Technology Vs. Education: Thoughts from an EdTech start-up on the ever-evolving landscape.

Working in start-up technology and working in education differ vastly in the way they operate. The initial goal for a start-up is to get the product out there as fast as you can, even if it’s not perfect. You fail fast so you can succeed faster. Education, on the other hand, relies heavily on time tested methods. Trying something new involves a lot more hemming and hawing, a lot more speculative analysis and results driven implementation.

Education is rooted in traditionalism. It’s a slow moving institution. Education doesn’t have the same sense of urgency that the corporate world does, let alone the start-up world. When you combine the fast-paced world of a tech start-up and the conventionally established world of education a natural tug of war ensues. How do we strike a balance that works best for students, teachers and parents?

We’re grappling with the fact that technology and education are necessary together. The whole world is now a realm of technology. We can’t possibly leave education behind. Especially when the majority of the work force relies heavily on the use of new technologies. The question is how do we use technology as the medium for education without sacrificing an established institution? We’ve tried putting traditional education online, but the results called for something a bit more creative. The latest trend is blended learning. Which seems like a happy medium, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Blended learning seems like a simple solution to the problem, but it still comes with a lot of unknowns. How well does it really work? Does it really get results, improve test scores, and boost engagement?

If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep 100 years ago and woke up today everything would look different to him with the exception of the American education system.

Right now EdTech is a mumblin’ jumblin’ mess of new methods, creative innovations, new technologies, programs, and apps. It’s lacking structure and there’s a simultaneous push for new methods and a pull for classic stuff. The marriage of education and technology is crucial, but just like any healthy relationship there has to be give and take, clear communication and trust. We’re just trying to find the best ways to make it work. The way in which students and educators will benefit and thrive from it.

Two things that we place a lot of emphasis on here at MathCrunch are personalized learning and ownership of learning. Technology used in the right way has the potential to produce ownership and to tailor learning to personal styles. These two aspects of education are extremely important and easily complimented by the use of technology in the classroom. Take an app like yours truly for example. Students use MathCrunch on their own time to complete assignments. They have the access to the learning and answers they need to succeed and they have all the power to access that knowledge themselves. Furthermore, tutors tailor their teaching to the needs and skills of the student. Boom. Personalized learning.

Education is more than just a learning issue though, it is riddled with social, economic, cultural, and political problems. Software and technology isn’t going to solve these tough educational problems, but it is the best medium to begin the journey.

We’re working hard everyday to solve these incredibly hard problems, and being the optimists that we are, we truly believe that all this is leading to a brighter future and an educational landscape filled with opportunity, engagement, and learning.

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