Ed Tech Developments and Trends: A Global Perspective

Patrick Brothers, Founder, HolonIQ (moderator)

Richard Culatta, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education

Kamran Elahian, Chairman and Founder, Global Innovation Catalyst

Elliott Masie, Chairman, The Learning Consortium

The panel moderated by Patrick Brothers, Founder, HolonIQ takes a deep dive into education technology from a global perspective and investigates the demand, trends, and opportunities.

Brothers sets the scene by pushing the audience to expand the definition of education technology as we currently see it – from traditional models to new ways of thinking about school.

“Education technology is new ways of finding knowledge, content, and access to resources as learners. It is about helping schools, universities and institutions be more efficient and reach their students and parents more effectively.

A lot of the technology is enabling and supporting the globalization of education today – whether that’s language learning or accessing education across different countries and different regions of the world.”

He shares that education is a $6T business but only $200B is invested in education technology.  And $10 billion is invested into ed tech startups and organizations.

“The three really big powerhouses are China, India, and the US, who are leading global investment around the world.”


Richard Culatta, CEO of International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) begins with stating the use of technology to close long standing equity gaps, personalize learning and empower students to use technology to design the learning themselves.

He speaks about the “positive” disruption that COVID-19 has brought to the ed tech industry.  “I hate that it took a pandemic for that to happen, but we are actually in a place that is very exciting because we have finally had the chance to overcome some of these basic infrastructure issues.”

Culatta highlights two areas that need solutions. First,  technology that supports authentic assessment. Second, tools that help teachers manage a more personalized learning experience.

He adds that the future of ed tech needs to blur the lines between education technology and learning science.

“It’s no longer okay to have a company that’s building ed tech if you don’t have somebody who is a learning science researcher, or somebody to advise on it.”


Our next panelist, Elliott Masie, Chairman of The Learning Consortium speaks of his experience in e-learning in the context of work.

“Don’t try to replicate school!”, he begins to state.

“The number one thing that we hear from employees is that they don’t care about going back to school. What they want is to get the skill to do today and tomorrow’s job. They want to figure out how to do something quickly and rapidly.” 

To get great learning experience, he iterates that we have to do more behavioral design. He adds that technology should not build addictive but design “exploratory, creative and collaborative behavior:.

Elliott also emphasizes the need for a shift  from selling to understanding the market. “It’s a great investment moment, but don’t think it’s about selling learning because a very large percentage of EdTech companies go bankrupt because they haven’t mapped their idea to really where the market is going to be.”  

He finishes his talk by saying, “We, together as individuals, schools, the government, communities and religions have to build an ecosystem and an ecology around learning.”


Kamran Elahian, Chairman and Founder of Global Innovation Catalyst,  who has vast experience in innovation and entrepreneurship, sheds light on how education and technology are rapidly changing in today’s time.

Elahian says “we are in a very interesting inflection point in evolution of our species that has a profound impact on the integration of technology as a leverage for education and the future of the world.”

He points out that broadband ushers the innovation economy. “Patents, IP, a lot of the knowledge, the way we value that has lost its value because the innovation economy is about disruption, implementation and execution.”

Elahian pinpoints that the future of education is different because it is all about algorithmic content now. ”Today there are gazillion pieces of knowledge and information available to us. You don’t need a teacher to come and teach you something, but instead a coach or a mentor who can help you find your way. “

He concludes by saying that in the innovation economy, it’s the youth that have the ability, the upper hand. “I say it’s good business, anybody who understands innovation economy, to invest in education and experiential learning of youth, especially women.”


Before concluding the panel, the three experts underscore the importance of “adding failure” in the learning process.

“We have incentivized the wrong skill. We’ve incentivized a one-shot, whereas the skill that you actually need to be successful in a highly-connected virtual world is the skill of trying again, and again, and again, with new and different collaborators until you get it right,” says Culatta.

Elahian adds that “technology allows  you to go and take a chance, try something new, be creative and make mistakes … in a safe place by simulation”.

Masie points out the need to create a home learning environment. He offers his piece of advice to parents, “let’s get rid of tiger moms and dads.”