Where Does Funding for EdTech Come From?
Technology in the classroom can support educators and create a learning environment with improved communication, hands-on research and more effective testing. Technology can even better motivate students to learn, according to 74 percent of surveyed teachers.
Since many schools don't have room in the budget for new technology, they look to outside funding to fulfill their needs. Luckily, the EdTech market is booming.
In 2018, U.S. education technology companies raised a total of $1.45 billion in funding over a span of 112 investment deals. The primary purpose of these venture investments is to support educators and learners from pre-school school through graduation. Experts think this pattern will only continue into 2019.
Of that $1.45 billion invested, $511 million went to support K-12 students and educators and $590 went towards post-secondary education. An additional $350 million was also invested in preschool and professional learning sectors.
While start-ups have the opportunity to gain capital, many of these investors are large corporations with decades of public standing. One big EdTech investor is the state lottery. Out of $2.1 billion in sales in 2018, the Virginia Lottery generated more than $606 million for K-12 public education, comprising 10% of the state's entire education budget.
Outside the Classroom
EdTech funding is at an all-time high, but why isn't it improving the lives of students and teachers? That's because most of the invested money never reaches the classroom.
Findings released in a 2017 report show that of all the funds raised that year to support global education technology — $9.52 billion — only 13 percent was received by Pre-K-12 institutions.
Where, then, is the money going?
Findings show a large portion of these funds are going towards consumer and corporate learning companies. While these companies still have a focus on education, it's the type that takes place outside of the classroom and includes technologies like virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Follow the Money
If you are an educator, the good news is that, despite investments going towards new learning initiatives outside the classroom, millions in funds are still available to implement new technology in your lesson plan.
Government Funding: Educational institutions can always apply for grants and funds from local, state and federal government programs.
Organizational Funding: Organizations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offer funding for EdTech educators can apply to directly.
Donation Programs: Many businesses and organizations donate unused or outdated equipment to educators. There are many online resources for finding donations, including the popular Donors Choose organization, which matches up educators with prospective donors.
Fundraising: Fundraising is an easy and effective way to build funds for technology implementation. As an added bonus, since the money is given directly to the school and is not a grant, there's less paperwork involved.
Applying for Funding
Seeking funding, whether through a grant, scholarship or donation, typically means going through an application process. This means knowing how much money you will need and what you plan to do with it.
Before you start an application, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- How will new technology aid the educator’s ability to teach?
- How will new technology improve the students’ learning experience?
- What types of technology will be the most effective?
- What type of maintenance will new technology require?
When considering your potential expenses, remember technology is an investment. It’s not a one-time purchase, but rather something that requires updates and improvements over time. Keep this information in mind when considering how much funding you need.
The Future of EdTech
Investments in Edtech from companies across the globe are only expected to increase. This funding will be crucial for educators in providing their students with the resources they need to excel in the twenty-first century.