an international community of experts in education technology. The Horizon Report is an annual report, which NMC publishes in conjunction with the Educause Learning Initiative, that discusses the top emerging technologies, trends and challenges that will significantly affect pre-college education over the next five years.
The Digital Revolution and Higher Education (Pew Internet, 2011) (PDF): This report on online learning summarizes the findings of surveys conducted with presidents of US colleges and universities and the public.
Ed Tech Map: This tool provides a visual representation of ventures currently operating in the education technology market.
How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better (McKinsey, 2010): McKinsey examined common attributes of high-performing school systems, analyzing 20 education systems to identify reform elements necessary to replicate successful school systems.
New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology (World Economic Forum, 2015) (PDF): Education needs to address the 21st-century skills fully in order to prepare students for the evolving job market. This report examines the pressing issue of skills gaps and explores ways to address these gaps through technology.
K–12 Education: Opportunities and Strategies for Ontario Entrepreneurs (MaRS, 2011): This market research report gives an overview of the education system in Ontario. It covers themes from the reality of technology usage in classrooms, funding structures and collaborating with diverse stakeholders.
EMERGING AREAS OF EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY
E-Learning or online learning is education delivered through the internet. These links include snapshots on the state of e-learning in various jurisdictions.
E-Learning Industry Snapshot (Interactive Ontario, 2011): Interactive Ontario collected information on the issues and challenges facing businesses in Ontario’s e-learning and cultural industry.
State of E-Learning in Canada (Canadian Council on Learning, 2009) (PDF): This report examines the state of e-learning across Canada.
International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL): iNACOL facilitates collaboration, advocacy and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning. They also publish research.
The 2012 State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (PDF): This report provides summaries of online learning in each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, looking at the level of K-12 distance education activity and regulations in each province or territory.
Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States (Babson Survey Research Group, 2014) (PDF): This annual report covers the state of online learning in higher education in the US.
Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (Evergreen Education Group, 2013): This annual report provides an overview of the latest policies, practices and trends affecting online learning programs across the US.
M-Learning refers to mobile learning, or learning through the use of a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. M-Learning includes education apps.
GSMA Mobile Education Landscape report (2012): This report, aimed at both the mobile and education sectors, describes emerging trends, key players and current initiatives in the emerging global mobile education and related e-textbook publishing markets.
How I’ve Made $200k in the iOS Education Market – Figures & My 1st Year as an Indie Dev (L’Escapadou Blog): In this blog post Pierre L’Escapadu shares sales data for his iOS education apps.
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop: This centre conducts and publishes research on digital media and learning. Recent research includes:
- Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children (2011): This report reviews seven studies specifically about young children, creating a portrait of their media habits.
- iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category on Apple’s App Store (2012): This is an examination of nearly 200 top-selling education category apps for Apple’s iPad and iPhone. The analysis highlights industry best practices and future opportunities for developers, educators and researchers to influence this important category. It closely examines the content of children’s apps within the education category.
- Learning: Is there an app for that? (2010): This report focuses on how new forms of digital media are influencing very young children and their families and suggests how to use smart mobile devices and apps to help advance their education.
Education publishing refers to electronic textbook for classrooms. To provide education content to schools, startups must navigate the interests of multiple stakeholders, including the government, school boards, teachers and students. Visit the E-Publishing page in the Startup Library for additional resources.
Embracing digital: Changes and opportunities in educational publishing (EBW, 2011): Outlining the education e-book industry, this e-book provides tips on refining traditional publishing approaches, and presents best practices and business models for the e-publishing world.
Study of the Canadian K to 12 Education Book Publishing Sector (Canadian Heritage, 2010): This is a detailed study on the Canadian textbook industry, with sections on new opportunities presented by digital technology.
Supporting Canada’s Educational Publishing Sector In A Digital Economy (Government of Canada, 2010): Submitted by Nelson Education, Canada’s largest educational publisher, this report examines the changing landscape of the Canadian textbook industry. It surveys the innovation generated by digital technologies, Canada’s digital infrastructure, the growing ICT community within Canada, and digital content.
Textbooks Finally Take a Big Leap to Digital (The New York Times, 2011): This article from The New York Times reports on the increasing use of digital textbooks over paper ones, and the reasons why the transition has been slow relative to other types of e-books.
Why Education Publishing Is Big Business (Wired, 2012): This article by Wired calls attention to the scope and potential of e-publishing in the education market.
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III. Education technology statistics
Ontario Ministry of Education: The Ontario Ministry of Education website publishes information about the Ontario school system. These resources provide a wide range of information:
People for Education: People for Education is a parent-led organization that produces annual reports on Ontario schools. One report of particular interest would be “Digital Learning in Ontario Schools: The ‘new normal’” which covers the increased use of education technology in Ontario schools.
If you are selling your product in Ontario, the following groups may also have information that will be of use to you:
- Ontario Public School Boards’ Association
- Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee (OSAPAC): This website details how school boards establish priorities for software licences. Be sure to read “Information for vendors.”
- Ontario Student Trustees’ Association
Statistics Canada – Education: Statistics Canada collects and publishes information on education, training and learning. The reports listed below provide useful education data.
Canada Year Book – Education: The annual Canada Year Book charts key trends and indicators in the nation’s economy, population, society and environment. To download the full education section in PDF format, click on the PDF version to the right.
Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective (2013): This report presents data on 13 education indicators covering the following:
- the output of educational institutions and the impact of learning
- financial resources invested in education
- access to education, participation and progression
- the learning environment and organization of schools
Public school indicators for Canada, the provinces and territories (2010): This brief summary contains data on public schools in Canada.
Measuring Up: Canadian Results of the OECD PISA Study (2010) (PDF): This report provides the first pan-Canadian results of the PISA 2009 assessment of reading, mathematics and science.
Canadian Council on Learning (CCL): From 2004 to 2012, CCL conducted research to improve all aspects of learning, from early childhood to adulthood. Although CCL is now closed, their research is still available.
State of Learning in Canada: A Year in Review offers a good overview of learning in Canada in 2010.
The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC): CMEC is an intergovernmental body consisting of Canada’s Ministers of Education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and publishes research.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): NCES is a federal entity that collects and analyzes education data in the United States. The following are useful resources they make available:
- Digest of Education Statistics is a compilation of education statistics from pre-kindergarten through to graduate school.
- Fast Facts consists of selected education statistics with links to even more data.
- Projections of Education Statistics to 2020 provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, expenditures and more.
- Tables and Figures: This search tool lets you search all tables, figures and charts published in NCES publications.
Nation’s Report Card: The Nation’s Report Card informs the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States.
Education Sector Factbook (GSV Advisors, 2012) (PDF): This report contains a wealth of education data on the United States as well as global education statistics from a wide range of sources.
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC): ERIC is an online library of education research and information. Sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, ERIC provides access to education literature to support the use of educational research and information to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making and research. Abstracts are available for free. Access to full articles requires a subscription.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): UNESCO’s work on education involves the collection of international education statistics. Education statistics covering more than 200 countries and territories are available.
Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (UNESCO, 2013) (PDF): This report from UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning examines adult education around the world.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): As part of its policy work, the OECD collects and publishes statistics on a variety of topics, including education:
IV. Tracking latest developments in education technology
These websites and events will help keep entrepreneurs up-to-date with the latest developments in education technology.
Education technology news and blogs
2¢ Worth: This education blog is written by David Warlick, a long-time educator and writer.
edSurge: The edSurge newsletter is great for keeping up to date on the education startup ecosystem. The weekly publication includes information on deadlines for funding programs and key industry initiatives.
edtech Digest: edtech Digest is a blog focused on education technology that features “movers and shakers” in the industry.
Edtech Twitter list (Wefollow.com): This is a list of individuals on Twitter who have tagged themselves with “edtech.”
Also check out the Twitter hash tag: #edutech
Getting Smart: This online community focused on innovations in learning was co-founded by Tom Vander Ark, author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and director of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Check out their blog and edReformer.
Tony Bates: Tony Bates is an e-learning and distance education consultant. His blog contains a large collection of e-learning and distance education resources.
The Wired Campus (The Chronicle of Higher Education): This blog from The Chronicle of Higher Education covers the latest news on technology and higher education.
Education technology events
ISTE Conference: This annual conference is held by the International Society for Technology in Education. This association is for educators and education leaders working to advance excellence in learning and teaching through innovative and effective uses of technology.
Startup Weekend EDU: Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. Startup Weekend Edu creates products for the education and learning markets.
- Limited partnership agreement: Sample template
- General partnership agreement: Sample template
- Intellectual property (IP) assignment agreement: Sample template for Ontario startups
- Shareholders agreement for startups: Sample template for Ontario startups
- How to create a pitch deck for investors