Way back in 2012, I selected “The Platforming of Education” as one of my “Top Ed-Tech Trends.” Re-reading that article now makes me giggle/cringe. (To be fair, re-reading any of my old articles makes me giggle/cringe.) I wrote then about the importance of APIs; the issues surrounding data security and privacy; the problem of silos; and the big education and big tech companies who were well-positioned (and/or hopeful) to become education platforms.

I’m not sure I’ll revisit this topic in this year’s “Top Ed-Tech Trends,” but it is worth considering what’s happened to the LMS in this view. I know that Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein have predicted that 2016 would be a big year for the LMS. (I’m not sure we’ve seen anything “big” yet, but it’s only April 30.)

I’m curious to see what happens to Edmodo, one of the early darlings of ed-tech investors. Certainly it had aspirations to become a major platform. It’s raised a ton of money – $87.5 million – but I’m not sure that it’s ever figured out a business model. And I’m not sure that technologically, it’s ever become a big platform.

I also thought at one point that this would be the path that some of the MOOC startups would take. “The arc of the ed-tech universe is long, but it bends towards the LMS,” as MLK did not say. But Udacity has pivoted to corporate tech training. And Coursera and edX feel like also-rans more than platforms.

The big platform in education? Google, probably. The other big players in education – the Pearsons etc – why aren’t they more platform-like? Do platforms even matter?

Audrey Watters


Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2016

A Hack Education Project

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