What’™s trending in edtech? Part 2

Martin McKay, CEO of Texthelp, looks at plummeting hardware costs and why UK schools will be slow to benefit

Part 2 of 3

Martin McKay, Chief Technology Officer of Texthelp Ltd, specialises in the development of technology for English language learners and struggling readers and writers. In this three-part series, he discusses the top 7 worldwide trends in educational technology coming soon to a school, college or university near you… 

Plummeting hardware costs and why UK schools will be slow to benefit

Hardware costs are set to plummet. According to the analyst Gartner Chromebook sales[i] will reach 14.4 million units by 2017, nearly tripling the current market size. And part of the reason for that growth is the slowing PC market.

A report published by them Quantifying the economic value of Chromebooks for K-12 Education[ii], showed that in the US schools purchasing Chromebooks reduced the per-device cost of ownership by $590 over three years compared with alternative devices. This benefit was seen before new Chromebook pricing was introduced in May 2012; which dropped monthly per-device costs for hardware/software from $20.75 to $13.30 and boosted the three-year cost of ownership savings to $935 

So why are schools in the UK so slow to benefit from similar economies of scale? Because major nationwide investment in wifi is required to utilise devices such as Chromebooks which are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing in the “cloud’.

Now is the time to equip our students with cheap devices and let them break free and learn. 

Educational analytics and payment by results

Learning analytics is already a big trend impacting schools, colleges and universities. One interesting opportunity that detailed learning analytics creates, is payment by results.

Imagine an educational publisher who has the confidence in their product to say “If your students spend one hour per week using our courseware, and we cannot demonstrate a learning improvement you will not have to pay for the software.” The Online Courseware can track student’s time on task, and their demonstrated learning improvement. It is good for publishers, teacher and students. 

The learning improvement could be showing mastery of a skill, a demonstration of gained knowledge, an improvement in grammar or sentence length, comprehension etc.

Analytics also allows large-scale studies of the effectiveness of learning interventions. e.g. Do students who use a writing intervention improve their writing faster than students who do not?

What does this mean for schools? Schools can have confidence in investing the courseware because the publisher can demonstrate the learning improvement, and is prepared to guarantee it if the school commits to using it properly.

Read part 1 of Martin’s blog here: https://edtechnology.co.uk/dashboard2/Blogs/whats_trending_in_edtech 


[i] Source: Business Insider – https://www.businessinsider.com/gartner-pc-is-dying-so-chromebook-sales-will-shoot-up-2014-8#ixzz3ASHhoJX2 

[ii]Quantifying the economic value of Chromebooks for K-12 Educationhttps://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/google.xfguo.org/en/us/intl/en/chrome/assets/education/pdf/IDC-WP-Quantifying.the.Economic.Value.of.Chromebooks.for.K-12.Education-082012.pdf