Digital Adoption and its Impact in the EdTech Industry

Kimberly Hulbert August 27, 2019
Digital technology adoption is the process of accepting new digital technology into our personal or business lives. There are five types of technology adopters; each type says “yes” to new digital technology at a different speed.  
  • The “innovators” are the inventors—those individuals and organizations that actually conceive of and create new digital technologies.
  • Early adopters are those who eagerly look for and engage with each new digital innovation. Sometimes early adopters get into trouble when they leap before they look.
  • The early majority are those people who are only willing to make the leap to new tech when they are certain that it’s worth their time and money.
  • The late majority are conservative thinkers who take a “wait and see” attitude—and as a result, may adopt  new technology when it’s already old news.
  • Laggards are those people or organizations that are likely to reject digital innovation simply because it’s new and different. 
Why Digital Adoption Matters in EdTech
Educational technology is moving fast, and some level of digital adoption is almost required now for any educational publisher. Even in the younger grades, classroom teachers make use of at least some level of online teaching, sharing, assessment, and/or grading. Students in the upper grades are often immersed in technology, and a wide range of online learning options are available in most high schools. What’s more, students are learning to use digital tools themselves to research and complete classroom assignments. EdTech companies that choose to stick with “tried and true” technologies are likely to be left in the dust as other, more forward-looking companies develop new, more engaging teaching and assessment tools. By the same token however, companies that leap into shiny new technologies without thoroughly understanding their potential and limitations may run into serious problems as their products fail to deliver educational outcomes.  
Where Is EdTech Digital Technology Adoption Today?
Some cutting edge EdTech companies are way ahead of the curve with digital technologies that, for example, allow students to spend their days in virtual environments where they can interact with one another, try their hand at everything from architecture to archaeology and share their discoveries with teaching avatars. One very popular virtual world for educators is Second Life, where teachers can build interactive labs and allow students to explore and engage at their own pace. The popular Minecraft world has also become an educational destination. Traditional educational publishers such as McGraw Hill offer online learning options such as their Connect program to help students build critical skills using adaptive tools that address students’ personal challenges. At the other end of the spectrum are EdTech companies that simply digitize print textbooks and multiple-choice assessments. Pearson’s textbooks, for example, are available in print and digital formats; the digital option is far more affordable for budget-conscious students. Digital technology is endlessly adaptable and the right technology can be found or created for any educational situation.  In the next blog in this series, we’ll dig deeper into how and why Edtech companies are expanding their use of digital technology.

Kimberly Hulbert

Kimberly is a seasoned business development professional with expertise in the K-12 educational technology sector, with experience in both large corporate and smaller start-up settings.