"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, August 12, 2013

Education for Sale: Market Strategies

Last Saturday, this blog had "Why Basic Education Must Not Be Run By Market Forces and Strategies". Education offers ample opportunities for profit. Everyone that has a child is a potential customer. Every school district is a future market. The other day, I just happened to see an article on the ICEF monitor ("a dedicated market intelligence resource for the international education industry"):

Philippines creates opportunities in overhaul of K-12 education system
The Philippines is undergoing a major overhaul to bring it in line with education systems worldwide, starting with the K-12 sector. This change to domestic education policy has far-reaching consequences and is important for international educational institutions to consider when looking for potential new student recruitment markets....
Tackling the entire basic education to learn how markets see education reform is huge. There are so many possible avenues on which one can make business and, of course, profits. To illustrate how a market views education, a specific example may suffice to illustrate some of the general features. The example comes from a recent market map and investment analysis on digital games by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The report, "Games for a Digital Age", provides an opportunity to see the other side of education, from an entrepreneur's point of view:


The report begins with a classification of games. The first criterion is the length of the game in terms of time. This is important so that one may predict beforehand how a given game fits in a school's schedule. The next way the report classifies games is by genre:

  • Drill and Practice
  • Puzzle
  • Interactive Learning Tools
  • Role Playing
  • Strategy
  • Sandbox
  • Action/Adventure
  • Simulations
The overview of games currently available provided by the report is quite comprehensive. With every game comes insights from current conditions in the ground, how a particular game is currently playing out in K-12 schools. Here is an example, on Minecraft:

The next section of the report (with an appropriate title in my opinion) is "Selling to Schools". The report comes with recommendations:

With this overview of the current realities of the demographics, funding, and technological possibilities in the K-12 market, our recommendations for learning game investors, publishers, and developers are that they should:
• target the 3,500 districts with between 2,500 and 25,000 students;
• assist districts in navigating, sourcing, and writing state, federal, and foundation grants;
• target education service agencies. These are consortia formed by smaller districts in order to consolidate their buying power;
• support learning games that can be used on interactive white boards, as these are becoming ubiquitous in classrooms; and
• anticipating BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), support learning games on inexpensive computing devices and mobile devices.
The rest of the report continues to provide advice to investors who are interested in entering the games' market for K-12. The Hechinger report talks briefly about the report in "Four insights into the future of games and technology for learning" and ends with the following:
...The Cooney report advises games manufacturers to concentrate on larger and better-funded school districts, noting that “economically healthy states and more affluent communities more likely to devote resources to educational technologies,” but is silent on the social implications of that divide.
 I would end this blog post with that as well.


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  2. Hey! nice post ..... thank you for sharing!!