Growing our Leadership Role in Education Technology

SIIA’s Education Division is looking forward to growing its leadership position within the education industry when we host the annual Ed Tech Business Forum on November 26-27 in New York City. We’ve seen increasing attendance at our Education Division conferences in recent years, which parallels the growing use of technology in K-20 institutions. This year’s Ed Tech Business Forum will support the dramatic increase in new, innovative companies, as well as the expansion of capital investment in the ed tech industry. And the most remarkable thing is that such impressive growth is happening during a period of severe budget cuts to education institutions, and other seismic shifts in the industry.

This Year’s Theme: Embracing the Seismic Shifts

The 2012 program will reflect the key business challenges facing ed tech companies today, given the seismic shifts in the K-20 education community. These shifts are occurring in our classrooms and administrative offices, online and face-to-face, and in both formal and informal learning environments.

One of the most popular program topics at SIIA’s Ed Tech Industry Summit held last May in San Francisco was about the seismic changes in education. Randy Wilhelm, the CEO of Knovation (formally netTrekker), and moderator of this great Q&A session, reminded everyone that the changes are about far more than the digital transformation going on in schools today. It’s also about the transformational changes in the culture of K-20 education – from teacher accountability to student expectations to school funding to academic standards.

But as these shifts are occurring, how do businesses adapt to stay successful? Here are a few questions related to that session that you’ll see woven into the program at the Ed Tech Business Forum.

  • What education trend will have the greatest impact on K-20 education in the next three years?
  • What’s the key to adapting to these trends and seismic changes?
  • What innovations – and investments – will be most responsible for the impact?

So join us at the Ed Tech Business Forum for a major conversation about these seismic shifts in education. Hear about the success stories and challenges as K-20 institutions move to personalized learning, new delivery models, learning analytics, mobile platforms, and social learning.

The program focus this year will be on the shifts that education companies are seeing and the transitions they are making to be successful in this market. In the morning, we’ll focus on the ‘ignition points’ and investments occurring in the K-20 space with topics such as:

  • Where’s the Venture Funding and Ignition Points for VC’s?
  • Who’s Buying Whom – and Why? What’s the Latest in the World of M&A?
  • What are the Disruptions Created – by the Start-ups to the Legacy Companies?

In the afternoon seminars, attendees will have a chance to focus on the details of making the shifts successfully, with topics such as:

  • Distribution in the Era of Consumerization
  • Public Private Partnerships That Produce Products and Customers
  • Forecasts for Education Funding Post- Election
  • Demystifying IP – Who Owns What at the End of the Day?
  • It’s All About Mobile Now
  • Exit Strategies Beyond the IPO
  • Changes in How Products are Being Developed, Marketed and Sold

We’re now in an era where every education company is becoming an ed tech company. There’s a growing ‘consumerization’ of education given the availability of curriculum for learning outside the classroom and the prevalence of wireless devices that are shifting the delivery platforms.

We know that technology is changing, and will continue to change, the way we think about education – both in regards to the content and the delivery of information. However, in order to successfully adapt to these changes, we need to make it a priority to reflect on our current state of education and think about how what we’re doing now, both individually and collectively, will impact the future.

The Ed Tech Business Forum is one place of many where we will have these conversations!

Note: A Change in Venue

We’re expecting a record attendance again this year – but this time we’re prepared for it because we’re hosting it in the McGraw-Hill Conference Center. Their auditorium will hold everyone in one room for the morning general sessions and the break-out rooms will hold more people for the afternoon Innovation Incubator presentations and the topical seminars. So join us in New York right after Thanksgiving.


Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

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