Understanding the EdTech Product Landscape [+ Infographic]

We all know how rapidly the EdTech sector is growing. Last year global investments in educational technology crossed $9 billion. A 30% jump from 2016. With the Chinese and Indians spending massively on education, 2018 is set to be another record-breaking year for the EdTech industry.

This growth can be attributed to the widening of the product landscape in EdTech. Educators and innovators are beginning to realise the real potential of technology far beyond classrooms.

Today the scope of EdTech solutions have evolved so much so that you can find an app to learn (or discover) pretty much anything. From learning a foreign language to immersing yourself into orbit. You’re spoilt for choices. Literally!

The EdTech Product Landscape (not just classrooms)

Before diving further into the topic, I’d like to put out a disclaimer. I’m not an EdTech specialist. Nor do I have an academic background to boast of. I’m just an enthusiast who’d like to understand the sector deeply, and in doing so I hope to share my thoughts with you.

Based on the latest trends I’ve sorted the EdTech product landscape into eight categories. Below you can find an infographic shortly describing each category.

Best viewed on desktop

Of course, the EdTech landscape can be a categorised in a much broader way. Check out Navitas ventures latest report on the global edtech landscape. They have done a brilliant job in mapping out the industry into twenty six innovative clusters.

EdTech companies falling under each category

Now let’s look at what companies correspond to the categories I’ve listed above.

1. Immersive Tech

3D Bear is a 3D design tool that runs on your browser or tablet and gets you familiar with Augmented Reality(AR) & 3D printing. Apart from designing and printing your own avatar, you can learn number sequences and mathematical equations. Now that sounds fun, doesn’t it?

With 3DBear’s AR app you can Create 3D-models with your finger

3D Bear participated in xEdu’s Acceleration Program (Fall’ 16), and recently secured their second round of funding from US based VC LearnStart. Resulting in total $1,5M to date. Here’s what Kristo Lehtonen, CEO of 3D Bear said right afterwards..

We’re very excited to continue our expansion on the US market. Students find 3DBear AR lessons fun and engaging, and teachers find that they are not constrained by physical limitations of 3D printers

The 3DBear AR application is free and is available on both AppStore and PlayStore.

Other companies in the immersive tech sphere are Mel Chemistry VR, Lyfta. and Grib.

2. Coding & Technology

BomberBot is a digital learning tool where elementary school children can learn how to code, among other critical digital skills such as testing, algorithmic thinking, and spatial reasoning. No programming skills are required — teachers get ready-made lesson plans to work with the BomberBot game with online and offline activities.

This company is a graduate of the Rockstart Acceleration Program (2014) & xEdu’s first Acceleration Program (Spring 2016), and this year they have raised their second round of investment with Social Impact Ventures.

Code Combat and Code Monkey are some other tools for learning how to code.

3. STEM

Nano Simbox is making the invisible visible. They are an exploratory digital learning and research platform that allows users to immerse themselves (using VR or interactive 3D environments) in the scientific world of atoms and molecules.

Learning chemistry with Nano Simbox is fun and intriguing

Interactive Scientific, the creators of Nano Simbox, is a xEdu 2017 Alumni, winner of the Innovate UK infocus award 2016 and part of the Oracle’s Startup Cloud Accelerator programme in Bristol.

Becky Sage, CEO, Interactive Scientific

“If we’re going to deal with the world’s biggest challenges, like climate change and health, more of us need to embrace science now. Nano Simbox helps to change the way we all think about science — make it about curiosity, creativity and collaboration — anyone can be a scientist. By making the invisible world visible to everyone, we are inspiring and teaching the next generation of children to see the world differently, and become the scientists our future needs.”

Here are some other STEM startups and apps: Shapes, Ozobot and Skidos games.

4. Learning Management System

eloomi is a cloud-based web/mobile app that allows individuals and organizations to support skill training, content management, and new behaviour through e-learning content and performance trackers. Eloomi has received funding from SEED Capital (2015) and VF Venture (2017).

Here’s what their CEO, Claus Johansen had to say on the next generation of LMS tools:

To support the increasing need to engage and empower teams, organisations today require a tool with a powerful user experience that makes e.g. on-boarding, skills training and compliance simple. In a next generation LMS you would also want to find learning and development integrated with simplified appraisals, feedback and performance development.
eloomi mobile application

They’ve also won awards and recognitions such as Best Functionality & Best Value(2017), Best User Experience (2018), and Category Leader, Training & Onboarding.

5. Social-emotional Learning

Mightifier is a tablet app that encourages positive feedback among classmates and delivers real-time data to teachers about students (& classrooms) well-being.

After Mightifier graduated from xEdu’s 2016 acceleration programme, the company received Kokoa’s Certification, conquered the Arctic15 Microsoft Pitching Competition in 2017 and reached the finals at Nordic EdTech Awards. Mightifier are currently expanding onto the Asian market.

Mervi Pänkäläinen, Founder and CEO,Mightifier

“The development of overall school wellbeing will be in a bigger role in the future. It is not enough to develop only students’ social-emotional skills, also school personnel need to be trained. There is a need for tools that can demonstrate their impact on better team spirit, social relations and decreasing anxiety and bullying.”

Other companies in the social emotional learning category include Flipgrid and Roundies.

6. Language Learning

Utelias develops software for robots to be used by educational institutions and private customers. The startup is currently developing language learning software for children and adults who are learning a foreign language.

Elias — the robot can help you learn a foreign language

“Our mission is to make people communicate better with the help of social robots and artificial intelligence” — ​Johanna Hemminki , founder and CEO at Utelias.

The company was part of 2017’s xEdu Fall Acceleration program, after which they were featured in Reuters, and other newspapers in Finland, China & India.

Some other language learning solutions include popular apps Duolingo, Memrise and Babbel as well as Edwin, an English learning app available in 6 languages.

7. Early Childhood Learning

GroPlay is a creative studio that makes various children’s apps ( and toys) about health, social and sustainability issues in an inspiring and fun way! All of their games are designed to give kids and their parents a foundation about eco-living to create a more sustainable future.

Here’s what Kristian Lundquist, CEO & Co-founder, GroPlay has to say about Early Childhood Learning apps..

Merely digitising textbooks or uploading videos on the web is not an effective way to cater the early-childhood group of learners. EdTech companies should instead focus on involving children in playful experiences to explore and experiment. Game based and blended learning is a great way of doing that. Kids will make mistakes, which doesn't matter because they will try again and eventually succeed.

They are a STING alumni, part of the Reach for Change and xEdu Acceleration program, and they won the Swedish Living Green award in 2012.

Fun Academy is another startup delivering early-childhood educational solutions and services. Fun Academy combines many aspects of the EdTech landscape in their holistic approach to early years education. They train teachers to help them work on redesigning their classroom to support also tech in learning — as a tool for creativity and participation.

Meet the astronaut with the Fun Academy

Fun Academy is a spinoff of Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds, and some of their partners include the University of Helsinki, Finnish National Agency for Education, Space Nation, and Lenovo.

8. Online Courses

GoLearn is an e-learning subscription-based platform for people who want to develop digital marketing skills (content marketing, SEO, social media, automation, etc).

Their mission is clear:

to help boost the Danish business industry’s competitiveness by making it easier and cheaper for companies to retrain their employees.

DTM Invest, Charlie Darwin Aps, and the founders of Dinero invested in the company in 2017.

This segment also includes well-know online learning platforms such as Udemy and Coursera.

Final Words

As you can see EdTech solutions are becoming part of our everyday lives. There are learning solutions for literally everyone. Schools, businesses, parents and individuals, everyone wants to be part of the EdTech evolution!

And why not? Who doesn’t want to make their screen-time count.

Oh so you got this far! I’d really appreciate some claps (and shares). And do let me know in the comments below what you think of this piece.

Thanks a ton Anne Gläsel once again, for helping with this piece. You rock!


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