The Realities Missing from "The Hot Edtech for 2015"

As someone who, before I actually started working in education, did time in two dot coms in the eLearning space I feel I can add some perspective to the “What’s Hot” discussions we are all having now.

A little background first. I have been working on the web since 1995, two years after the graphical internet was born. In the first company I was employee number one and we started as a website company building Sporting Adventures the, at the time, third largest outdoor sports website on the internet. SA had behind it a database which allowed people to search for sports by state and sport which was pretty cool for 1995 and got us noticed by Gartner Group. We ended up building Gartner Learning, their eLearning platform.

The second was an eLearning company from day one called SocratEase which became Quelsys. We built what amounted to Microsoft PowerPoint for eLearning and that experience is where my perspective on the “What’s Hot for Edtech in 2015” comes from. We had built a phenomenal product. You could easily build and deploy whole eLearning courses in a matter or an hour or so and we went to the .edu market figuring that “what’s not to love?”

The issue became, and it remains an issue when talking about cool new technology in education, that the wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly and time to adapt and deploy is often measured in years not weeks. This is the reality in many districts and it’s no one’s fault it’s just the way the system works. Budgets usually run on a year before basis. Budgets for next year are being worked on right now. The line items have been set in meetings and after trials that have been ongoing since last year. That means that schools are looking to deploy technology that has been in the pipeline since 2013 not including discretionary money for app purchases.

So when we talk about the “Hot Trends for 2015” we have to face the reality that many of them won’t be in the hands of students until the 2016-2017 school year. I am not trying to be cynical here when I say the the “Hot Stuff for 2015” is, in actuality the “Hot Stuff for 2017”.