Imagining and actualizing an EduTech Ecosystem at String’s 2nd Meetup @ Meta

What does an EduTech ecosystem look like?
Why do we need an EduTech ecosystem?
What is our role as teachers in all this?

Published in
6 min readNov 22, 2023


To me, an EduTech ecosystem in Singapore involves:

  1. Both Government Stakeholders and Educators— intra-school (teachers, managers, school leaders); inter-school (clusters); HQ/ Policy; experimental tech units like Ministry Of Education (MOE)’s Experimental Science and Tech Lab (ESTL) which involves GovTech secondees to MOE; pure GovTech folks. We also need the support of those involved in youth development like National Youth Council. There is a need to close the feedback loop between players and properly harmonize in the public sector to make better educational experiences for us and our students. This layer can already be nauseating and confusing enough with conflicting interests.
  2. Startups and Private Sector Players — ideally those genuinely here to make an impact to education rather than tuition centres aimed at profitting off the insecurities of students and teachers. Today, we have Zenith, Crater and we sit in the space enabled by the generosity of Meta (previously at Google). We can and need to learn from forerunners in industry to bridge the gap and truly prepare students for the future. Yet there are ‘lemons’ and plenty of bad faith actors. We cannot and should not blindly trust.
  3. Non-governmental entities and grassroots movements to connect the dots across and bring something to educators in a way as dynamic as startups but yet serving public interest and needs of education. AISG is one such example, among other really nice career exposure players like Astronauts’ Collective, access.sgp, maybe too. But for something truly wholly focused on educators, primarily by educators, this is why we have String.
Crater supported String by providing both the physical space and inspiration to work on the intersection between industry and education

String does not work in a silo and we are happy to have some of these key players in the same room, today.

String enables an ecosystem. An ecosystem is about collaboration and mutual benefit. Historically and for good reason, education sectors tend to be closed off and more guarded to ward off bad faith actors. Yet, we need to be forward looking, risk taking and innovative and bring lessons in. When we learn from outside our… zone of proximal development (lol) we have more to offer in the classroom.

So more concretely, String’s ecosystem has 3 components:

  • Simplify — programs to make an otherwise daunting task of keeping up with tech and industry trends accessible to all regardless of skill level. You might have partaken in Tech Talk for Teachers season 1 and 2 with insights trickling back to your classroom. Hwee Hwee is a super star for taking ideas she learnt about and becoming an advocate for how tech can lead to more efficient preparation of lesson materials.
  • Scale — tech products; we want educators to be early adopters or co-creators of tech in the best spirit, enabled by the prevalence of low/no-code tools that facilitate rapid prototyping and deployment. You may have used CherGPT, Remarks Co-Pilot or heard my rant about why we should do learning portfolios outside of SLS. You already see teachers like Mathew, Joyce, Gilbert, Eddie, Wen Yeow, Norman, Yew Li, Zheng Fu, Alexis and more developing things that colleagues actually use in their respective schools and running whole-school trainings. I believe there will be much more to come. We need to sharpen the value proposition and track the metrics of each products better.
  • Structure — partnerships that ideally yields good outcomes with stakeholders in both public and private sphere.

If we dream bigger, we will be engaging others in ASEAN and beyond.

This is our next bound for String, with the help of advisors who believe in this cause of empowering educators to truly impact education like Rusydi (CEO, co-founder of Reactor School). As soon as 2024, we may be sending our teachers to Philippines, Vietnam and more while also expect to receive teachers from our partner schools and countries. This is not a student exchange but a teacher exchange with plenty of exposure to startups and innovation in our neighbouring countries. Watch this space to see what happens when we give teachers the same exposure as startup founders.

But wait, going back to the original question why do we even need an EduTech ecosystem?

The world is evolving and getting really strange, really fast. We are tech focused because the benefits for us are immense.

We dabble, experiment, fail fast and learn fast so we as teachers can say entrepreneurial spirit, risk taking and mean it because we embody it in our daily practices.

We need an EduTech ecosystem so we can arrive at more efficient practices regardless of your role. And seeing it, working on it at Open Government Products (OGP) as a seconded staff myself (still an education officer at least by tagging and I guess salary), it is my sincere hope that even if we cannot all have equivalents of OGP in the near future, the ability to prototype, adopt and/or build tech can truly really take place as soon as today when you leave Meta. We can build these capabilities within ourselves, by ourselves today if we build the right structures for collaboration.

I am sure there is a tool that you can adopt given the pool of what you see here that could give you back hours of your time cumulatively. Because of a more inspired, efficient workflow, maybe we can be a little less overworked and a little more creative.

And because you tried, your life and your students’ lives will forever change for the better.

Running String, I have had weird harassy behavior with signups of tech talks with “”, “”; “HOD arrow us because of you” among other stints of raising and losing money trying stuff in the education sphere. It did really make me go — huh (lol). But bordering on obsession, I find myself coming back to this space even though it is really not my job now (for this past year, I work in the healthcare/healthtech space with OGP though teaching memories remain fairly vivid).

I hope you bother, I hope you invest time and learn something with String.

When you join String, you will too try stuff and probably fail a good deal. But fail faster and trust the process. You will get better. (Trust me, people were so darn confused when I starting pitching String on day 1 at OGP and that was probably a total flop. I suspect some colleagues are still confused even today ><)

Our role as teachers is to first better ourselves before we can better our students.

What we can offer is constantly eroded. Tech is bloody disruptive.

We are the adult in the (class) room. We try to keep relevant with professional development courses, most of which seem to be regrettably not so relevant.

String is here for 3 main outcomes, tied to the 3 ‘S’:

  1. Simplify (and scale): Teachers own/ design their own data pipelines and tools. And by this, it is not tokenistically using Menti or Kahoot. If you harvest your data systematically, regardless of the tooling, you appreciate the idea of a data pipeline and that will better T&L.
  2. Simplify: Teachers organize and run their own training. Consequently, make informed decisions about selection of EduTech products and keep in touch with emerging tech — we stay relevant and engaging!
  3. Structure: Teachers have access to opportunities in ASEAN for themselves and their students, enabled by tech, validated by educators — in doing so, we achieve both teacher career exposure and the aim of inspiring students. This is my biggest bet yet as I abstract myself from daily ops of String.

Today (and really in the past year), we have validated the appetite for self-made, scalable tools independent of ministry support (though we do really explicitly close the feedback loop and share with the ministry of course).

After today, hopefully more educators go “I want to String this” as an expression of hacking school/ government in the best way possible, to feel and genuinely be empowered and inspired to innovate regardless of circumstance.

And from there, we also find our passion and love for learning.

That will all naturally trickle back to the classroom.

This time, next year, we will reach 10,000 teachers in Singapore (and maybe beyond) but only if we work together, pool benefits and collaborate as a fraternity.

Welcome to String!



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