The State of Edtech 2016

EdSurge provides perspectives from different stakeholders on the trends and forces shaping how money is invested, how tools are created and how schools are designing teaching and learning experiences.

The State of Edtech 2016


As a nation, we obsess about education. Look at A Nation at Risk’s 1984 critique that public education would not bring about a competitive economy. Or maybe Eisenhower’s National Defense Education Act, aimed at increasing science education for national safety in 1958. Or go back to 1930 to Eleanor Roosevelt's speech in Hyde Park when she called for an improvement in education to build better citizens.

As more and more people chime in—whether they be teachers, administrators, business people, entrepreneurs, politicians, foundations, social workers or technologists—our conversations over what we teach, when, why and how we teach it, have become more polarized. Each group brings its own views on how teaching and learning has and should evolve.
Each group of people looking to education to solve problems or serve as a mechanism of change is looking at the world through their own lens. Maybe it’s political, economical, justice-oriented or relationship-focused. Each person uses their lens to define what teaching and learning should look like.

This project invites you to try on different lenses when looking at K-12 education in the US. We will give you perspectives from different stakeholders on the trends and forces shaping how money is invested, how tools are created and how schools are designing teaching and learning experiences.

We all have a huge stake in education, as parents, as community members and as learners ourselves. However, the only way we can collectively move education forward is if we start trading lenses and begin building a better understanding of how other communities see teaching and learning.

Please share and take the opportunity to “regrind your conceptual lenses” to gain a different perspective on the evolution of teaching and learning.

EdSurge has spent months researching the predominant edtech trends, exploring data and engaging many voices including educators, administrators, entrepreneurs, investors, parents and policy-makers. In this chapter, we break it down for readers.

Download Chapter 1

$2.3 billion. That’s the number of dollars invested in education technology companies in the K-12 space in the U.S. since 2010. In this chapter, we’ll explore where that money came from and where it’s going, and we’ll examine the implications that it has for entrepreneurs, investors and ultimately, students, teachers and schools.

Download Chapter 2

How can new practices extend beyond just a single class or a hero teacher, but for a community, and on a sustained basis? What portion of the answer lies with technology—and what portion with how it’s used? This chapter dives into technology’s contribution to that fragile equation.

Download Chapter 3

Creating a powerful learning environment, tuned to students' needs, is challenging—and demands educators employ many elements or building blocks. In this chapter, we present case studies of how different teachers, schools and districts are thoughtfully employing these building blocks to meet the unique needs of their students.

Download Chapter 4

About the Project


This report was made possible through support from AT&T Aspire. Some of the sources cited are investors in EdSurge. These include: GSV Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund, Reach Capital and Catamount/Owl Ventures. Additionally, a single source was provided by AT&T among the 90+ interviews. EdSurge takes full responsibility for the reporting in this project.

About AT&T Aspire

AT&T is using the power of its network to build a better tomorrow. The company’s signature philanthropic initiative drives innovation in education—through technology, social innovation and relationships—to ensure all students have the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Through Aspire, AT&T has passed the $250 million mark on its plan to invest $350 million in education between 2008-2017.


The methodology used for this project is described in the final pages of each downloadable chapter. For more information, please contact us at

This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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