Remote learning could end up being a equalizing force in the world of education, but working moms and low income households are feeling the pressure right now.
Those are some of the findings gleaned from work on panel discussions reported on by Reuters this morning.
Technology in education is booming; Reuters cites input from Udacity leader Sebastian Thrun, talking about a “surge” in demand for the company’s online learning products.
“Is online going to replace universities? It’s never going to happen,” Thrun reportedly said. “Can we reach people that are currently not being reached? And there, the answer is a resounding yes.”
But while the sources cited by these reporters talk about how remote learning and blended learning options may level the playing field in the years to come, they admit that right now, one of the major disruptions is pressure on women to leave the workforce in order to help with their children’s education.
“Because of COVID kids are getting even larger and larger gaps,” says Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, while also projecting that schools like his are going to eventually provide those options for those struggling financially.
Another problem with the rapid demand for online learning is tool inefficiencies. Too many districts and businesses have seen leaders scramble for new videoconferencing options, even ignoring what was already in the toolbox. It’s also a good idea to avoid more basic platforms that don’t have the protections that schools, or businesses, need.
“Consumer tools most likely don’t have all the administrative tools you need to lock things down,” writes Keith Shaw at ComputerWorld. “While no videoconferencing service can guarantee 100% protection from threats, you’ll get a more complete set of security tools with products geared for enterprise use.”
In terms of market response, some carriers are doing quite well: Zoom videoconferencing stocks have quadrupled in value over the past year, since the time that Covid gripped America Friday the 13th of March of 2020. That’s an example of the kinds of change that these trends bring, both to learning, and to enterprise.
Education technology can be a good part of any portfolio, but it’s important to pay attention to trends and emerging patterns to get the best position for your investing strategy.