Tech and education have long intertwined with one another. As we improve education and how we teach our children, our technology (not to mention society overall) improves alongside it. Apps for high school students is big right now. And, in a bit of a feedback loop, as technology improves, how we educate is steadily refined.
Apps and websites have played a large role in the birth of a new(-ish) industry – EdTech. Many of you have probably also heard of the rise of so-called “Edutainment” apps, or apps that educate through interactive gaming apps. But there is a third intersect between education and technology that is not as well known: apps that connect students to one another – or service and communication apps for students.
Education technologies have been a thriving business for a while and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. While the industry statistics for 2015 have yet to be released, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) valued the EdTech industry at nearly 8.5 billion dollars – a half billion dollar increase from the previous year.
While not a massive growth, it isn’t insubstantial, either. This is especially poignant when you consider the fact that mobile apps have been around for less than a decade; in other words, the industry is still in it’s infancy. We expect to see some pretty big gains in the next few years, partially thanks to the growth of service apps for students (discussed below).
Tech for education range from apps that serve as communication platforms between students and teachers to websites that teach children math and literacy. This barely touches the breadth of the industry, but it hits the headlines. Basically, these are apps and websites specifically designed to work as an aid to improve literacy, math, and a teacher’s ability to monitor a student’s growth.
Currently, the hottest areas for the EdTech industry are Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and, of course, Silicon Valley. The biggest problem that the industry currently faces is slow venture capitalist investment. Currently investment is much higher than it was at this time last year, but EdTech companies tend to have a slower Return on Investment than other tech companies. That being said, the ROI tends to be larger and the company overall more sustainable.
Edutainment is a subsection of EdTech that focuses largely on apps. More importantly, they leverage tactics created by the video game industry and refined by the app gaming industry. What you’re trying to do is get children to stay invested with your app.
You need to create what is known as an “Engagement Loop.” This refers to the process of getting users to stay engaged, or to re-engage, with your app, game, program, etc. In Edutainment, this mostly refers to offering rewards to children (in-app rewards, like bonus points, not candy!) when they pass a milestone.
Apps like New Best Friends use gamification tactics to increase information retention, improve focus, and to expand concentration capabilities. All while creating a substantial and loyal user base! All intelligently designed apps utilize these tactics, but Edutainment apps tend to this exceptionally well.
Apps for Students
This is a rapidly expanding market in the app world. We’re all familiar with the concept – it’s basically a service platform (not to be confused with a SaaS program, though they are very similar). The idea here is to create a digital space where students can communicate with one another.
There are several purposes that such an application can fill:
• Communication to set up study groups
We all need help sometimes, and study groups are a great way to both learn and teach a subject.
Apps that aim for this service should include features like messaging, the ability to upload files, and the ability to record video and audio for later reference.
Additionally, libraries on various subjects, accompanied by popular resources contained within the app would be useful.
• Student-to-student service
Students from high school to college could benefit from a service exchange platform. Proffered services can be anything from tutoring to moving. Most of us have been to some sort of school at some sort of time, and many of us had skills to offer during said schooling. Why not make some money of those skills with an app that does the marketing for you?
Keep in mind, while this can be for-profit services, it can also be a service exchange platform. In other words, I’ll help you with the vocab test, if you tutor me in algebra!
There is another big benefit for students here: work experience looks good both on college applications and resumes. This is especially true if a student can show that it’s work they initiated, a business that they owned and operated themselves.
For nearly two decades, SDI has worked with education partners (from Stanford University in Silicon Valley, to Bloom College in Australia – and everyone in between) to make cutting edge technologies for teachers and students. If you have an idea on how you can leverage technology to improve education drop us a line today. We are currently offering a 25% discount on all education-related projects, so call soon!