May 25, 2016

The Edtech World Tour is a research project in nine countries researching EdTech adoption trends globally. This project wants to share pioneering experiences and various international case studies regarding the use of educational technology. Its purpose is to contribute to the development of thoughtful usage of educational technologies in the international community by sharing the vision and efforts that were deployed for its promotion in various EdTech hubs around the world.

During the EdTech journey, we had the opportunity to talk to both founders, Svenia Busson & Audrey Jarre, and they shared their experiences and findings on the project. We now want to share with you the highlights of our conversation:

Thus far, what are the main differences you have observed among each continent in terms of the EdTech environment and entrepreneurship?

  • In Asia, parents’ expenditure on education is skyrocketing. The kids spend a lot of time in private institutions, called tuitions or hagwon, in order to get into the best universities, such as SKY universities in South Korea or IITs in India. In some Asian countries, admission to one of the top universities is widely considered as determining one’s career and social status.

  • Oceania, Australia, and New Zealand have to make the most of a limited market by relying heavily on export (mostly to Asia).

  • The mobile penetration in Latin America is a genuine asset and startups are trying to make the most of these opportunities. A lot of educators (notably Enseña Chile Alumni) are turning to entrepreneurship and trying to leverage technology in their efforts.

  • The US has a very specialized ecosystem around EdTech with Venture Capital funds, incubators and accelerators that focus on EdTech only. It also has the most mature market in terms of adoption yet, some challenges exist and inequalities between districts that can afford it and poorer ones where the infrastructure, and sometimes the teachers themselves, are lacking.

  • South Africa is making the most of mobile learning by leveraging educational content that consumes less and less data (through interfaces akin to messaging apps).

  • Europe is very fragmented. EdTech has become one of the fastest-growing tech sectors in Britain, with more than 1,000 startups across the country, 200 based in London and a new strategic body (Edtech UK) created to support and accelerate the growth of the UK’s education technology sector across the world. Germany’s decentralized education system is a great test-bed for EdTech as every state is responsible for its own education. However, universities remain very traditional thus not very EdTech-friendly.

What is your opinion about the adoption of technological tools in universities?

In general, universities are still behind in terms of adopting EdTech and it often acts as a substitution measure rather than redefining the learning journey.

Do you think educational games foster the learning process among students?

Definitely! Gamification is engaging and it allows the theory that has been taught previously to be put into practice. It helps create a better understanding of the lessons and a greater motivation as we saw with GameLab, for example.

It also enables Peer-to-Peer Learning among students who are happy to help each other out if someone gets stuck.

Finally, in your opinion, what is the major challenge faced by the educational model nowadays?

It is very hard to answer this question as there is no universal education model. Education is local per se and strongly influenced by one’s culture. Every education system we’ve experienced faces its own challenges. But we can surely say that the most redundant challenge is the one of inequality of access to quality education and the struggle to engage first-generation learners.

During June the EdTech project will launch a data-driven report that will condense all the information they have been collecting throughout their travels to help entrepreneurs or community builders understand the Edtech world in a refined way. We invite you to visit the EdTech World Tour web page