Tag Archives: space

Reflections on the EdStartUp “space”

This blog post is my way of catching up on my weekly homework for my first MOOC, EdStartUp 101. After seeing the video with Betsy Corcoran, founder of EdSurge, the education-technology ‘information resource and community’. I had a few quick ideas and responses…

I do worry a little about how the language we all use might help create unnecessary barriers and distinctions between the ‘education’ and ‘technology’ camps sometimes. For example ‘teaching and learning’ doesn’t seem that accessible a concept to your average software founder as it’s deceptively simple exterior houses a bunch of big, awkward questions like what should be taught, how should it be taught and what should be learned as a result? Similarly I find the use of ‘the education space’ to be a little off-putting to educators due to it’s associations with management consultancy and corporate speak (hence my use of scare-quotes above). I have an ongoing campaign in my day job at Pearson against the use of ‘learnings’ as a verb.

The idea that Teach for America teachers are more likely to start an EdTech StartUp intrigued me and I wondered if the same was true of Teach First here in the UK? I know of some great face-to-face businesses (like Enabling Enterprise and The Access Project) to come from Teach First alumni, but no tech-focussed ones. Perhaps that’s more a signal of the UK EdTech StartUp scene compared to the States (or my own ignorance)?

The charts that Betsy showed give some indication of why there’s growing fears of another .com education technology bubble…

GSV Advisors, American Revolution 2.0, p.312

But also highlight the hopes for more sustainable grass-roots innovation this time, including from educators themselves…

GSV Advisors, American Revolution 2.0, p.311

The key point for me is the one she raises about the values of those choosing to start a company or invest in this ‘space’.  Who do they want to be and what impact do they really have should be the big questions we all consider, before money even comes into it.


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