The #edtech Phenomenon of 2013: Video

Fact of the day: The Buggles with their “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first song ever aired on MTV. Now, more than thirty years later, we can safely state that radio is alive and kicking. At the moment video is breaking through in education. In the same token, it will not replace text, audio, and pictures, but complement them.


2014 is just around the corner and the ol’ 2013 calls for recaps. Audrey Watters compiled some nice Top 10 educational technology lists on her Hack Education blog.

Let’s take a closer look at three of the lists, namely investments, acquisitions, and mentions in the New York Times. The investment top 10 first:

1. Laureate Education ($150,000,000)
2. Lynda.com ($103,000,000)
3. OpenEnglish ($65,000,000)
4. Coursera ($63,000,000)
5. Knewton ($51,000,000)
6. Sympoz ($35,000,000)
7. Instructure ($30,000,000)
8. Pluralsight ($27,500,000)
9. Jumpstart ($26,800,000)
10. creativeLIVE ($21,500,000)
10. WyzAnt ($21,500,000)

(Actually it is a top 11 since creativeLIVE and WyzAnt grabbed the same amount of funding and therefore are both included in the list.)

What’s striking of the list is that 6 of the companies are more or less based on sharing video content online, whether streams or downloads. They are Lynda.com, OpenEnglish, Coursera, Symptoz, PluralSight, and creativeLIVE.

If you take a look at the media coverage, by virtue of the NYT mentions list, the phenomenon gets even more amplified. 8 out of 10 on this list are dependent on video content:

1. Coursera (video)
2. edX (video)
3. Udacity (video)
4. Khan Academy (video)
5. Amplify
6. inBloom
7. Lynda.com (video)
8. Udemy (video)
9. 2U (video)
10. CreativeLive (video)

Pretty impressive. Video has truly been the edtech phenomenon of 2013. However, it is not yet very mature and hasn’t so far resulted in too many notable acquisitions. In the following list none of the companies are truly video-based (neither buyers nor the ones who got sold):

1. Learnboost (acquired by Automattic)
2. Learning Catalytics (acquired by Pearson)
3. Knowillage Systems (acquired by Desire2Learn)
4. Degree Compass (acquired by Desire2Learn)
5. Root1 (acquired by Edmodo)
6. Livemocha (acquired by Rosetta Stone)
7. Late Nite Labs (acquired by Macmillan)
8. ALEKS (acquired by McGraw-Hill)
9. Altius Education (acquired by Datamark)
10. Grockit (acquired by Kaplan)

My prediction is that in 2014 we start to see MOOC providers and other video-based edtech companies getting acquired and integrated into platforms and online content offerings. Higher education is leading the way but K-12 is following in one form or another.

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