Top 10 Stories in the K-12 Marketplace in 2016

Associate Editor

Marketplace K-12What was “hot” in our Marketplace K-12 blog for 2016?

We consulted one of our in-house data friends (thank you, Mike Castellano) to get the scoop. He provided 25 attention-getters, but here’s our Top 10:

Amazon Education’s plans to launch a new website for open-ed resources took the #1 spot, as the open education resources, or OER, movement captured the attention of school leaders and education businesses alike. Ian Seigel, one of our Startup bloggers, shared five reasons he thinks the emergence of Amazon Inspire will be big for ed-tech startups like his.

Our second most-read story hinged on the fact that producers of “glassboards” are hoping their surfaces will replace traditional, non-smart whiteboards in K-12 schools. “Hoping” is a key word here, as the boards are much heavier and cost $500 to $4,000 each, although the manufacturer says they are more durable and need to be replaced less often than whiteboards.

Bill Gates’ pronouncement that ed tech had underachieved, but he anticipates better days ahead for successfully integrating technology into instruction, was the third most-read post. For one thing, the market for digital instruction materials is likely to grow by $1.1 billion between 2015 and 2020 in the U.S. alone, Gates predicted. This dispatch came from my coverage of the ASU GSV Summit in San Diego, where Gates talked about personalized learning, and the need for evidence of “what works” to guide schools’ decisionmaking. We’ll be at ASU GSV again in 2017, reporting on the developments that ed-tech providers, educators, and investors are interested in.

Pearson, the education giant, made it into four of our top 10 blog posts: The announcement in January that the company planned to cut 10 percent of its workforce—or 4,000 jobs—grabbed the #4 spot, and my colleague Sean Cavanagh’s interview with Pearson CEO John Fallon about the common-core standards and the rise of open resources (among other things) was the 5th most-read item.

People were also interested in the fact that the company named Kevin Capitani as its new president for North America after its stock plunged on half-year results in July. (That story was #8 on the Marketplace K-12 top 10,) and a story from 2014, about a global index Pearson released then, was our #9.

An acquisition was #6: Edgenuity’s purchase of Compass Learning in an effort to expand its reach into the online blended learning market, and #7 was a piece on whether the self-paced e-learning market is evaporating.

Interesting that #10 was “What to look for in the K-12 marketplace in 2016.” Stay tuned for our “What to look for in 2017” post. In the meantime, what do you think will be on districts’ and schools’ priorities for 2017? Tell us in the Comments section below.

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