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Edtech Top 40 reports increase in use of unique digital tools

Edtech Top 40 reports increase in use of unique digital tools
Edtech Top 40 reports increase in use of unique digital tools

Important points:

On average, K-12 school districts access 2,739 Edtech tools throughout the school year, according to Edtech Top 40a report on the use of digital solutions, tools, and resources in K-12 districts, schools, and classrooms during the 2023-24 school year.

K-12 institutions are accessing 8 percent more tools overall each year compared to the previous school year, with an increase in the number of unique edtech tools accessed individually by both students and teachers.

The report, which highlights the top 40 products in educational technology, is published by LearnPlatform by Instructure and provides insights into trends, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)-aligned evidence, and categorical rankings relevant to K-12 decision makers and edtech product leaders.

“The evidence is clear: tech-enabled learning is here to stay,” said Melissa Loble, chief academic officer at Instructure. “As districts continue to explore different tools to improve learning, they now face obstacles that include not just choosing the best tool, but choosing safe, effective and interoperable tools that work together to build a highly effective learning ecosystem. Districts need trusted guidance and transparent information so they can make efficient and effective decisions that improve teaching and learning.”

“The increase in tools used is no surprise,” said Shiren Vijiasingam, chief product officer at Instructure. “On the one hand, we know districts are actively looking for ways to consolidate their edtech systems, but with the explosion of new AI-powered tools, there has been a lot of experimentation. We expect to see a close look at how these tools support the teaching and learning process.”

The report also includes action points for K-12 leaders and edtech leaders.

For K-12 leaders: Figure out which of your most used tools integrate with your LMS to build a more centralized ecosystem. Consider what the best user experience is for the unique needs of your teachers and learners and prioritize LMS integration when making decisions about purchasing and implementing edtech.

For Edtech leaders: Understand where your users are and prioritize LMS integrations that will enhance their Edtech ecosystems and help expand your customer base. Prioritize and invest in outstanding user experiences when developing LMS integrations. And ensure the highest standards of privacy and security for your users by updating existing LTi integrations.

As in previous years, the top 40 tools remain unchanged, only a handful of new products have been added to the list. The five new additions to the EdTech Top 40 Companies featured this school year include PBS, Panorama Education, Scratch, Adobe and Grammarly, the latter three highlighting the rapidly increasing adoption of AI in schools and drawing attention to the need for best practices to govern its use.

Educators are using technology to increase student engagement, personalize learning, and save time. But how do they know what makes the difference? The report found that 32 percent of the tools on the Edtech Top 4 20240 have published research that meets one of the four levels of evidence in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA framework provides educators with an accessible model for identifying research-supported edtech technologies, from innovative new solutions to established tools with empirical validation. School districts are increasingly seeking ESSA-compliant research as part of their review processes to make evidence-based decisions.

“Year for year EdTech Top 40 has provided comprehensive data on the use of technology in K-12 education in districts across our country,” Loble concluded. “Data-driven decision-making is more important than ever when it comes to evaluating the role of technology in our schools. For this reason, EdTech Top 40 is more relevant than ever.”

As in previous years, this report analyzed products with specific features to provide a deeper insight into the most important educational technology tools in key categories. This year’s categories include learning management systems (LMS), add-on platforms, teaching platforms, learning tools, classroom response and assessment tools, and websites and resources.

Laura Ascione
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