Skipping Copper: The Consumerization Of Edtech

`Ben Wallerstein, Jacob Stieglitz, TechCrunch, Dec 13, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As education becomes more affordable, we would expect it to become more of a consumer market than a public services market. But not at the rates we're currently seeing in Asia, where wealthy parents spend as much as 20 percent (South Korea), 7.5 percent (India), 9.5 percent, (China) or 40 percent (Vietnam) or their income supporting their children's education. I wouldn't call the 1% rate in the U.S. "anemic", I would call it a more appropriate level. Still. All of that said, there is a trend toward consumerization of education. "Broadband ubiquity and mobile computing are beginning to bend the curve on access and, in turn, consumption. And it’s happening quickly." But there are issues. "One-to-one computing initiatives and low-cost/high-speed home Internet will help address equity concerns, but we worry that disparate access to early learning tools, in particular, might exacerbate our large, and growing, school-readiness gap.

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