The future of education is not plexiglass: Investing in the right #edtech

Working in education and other knowledge sectors this year makes it certain: The future is not plexiglass ensconced desks, classrooms and work spaces propped up by massive investments in car parking and travel. The future means more self-directed and distributed work and study, indoors and out.

It can be understood as simply an acceleration of current trends and a result of wide access to frugal educational technology (#edtech) – resources cheaper and more attractive than sneeze shields. In 2020, start-ups such as Outlier offer high quality online undergraduate courses accepted by elite institutions at prices competing with the most affordable US colleges. Additionally, new online professional certification approaches look to bypass traditional degree structures altogether.

It’s no surprise that new online classes and resources have waiting lists while many universities consider seemingly dangerous ways to try to capture revenue based on old ways of working. As a new report from Brookings makes clear, now is the time to re-think formal education entirely and move beyond modified “chalk-and-talk” (or PowerPoint ranger) approaches.

We are in a golden age of discount-to-free, anywhere-delivered workshops, books, videos, lectures, podcasts, tests, quizzes, puzzles, spoken exams, recitals, exercise regimes, presentations and panels. A decent annual data plan ($600?), sturdy laptop ($300), smart-enough phone ($90), discount tablet ($40), good headphones with a mic ($30), yoga mat ($20) and online library cards are some of the minor investments needed for a world-class education or life of learning and betterment.

Beyond small and hopefully longer-term investments in personal #edtech or “life tech,” it’s a moment to consider putting more financial skin in the game via direct – if only just micro – investments. I’m new to the markets, but trends and innovative financial tools and knowledge-sharing have me considering buying into the following stocks:

Dividend-yielding:

– Cisco (CSCO)
– HP (HPE)
– Microsoft (MSFT)
– Pearson (PSE)

Non-dividend yielding:

-Amazon (AMZN)
-Logitech (LOG)
-Peleton (PTON)
-Workday (WDAY)

I’m also keeping an eye on the following private #edtech companies and organizations:

Babbel
Blackboard
EdX (non-profit)
Coursera
Designit
MasterClass
Mural
Outlier
OverDrive
Skillshare
Springshare
Teachers Pay Teachers
Udemy

Let me know what I’m missing in the #edtech space!

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