National Education Week Comes to New York

What is the total amount that venture capitalists invested in education technology during the first half of 2015?

Which K–12 districts rank in the top 10 for the number of enrolled students in the U.S.? Approximately how much did U.S. public K–12 school districts spend per pupil on technology and other instructional support in 2014? What percentage of Fortune 500 companies use some form of education technology to instruct employees during regular training hours?

These are just a few of the questions you might encounter on the National Education Week homepage, which invites visitors to test their knowledge of the ed tech landscape.

As it turns out, even a score of 38 percent (that’s just three out of eight questions answered correctly) is a great score — and one that’s significantly higher than the average score of 28 percent (out of 229 quiz takers). One might, for example, overestimate the amount venture capitalists invested in ed tech the first and second quarter of this year (the right answer: $1.5 billion), and one might correctly identify Houston as one of the top 10 districts in the U.S. for student enrollment, while overlooking Hawaii and Miami-Dade. In case you were wondering, school districts spent an average of $515 per pupil on technology and instructional support last year — not $425 (in this case, you might be happy to be wrong!). And 42 percent is the correct answer for the proportion of Fortune 500 companies that use educational technology to train employees.

As these questions make clear, ed tech is where education, venture capitalism, and business intersect. It is this intersection — informed by educators, entrepreneurs, investors, school administrators, and others — that distinguishes the “ecosystem of education innovation that leverages our intellectual, financial, and network capital to improve the world,” says Jonathan Harber, co-founder of EDGE.

EDGE EdTech, an accelerator for ed tech startups, is co-hosting National Education Week with NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development on December 15–17, 2015.

This year marks the first time the global education festival is in New York; previous events took place in Washington, D.C. and were more heavily focused on policy. Last year’s attendees included Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton. Founder and CEO of The Noodle Companies John Katzman will be returning to address college affordability and quality, among other issues related to higher education.

This year, National Education Week is also drawing attention to how the media’s coverage informs our understanding of the ed tech market. Education journalists from NPR, Fast Company, WNET, and Education Week will present on the panel “Media & EdTech: What’s Fair is Fair.” Media representatives will also help shape the conversations in breakout sessions; Goldie Blumenstyck from the Chronicle of Higher Education will contribute to “Innovation in Content & Curriculum” and Jordan Shapiro of Forbes will join “Innovations in Educational Gaming, Coding, Content, Curriculum.”

A press release from NYU explained that “National Education Week will feature a curated program of ‘TED’ style presentations from pioneers in education, ‘Shark Tank’ style pitches from entrepreneurs, and an ‘un-conference’ where attendees solve real challenges facing schools, education causes, and ed tech startups.”

Wednesday’s panels cover a range of topics, including the potential for ed tech in K–12 schools, the necessity of learning to code in preparation for today’s workforce, accessible higher education, and teacher professional development. Thursday features specialized breakout sessions for K–12, higher education, career and corporate concerns, and lifelong learning.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to demo products from Codesters, PearDeck, Citeliter, Junior Explorers, and many other education tools creators.

“We believe that some of the world’s most challenging education problems need to be solved by innovative and disruptive agents,” says Don Burton, co-founder of EDGE. “We have a unique opportunity in New York City to leverage the most extensive and powerful network and assets in the education and technology sectors to drive the highest impact, reimagining education.”

Attendees are expected from the education, public policy, and business sectors.

Read the latest updates and opinions on education-related news, and use Noodle to ask about how K–12 schools near you and colleges you’re considering are integrating education technology into their curricula.

Questions or feedback? Write to us at [email protected], or leave a comment below.