Edtech Insiders

Edtech Year in Review, Part 2: Predictions from Edtech Thought Leaders

January 10, 2023 Alex Sarlin Season 4 Episode 16
Edtech Insiders
Edtech Year in Review, Part 2: Predictions from Edtech Thought Leaders
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we ask some of our favorite guests (and Edtech C-suiters) to give their reviews of Edtech in 2022 and what we can expect to see in 2023. 

  • Karl Rectanus, CEO of LearnPlatform on Edtech Evidence in 2023 (2:54)
  • Sarah Mauskopf, CEO of Winnie on Childcare and Teaching in 2023 (20:22)
  • Maria Barrera, CEO of Clayful on SEL and COVID funding in 2023 (29:46)
  • Sunil Gunderia, CIO of Age of Learning on Early Childhood Edtech (46:58)
  • Anthony Kim, CLO of Scholarus Learning on AI and Learner Engagement in 2023 (59:24)
  • Norma Padron, CEO of EmpiricaLabs on Workforce Development in 2023 (1:19:34)

Welcome to Season Two of edtech insiders, where we talk to the most interesting thought leaders, founders, entrepreneurs, educators, and investors driving the future of education technology. I'm your host, Alex Sarlin, an edtech veteran with over 10 years of experience at the top edtech company. Hello, Ed Tech Insider family. It is 2023. We're so excited to have you joining us for our second year of at Tech insiders. We're about to kick off season three. As we wrap up the year we had our predictions episode. And we wanted to reach out to some of our greatest guests across the entire year, and ask them for their predictions for 23. And so we're bringing you a special episode with clips from our favorite guests talking a little bit about their predictions of 2023. To start with, we have Sarah maaske, off CEO of winning, she will be talking about early childhood. We've got Anthony kin, we'll be talking about K 12. And we've got Maria Pereira, talking about mental health. And I wrap up my interviews with Norma padrone who's talking about upskilling, especially in in health care and education overlap. It's exciting group of people who did you have on your list? So I talked to Sunil Gandaria, who is the Chief Innovation Officer at age of learning. We had a great interview with him earlier in the year about you know, the future of K 12. And teacher shortages and tech and talk to Carl rectenna is right on the heels of his purchase the purchase of learning platform by Instructure. We talk a little bit about that acquisition, as well as what evidence is going to look like in the next year, we definitely think that edtech evidence is going to be on the rise. You get to hear it first from what Master of evidence himself, Carl right guys. All right, so we should kick it off. These are some great interviews. Yeah, we all enjoy. And please comment on our LinkedIn page, or send us a message on your 2023 predictions. In the show notes. You'll also find some timestamps so that if you want to fast forward to your guests, with their predictions, you can find that timestamp. Thanks for joining us in 2022. And let's kick off 2023 with this amazing group of leaders and their 2023 predictions. We're here with Carl reck Tanis from learn platform, which was recently acquired by Instructure, giant LMS Instructure. Really, really, really exciting news. And he's going to tell us about that acquisition, as well as the predictions for the next year. Welcome to the show, Carl. It's good to be here. Good to talk with you, Alex. It's great to talk to you again. So first off, congratulations. This was late breaking news, right at the end of the year learn platform got acquired by Instructure give us the overview of you know why and structure why now, as you said in a recent blog post, yeah, we made a lot of Christmas miracle a lot of holidays appy just wrapped up. So earlier in the year, we recognize there was an opportunity to really more put more fuel on the fire behind the evidence work. And we considered some fundraising so that we could invest more in that. And you know, as we thought about how we could expand our mission, our impact, retain the research independence, but really grow to the scale of what we're seeing we are, we have been sort of turning down business in this work. And so as a function of that, we decided to go through a process to think about fundraising. And it became clear very quickly, while there was a lot of interest that Instructure was a perfect spot to retain that independence, to focus on our mission and drive our impact to scale. And so, you know, one thing led to another, and we're excited to expand the work in 2023 that we've been doing over the last few years, and to really scale up much more quickly and with broader resources than we've had access to, I think it makes a lot of sense. LMS is sort of tend to serve as the spine or sort of the central hub of the learning environment for many organizations, and then everything else is sort of in orbit around it and knowing evidence in what works would be really important. I'd love to hear you. Well, you know, so I was a CFO for schools after leaving the classroom, which means I certainly understand the learning and teaching and learning aspects, but also the operational aspects and over the last 20 years, you know, learning management systems ERPs assessment platforms si SS have been Become required infrastructure within these organizations, but they tend to reinforce the same silos. Right? ERP is for finance, the LMS is for Curriculum Instruction S is for technology. But you know, if you look at the Instructure learning platform, and particular strong LMS category leading in terms of adoption, you know, certainly assessment, that platform is quite large, right, credentialing, all sorts of things going on around that. And, you know, we had a, like a crazy idea a years ago that, you know, people deserve to have actual evidence to inform that those decisions are quick enough to inform how they're making decisions for students, their students, not students who look like these students, but their students right now. And so, over the last number of years, just a coalition of people who have been committed and worked hard, in school district administrators, state education agencies, providers, philanthropy policymakers have come to prove that an evidence system and effectiveness system like ours should also be, you know, part of that infrastructure to connect those different systems. And to connect that data and evidence to equip educators and decision makers, no matter what side of the, you know, education market, they're on with the information that they deserve to make better decisions. And so this is a huge validation, you know, to a lot of folks who have worked really hard over the past years, on this sort of crazy idea. But it also is exciting for us, because, you know, Instructure, has, besides scale, really comes out of the classroom has had this sort of openness and transparency to how it's developed, been customer centric, and how its approached this work, and committed to put invest in our roadmap and, and our people and in retain that research independence. So we can really, you know, move much further, much faster together. It's really exciting. And I think we're gonna hear a lot more about it in the, in the coming year, the pie in the sky vision that I have, when I think about this is you know, that Instructure and Canvas already have hundreds of tools that integrate directly into them, and access to many more through LTI, and others. And the idea that you can actually find out in real time, as you said, which tools are worth plugging in which ones have the evidence behind them, and how much how rigorous that evidence is and what tier it's at, and how relevant it is to your particular student. If it's all baked into one system, it just makes it as smooth as butter. And incredibly, you know, that user experience can be really, really clear for educators. I mean, the two things that we set out to do was we define as evidence, which is figuring out which interventions and what situation is working best and having a positive impact on teaching and learning. But the second piece of that is efficiency, serving up and generating that information quickly enough to inform people at the speed of decision making. And so we're excited about how that fits this opportunity to increase that efficiency. But it's certainly something that we're going to be working on a lot more in 23. Yeah, that's very exciting. So let's talk about the year that was for a few minutes. What did you see as the biggest trends in the EdTech landscape, from your perspective at Learn platform? You know, in 2022, we did a fair amount of analysis of what was happening our ed tech top 40, which by the way, we should have a semi annual report releasing early in the new year for the first half of this school year. But what we saw was that COVID was not a blip, that, on average, students and teachers are engaging with 1400 Different edtech products every month in every school district with more than 1000 students. Each student was asked to engage with over 100 different products. And teachers were asked to engage with even more just to do their jobs. And so, you know, if I look back to five years ago, there was a question of like, should we edtech you know, the market, the education sector has accelerated and is not moving back learning is now tech enabled. The second trend that I would say, though, is it is also in remains human centered, and has to be learning is a human centered activity. It is a relationship based activity. Certainly, it can be more efficient with technology. But if you look at 2022 I think there's a real recognition that teacher educator retention is a challenge that has to be addressed. that we saw a little bit of a normalization. But leadership changes were rampant, but started to sort of level out. Most superintendents that have taken new roles are new to the superintendency. So many of them have gotten through their first 100 days, they have taken the reins, they have either started or activated their, you know, strategic plans. But those strategic plans were for the next five years, not for the last five years. And when you started to see in this school year, you know, near the end of 2022, a bit of a normalization around what leadership will look like, but some real recognition, that things like educator capacity, you know, for our educators, investing in educators, investing in more educators, is going to be a critical need going into 2023. Yeah, it makes sense. One thing you mentioned your top 40, which was fascinating. And I'd love to see, you know, the updates on it one trend that sort of struck me looking at that, where was that there were sort of two categories that tended to show up a lot on that list. One is sort of gamified assessment platforms that Kahoots, the quizzes, the buckets, all used a lot. And you know, and it makes sense, in a way they're very, they're fun for students, they're fun for pretty fun for educators. And the other one was Google products, which had a huge, you know, Google Classroom, and all of the Google suite of products have enormous reach in the classroom. I'm curious if you see either of those as trends, or if you see them continuing or changing in the next year. So two things, I think, on the book, it's in the interactive formative assessment tools, what it points to is a recognition. Those are human interactions, they're tech enabled, but they're driven, you know, through competitive spirit relationship with my teacher and student, you know, their connection pieces, as opposed to go, you know, run this on your own. I think, you know, if you look at Google, or some of the other platforms, you saw trends around things like operational tools, single sign on, and sort of the standard stuff. But you also saw, you know, similarly, the ability to have interaction increases engagement. So Google really launched with this interactive docs and spreadsheets and, you know, classroom, I think you're seeing platforms that are native, they're, you know, again, drive, you know, learning is a relationship driven experience. So I think, somewhat unscientifically, I would say it sort of points back to like, hey, the humans are still involved. And that's a really critical piece. Certainly, you couldn't talk in 2022. And not mention high dosage tutoring. Right. Our team is doing more tutoring studies, I think, than any organization we're aware of. But that high dosage tutoring is different, you know, for each of these providers and in each situation. But when you boil it down, it really is about, you know, teaching learning and humans being involved. Yeah, I love that take. You pulled it all together. And I think that the interactivity of it, I haven't thought of Google Docs and Google Slides is interactive in a long time. But of course they are. That was the whole point. They're collaborative tools, real time collaborative tools. So that's a really interesting take on it and definitely agree with your take on tutoring is going to be a theme next year, and it's either gonna go crazy or fall off a cliff. That was what Ben and I predicted because the story is writing itself right now. Let's talk about next year. What do you think are going to be the big trends and the big events in edtech? In 2023? Yeah, well, one, I would say, and we're certainly engaged on this, we're starting to see a convergence around research and development infrastructure, the r&d infrastructure, that evidence expectation, which was considered nice to have or a light on the hill, in the future. People believe it, you know, our team launched something called evidence as a service last year, solution providers offering essa aligned evidence that is Every Student Succeeds Act, aligned evidence with customers and all sides of the market. I mean, it's been like Parana. Everybody needs evidence to make that. But I want to say we're certainly engaged there. But what you also see are these a level of collaboration across organizations that we have not benefited from in the ever in education. If you look at other sectors, like transportation, or energy, there's a cohesion there that exists. You know, if I drive right now and cross the state line, the lanes don't change sizes because I cross the state line. There are certain things that do but we've got a level of commitment and connectedness In transportation or energy or other things, education has not benefited from that. But if you look at what's happened, I think you're going to start to see in 23, you know, great organizations that are providing the frameworks that equip, you know, shared experiences and help bring trust to this market. You know, starting with the US Department of Education, IES, its research arm, NSF, NIS T, others who are investing in evidence who are investing and providing frameworks to say, hey, there's four levels of evidence, find it where you can do it, however you can. But these count, and this, these are the guideposts. This is nickel, dime, quarter dollar. This is, you know, level four to level three to level two to level one that exists. But you also see is ds leadership with a universal ID, a collaborative group with a universal evidence report, which is a free and available forum to share evidence, regardless of who does the research, you see groups like Ed Tech evidence exchange, emerging with innovative to you doing great work about backend data infrastructure, you see, equipping organizations like Instructure, in us making sure that anybody can see it. But if you want to do it efficiently, we're glad to work together to make that easier, and better and faster. And so I think 2023, you're gonna see a number of things, one, a shared r&d infrastructure, start to come to pass that equips evidence and more efficiency for the market. That is a natural evolution of education, that's really important. And it will be led by people on all sides of the market, who are willing to trust each other, and work together to do what's best for kids. The second thing, I think that's going to be critical and 2023, that we have to focus on is building capacity with educators, administrators and policymakers. Because fundamentally, it is different to have this evidence, when you're making decisions, we've been forced to make these decisions without these details. Now that we have it, we have to equip teachers and administrators to be able to communicate with parents and, you know, policy leaders, so that we're actually doing what's best for students. And so we were going to need to see evidence, excuse me investments in capacity building, to get more teachers to address this critical shortfall of educators, but also support the systems to evolve to the next stage. Really, really interesting predictions. And I think your emphasis on sort of the collaborative nature had this level of project where it's, you know, nationwide, it's about K 12. You know, all grade levels, all subjects, I think there's this feeling of, it's such a daunting task to try to put together these evidence frameworks. But if we come together and do it, and if they become standardized, or if they become baked into, you know, procurement criteria, you can imagine a world where, you know, federal government says, here's the tiers, and then each state can decide what tier you know, any, any provider has to pass, but it's still we're all talking the same language at least. And then that allows every company to decide what tier to shoot for, because they know which states except what and suddenly we're, we're operating under the same framework. I've been in edtech, a decade or decade and a half. And, you know, I just don't think this was envisioned, like imaginable a decade ago, you're imagining it eight years ago, I guess. But I think for most of us, it felt like just fantasy, we'd look at the What Works Clearinghouse and, and you know, the some of the early attempts and be like, Who could ever make sense of this. And it's starting to feel like it's really, really coming to fruition. So I love those predictions, it's really exciting to hear, I'm excited, and I think you hit the nail on the head is that it's too daunting for one organization or, you know, a single person. But I do think the opportunity, for example, for, you know, the federal government to be clear that we have four levels of evidence, and there'll be enforced, and they might be interpreted slightly differently, you know, by a certain school district or a certain state, but over time, it will come together, and then we'll need somebody to, you know, ultimately, train tracks need to be built, when maybe we're the ones building the train tracks, but we're definitely not the ones filling the cars or building the cargo. You know, it's a shared responsibility. And there's opportunity for everybody. If we work together on it. That's part of the collective action problem that's been there. People are starting though to see their peace, their opportunity and real value. And fundamentally, if it's all driven by what's best for teachers and students, we all win. So it's fantastic. Yeah, very inspiring and positive vision of 2023 Obviously bouncing off of this amazing year and acquisition and wildly expanded reach, I would imagine, because Instructure is everywhere. Karl Rove tennis, thank you so much for being here with us on a tech insiders. Let's all hope that these predictions come true in 2023. And evidence becomes woven into the fabric of the ecosystem. Thanks so much. Thank you. Hello, everyone. It is so exciting to have Sarah Moss cops from for our predictions episode. She's from Winnie. And Sara, we met at the ASU GSB con conference, you had great insights around early childhood where the industry is headed. And so first, what's the latest update on winning? Yeah, so weenie is a childcare marketplace, we help parents find daycare and preschool primarily. So we really focus on early education. We've been around now seven years, we're about to have our seven year anniversary, which is crazy. For us, it's really sort of business as usual. I think a lot of venture backed companies and we're a venture backed company have really struggled, especially in the last six months, it's kind of the markets have crashed, and there's not been the same sort of opportunities to fundraise. But we have always run a really lean company, and really just focused on, you know, building a profitable business. And so, you know, without sort of a lot of the distractions of investors and trying to raise money, it's actually been really good, because we can just focus on the business and our customers who are the childcare providers. So we really just have one, one person where we're truly building for now and that are our customer. That's great. And, gosh, totally on trend with this shift from focus on top line growth to focus on profitability that we've seen kind of change in the market. What are some of your other reflections on 2022? As you look back what themes resonate for you? Yeah, so the biggest theme of 2022 for the childcare industry, and early education was really the staffing crisis. So I think this impacted all of education, but it really hit early education the hardest, because these are some of the least desired positions and worst paid positions, in many cases, unfortunately, and so a lot of daycares, and preschools have a lot of trouble hiring and retaining staff. And then because this was hitting sort of all of education, you know, the people that wanted to stay in the field would sometimes go to, you know, elementary programs, which is, you know, great that they're, they're staying in education, but really heard a lot of child care providers who need to maintain a certain number of staff to keep classrooms open there really strict ratio requirements in childcare. And so lots of childcare providers nationwide, were forced to close classrooms take less families, and it really had a major impact on the whole system. And from a demand side were using and 2022. That demand picked up to kind of pre COVID levels, or were people still holding back with concerns around health or safety. All that. Yeah, so it was a very supply constrained market in 2022. So lots of demand. But unfortunately, because of the staffing crisis, not a lot of that demand could be met, especially when it came to the younger ages, like infant care, where the ratio requirements are really strict, and it's not, doesn't tend to be as profitable for a center to support infants. So it was still, you know, it was better in, you know, kind of the preschool age programs. But yeah, demand has definitely picked back up. And we've sort of seen like a resurgence in demand when people realize that, you know, children learn best and need to be around other children and that, you know, parents need to work and can't work when they're trying to take care of kids at the same time. Yeah, totally. Well, as you look forward to 2023, what are some of the bold predictions that you have that our listeners should be looking out for? So it's not a shock to anyone that the economy is not doing? Well, whether it's a recession or just a down economy? I think this is going to result in a few things that we're actually already starting to see in our data. So the first is that the staffing crisis has actually gotten not as much of a crisis, daycares, and preschools are able to hire again, it's still not great, and it's really challenging. But I think this is because one people have to work like when the economy is bad, you have to work. And two, I think, and this is a more optimistic take. I think a lot of the providers have gotten more competitive, they've had to increase their pay. They've had to make these jobs more competitive, have better benefits. And that's, I think, a really good thing for the industry that these jobs are getting more desirable and that you know, providers so are upping their game to compete for talent. So that's good news that I think it'll be a little bit easier to keep these centers staffed. The bad news is, I think, and we're already starting to see this demand is dropping again. And so what we're seeing is that everyone sort of downshifting and trying to save money on their air. And so if you were putting your child in a full time daycare preschool program, you might try to find a part time program. So you can save money, and then try to fill in those remaining gaps with working from home or friends and family care. And we all know that this isn't, you know, ideal, but parents just can't afford full time care in many cases. And so I think this will affect centers, I think it'll go from like a really supply constrained market to being less so and in some regions even demand constrained, like not enough families to fill the spaces that are available. Yes, it's fascinating. And I do feel like we're in this era where the kind of rate of change of those two things like you would see trends like this over a five year period, and it would kind of be the straight line of wages are going up or demand is going down. Now we see these like pretty dramatic fluctuations in six month periods where everyone's trying to get their application in so they can get that last seat. And then everybody's like, Oh, wait, I need a three day week program. And Grandma and Grandpa are gonna watch the kids. So it is harder to be an operator in general, as a marketplace, you know, in Are you seeing that the kind of landscape is playing out the same way across the US and across the markets? Where you're supporting? Or actually, are you seeing differences in different GEOS are different, like urban versus rural, etc? Yeah, it definitely really depends on the Geo, you know, some areas can be really supply constrained, others can be really demand constrained. A lot of it has to do with, you know, sort of the average income in a market in many markets. And these are kind of a lot of cases known as childcare deserts like people just don't make enough money to support the existence of childcare centers, because there's sort of a minimum bar, that you need to be able to charge for the service for it even to make sense to open a childcare center. So that's why we have so many regions that just don't even have licensed childcare. And if they do, it's taking place in home based providers and not in centers. So yeah, it's really regional, it's very market dependent. And things have been really shaken up by COVID. Because people live in way more places now and work kind of remotely in many cases. And so we've definitely seen a lot of the dynamics that were just like, oh, big city, very hard to get childcare very expensive, it's now really dispersed. There's a lot more suburban areas that can be competitive. And it takes time to start a center. So it doesn't always kind of people could move to a region, it takes time to actually open up the amount of childcare that's needed to support how many people live there and can pay for it. Yeah, super interesting. And it's like, you know, if we want equitable access, we've got to find ways to, you know, meet those minimum thresholds for those childcare deserts. And at the same time, be nimble enough to support these shifts in population and workers and demand etc. Well, to wrap it up, I mean, I heard it just in your opening, you know, running a lean profitable business has kind of been your secret to success in navigating both the High Times and The these lean times. Is there any advice that you give to our listeners, as they look at 2023 and how to navigate either early childhood or more broadly, that education landscape, I think focus is going to be important in 2023, it's going to be a tough economy, a tight market, lots of companies laying off workers, I think it might kind of feel like, sort of tough times out there. But if you stay focused on your mission and what you're good at, I think, you know, the companies that are going to be able to come out of 2023 are gonna come out really strong companies. And you know, markets are cyclical, so there's always brighter days ahead. That's super well, thanks so much, Sarah. And if they want to check out winning, what's your what's your web address? When you.com wi and n ie.com. So we're easy to find. Great. Thanks so much for joining us, Sarah. You've been an all star guests on our show. And we're excited to watch 2023 as it comes with you. Talk to you later. Right? All right. Tech insiders. It's prediction time. I've got Maria Barrera from playful joining us one of our superstar guests of 2022. So great to have you back on the pod Maria. Thanks so much for having me again. Well, it's been a crazy year for clay for you as a startup CEO, you know, months seems more like years. So it's probably like you're at that 12 year mark. But before we dive into your reflection on 22, and 23, how are things going to clickable? Yeah, it really does feel like 12 years in a good way. I mean, last time, we talked, we were really just getting on the stage at ASU and coming out and starting our first pilots, which is mind blowing to think that it was only you know, eight months ago that that happened. Since then we really kicked off those pilots and like blew it out of the water, it's been amazing to see the reception both on the educator side, but most importantly, on the student side, right, like seeing the impact that we're having every day with kids has been sort of the most rewarding part of this whole experience. And since then, we've now closed, we have a handful of district deals across four different states. So we're in Illinois, California, Michigan, and Washington, which is amazing. We're supporting 1000s of students now. And really learning a lot about sort of the need, I think, like, in 2022, we really saw the rise of mental health, being cared about in school, and like really seen as like a core pillar of how what schools need to do to support this post pandemic. And sort of both like student wellness, as well as learning challenges that that came from the pandemic, we saw school mental wellness, as at the core of it, and we saw that it'd become a bipartisan issue when we saw a lot more government funding go into it. And that means that, you know, we're really excited to be sort of in the right place at the right time, and seeing sort of the strands continued to evolve, both in terms of what people care about, and where the money's going, has been a good headwind for us. So tailwind for us. So yeah, that has been the most exciting Parr, and I'm really, really excited for that 2023 has to has in store for us, you make a great point that it's the one area where everyone from either side of the political spectrum believes that mental health is core to our crisis and our students needs. And it's this kind of inflection point where schools are the point of delivery for so many services where it used to be just an education or, you know, just your reading, writing and math. And now we're realizing that we need leverage schools to, you know, serve the full needs, as you kind of zoom out a little bit, that's got to be one of your trends for 2022. is mental health as a theme, any other themes that kind of resonate, as you look back over the year? Yeah, I think that especially the last month, seeing I really think that both like mental wellness in schools is one but looking at Boys and men's mental wellness is gonna is something that was talked a lot about in the last month after twitches death. And the increased number, continuous number of suicides, as well as school shootings continue to be, unfortunately, have men and boys at the center of them right. And so that's something that I see a lot of people talk about in the last month, and I think it's going to really kick off and continue to be a subject of conversation and 2023. Because the things that we care about most right, our safety, our students well being is at the core of it and boys make up, you know, 98% of school shooters and are two times as likely to overdose point five more times less likely to commit suicide, and it's just a lot of the data that's coming out shows that boys need more support, and they haven't been getting at. So that's something that we've looked at looking over the past month. And as we sort of work with these districts trying to figure out okay, how, how does additional support, but does additional support look like? How do we continue to normalize and D stigmatize getting access to mental health and, and how does it start, right? Like, a lot of boys come and talk to us because they're lonely because they want to talk about the like, movies they're watching or the games that they're playing. And eventually, it gets to like, Hey, I, I was home for two years, and I don't know how to make friends. And that is something that we are seeing a lot more of and really emphasizing the like connection and helping both educators as well as families and, you know, sort of community providers bridge that gap we think is going to be a really important key trend that the sort of is starting to get planted now. Yeah, no, that totally resonates. And it seems like, you know, for a decade, we were working on awareness. And out, we're in the phase where it's not just like, hey, this is happening, be aware. Now it's like, okay, how do we develop tools and support and in particular, you, the D stigmatization is not done. And then on top of it, you know, there's a pandemic recovery story here, which is really around the psychological or mental health and social emotional challenges that the pandemic create it, as you looked at 2023. You know, what kind of themes or predictions Do you have, that you think will be reshaping the landscape? I don't know if it's as much of prediction as it is a wish. But I really want to see districts actually spending their COVID relief funds. Right. I mean, it's been fascinating watching, and like being a part of these purchasing dynamics, and, and seeing how paralyzing the sort of looming deadline has been for educators. And I think it's 1/3 of districts have spent less than 10% of their extra three funds. And, you know, for so long, we talked about how we needed as a country to invest more into education and how education is building our future and that the schools don't have enough funding and, and now that it's sort of at the tip of our fingers, it's been paralyzing, and a lot of districts are, you know, being extremely thoughtful, thinking about like, hey, how do I like what happens when this money runs out? And how can I sustain programs like this, beyond that, but I think we get stuck in that like, well, what's gonna happen five years from now? Versus like, how do we help kids now? And how do we use the resources that we have today, to make a difference today, and like, really use the funds for the pandemic relief that they're meant for? So that's something that I am really passionate about, and like, really helping school and district leaders think about, like, Hey, how can you help students, and like, meet them where they are today, and really help them recover? Right, hence the name. And think about like long term sustainability in a way that makes sense, both like fiscal science as well as makes, you know, political solutions, if you will, for your students and for your constituents. So that is, my call it a bold prediction that we'll actually see that come through. Because I think there's more and more conversation about like, hey, we need to do something about it. Right. And like, we've spent the money on the facilities and the if, like, finalizing the air events, and like fixing all the things that were like, one time costs, now. Now, we need to really, you know, I talked to school leaders are like, I don't need more things to sit in my closet, I need people I need support I need I need hands on deck, right? And that is gonna mean both, like an expense today and potentially an expense moving forward. And how do you how can you, like, still make that decision today, even when there's a little bit of an unknown and how it's gonna continue moving forward? So that's something that I'm really excited about and hoping to see. And then I also think I mean, tied to that is I am seeing more and more conversation on how like Medicaid and school funding can come together to support both like clinical, but also prevention in schools. And I think that the more that we sort of bridge those pools of money, both the state and federal level, the more that we can do, because there is a lot of funding to go around. It's just more about like allocating and play says where schools can actually spend it. Yeah, it seems like there was a rush to spend the tutoring money. And now money is there's like a pullback. And I think with mental health, many schools and districts didn't feel like they had enough knowledge or information to make a good decision. So there was a little bit more of a wait and see, it's a little bit more complicated with, you know, state level health department's trying to get involved and pre existing resources, community resources, even though we all know like the waitlist were like three months, four months long for health care support. And so, you know, maybe there's, you know, my hopeful just hearing what you were saying gives me hope that will recognize that an ounce of prevention, you know, a pound of pain later. And there is a way in which you could use the SR funds to kind of get programs up and running and started and then you could use Medicaid to be the bridge to fund it in perpetuity or something like that. Ironically, so the SR story is not like one that you pay with a broad brush, oh, there's this cliff. And there's this pullback on tutoring. It's simultaneously there's all of this other money, all this other funds that's been on the sidelines that could be, you know, deployed for whole child support. Only other question I have for you on this 2023 prediction side is really around staffing. You know, what I'm hearing about is the staffing crisis. And it's hard for me to know whether that's like a headwind or a tailwind for your business, you know, it is hard for you to staff. Is it hard for schools and districts and staff and therefore, easier for you support them? And how do you, you know, as I think about other entrepreneurs in the same space, how are you navigating that? Yeah, I mean, I think about staffing every day, because it's the reason we created this model of coaching. And I mean, it's one of the many reasons right, I think, like prevention really is at the core of it, but the preclinical prevention based model is, was very heavily informed by seeing Hey, like, there aren't enough counselors, there aren't enough clinical psychologists, like most counties don't even have a child psychiatry and psychiatrist. So it's, you mentioned that the reason that mental health funding has been sort of last utilized at the district level? Yes, it's definitely a confusion of like how to spend these funds. But it's really at the core a staffing issue, right? Hey, we had a million dollars allocated to hire counselors, we hired zero. And because we can't find them. And I hear that time and time again, one of the districts we're working with there, and rural Illinois, and their waitlist weren't three to four months or two years. And getting to a provided clinical provider takes hours. So if you can think about, like the impact of technology, from an access perspective is huge, right? Like that changes the game fully. And the fact that, hey, we can support kids through a lot of the things that mean, you know, we talk to kids everyday about the fights with their best friends, the tests that they're stressed about sports anxiety, right? Like, all these things that are sort of everyday challenges that kids don't, aren't equipped to deal with. Yeah, because they haven't been taught, taught how to self regulate, they haven't been taught how to deescalate. So we have a lot of those conversations. And then eventually, they learned that themselves, right? Like we're building their capacity with like, hey, when you're feeling stressed out, try this breathing exercise, try this grounding exercise, and like that goes such a long way in helping them build their own capacity to be able to self regulate, to the point that like, Hey, if you try this, when you're stressed about the task that you have tomorrow, then the feelings you get when something really big happens on the road, a completely different, right, because you've already been taught the skill. So you know, one of our taglines is like, let's help with the little things. So they don't become big things down the road. And I think that comes both in terms of like, Hey, what are the little things that are bugging you now, whether it's the fight with the best friend, or the relationship with your mom, which, you know, I had a really hard one. How is that something that you can work through now, versus it being something that you talk about in therapy 20 years from now, which is also, you know, part of the reason I started this money, if you ever Oh, my God, so much. So, so, so much. So I think that there's a huge need. And that staffing plays a big role in why like why we haven't been able to leverage those funds because you you're not able to find them. And now we have to get creative, right? That it's actually Hey, maybe it's not only about bringing people into the school system. But there's other ways to support kids and really sort of create different levels of care triaged the needs differently so that everybody can get support. And we can really focus on that prevention piece. A lot of districts we talked to, they're like, Hey, there, we they recognize that the reason we are we're sort of in crisis mode is because we haven't focused on prevention at all, because we've been, you know, on the cusp of fighting that crisis. So now, I guess another let's call the prediction here is that we can really take that two prong approach, let's, yes, help address the crises that are happening every day, while at the same time really leaning into that prevention that will stop us and help our students and help everybody so much on the road and save us a ton of both money and pain. So that's a big part of our work. And from a staffing perspective, like we upskill right. We're training people to do a lot of this work. We're training former educators and we're training mental health professionals who haven't gone through the licensing process but have those skills and are and are ready to support kids. And that has been working extremely, extremely well and I think part of it is to because we're meeting kids where they're at, right, like therapy as a core hasn't wasn't really designed for teenagers. So we're able to have meaningful conversations and help them through what they're going through with cognitive behavioral therapy in a way that accessible and meets them cognitively, where they're at, you know? Yeah. Well, I just as my major takeaways, like kind of like not an either or, it's the idea of like, how can services like playful, be an extension of the people you have in the building, with people outside the building, and this idea of like, different layers totally resonates with me. You know, as a school board member, we're often thinking about, you know, how do we provide supports even for like, third graders, second graders, I mean, the kind of trauma or social issues that kids are experiencing? This is not just a high school thing. We really appreciate you being on the podcast, some bold predictions for 2023 Actually more optimistic coming from this conference. Pretty dark predictions and some of the it's a great pick me up and as always, so Maria, what's the website that people can go to check out playful? Yeah, it's playful, health.com playful, it's like, you know, playful, but with the see comes from the idea that we're all made of clay because everything that happens to us shapes us in some way, shape, or form. With the right tools, we can reshape it ourselves. So love it. That's a great story. And you can also check out Maria on our postcards from ASU GSB. She was in the finalist for ASU GSB StartUp Award at the time. So it's great to go back and listen to that. And we're excited to have you on the podcast sometime in 23. Thanks so much, man. Thanks so much excited to come back and talk about how these districts are spending their COVID relief funds. It's gonna be great. All right, talk soon. We're here in our urine review session with Sunil Gandaria, Chief Innovation Officer of Age of learning. We talked to Sunil this year about all the things that were happening in Age of learning with efficacy, game based learning, and where they're going next. And now we're going to jump into the year review and Sunil is predictions for what is going to happen in the EdTech. Space next year. Welcome to the show, Sunil. Hey, thank you, Alex. Great to be back. Absolutely. Yeah, it's great to see you again. And I'm really excited to talk to you. So let's start with last year, when you look back at 2022, it was a pretty, you know, Rocky, wacky year, we thought, what do you consider the sort of main threads and trends from your perspective at age of learning? Yeah, I would say there were three themes or trends that we saw. And clearly one of the biggest ones is where national report card and nape scores became just a part of this national and local dialogue. Everybody's talking about nape scores, right. And that wasn't something that we talked about before. And, you know, unsurprisingly, for those that work in education, and I think for everybody, the results have been devastating is they not only laid bare to the effect of the pandemic on learning, but also persistent learning gaps that children from our poorest families have faced for decades. And that's the silver lining from this if there is one is that educators and legislators know that we need to focus in and really find a way to turn the tide on this trend, which I think is opening up the opportunity for educational technology to be part of the solution. And one of the stats that I still like the second trend is like this embracement of edtech, from early learning to higher ed to workforce usage of digital instructional material doubled since the onset of the pandemic, with over 50% of teachers using edtech daily, which certainly is a positive trend. And what's cool about it is that edtech is extending education beyond the classroom. You know, we put extended learning programs, whether these are after school, summer or at home. And I think with this trend, this this promise of anytime, anywhere learning is starting to really come to shape and become a reality. And the third trend, which we're certainly so excited about, and I think we all showed is that we're especially in light of there's so few things where there's bipartisan support is a spotlight in support of early childhood education and childcare. You saw it in New Mexico, with voters passing a constitutional amendment for universal pre K, both Maryland Arkansas governor's ran on a platform that included expansion of pre K. And finally, with this latest budget, the federal budget that's being proposed, there's a significant expansion of the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which is expected to increase by $1.9 billion or 30% increase. So as we know like with the majority are over 53% of kids from low income families not coming to kindergarten prepared. Think this is a real a terrific opportunity to start investing in prevention rather than more expensive prevention that we tend to have to do as kids fall behind in the K 12. System. So I think there's a great final national trend. And it's a great thing to have a dialogue on going forward in terms of how we can make early childhood education and development more effective. Yeah, those make a lot of sense. And I want to ask just a quick follow up about the first two, because I'm curious about your perspective on this, you know, it's the nape scores. And you know, and NWA II, a MAP scores and other sort of standard achievement tests basically showed this horrendous learning loss over this year. And then, you know, your second trend is Ed Tech is starting to be embraced and maybe you know, sticking around and is used more often, one of the trends we talked about was the teacher shortage. This is such a strange, additional piece of the post pandemic landscape. And I'm curious how you see these three things sort of playing together, learning loss, which is creating more and more funding and more and more concern for what's happening in schools, then less teachers to go around, especially special ed and certain specialists, and then an embrace of edtech. You know, how should we, as a community sort of think about how these things play together? We certainly don't want to say, well replace teachers, nobody wants that. So how does it play together? How do these pieces connect, you know, we've thought about from a research basis, and we talked about this last time, you know, relying on Bloom's and looking at it from an ecosystem perspective, and the way technology plays in and certainly our mastery technology in my Math Academy, my reading Academy, we were very thoughtful in how do we use the data that's generated from our solutions to empower not only teachers in the classroom, but also parents so they can be better support and coaches, to their children as they learn. And in a way, the way we look at this is that this is a way to have a teaching assistant in the classroom, that can provide additional data and do a lot of the things that are very difficult to do at a scale basis in terms of one on one support, you know, certainly our technology enables that, and then provides teachers what they need to know to monitor progress and growth and intervene as necessary, and also connect to home what's going on. So it can really superpower, the teachers in the classroom to be able to address that learning loss through data through just in time intervention through parent help, as you mentioned, the can give data to parents as well. I think that makes a lot of sense. And I'd love to see more companies leaning into that over the next year, and how can they really make the teachers who are holding the fort in the classroom, love the job again, and really enjoy it and really make a difference for all the kids. Let's talk about the future. We're right on the cusp of 2023. What do you see as the big trends that you would expect of 2023? Or do you have any specific predictions that you want to put on the record now that we can go back and check if they happen? At the end of the year? As much as specific is very hopeful? I think we're seeing, we're just entering an age where learning science and evidence of outcomes are gonna start taking center stage. And I'm really excited about that. And the conversation about evidence is everywhere. And the science, part of what we do in education is really starting to hit the mainstream, like, Alex, would we have ever predicted that a Emily Hanford soldier's story would be a top download on Apple, you know, like, we're talking about science and evidence and education and methodologies in the mainstream, which is, you know, really fantastic. And so I do think that research science evidence become a more important part of decision making, as we come to an end of this funding surge at AARP and SR funds that are less available as those funds run out. So I think you talk to policymakers, school board superintendents, and I think everybody's asking what is actually making a difference for our students? And what is going to move the needle and scale from an ongoing investment perspective. And I think that's a key takeaway for all of us in education in edtech. Is that, you know, it's table stakes to have evidence, it's a table stakes to show that you're creating outcomes. And I do think 2023 is going to be a year that that conversation is going to be elevated. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, I think we saw the beginning of this in 2022. We just saw learn platform be acquired by Instructure. It's really all about evidence. And we're going to be talking to Carl or Thomas on this show as well. But you've also seen, you know, the big VC firms in ad tech, put out their outcomes reports and actually start to talk about impact and outcomes, and get away from the hand wavy 30 million quizzes done, and a little more into, hey, there's actually some movement on measures that we can really prove. I was really impressed in our conversation this year about how age of learning has really had this baked into their model to your model for a long time. And I think it's you're very well positioned for you If government funding and state at state and federal funding start being contingent on published outcomes, seems like a handful of companies who have been doing this for a long time, are going to be really well positioned there. That's the intent, we're going to win because we produce the best outcomes. And I think every edtech company should embrace that as you know, part of their philosophy and what they invest in. And I, and then look at, there's a lot of industry stuff happening. That's really exciting. I think, you know, Aaron moats, innovated edu combining with the tech evidence exchange, right? The ed tech product index, like, the accessibility to evidence out information is going to improve, the comparability is going to improve, all of that is just going to vote for better outcomes. And frankly, we're all in this where we should be in this to make that difference and really unlock the potential that we know that there with our students 100%, what else do you think is going to happen in 2023? What else do you see coming over the horizon, and maybe it's extensions of trends we've already seen, or something new that might come in through unusual New Tech Trends could come from anywhere, you know, it's something that I referred to earlier. And there's some interesting developments, even on our side, with some of the implementation, we're seeing the embracing of technology solutions and accountability for outcomes in early education, like getting ready for kindergarten is really an interesting trend. You know, there's a lot of mixed model deliveries where traditionally, it's with only child care. And now there's more accountability, that they actually work towards improving outcomes. I think that's really an interesting trend to watch. Because, you know, there's been a lot of national debate on universal pre K and what that means. But you know, ultimately, I think we all want better outcomes for our children, all children. And if there are other models to get there, I think that is something really interesting to watch this next year. Yeah. And that sounds like an extension of some of the legislation we're starting to see from different states. You mentioned earlier, where universal pre K and running on early childhood is starting to become, you know, a really acceptable and sort of popular position. We saw it happen in New York City, we've seen a few pockets of this, but it seems like maybe 2023 is a year where people really take note of all the research that shows students who come into kindergarten, you know, prepared and with a vocabulary and with a lot of preparation do so much better throughout the school system. I mean, I forgot the exact number. But there was, you might know, that study that basically says for every dollar you spend in pre K, it's worth some really, it's every $1 invested is a $7 return. It's from James Heckman, he's a Nobel Prize Laureate, on his work, yes. And in the downstream effects that you're seeing 40 to 50 years later with the children of these children that were in the original study is tremendous. Yeah. So I mean, it's the best investment we can make in education. And I think, you know, in this era of evidence and combating learning loss, it's something that we might see really, really start trending upward, I hope so I think it would be incredibly beneficial, then there's gonna be a, you know, early childhood and childcare shortage. So we're gonna have to figure that one out as well. But it's an exciting prospect. Sunil wonderful to talk to you again, I'm really, really excited to see what this next year brings. Do you have any parting thoughts for our listeners, after this entire year of edtech insiders and a crazy things happening in the ed tech world? Yeah, I think, you know, it's continuing to focus in on making a difference in generating outcomes. And, you know, be a proponent on what works and make sure that that's what you're pushing. Ultimately, there's a lot more at stake than our individual own livelihoods in our companies. It's really the future of our country. And frankly, you know, as the demographics change, there's even more of a need to ensure that what we're doing is going to be effective and drives for its outcome. So I just leave you with that, as people go ponder what they want to ponder over the holidays. Like, look, we're we're doing the good work here. And let's continue to do that. And then raise all boats and leave you with that. Yeah, inspiring words for the whole edtech you know, ecosystem. And I think they're true, right, we actually make a difference not just for individuals lives, but for the entire life of the nation, or nations or world that you know, whose learners we serve. Thanks so much for being here. Sunil Gandaria will talk to you again in the new year. Thank you, Alex. Look forward to it. Take care. Hi, everybody. I'm here with Anthony Kim, CEO of n elements, and a thoughtful prognosticator of all things past present future and education. Anthony has been a mentor and advisor to me in my own career, countless times along the road, and so excited to have you here with Ed Tech insiders. Thanks for joining us. Thanks, Ben. And, you know, it's been great to follow your career and you know, the conversations we've had just about how to be innovative in the space. We did get acquired education elements dikkat acquire last year and so actually my time It'll change from CEO and founder of education elements to Chief Learning Officer of education elements in escolares. Learning So, love it so chief learning officer of Skylar's learning tell us a little bit before we dive in about what's Glarus does. And how add elements fit in fits into that. Yes, Gloria started out as a first initial company was called Xanadu publishing, and they did custom publishing for higher ed and school districts. And what they found is that they needed higher level relationships at the district level to expand the work around the custom content that they delivered for school districts. And so they found that elements as a kind of an entry point to provide the strategic planning services, the prioritization, the project management, as a services entity so that we can help districts think about how to augment their curriculum. And since then, you know, we have acquired tripod education partners, which does the surveys for student engagement and teacher engagement. And then we also acquired another company called PLC associates, which is a company that does consulting around school improvement. That's great. You know, many times on this podcast we talk about land and expand is the strategy. And just because you have one product in one building doesn't mean that the Expand happens on its own, you really have to work with leaders at the school building level at the district level to grow. And then also, it's this theme of like pairing adaptive change with the technical change, you may have the best product in the world. But if the folks using it aren't really prepared to implement it, well, then often you end up getting a failed implementation or poor results. So we're seeing that time and time again, especially here. You know, that's last episode, we talked about that specifically with tutoring solutions, and all this extra money getting thrown at tutoring solutions. And ultimately, some of the tutoring solutions have great implementation and some don't. And that's really going to be make or break for that industry. As you reflect back, Anthony, I'm curious on 2022, what were some of the themes that kind of defined 2022 for you? And then as you look forward to 2023, what are the key predictions or trends that you're looking at? Yeah, so usually, when I start thinking about 23, you know, like, I initially reflect on 22. And some of the predictions I had for 22, back in 2001. And I think there are some things that came true. And some things that didn't come across the way I thought some things that did come true is homeschooling and micro schooling grew a lot. And people are more conscious of alternative options, because during this period, families got way more involved in education than they ever did. And, and they really got into the depths of what it's like to be a student in the schools that they have their kids and they are looking at many different options that they didn't look at before. At the same time, I thought that there would be kind of more interest in outsourcing because we heard about so many issues with staffing and things like that. And I think in some cases, there has been like the tutoring example. There's, you know, more outsourcing of tutoring services. But some districts fundamentally want people locally to build those relationships with students. And I think that's still relevant today in many of the communities and a lot of the things that we hear about in terms of workforce dynamics really occurred in urban centers, not so much in the rural suburban centers where the district might be the largest employer of that community. Yeah, people don't realize that even in like Miami and LA, the district is number one or number two, employer. I mean, these are major businesses. I think, you know, as a parent myself, I realized that the purpose of school was one child care, to social emotional connection, and three academics in that order. And I think that that's really, especially for the younger grades. May people really push for in person and delivered local and maybe high school, you know, I don't know, I'm curious as to where projections will land or predictions of land, but 2023 I wonder whether high school looks different than the younger grades just because you can do so much more when you have high school students that can self manage and navigate a bunch of online auctions. So let's look at your 2023 predictions. What's on your list? Yeah, I mean, just before we get into that, I think one of the things that you touched upon is interesting is I really thought that there would be more innovation in the space last year and you know, I talked a little bit about the customization of education and having those options. But one thing that stymieing Some of our innovation is just the political landscape. of education right now. And you're familiar with this just being on the board, but that is preventing us from actually exploring some of the possibilities. Yeah. Do you see that breaking up, because it's feels like it's getting worse. That's where we're gonna go to the predictions, because it's my prediction is, it's probably gonna get worse. It may not be insightful prediction. But one of the predictions is we're going into an election year, we're going into a state where as her funding is going to end, there's all sorts of different budgeting issues. And because families have gotten way more entrenched in the content of education, they have more opinions now. And so one of my predictions is that it's going to be more trench warfare on on this and it might stagnate some of the innovation that could have occurred. Another prediction is just the the reboot that might happen in career and vocational education. What we're seeing is, you know, with new funding with Perkins foreign such in Career Tech, yes, like, there's more interest, but there's also understanding that the careers of the future might look different. You know, I was talking with some folks about like, the types of careers and there might be a need for somebody that could do digital identity background checks, like how do I know you're the real person when I only know you from zoom, you know, or an eSports, umpire for cheat codes or something like that, you know, there's a lot of different jobs that we haven't really thought about it. I know, it's kind of a cliche to say, well, there's jobs in the future we don't even know about, but like, you could almost name them today. You know, and that's kind of interesting. Another area that I think that the pandemic really spurred and some of the workforce things that really spurred but commerce, e commerce really made it commonplaces AI technology, right? Like when you get support right now, from Apple, or airlines or Best Buy or something, you're not really talking to a human yet until it like you go through a sequence of questions. And as people were just getting more used to that as a way to navigate. And I think it'll be more comfortable for some students to get feedback from Ai than actual human that might judge them for whatever reason. Yeah. So in some ways, you're saying the fact that it's not a human is a benefit, rather than a bug. And you know, they will be a little bit less self conscious if the bot catches something than if there's some human judging them. Yeah, you know, it's like, Would you prefer the known of a self driving car that follows the rules? Exactly. Or the unknown, of getting into an Uber with a different driver each time? Like, what do you want? I don't know. Well, and so on the AI front, though, you know, there's the debate right now, is this a positive thing? And that benefit? Or is it a net negative? You may have like, instantaneous grading, and auto response feedback and homework, help question bots, and so on and so forth. But at the same time, you might have chat GPT, write your entire, you know, Jr. Essay, how do you see it playing out like net benefit, or net negative and 2023? I guess I don't see it as a benefit or a negative, because it's kind of hard to say whether it is or it isn't just like, advent of social media benefit or a negative, right, like it started out as a benefit. And it turned into one would say, a negative in some ways. How about crypto, right, same thing. And so technology transforms itself to human behaviors and use it and how we use it. And so it's not really about that, I'm just saying that it's going to happen. And we should be careful about how we implement it just like every other technology out there to make sure that it benefits us then hinders our potential. So your view is there's an inevitability to the technology itself. It's really the how we use it. That's such a like a great statement from somebody who does what you do, which is like the technology itself can work or not work, if you implement it well, you know, add elements. That's really what your mission has been for years. What else is on your radar in terms of 2023 things for us to look forward to? Yeah, I mean, that kind of dovetails to my next point, which is, districts might look for expertise, not just experts. And what I mean by that is, there's a lot of people talking about the best reading program where the best math program and this way works better than the other way. And there's a lot of expertise around the actual math content. But there's not as much expertise as he talked about as to implementing these things really well. And I think that we all can find examples of different programs when implemented well producing results. But the tendency is that we spend more time on the actual product and the quality of the implementation and expertise is real. Eat is there the skill and experience in using these tools so that it produces the outcome as to versus the expert who knows that product or knows math really well or ELA really well to say this is the right way to learn. I think implementation will matter a lot. And, you know, that goes to like my last point, which is states are talking more and more, especially in funding crunches about evidence based budgeting. And I think, you know, as board members, as states, think about where these resources are going, what evidence do we have that this is actually working is going to be key, and it's going to be a hot topic around, especially around the politics that exist around even just the nature of programming. In reading, for example, you know, whether it's balanced literacy or the science of reading, there's a whole debate as to what's more effective, and it's gotten very political. Yeah, I feel like the workforce theme that you're talking about that feels like one of those themes where you could get like, one political rallying around that, too, you could kind of have some efficacy measures that create some outcomes based performance metrics. And three, your point around like the implementation, there's a degree to which the workforce stuff, you can kind of focus more locally, on your ecosystem locally, or programs that fit with your ecosystem. You're the first person that I've heard, really call that zone out. And it almost feels like on a number of accounts, that might be the one like brightspot, combined across your predictions. Is that how you see workforce playing out? And do you see any other areas where we might have some unifying positive momentum? Yeah, I think, like innovation space is really interesting. And you're probably seeing it in some of your work with Common Sense Media now. But what I imagine is, there's some really smart people that are going to be working under the radar a bit, proving that something works. And when the market starts turning around, all of a sudden, that gets going to be an overnight success, right? Like, they've been working, working, working, they got really loyal users and customers, and they're like, I'm getting results, but they aren't doing the big splashy press release or the research report. And all of a sudden, everybody's gonna hear about it one day, and they're gonna be like, That's it, right. And I think we're gonna see some things like that, that we just didn't expect in the next three to five years where those companies come out because they're focused on the work, not on the PR, not on just customer acquisition. And because right now, there's a lot of focus around just high quality, implementation evidence, economic value, just like a low cost solution for doing things in a better way. All of those things, if someone like really puts a lot of attention to entrepreneurs really put a lot of attention, they are going to find something better that kind of takes the ED cat space to the next evolution from where we are today. Against all this backdrop, you know, you're talking about, like, there's the what, and then there's the how, and there's a lot of focus on the product, and not the how we're going to implement it. But the constant refrain I hear and as people are looking to 2023 is we're understaffed, or, you know, there's this this huge gap in terms of number of people there the capabilities that exist in the system, do you see that changing or evolving in 2023? And how are we to kind of deliver our best work if, you know, for example, AP Physics doesn't get filled for the entire year at the high school? Yeah. It's interesting, because what we saw over the last two years with at tech companies growing so much, is that cannibalized a lot of talent out of school districts, right. A lot of people left school districts to go work, and it was some of the best implementers that got hired. That's right. And so, you know, it's interesting to see what happens over the next year, because the peak of a lot of these businesses have, we're seeing that and we saw it and other industries, like all of the tech companies that have laid off people in, you know, and all the other businesses that are laying off people, and we're starting to see a little bit of that in ad tech. And I'm just wondering, what the educators that left the building to go to a tech company and get exposed to this and then all of a sudden, the reality of the shrinkage is going to hit them. And then do they go back into education because that's what they were passionate about, or they do they leave the profession altogether, and go work at another company right and stay in that space. And that's going to drive a lot of what happens in education workforce, I think I will say anecdotally, I'm seeing people pivot into generalist tech, you know, classroom to add tech to tech is the lilypad. Path. Doing and part of it has to do with just the incredibly low salaries and challenging working conditions, at school sites, once people, you know, can use the bathroom and have lunch, when they want to have lunch and have the flexibility to like, go do groceries if they need to, it makes it really hard to kind of come back, even though I will also say the trade off is you don't have summers off necessarily, or you don't have the vacation times. Are you seeing that same trend? Or do you anticipate a migration back to the classroom, I see the trend where people once people leave, they get comfortable with the flexibility of not having to come in at certain times. And even the commercial workforce has shifted so much even more flexible. That's right, I think it's hard to go back to, you know, punching the clock kind of environment. Yeah, you know, my view, I've been talking to a few people about this, I think that the key to this challenge is not going to be winning people back. It's about the new graduates coming out of, you know, high school and college and do they see a productive successful fulfilling career pathways that include, you know, five to 10 years if not more in the classroom. And to do that you have to front load your salary schedule, instead of having it be the 30 year old 30 year veteran teacher gets paid X, you need to have like year, one year two teacher salaries, much more aggressively beating out that other job opportunity. So at least in California, I think there should be 100k minimum wage for Educator professionals. And the way you pay for it is you do some of these, you know, assistance in the classroom are we're you know, larger class sizes with one trained educator, and then assistant teachers to make it work. But the EdTech tools and all the personalized learning stuff that we've been working on and caring about for last decade now is finally there at the at the level where you could actually implement that successfully. Yeah, yeah. And the folks over at ASU are thinking about that a lot in terms of the future teacher workforce design. I would also add, you know, I'm on this board of a micro schooling organization that's led by Don Soifer. And one of the interesting things about that is, micro schooling, provides the educator in people the opportunity to still be an educator, but the flexibility that they get from other industries. And so I do believe that there's going to be a proliferation of micro schooling type operations, where people can still be an educator, still be entrepreneurial, but still be in education, per se. Yeah, well, one of my predictions, and maybe it's not a 2023, it's kind of over that three to five year timeline is that instead of linear school flows, people will actually drop out and back into the system at different points much more frequently, which makes it really hard for school systems to adapt their staffing and so on. But I can see where like my fifth grader, instead of going to the middle school at sixth grade, I'm going to do a micro school year at sixth grade. And then I'll come back in seventh grade. I think parents are thinking much more flexibly about that. And the proliferation of choices enables a little bit of a meandering path, rather than the kind of factory model where you're on the assembly line. Well, this is so great. You're publishing an article about your predictions. Where can people find that article, they can subscribe to that add elements.com mailing list, and from there, they'll receive a notification when it gets pushed out and feature articles that we write as well. So there you go. That's great. Well, we'll put that in the show notes. Thanks so much, Anthony Kim, for joining us today. We're really excited about the work that you're going to be doing in 2023. And we'll come back to you at the end of 2023 and say what came through what did thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you so much, Ben. All right listeners for our 2023 predictions episode I am joined by the one the only Norman padrone of empirical lab. She was our very first interview ever for weekend ed tech. That was in January of this year. What a long year. It's been welcome back Norma. Thank you so much, Ben, thank you so much for having me. First before we dive into the reflections and prediction is what's the latest with empirical app? Yeah, so it's been a busy Eight, seven months that we've spent getting off the ground and customer discovery, we were selected as part of the AWS inaugural cohort for women founders. And we also were part of TechStars in the workforce development program. So we've been busy. On the accelerator side, we've been busy with our customer discovery and our early partners, we launch our first pilot just a couple of weeks ago. So this year, the life of startup, you know, it's basically one year feels more like seven years, it's been amazing following your progress. And people should reach out if they have questions about Tech Stars, or other accelerators, too. Let's do our quick reflection on 2022. What were the major takeaways? And then you know, any of those themes? How do you see them moving forward to 2023? Yeah, thank you so much, well, there's an AI approach or customer discovery efforts, and very much like you would imagine an academic except I had to put velocity on steroids to do it faster. And so we did very extensive interviews, our focuses on healthcare organizations, particularly healthcare delivery organizations. And then within that we focus on teams that work at the intersection of data technology and care delivery. And so we did this sort of listening tour that gave us a perspective on what they were expecting, and what they were already using that was working was not working. So what we heard loud and clear is that what's starting to resonate from both of the demand side, and what they're hoping comes, you know, in the future, is more customized and personalized experiences when it comes to workforce development. A lot of what we heard was, especially for the teams that we work with, you know, the sense of it takes a long time to identify, what should they be training on, right. And so they understand the problem space really well, they understand, for example, that as they are rolling out remote patient monitoring programs or hospital at home models, they understand that now there you need to do, for example, device management. And so their training meets are very specific, but then sourcing both the content and the relevant experience that fits with how they work is very time consuming. And so I think the key theme was expectations around customized really relevant content, and a customized experience, right, like when you're working in the healthcare space. And you know, there's Well, there are behaviors that teams that work in health care whether they're clinical or non clinical have, you know, they do huddles, they do the briefs, they really operate in kind of like specific way that the rhythm and cadence of team working in healthcare organizations, and so you're trying to force fed, kind of general purpose tool into or general purpose experience into that, and it just is not working? And so we heard that very loud and clear. Yeah, so fascinating, too, because healthcare is a huge total addressable market. I mean, there's just so many other hospital systems, healthcare systems, and then you talk about the global economy. I think this is a challenge that we've heard from many entrepreneurs, in smaller niches, where there's that need for customization, you know, normal from your perspective. You know, when you bake the cake, some people bake it 100%. And it's not customizable at all others, it's like 80% of standard and 20% is customized all the way down to it's fully custom. And, you know, as you're scaling with your partners, I'm sure you're thinking about, Okay, what's true across everybody, what's unique for this instance? And then what's also custom for healthcare. How do you think about that on the product? Right? Yeah, that's so fascinating. I mean, you're right. So healthcare is a big market in the sense that healthcare is the largest sector is the largest employer in the US. And so you're talking about basically a work experience. And I think you you're very familiar with a space of the future of work, right. And so it is about how Ward workplace and the workforce has changed. And it is the largest workforce in the US. And so I think that that right off the bat is, in its own right complex, the way we're thinking about it is by again, like tapping into the behaviors that they already do. And so that is what's generalizable, that there are behaviors like incredibly high standards for compliance and security. Well, that's going to be true across the board right in this industry. And so their behaviors around like content sharing, you know, the types of product experience that you put in where you kind of include security kind of models, so that you can make sure that they feel comfortable with the information that is being shared. And so I think like that is part of the blogs that are generalizable. And I think that will separate two things, right. So there's an expectation that content should be relevant and timely, and that's why the customization comes in really high. But the product experience can be tagged into the experience of how they work, which is more generalizable. And I don't mean to say that all hospital organizations, you know, work exactly the same. But I do mean to say that in the teams that we work with with their generally shared services units, they're kind of their perception of how the velocity of information has changed. And also the technology has changed is very particular, right? Like, up until even less than 10 years ago, even speaking about centralized electronic health records, you know, it was still like the new thing. And so to now be talking about deploying remote sensors to be monitoring patients at home, right, like, there's a sense of the velocity at which, you know, things have changed. And so there's a sense of, can we keep information tractable? So we tap into behaviors, and that's a generalizable part, how they work, how they think the experience of their day to day, and that tends to be more generalizable. But definitely in the content side, it's also about empowering individuals to create their own content, because they are the experts in their own space. And so that's the part where customization sort of like we take it up to a point. But clearly the last mile, which is we speak a lot about the last mile training part comes actually from their own pure pure training. Yeah, I love this idea of so many different users having different needs, but also different roles. Let's talk a little bit about 2023, and your futuristic predictions. What do you think? And of course, some things are gonna happen in 2023. And some things are gonna be more on the four or five year timeline. But what are you seeing as the major themes or trends, in addition to this specialization piece that will impact your work and the space? Yeah, well, in the space of healthcare, I think that it's interesting, because we've been doing this deep dive around sort of the workforce, and how NCIS and like different labor and occupation categories. And it's interesting, because there aren't, for example, very easily defined roles, like, you know, digital health analytics, right, or like digital health technician, you know, those definitions are sort of like, you have to infer them. In some ways, it's very difficult to identify how many people do we have today, working in data and technology and healthcare. And so, I mean, there are ways around that, and you can get the numbers, but sort of like to the types of roles that we're interested on. And so it's sort of interesting how the definitions itself sort of relatively new. So I mean, what I do think is that, and what we hear from our customer discovery efforts is like, certainly, this parts, this teammates are very much part of the care continuum. And they are seen as such and treated as such, and they're part of the success of implementations. And so I do think that we're going to see more ways, and it is going to, I think we're going to hear a lot more about the changes in the workforce and the workforce composition and workforce needs of healthcare. And in 2023. I think that's a very big trend. And I think by virtual events, then it's going to be like, there's gonna be a high demand for new tools that bridge training and working in collaboration a little bit better than what we have today. I think that we're gonna see more of that. And certainly, there's and I think we're all very excited about generative AI and seeing where it goes. I don't know, to the extent that some of these will be implemented in 2023. But, you know, certainly we're keeping tabs around how powerful it could be to use some of these AI into collaborative training, specifically, like I did a quick search, which is actually kind of daunting, did a quick search or asked, you know, in chapter 23, and it was, can you create a syllabus around like basics of digital health? You know, and it certainly can, right, and so it is, you know, clunky and all of that, but I got me a little bit excited about how, you know, when thinking about collaboration and training, the role that the stores might play. That's great in terms of your reflection on both this past year and 2023, what's giving you the most optimism and what's giving you the most concern? Yeah, I mean, so, optimism, big theme, huge attention by healthcare organizations into improving the experience of work, huge somatic topic that came over and over again, how can we improve the experience of working healthcare organizations? It is not news. But you know, the healthcare as an industry has been losing almost half a million employees have been quitting per month in the last year. And I published a LinkedIn article on this. And you know, certainly more people come into the workforce and things like that, but it's just, definitely there is a red alarm in the industry about how can we improve the experience of working in healthcare. So it's a big theme. And it makes me optimistic that I think there's a lot of commitment and thought process that is going into this. And so I think that we'll see much more energy and attention into this. And so, you know, our solution clearly aims to play a role in this but you notice a huge problem. And so I'm seeing organizations really committing resources and time to think about this makes me optimistic insofar as you know, it is a big problem, but there's a tension to fix it. I don't know if pessimistic but a little bit worried is, you know, for better or worse, the healthcare industry isn't famous for moving really fast. And so there's education so you You've got a double whammy here. Right? And so I think that the extent to which organizations become more amenable to testing, now this category that a man falls into care enablement, right, which is the idea that, yes, we're really excited about hospital home remote patient monitoring, sensor devices, digital health, but we're trying to answer who should who is working on this? And how do we make their experience better? And how do we empower them to do their job better? And it's sort of fascinating to me that I think, finally, I mean, not pessimistic, but my hope is that more folks in the investment community and certainly in government as well turned our attention to it. There certainly has some been, I think that you know, you and I spoke a few months ago, and I mentioned, it's always sexier to say, you know, I invested in a company that solves like diabetes, or whatever it is, right. But I don't hear it as much as like, oh, what we're doing is empowering the teams that are on the ground, deploying these devices and monitoring patients better. And so that behind the scenes, I hope it takes more front and center. I'm optimistic from what I'm seeing on the organizational side. They'd like to see more of that on the broader community and ecosystem. Well, we will be talking to you and hearing how it's playing out in your world. We're so grateful to have you on. It's a refreshing perspective for someone who's in, you know, workforce, adult learning edtech to hear all the drivers and challenges. There's so many common themes, but also some unique ones. Thanks, Norma for being our very first guest, and for helping us wrap 2022 With your predictions. Hope you have a great one. Thank you so much, Ben. I'm very happy 2023 to you and the team. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this episode of edtech insiders. If you liked the podcast, remember to rate it and share it with others in the tech community. For those who want even more Ed Tech Insider subscribe to the free ed tech insiders newsletter on substack.

Introduction: Year in Review
Karl Rectanus, CEO of LearnPlatform
Sarah Moscoff, CEO of Winnie
Maria Barrera, CEO of Clayful
Sunil Gunderia, CIO of Age of Learning
Anthony Kim, CLO of Scholarus Learning and CEO, Education Elements
Norma Padron of EmpiricaLabs