Edtech Industry's Top of Mind Reflections, Circa 2011

Edtech Industry's Top of Mind Reflections, Circa 2011

FIELD REPORTS: There's a reason why Frank Catalano of Intrinsic Strategy keeps popping up as a panelist at edtech forums: he's a savvy, cut-to-the chase observer and commentator. Here are a few choice snapshots from his report for EdSurge from the SIIA's EdTech Business Forum last week in New York City. (Full video sessions are archived here.)

"We don't have five to ten years to see the return on tech investment in schools," said Microsoft U.S. Education CTO Cameron Evans on the urgency of both getting, and applying, appropriate digital technology into K12 education. That said, the only Microsoft product Evans specifically highlighted was Kinect.

"I put my smartphone in front of you. Did you get smarter?," demanded panelist LaVerne Srinivasan, president North America, Time to Know, slapping her smartphone on the table in front of another panelist. Her point: simply adding technology to a situation--or a classroom--without guidance accomplishes nothing.

"We get really worried about the speed with which Common Core standards are being adopted," fretted panelist Anne LaTarte, executive director, assessment portfolio, New York City Department of Education--namely that adoption by industry and educators may be moving so fast that getting the proper alignment of curriculum and assessments with the Common Core is hard.

"The states are running skeletons right now," observed Richard Sims, chief economist, National Education Association, on the current situation of state education budgets that have been cut well past the fat. Much of the ed-stimulus dollars went to pay salaries. Property tax revenue, which feeds schools in most states, is sliding--and will likely to continue to do so. Sims' forecast for states' education budgets? "Two more years of essential stagnation," with a slight upward drift after that.

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