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Top 10 Edtech Companies Transform the Brick and Mortal Classroom

The growing and maturing edtech industry. That includes classroom assessment tools for teachers and students, and more that edtech companies bring to everyone.
By Anna Doan | EnvZone Staff
on September 11, 2019 | 7 min read
Image credit: Forbes

The growing and maturing edtech industry encompass any technology that facilitates learning for kids and adults. That includes classroom assessment tools for teachers, education-specific fundraising sites, reader-adaptive ebooks and more that edtech companies bring to everyone.

What Is Edtech?

Edtech is the practice of introducing IT tools into the classroom to create a more engaging, inclusive and individualized learning experience.

Today’s classrooms have moved beyond the clunky desktop computers that were once the norm and are now tech-infused with tablets, interactive online courses and even robots that can take notes and record lectures for students who are ill.

This influx of edtech tools are changing classrooms in a variety of ways: edtech robots are making it easy for students to stay engaged through fun forms of learning; IoT devices are being hailed for their ability to create digital classrooms for students, whether they’re physically in school, on the bus or at home; even machine learning and blockchain tools are assisting teachers with grading tests and holding students accountable for homework.

And it looks like technology in the classroom is here to stay — 92% of teachers believe tech is going to have a major impact on the way they educate soon. For that reason, it’s vital to understand the benefits edtech brings in the form of increased communication, collaboration and overall quality of education.

How Do Edtech companies Help Students & Teachers?

For Students

An influx of technology is opening up new avenues of learning for students of all ages, while also promoting collaboration and inclusivity in the classroom. Here are five major ways edtech companies are directly impacting the way students learn.  

"Flipping” the Classroom

Edtech tools are flipping the traditional notion of classrooms and education. Traditionally, students have to listen to lectures or read in class then work on projects and homework at home. With video lectures and learning apps, students can now watch lessons at home at their own pace, using class time to collaboratively work on projects as a group. This type of learning style helps foster self-learning, creativity and a sense of collaboration among students.

24/7 Access to Learning

IoT devices are making it easier for students to have full access to the classroom in a digital environment. Whether they’re at school, on the bus or at home, connected devices are giving students Wi-Fi and cloud access to complete work at their own pace (and on their schedules) without being hampered by the restriction of needing to be present in a physical classroom.

Various apps also help students and teachers stay in communication in case students have questions or need to alert teachers to an emergency.

Personalized Educational Experiences

Edtech companies open up opportunities for educators to craft personalized learning plans for each of their students. This approach aims to customize learning based on a student’s strengths, skills, and interests.

Increased Collaboration

Cloud-enabled tools and tablets are fostering collaboration in the classroom. Tablets loaded with learning games and online lessons give children the tools to solve problems together. Meanwhile, cloud-based apps let students upload their homework and digitally converse with one another about their thought processes and for any help they may need.      

Video content tools help students learn at their own pace and because students can pause and rewind lectures, these videos can help students fully grasp lessons. With analytics, teachers can see which students had trouble with certain lessons and offer further help on the subject.

Attention-Grabbing Lessons

Do you remember sitting in class, half-listening, half-day dreaming? Now, with a seemingly infinite number of gadgets and outside influences vying for a student’s attention, it’s imperative to craft lesson plans that are both gripping and educative. Edtech proponents say technology is the answer. Some of the more innovative examples of students using tech to boost classroom participation include interacting with other classrooms around the world via video, having students submit homework assignments as videos or podcasts and even gamifying problem-solving.   

For Teachers

Students aren’t the only group benefitting from edtech. Teachers are seeing educational tech as a means to develop efficient learning practices and save time in the classroom. Here are four ways edtech companies are helping teachers get back to doing what they do- teaching.

Classroom Management Tools

Educational technology has the potential to make everything- from the way teachers communicate with their students to how students behave- a little easier. There are now apps that help send parents and students reminders about projects or homework assignments, as well as tools that allow students to self-monitor classroom noise levels. The addition of management tools in the classroom brings forth a less-chaotic, more collaborative environment.  

Eliminating Guesswork

Teachers spend countless hours attempting to assess the skills or areas of improvement of their students. Edtech can change all of that. There are currently myriad tools, data platforms and apps that constantly assess student’s skills and needs, and they relay the data to the teacher.

Paperless Classrooms

Printing budgets, wasting paper and countless time spent at the copy machine is a thing of the past thanks to edtech. Classrooms that have gone digital bring about an easier way to grade assignments, lessen the burden of having to safeguard hundreds of homework files and promote overall greener policies in the classroom.  

Automated Grading

Artificially intelligent tools are making grading a breeze. These apps use machine learning to analyze and assess answers based on the specifications of the assignment. Using these tools, especially for objective assignments like true/false or fill-in-the-blank assessments, frees up hours that teachers usually spend grading assignments. Extra free time for teachers provides more flexibility for less prep and one-on-one time with both struggling and gifted students.

Here are 10 EdTech companies that will drive innovation of education forward, each in its niche of the market:

Top 10 edtech companies you should know

#1 Story 2: College Admission

Almost any piece of writing works best as a story, especially a college admissions essay. This is the insight behind Story2, a web app that helps high school students create compelling essays. As universities have begun to marginalize the importance of standardized test scores and place a heavyweight on grades and essays, Story2 is more relevant than ever.

What sets it apart: 

In the anxiety-driven college admissions and test prep industry, Story2 is unique. There are countless services, online and off, for standardized test preparation and there are books about essay writing. But, before Story2, there had never been a serious attempt to create an interactive, online college essay-writing tool.

#2 Andela: Programming Education

One of the feel-good stories of EdTech, Andela runs intensive programming courses in Nigeria and Kenya. Gaining entrance to the courses is extremely competitive. But those who manage to get in-and graduate -land coding gigs with American tech companies.

What sets it apart: 

Other programming boot camps cater almost exclusively to students from the developed world. Andela targets a new demographic: the most talented people from economies that don’t offer as many great opportunities as there are brilliant people.

#3 Coursera: MOOCs

Partnering with elite universities around the world, Coursera provides real college courses online to anyone - for free. Classes of this kind have become known as MOOCs, “massive open online courses.” 

What sets it apart: 

Coursera has leveraged its network of universities to create certificate-granting programs designed and bearing the names of elite schools.

#4 Kaltura: Video in Learning

A video platform that streams, stores, distributes, monetizes and analyzes video, Kaltura is one of the dominant players in helping schools utilize video. Its clients include Yale, Stanford, MIT and hundreds of other universities. Kaltura has created campus-wide video management and delivery systems for everything from storing lectures to streaming college basketball games.

What sets it apart: 

Kaltura's technology was built to accommodate the complex and varied needs of media companies, like HBO and TMZ, as well as major enterprises, including Bank of America. Now it is bringing to bear on education a technology that was built with the robustness and flexibility required by those customers. Unlike other companies within the EdTech sector, Kaltura is focused primarily on online video, making it a leader within the space.

#5 Kramer: Classroom Collaboration

Kramer released a wireless system that enables live collaboration between groups of students across any device. The system allows students to share work on a central monitor. From a control panel, the teacher can supervise all ongoing work and also participate.

What sets it apart:

For teachers, the beauty of Kramer’s system is its customizability, which differentiates it from competitive systems. From a central control panel, the teacher can send different content to different devices. So, small groups can work at their own pace and on different tasks.

#6 DonorsChoose: Education Crowdfunding

If you know Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform, will be familiar to you in most ways. The big exception is the projects themselves. They have names like “Books, Books, Books!” or “High School Field Trip.” The reason for that is the projects are started by public school teachers, not aspiring tech founders. All of the money donated goes to getting teachers - and their students - the supplies or resources they need.

What sets it apart:

DonorsChoose isn’t the only charity-minded crowdfunding site. Crowdrise, for example, has marshaled a network of do-gooders to fund projects from cancer treatments to urban gardens. But DonorsChoose is the only big crowdfunding platform focused exclusively on education, which puts it in an interesting position. With its insight into public school teachers’ needs, DonorsChoose has begun advocating for education policy reform.

#7 ExecOnline: Corporate Education

ExecOnline partners with top business universities, like MIT’s Sloan and UC Berkeley’s Haas, to offer university curricula online to corporate clients. Corporations buy-in because ExecOnline allows them to provide elite continuing education to their employees without sending them out of the office for extended periods.

What sets it apart: 

There are many executive development programs at top universities, but to participate, executives usually need to be physically present. ExecOnline differs in that it makes professional development courses from top universities accessible online and on any device - a priceless value to add for execs.

#8 Voxy: Language Education

Voxy is an English-teaching program designed to impart real-world language skills to students and professionals. The program adapts to the specific goals and skills of the learner and integrates live, personalized instruction. Its customers are corporations hoping to bring their international employees’ English up to business proficiency, as well as schools and individuals.

What sets it apart:

Like other English-teaching software programs, Voxy is based on the latest language acquisition science. But it is also far more responsive to a user’s input and takes advantage of today’s widely available web technologies, like video conferencing.

#9 Udemy: Online Classes

Udemy was founded with a mission to democratize education. Udemy is an open, online marketplace where anyone can upload and sell a class. Most classes range in price from $20 to $100 and teach saleable skills, like iOS app developing or how to use Excel. 

What sets it apart: 

Aside from taking a commission on its marketplace sales, Udemy has also become a platform for corporations to create customized training courses. This stream of revenue- from clients such as Goldman Sachs - has set Udemy apart from other online learning sites, like the non-profit Khan Academy, and propelled its rise in the EdTech world.

#10 Blinklearning: Textbook Customization

Blinklearning offers a textbook content treasure trove, enabling department heads and teachers to build customized lessons and entire textbooks with content from over 30 publishers worldwide. Educators can customize for each class or student. The company's goal is to empower teachers to personalize education with its massive digital textbook repository.

What sets it apart:

While competitors include publishing houses’ platforms, as well as LMS's that integrate with textbook content, Blinklearning stands out with its universality (through its widely varied publisher partnerships) and flexibility.

Conclusion

The potential for scaleable individualized learning has played an important role in edtech's ascendance. The way we learn, how we interact with classmates and teachers, and our overall enthusiasm for the same subjects is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Everyone learns at their own pace and in their style. Edtech tools make it easier for teachers to create individualized lesson plans and learning experiences that foster a sense of inclusivity and boost the learning capabilities of all students, no matter their age or learning abilities.

If you need help with an edtech project, our verified teams with in-depth experience in Education industry can give a hint to go in the right direction.

This article is also credited to EMERSON DAMERON  and  DUSTIN HARRIS

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