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Global Spending on Virtual Reality, AI in Education Poised to Skyrocket, Report Says

global spending on virtual reality ai in education poised to skyrocket report says

Global spending on artificial and virtual reality in education is expected to soar from $1.8 billion to $12.6 billion annually over the next four years, a new analysis projects.

Spending on artificial intelligence in education, meanwhile, will jump from $800 million to $6.1 billion yearly over that same period, according to the report released recently by HolonIQ, a global research and intelligence firm.

The report made several projections for global ed-tech expenditures in K-12, higher education, and corporate training through 2025. Those include forecasts of total education spending, upskilling, spending on digital technologies as a proportion of total education spending, and venture capital investment.

“AR/VR is coming down the stack from workforce into higher ed, and is slowly making its way into K-12,” Patrick Brothers, the co-CEO and co-founder of HolonIQ, said in an interview.

Augmented and virtual reality has seen only modest uptake yet in K-12 because there’s a big learning curve for students and teachers to become familiar with the technologies, and because their use will take some time to catch on, he said.

Other areas of advanced technology figure to see significant growth in expenditures through 2025, include robotics and blockchain, according to the report. It projects that the total spent on robotics will rise from $1.3 billion in 2018 to $3.1 billion in 2025, and that the total spent on blockchain will rise from $100 million in 2018 to $600 million in 2025.


The biggest driver for the use of blockchain in education is a desire for secure and scalable credentialing, while the biggest spark behind the use of robotics in education is schools looking for different ways to engage learners in STEM fields, Brothers said.

HolonIQ forecasts overall global spending on ed-tech to rise from $227 billion in 2020 to $404 billion in 2025.

Currently, spending on digital technologies makes up just 3.6 percent of total expenditures in the areas of K-12, higher ed, and corporate training. In 2025, that percentage is expected to rise to a higher but still small level of 5.2 percent of overall spending.

“While the longer term impact of COVID-19 on education models is yet to play out, over the next few years we expect an upswing of spending on digital infrastructure in education and greater spending over the long term in new digital models,” the report states.

HolonIQ defines spending in the report as governments, companies, and consumers devoting money to a learning product or service. That distinguishes it from education investments, which are characterized by the supplying of capital in exchange for a stake in a company, Brothers said.

The report also notes that global ed-tech venture capital funding has risen from its previous record of $8.2 billion in 2018 to $16.1 billion in 2020, with Chinese companies occupying the largest share of funding compared with other countries.

Investment in educationwill continue to grow, but is not evenly spread across the globe and weighted heavily towards late-stage mega-rounds,” the report says.

Chinese ed-tech companies saw $26.8 billion in venture capital investment between 2010 and 2020, while U.S. companies saw $13 billion invested in the same period.

Overall, HolonIQ projects that total global education spending will rise from an estimated total of $5.4 trillion in 2020 to a total of $7.3 trillion in 2025, noting that education composes over 6 percent of global GDP.

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Biden Executive Order Could Shed Light on District Needs During COVID

biden executive order could shed light on district needs during covid
Joe Biden signing executive orders

A presidential executive order tasking the U.S. Department of Education to collect data to inform K-12 school reopenings could provide companies across the market with a window into districts’ most urgent needs.

Data on attendance, funding priorities, public and charter school enrollment, teacher vaccination rates, assessment scores, and learning loss were among the areas that education advocates and company officials interviewed by EdWeek Market Brief said they would like to see the department collect when it implements the directives of the Jan. 21 executive order.

Among other things, the executive order instructs the Secretary of Education to coordinate with the department’s director of the Institute of Education Sciences to facilitate collection of “data necessary to fully understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and educators, including data on the status of in-person learning.”

The order calls for consultation with students, educators, unions, families, and state and local officials.

It would be difficult to glean a nationally representative sample of districts as they address challenges posed by the coronavirus, but the forthcoming data could help vendors improve their offerings to better fit district needs, said Reg Leichty, a founding partner of the education consulting group Foresight Law+Policy.

For example, detailed information on absentee rates and anticipated learning losses in reading, math, and other areas, could help companies better support teachers and students, he said.

“If we’re able to gather data about why students aren’t attending school, and it turns out to be something like broadband connectivity — which we know to be a problem — basically that’s a signal to companies that provide those services” that schools need what they’re offering.

In collecting attendance and assessment data, it will be important to pull in granular information about the student’s learning setting—whether it be virtual or in person—and to correlate those data with that student’s assessment scores, said Angela Jerabek, executive director of the BARR Center, a company that trains school staffs on relationship-building and school-level data collection and contextualization.

If the Biden administration can correlate those two data points, it will help contextualize the factors behind students’ learning progression or regression, she said.

Before IES collects the data, the agency will have to provide federal notice of its intent to survey states for new information.

Once IES provides notice, the federal comment period can take 30-60 days, meaning it could be at least a month after today before the education department starts collecting data.

Spending Needs, Other Than PPE

Kate Topping, vice president of marketing and communications at NWEA, said she would like to see the department collect data on public K-12 enrollment declines as well as charter school enrollment.

One big question is whether the rising interest in charters and private schools during COVID will continue, or whether parents have been sending their kids to these institutions merely because that was the only way to ensure their children would receive in-person instruction, Topping said.

It would also be helpful to know how increased spending on cleaning products for districts, across the board, may have diminished their ability to spend in other areas, she said.

NWEA did its own analysis of district funding priorities, and hand sanitizer, Wi-Fi hot spots, and student devices were all near the top of the list, Topping said.

“Those are the basic needs,” she said, “and then what will they take beyond that?”

In addition to instructional data, data on staff health records such as vaccination rates will be critical to collect, as policymakers weigh the factors necessary to reopen schools, Leichty said.

“Both sets of data are going to be important for administrators and their educators to not only run their schools,” Leichty said, “but also target instruction in a way that…helps support students through this period.”

Photo: President Joe Biden signs an executive order in the state dining room at the White House, one of many he has signed, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Non-Education Companies Jumping Into K-12 Market During Pandemic

non education companies jumping into k 12 market during pandemic
MB Market Trends Nov 5

Education companies that either weren’t involved in education at all, or had narrower interest in it, are finding ways to serve the market during COVID-19.

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District Leaders’ Biggest Unmet Data Needs

district leaders biggest unmet data needs
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An EdWeek Market Brief survey reveals that district administrators see many shortcomings in the data they have available to them, and in their ability to use it.

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