Ultimately, this was an entirely new and exciting research endeavor for me, personally, and a gratifying collaborative experience with my group. All three of us were consistently motivated throughout, and it was illuminating and energizing to take part in Julia’s complex and dynamic think-process in mapping out this research. The whole project was an educationally enriching experience.
Check out our executive summary to get an idea of the project here:
The purpose of this project is to investigate how technology can more efficiently expand students’ social capital– that is, the network of peer and adult connections, guidance, and advice that students can bank on in the future. We researched edtech tools geared towards mentoring, coaching, bringing experts into classrooms (over video), and connecting students to new peer groups beyond their school and neighborhood. Following this research, we created a market map of these products in order to understand their unique business models and how they may or may not be disruptive to traditional education models in K-12 and higher education.
This market map was created via our research as well as a survey developed by our team and delivered to each organization. The Google survey asked questions regarding revenue model, use cases, and general company information. The response rate to this survey was approximately 38%.
We used a three-fold classification system to organize the highly varied information we sourced from each company. The metrics were: broad category of service or product, the synchronous or asynchronous nature of the service or product, and the “level of touch” for each service or product. In this case, “level of touch” refers to the degree of access to or interaction with an expert or mentor that a student has when using the service or product. Services providing one-on-one mentorship, for example, were classified as high touch.
At a glance, the clearest takeaway of our market map is that most current resources target college preparation, admissions and retention. Another noticeable trend in our map is that most organizations deemed “high touch” (strong human interaction) offered synchronous interactions for users; while all of the “no touch” (self-driven interaction) and most of the “low touch” (weak human interaction) organizations offered asynchronous services.