There is a growing consensus that, in education, the pandemic has not changed as many things as the current trends exposed and accelerating. Two of these trends are the explosion in connective digital learning technology and the growth of less is more educational technology.
The first trend is easy to understand. Technical tools that allowed or assisted teachers to connect with their students, supervise their learning progress or share their lessons, were in high demand during compulsory distance learning.
It is the second trend that best proves the point regarding epidemiological learning. Before distance learning was the only thing, education technologies that were easy to use, easy to learn and relatively inexpensive were already seeing a growth in the market. The pandemic has likely established this as the new normal in educational technology.
One company, Screencast-O-Matic, is outside of Seattle, right out of the casting center at both points.
“To build a suite of tools for creating video and communicating very easily,” says Matt Champagne, CEO of the company, which started in 2006. “At the time, that was very difficult. If you were in a school or even in a company, you had to go to an expert and pay a lot.” of money. It was very difficult.”
This is the company’s value proposition – helping teachers and students deliver and share presentations, tutorials, and lessons – even their screens in their classroom – quickly and easily.
And if you think this sounds like a solution tailored to the needs of a remote pandemic help, you’re thinking correctly. According to the company, they’ve seen a staggering 825% spike in usage during teaching and intensive or remote learning – reaching more than 11 million users in 190 countries.
“Sometimes technologies explode with young people first and the professional and educational markets don’t grow that fast. But with this huge rise we’ve seen, everyone has had to figure out how video works,” Champagne said. Usage has decreased as some face-to-face classes have returned. “But it’s still higher than it was in the pre-pandemic period, and we’re still seeing very strong growth,” he said.
This is the essence of the first trend. The companies and tech solutions that saw big jumps in adoption in 2020 may see their numbers decline, but they won’t go away. People know how to use their products and services now. Patterns and habits formed. Change is hard, and when a product is successful, there’s no need to stop using it. The winners in epidemiological learning will remain winners.
Additionally, the usability factor of educational technology cannot – and should not – be overlooked. This is where O-Matic and Champagne’s Screencast stand out. “That’s still our core value – it’s easy to use,” Champagne said.
The product requires no fancy software licenses, no IT permissions, no specific cameras – just go to the site, click the button, install the app, register and share. “We don’t even ask for an email, just start using it,” Champagne said. Even better, it integrates with all the big names in learning management – Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, and even Chromebook.
And the price – only $ 20 a year. “It’s really unbelievable,” Champagne said. At this rate, even criminally low-paid teachers can afford it without having to worry, wait, or seek permission to compensate.
This is nearly zero barrier to acquisition and use and the powerful new paradigm of educational technology. If a tool requires teacher training, continuous development, updates, and IT management and maintenance, it is increasingly difficult to sell. In this way, teachers are no different from everyone else. They want what works and what works as easy, efficient, and inexpensive as possible.
This is the second trend. Companies that find a way to tackle a single problem with this level of easy solution will win. And he kept winning. Now, in education, less is more.
It’s not hard to see why, although Screencast has broad appeal, more than half of its work comes from education, educators specifically. Since the company is adding features—they recently added a green screen that students can use for mock interview and “remote” reporting—there’s no reason to believe that they and companies on the same path won’t develop their educational foothold any further.
Currently, the company is private, profitable, and not seeking financing, Champagne said. But they are looking for ways to expand their reach and services. “We want to try to fill in the whole picture of education as much as it is a value proposition about accessibility,” he said. “The vision is that using video is just another communication tool like email or text messaging, something else in your arsenal with no friction in the process.”