Technology has the potential to be a game changer for teachers in far-flung places and schools with few resources. A range of software platforms offer teachers the ability to learn from best practices, customize lesson plans, manage assignments and complete evaluations. Millions of students and teachers at all levels are already using educational software, and technology is only going to play a larger and larger role in the classroom.
Learning management systems, as they're called, are already a $5.2 billion industry, and they are projected to grow to $16 billion in four years, according to a Markets and Markets study. It's not just schools using this technology. Increasing adoption of digital learning among corporate organizations and academic institutes will contribute to the growth, as well as the rise of technologies such as gamification and virtual reality.
Among the leaders in the space is D2L. Its Brightspace software platform incorporates big data to help teachers manage their teaching as well as messaging and grading. It's used by more than 700 clients and 8 million students, including about half of K–12 and higher-education institutions in Canada.
Blackboard, which was bought by Providence Equity Partners in 2011, sells its teaching and analytics software platform to more than 16,000 clients, not just schools but also governments and businesses, reaching 100 million users worldwide. Blackboard helps teachers bring their classrooms online and helps provide students with customized programs.