Over the last few weeks I have been sharing my thoughts on the key differentiators in this sector and the spectrum of opportunities that the Ed Tech sector brings compared to other sectors in the context of really understanding the value creation dynamics. All these views, be they good, bad, boring or controversial are of course, my personal thoughts.
In my previous posts I talked about
1. Content vs. Technology;
2. Education vs. Technology;
3. User vs. Buyer;
4. Scale vs. Specialist; and,
5. Think Big.. Think Global
And now lets consider the dynamics at play in different markets…
Jobs in the creative industry play an increasingly important role for the economy of many countries. The OECD just recently published an interesting report on the growing connection of tourism and the creative industry in countries like South Korea, China, Italy, Japan, the United States and New Zealand.
Besides classic creative jobs in photography and design, so called maker shops are getting more attention in tech hubs across the globe. Besides working on projects that are powered by Arduino chipsets, 3D printing is a massive driver for the growing popularity of the maker movement. It is already successfully used in medicine, fashion, construction or even space travel. Makers Empire from Australia wants to prepare today’s students for their future jobs that might very well involve 3D printing through its 3D design and printing app.
Australian edtech startup School Places raised $2 million AUD from Square Peg Capital, Tank Stream Ventures and Rampersand. Square Peg had already invested in School Places’ seed round. The funding will be used to expand the service beyond Victoria, first to New South Wales and later nationwide.
Today Australian Chief Minister Katy Gallagher opened the GRIFFIN Accelerator in Canberra. The accelerator is focused on startups who create scalable products and services for the government, particularly in the verticals of government software, government services, defence, education and health.
Applications for the first batch are open until May 23rd even though startups that apply early have a higher chance of being selected for the second stage.
When we first covered Learnable back in January 2011, the Australian startup was about to launch an online course marketplace similar to what Udemy has been building in the US with a wide selection of topics ranging from yoga to language learning.
But very quickly Learnable got back to its roots, trimming the course offerings to web design and coding related topics. And in a way it made sense as the project was born out of the very successful ebook platform SitePoint which specializes in learning material for coders and designers.
I also regularly point out that the most successful courses on platforms like Udemy are usually around subjects in programming and web design, targeting the young urban worker on the search for a job at a tech company or learning the skills needed to launch a tech startup.
We also heard a lot about coding in schools with initiatives like Code Year or Code.org with its star filled video and the UK just made coding part of the curriculum in public schools. And though I agree that coding is a desirable skill, I am going to learn some myself in the coming months, the usual hype around the topic calls for drastic measures if you want to get heard.
Learnable decided to put a number on its initiative: $10 million. Backed by its co-founder Mark Harbottle who is also the founder of 99designs, Learnable is giving 10.000 Australian students free access to all content on the site for three years. With a monthly subscription price of $29 that sums up to $1000 per student.
Leni Mayo, the co-founder of Learnable whom I interviewed for EDUKWEST back in 2011 states that
“Australia is near the bottom of the OECD in creating students interested Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). I’m concerned that Aussies kids are missing out on the opportunities created by the technology and communications revolutions. If we don’t teach our kids the skills we need as a nation, we run the risk of being left behind.”
I hope that Learnable is going to share some data on the performance of the students who sign up for the free access down the road. I often see that free offers lead to low retention rates and would probably add some other incentives that keep those kids motivated.