13 Problems That Ed Tech Companies Could (and Should) Help Solve

What is one problem you would like to see an ed tech company solve and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Student with iPad
photo credit: flickingerbrad

1. Improving Teacher Quality

In current society, teachers rightfully have a very important and respected place. This respect and importance will make the necessary transition that is coming for hundreds of thousands of teachers of varying skill levels to online-based educations harder. These only require hundreds or thousands of teachers total. Ed tech companies that can help society go through that painful change will win.
Brennan White, Watchtower

2. Creating More Digital Textbooks

I’d like to see textbooks go completely digital so there is less waste and more accessibility. There are many roadblocks to making this happen successfully, but it certainly can be done with the right technology.
Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

3. Replacing the Brick and Mortar University

There’s no doubt that the current cost of the traditional undergraduate education is unsustainable. The replacement simply has to be online — and I’m looking forward to high-quality, trusted brands emerging in the ed tech space to not only disrupt the classic education model but also improve it.
Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

4. Making Ed Tech Accessible

If we find the silver bullet in education using technology, the bigger problem will be how to access this technology. The infrastructure of most schools has not changed much over the past 20+ years. Broadband is not capable in most schools to handle the demand of wireless devices, and unused desktops lie dormant even today. We must work on the technology infrastructure in schools today.
Tim McHugh, Saddleback Educational

5. Learning Effectiveness

The problem is measuring student learning and outcomes. By harnessing technology, we can and should be producing more effective teaching outcomes. Carnegie Mellon University formed a blue-ribbon panel called the Simon Initative to try to address this problem, and we need to see more of this kind of thing.
Luke Skurman, Niche.com

6. Improving Individualized Education Plans

Students with special learning plans typically have IEPs. Managing those plans (and the resources necessary to put them into action) is a difficult process. Such students often can’t advocate for themselves easily, so building a system that reduces their need to do so is crucial to help them get a full education.
Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

7. Calibrating for Learning Style

Ed tech companies often have difficulty levels but rarely focus on learning styles. Some users process and encode information better through artistic, spatial or analytical contexts. Focusing on one medium while ignoring the others can compromise the UX and learning curve. While coding multiple interfaces can be time intensive, this can lead to much greater customization and retention.
Pablo Villalba, 8fit

8. Redefining Accreditation

There is no shortage of innovative ed tech companies looking to disrupt the higher-ed status quo, but unfortunately, we are still stuck in a world that places undue emphasis on the old paradigm of accreditation. We need a new way of thinking about accreditation — as the value of a degree decreases, the value of quantifiable expertise increases.
Kristian Andersen, KA+A

9. Promoting Out-of-Classrom Engagement

Too often innovation in the education space is focused on improving the in-classroom experience. Research shows that academic success is most closely correlated with out-of-classroom engagement. The explosion of mobile provides a huge opportunity to improve after-hours learning models and create more successful students.
Brewster Stanislaw, Inside Social

10. Making It Easier to Sell to School Districts

Getting effective new learning technologies into the classroom is blocked right now by the difficulty of selling to school districts. With most of the educational dollars in this country being spent via public money, any progress in making it easier to sell and onboard districts will mean more and better educational technology for everyone.
Miro Kazakoff, Testive

11. Recreating the Classroom Environment Online

Companies like Coursera have done a great job providing top-notch educational content for free, but nobody has tackled the problem of replacing the classroom. There is something to be said for the collaboration that only takes place within a classroom.
Josh Weiss, Bluegala

12. Defining the Path

I think one of the biggest challenges for students today is that the path to their dream career after college is fuzzy. There are so many ways to get there. I’d love to see a platform that helps connect the dots for students to understand what steps, courses, internships and experiences will help them land their dream career after graduation affordably and in a reasonable amount of time.
Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

13. Engaging Teachers

One stakeholder that has a disproportionate impact on the entire education system is the teacher. Any product (tech or no tech) that can engage teachers and drive up their excitement or commitment can make a big dent. Teachers can then drive student engagement, outcomes and various other factors.
Ashish Rangnekar, BenchPrep