Addressing the lingering disruption of the pandemic and expanding into overseas markets are just two of the recurring themes within the Australian edtech (also known as edutech) sector for 2022. Overall, however, the business of introducing IT tools to the classroom for a more engaging, inclusive and individualised learning experience is on a steady, upward trajectory. There are now 1,133 edtech startups in Australia, spurring on a sector that's generating AU$2.2bn revenue annually. Here we’re taking a look at the key trends and stories so far in 2022.
Smart school award for EdSmart
School Organisation System (SOS) platform, EdSmart, won the Education Administration Solution of the Year at the 2022 Edtech Breakthrough Awards. This award joins an impressive trophy roster for the Melbourne-based provider, which also secured a Cool Tool Finalist spot at the 2022 edtech awards. EdSmart is a cloud-based solution that enables multi-campus schools and networks to streamline operations and improve productivity.
Canopy Study investment
Sydney startup Canopy Study has secured an AU$1.1m in investment from venture capital, Folklore, in a seed round in April. The investment will go towards product development for the artificial intelligence (AI)-operated app that supports adaptive and personalised learning. Canopy Study, which launched in 2020, allows educators to convert coursework into learning resources and quizzes in minutes.
Edrolo expands reach
Teaching aid platform Edrolo has raised AU$40m to support a 10-year venture to improve teaching resources and content in schools. More than 1,100 schools currently use the platform, predominantly in senior high schools. With the extra investment, the Melbourne-based startup will focus on creating more material for years 7 to 10. The ambition is to support one million Year 7 to 12 students overall by 2025.
Vivi envisions new overseas markets
Melbourne-based Vivi has raised $20m from Quad Partners to grow its platform across new markets in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The Vivi platform enables one-to-one computing in schools and colleges and allows tutors and students to share, annotate and sign videos, exercises and other teaching materials. Vivi launched in 2016 and the immediate goal is to be present in a million classrooms worldwide. Currently, the platform is available in 12 countries.
Go1 acquires Coorpacademy
In April 2022 Go1 acquired Coorpacademy, a corporate learning platform, as part of its expansion into Europe. Founded in 2015, Go1 is aiming to reach one billion learners globally. The company provides on-demand upskilling services to businesses and reached unicorn status with a valuation of US$200m in July 2021.
OpenLearning partners with AIRC
Sydney-based online learning platform OpenLearning has partnered with the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) to assist with the delivery of programs for the council’s members.
“We are thrilled to support AIRC to increase membership engagement and deliver meaningful and engaging professional development to the education industry,” said OpenLearning Head of Partnerships Gizelle Rezende.
NSW wraps up fibre rollout
The New South Wales government has invested $328m in a project to connect every public school in the state to fibre internet. The final 12 schools transitioned from satellite to fibre in July thanks to a partnership with Telstra.
“Improving the internet access in regional schools is not just about faster connectivity, but also about greater access to teaching and learning opportunities for students and staff,” said Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell.
Swinburne University sets up STEM hub
Swinburne University of Technology has received $1.2m in funding from The Invergrowie Foundation to support an online hub that encourages greater female participation in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). The STEM hub is a collaboration between Swinburne, Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and Science Gallery Melbourne. A recent report revealed a 50% drop-off in girls studying STEM beyond high school.
Gaming disorder concerns rise
A study of 1,000 Australian teens by Macquarie University shows that Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) affects 2.8% . That implies a “serious impact” on a child’s schoolwork, relationships, and mental health. National guidelines recommend zero gaming time for under-twos and up to 45 minutes of educational media for those aged two to five. Following the pandemic, the average recreational screen time for US teenagers reached eight hours and 39 minutes. Macquarie University Associate Professor Wayne Warburton believes that level of hazardous gaming is also present among Australian teens.
Investment in Mumbai
Investment NSW opened an office in Mumbai in July to promote exports from New South Wales to India. As of 2021, India was New South Wales' third largest source of international students.
"India is NSW's most important business partner, with significant export opportunities across a range of sectors including food and beverage, education and edtech, health and medtech and technology," said Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Stuart Ayres.
The darker side of edtech
An analysis of four million Australian school students by Human Rights Watch has revealed “unprecedented tracking and surveillance” during remote learning. The study investigated 164 educational apps and websites in 49 countries and found that 89% of edtech products posed a potential privacy risk. These included products that accessed students’ contacts, locations, and keystrokes. The study found that a number of Australian companies didn't satisfy the standards of their privacy statements, boosting calls for an urgent review of the “woefully outdated” Privacy Act.
Outdated devices set to wreak financial havoc
Australian schools are facing a “financial tsunami” regarding adapting to technological advances, according to Schools Week. While the 2008 Digital Education Revolution (DAR) earmarked $2.4bn for digital adoption over seven years, schools are now confronting the burden of replacing and upgrading over a million devices that are integral to learning. That problem was exacerbated during the pandemic, when a further 1.3 million low-cost laptops entered the remote learning environment. Now schools must cover the costs of updating software licences and replacing devices that no longer meet the necessary processing requirements. Not surprisingly, many schools are choosing to switch to cloud-based solutions that run on Google Chrome instead of Microsoft.
Edtech on the rise
Australia’s edtech market is projected to grow by 11% by 2025, according to Invest Victoria. That’s good news in particular for Melbourne, which is currently home to a third of the country’s edtech companies. The state of Victoria also hosts five of the world’s top ranked universities and over 2,230 primary and secondary schools. The Victorian government has invested over $10bn across the education sector in the last four years.
Closing the gap on literacy
Equal Education, the UK-based developer of the Tuition Individualised Learning Programme (TILP), is partnering with colleagues in Victoria to offer literacy support for vulnerable pupils in Australia. The programme harnesses one-to-one tuition by qualified tutors. The TILP project will run alongside the National Teaching Programme in four Victoria regions to help ensure that no students are left behind because of the pandemic.
With a September report by The Tech Council of Australia (TCA), Turning Australia into a Regional Tech Hub, highlighting edtech as a “potential star” segment, the sector nears the final quarter of 2022 with an encouraging report card. With funding flowing and the level of innovation high, the outlook for 2023 is bright.
To find out how Zai can help your edtech business flourish in the Australian market, download our guide on the latest trends guiding the sector and get in touch to find out more.