Education technology (EdTech) is a megatrend that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students worldwide are adapting to online educational platforms as attractive alternatives to those taught on campus.
A director at PleIQ, an educational toy and app company in Chile, states, “The key is in ubiquitous learning: Learning what you want, wherever you want, whenever and however you want.” At the beginning of 2020, the business had 10 thousand registered users in Latin America, today that number has reached 100,000.
“The key is in ubiquitous learning: Learning what you want, wherever you want, whenever and however you want.”
Director, PleIQ, Chile
They are not the only Edtech venture to thrive during the pandemic, SchoolNet by Colegium saw a 415% increase in the use of its online communication and collection platforms in the first half of the year. Turnitin, a US-born company with significant footprint in Latin America, is now in 15,000 institutions in 140 countries including Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico and Brazil and uPlanner has impacted 2.5 million students worldwide.
A sustained increase in the use of business-to-consumer educational platforms is expected, but many believe that there is still no substitute for face-to-face teaching. The CEO of Colegium, a software company providing digital solutions for schools, believes the future is a mixed system, “Technology used to be outside the classroom, but in the coming years online task and evaluation systems will mix seamlessly with face-to-face activities.”
“In the coming years online task and evaluation systems will mix seamlessly with face-to-face activities.”
CEO, Colegium, Chile
This mixed-model of ‘intelligent classrooms’, where technology surrounds and supports in-person teaching, is expected to persist. Digital solutions are better suited to some applications e.g. assessments, homework, administration, etc but face-to-face teaching will remain essential for certain subjects such as music and physical education.
There is further opportunity for Edtech ventures in Latin America: market penetration is still low and VC funding in the region is growing, reaching USD 4.6 billion in 2019, up from USD 2.0 billion in 2018.
Could Edtech solve accessibility and quality issues in education in Latin America? We think so, but ubiquitous connectivity and device access are essential first steps.