From quill pens and chalkboards to magic erase markers and projectors, classroom instructional tools are constantly evolving. Today, at the height of the digital age, educators across the globe are grappling with one simple question (that doesn’t always have a simple answer): How can we use technology to improve learning?
Enter ed tech—or educational technology—the billion-dollar industry dedicated to answering this question.
Educational technology refers to the implementation of technology—both hardware and software—into the classroom to improve learning outcomes. It’s an immensely important next frontier industry. You’ve probably used plenty of ed tech without even realizing it, from Khan Academy to Quizlet to the Promethean boards that grace the walls of many elementary classrooms.
But it’s not enough to just include technology in the classroom; it actually needs to be helpful. It needs to be seamless. It needs to be accessible. It needs to be user-friendly. And most importantly, it actually needs to improve learning.
That’s a lot to ask, but plenty of companies are already in the arena, developing and testing countless innovative products, all with the goal of creating a transformational, cutting-edge educational experience for the next generation.
Here are just a few:
Ed tech companies for students:
An online learning platform with courses in the categories of business, creative, technology, and certifications, LinkedIn Learning provides plenty of easily accessible resources for upcoming and current professionals.
We might be biased, but Base 11 Digital is a great resource for historically underrepresented populations looking to succeed in next frontier industries (like ed tech!). We offer exclusive opportunities, career development, community, and free STEM programs—all designed to help you take the next step toward your dream career!
Founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors, Coursera collaborates with universities across the country to offer online certifications—and even degrees.
This handy note-taking software features the ability to seamlessly create tables, collaborate with teammates, annotate, and organize. It even has an AI feature to help you write your notes.
Ed tech companies for teachers:
Nearpod VR allows students to explore the Roman Coliseum or venture through the Amazon Rainforest—all from the convenience of the classroom. Focused on engaging and innovative digital instruction methods, Nearpod is truly leveraging cutting-edge technology to expand the minds and experiences of students across the country.
Labster provides high school teachers with university-level laboratory simulations. For schools that can’t afford lots of expensive equipment, this is a revolutionary opportunity for students looking to pursue STEM careers in higher ed.
Celestia is a free space simulator that allows students to explore the edges of the universe from any computer—at no cost.
Wakelet, which can be enabled as a Chrome extension, enables users to organize their bookmarked websites into lists and newsletters. It’s all about staying up to date on what’s happening in your field—and sharing that with others.
Ed tech employers:
Looking for your next career path? Here are some ed tech companies to consider applying to!
The hugely popular independent language learning program (known best for its very insistent large green bird mascot), supports language learners in over 70 countries and has offices in Pittsburgh, New York, and Berlin, Germany, as well as remote and freelance opportunities.
A platform for students and teachers to upload and share study guides and course-specific resources for thousands of classes and subjects, Course Hero provides personal development programs and tuition assistance to their employees—most of whom work from home.
Chegg is designed to supplement the instruction students receive in the classroom with online homework assistance. Known for a “supportive and diverse” workplace culture, Chegg offers programs to help recent graduates transition into the workforce, including internships and tech career boot camps.
Started in 1997, Blackboard’s learning management system is a giant of ed tech used by a whopping 75% of colleges across the United States. They typically have job openings in coding, cybersecurity, and software development.
While plenty of great ed tech startups are pushing the borders of what’s possible, the industry still presents many challenges. Can students of all socioeconomic levels access these digital resources? Are the programs reliable and resistant to viruses and glitches? Will these resources complicate teachers’ jobs, or make them easier? And most importantly, will these innovations inspire greater and more effective learning?
These questions are exactly why we need compassionate, driven students and young professionals (like you!) in this field—so we can leverage technology to create bigger, bolder futures for kids and teachers around the world.