A recent story in Education Week posed the question: “Is Education Facing a ‘Tech Bubble’?”
The article, by Digital Directions Senior Writer Michelle R. Davis, speculates that educational technology companies and entrepreneurs may face the risk of a market meltdown, similar to the massive boom-and-bust that rocked the technology market in the late 1990s. “People say this is different [from the dot-com boom], but it’s not that different,” one analyst told Michelle. Other analysts, however, caution against such pessimistic perspectives, saying there is much more efficient use of resources than there was in the ‘90s. What all analysts agree on is that it is vital for today’s ed-tech money to flow to smart companies and ideas that can have a significant impact on school improvement.
Questions about the possibility of an ed-tech bubble bursting are emerging at a critical time for K-12 leaders. Schools across the country are scrambling to prepare for the technological demands of the Common Core State Standards and their accompanying online assessments. Educators are searching for products, services, and approaches to help them do a better job personalizing learning for students. And schools are trying to help students develop the technological skills they need to succeed in college and the workplace.
That is why ed-tech leadership is arguably more important than ever. The K-12 system needs leaders who understand how to tackle these challenges and who will educate K-12 industry investors and ed-tech company officials about what types of products and services schools need most. Smart leaders are the ones most likely to identify good players and bad players in the marketplace, helping to reduce the prospect of a bubble bursting, which would leave schools with fewer high-quality products and services to choose from.
In the cover story for this issue, Michelle examines the philosophies and tactics of several district ed-tech leaders, and points to research showing that high-caliber leadership is essential to better use of technology in schools. Leadership always matters, but that is especially so at this moment in time.
A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 2013 edition of Digital Directions as Ed-Tech Leadership at a Critical Time