Edtech Trend: Aggregation and Curation

The market for education technology is exploding right now. As of this article, there are over 90,000 iOS apps in the education category of the iTunes App Store, and over 90,000 Android apps in the education category of the Google Play marketplace. That’s 180,000 mobile apps between iOS and Android. If you throw in the hundreds of thousands of educational websites and desktop apps as well, that is a lot of edtech through which to wade.

This explosion is fueled by:

  1. A growing group of entrepreneurs passionate about education, as well as tech-savvy, entrepreneurial teacherpreneurs
  2. Advances in technology that have made the development of websites, apps, and digital content easier and cheaper
  3. The introduction of Internet-capable mobile devices and apps
  4. Increasing investment capital from investors

But with all of this technology available, how is a busy educator to sort through this ocean of resources? Where would one start?

The answer is in aggregation and curation services:

  • Aggregation services gather all of the resources available into a single destination. Some aggregators also label and organize them into a searchable directory.
  • Curation services sort and filter the resources so the worthwhile ones rise to the top. This can be done using computer algorithms, human selection, or a mix of the two.

Such services are already emerging. There is a number of aggregation and curation services for educational videos, lesson plans, online courses, mobile apps, etc. on the market, and that number is growing. I predict that this trend of aggregation and curation services is going to continue.

The diversity of such services will also increase. There are many ways to handle curation, as mentioned above (i.e. computer algorithms vs human selection). While each has its pros and cons, we will see services experimenting throughout that range. I suspect the right balance will fall somewhere in the middle.

Personalization will also be a factor. To curate for a particular classroom or student, the resources selected must be personalized to each specific context, because in education, one size does not fit all. This requires some awareness of the students involved. Current trends in data privacy will have an influence into how this awareness is collected, but without a personalized service, you run the risk of “solving for the middle,” which is just as bad as “teaching to the middle.”

We will also see these services as features of existing products. Within educational content creation services, curation will be an important factor in surfacing quality content.

One last prediction: This trend of aggregation and curation services will put many new solutions on the market before they consolidate and the least effective services fall away, just like the resources they will be aggregating and curating.

What do you think?

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

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