Major Software Association Winds Down Its Ed-Tech Division

Contributing Writer

The Software and Information Industry Association is restructuring its education technology division, known as ETIN.

In a press release, the membership advocacy organization said that ETIN will be consolidated within SIIA’s public policy division, effective Wednesday.

SIIA will move away from in-person ed-tech events, and the new arrangement will focus more closely on the ed-tech community’s “most critical needs at the moment surrounding public policy,” the press release says.

SIIA is inviting current education division members in good standing to maintain their memberships via the organization’s Education Policy Committee, at their current dues level.

The committee will continue to operate under the leadership of Sara Kloek, focusing on issues including student and children’s privacy, education funding, closing the digital divide, distance learning policies, accessibility, and interoperability, according to SIIA.

Mitch Weisburgh, a member of the ETIN board and co-founder of Academic Business Advisors, an educational consultancy, said SIIA’s ed-tech members most value the organization for its governmental relations work.

The ETIN board will discontinue alongside ETIN, but board members are informally discussing what non-policy services, if any, SIIA can offer for the ed-tech industry upon ETIN’s absorption into the larger organization, though it remains to be seen whether there’s enough interest within the ed-tech industry to provide such services, Weisburgh said.

ETIN helped provide services including industry education, information dissemination, standards development, and mentoring for market entrants, he said.

SIIA is exploring transitioning existing ETIN committees and communities to a virtual platform and evaluating opportunities to continue to participate in and support key industry forums and specific project work, SIIA President Jeff Joseph said in a statement.

Jill Abbott, who has worked as ETIN’s managing director since August 2019, will leave her post, effective Wednesday.

“I want to thank Jill Abbott for her dedication, evangelism, and tremendous leadership,” Joseph said. “Jill helped create a compelling strategic vision for ETIN and has many successes of which to be proud, including most recently our Tech for Learners initiative. Jill has been a passionate champion for an increased focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the EdTech community and across our organization.”

In an email, Abbott said she will restart her consulting company, Abbott Advisor Group, which focuses on issues including education and technology.

“I’m not leaving EdTech!” she said.

The Education Industry Association joined ETIN in 2016 after struggling to keep membership after a downturn in federal funding for tutoring. That action added about 80 members to ETIN, increasing ETIN’s membership by about 50 percent.

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