Quebec has more than 110 industry organizations edtech : 72% of them work on designing digital solutions and creating content. “These digital entrepreneurs are here to make a positive impact in the education community. They know the Quebec school system well and want to contribute to student success,” said Shawn Young, president of the Edteq Association (Companies for the Development of Educational Technologies in Quebec).
The Edteq* Association has published a study on the education technology sector in Quebec. Produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of Quebec, it offers a complete picture of this growing economic sector, with its strengths and its challenges. It also provides an overview of global trends.
Unsurprisingly, the survey shows that most educational technology companies are located in Quebec and Montreal. The sector consists of a large number of small organisations: more than three quarters have fewer than 20 employees. More than two-thirds have customers outside of Quebec; some even realize the largest part of their turnover there.
In terms of exports, the rest of Canada is the largest customer base of Quebec organizations with 80% of all sales outside of Quebec, followed by Europe with 58% and the United States with 44%.
In-depth knowledge of Quebec’s school system
Companies in the sector edtech d’ici prides itself on having a detailed knowledge of the education system, presenting quality resources in French and adapted to the program and the cultural context of Quebec.
Several of their founders are themselves actors in education looking for technological solutions that can contribute to student success (school motivation, screening of students at risk, etc.) or make teachers’ lives easier (communication with parents, educational differentiation, etc. .) .
They can also count on the technological know-how present in Quebec, especially in the fields of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and large-scale data analysis. The growing need for educational technologies, which has increased tenfold with the pandemic, is also giving them an impetus for growth.
Supply and visibility issues
Nevertheless, these companies face several challenges, starting with the conservatism of some players in the school system who still pit traditional resources against digital ones. In addition, there remains a lack of knowledge of digital solutions among educators.
“Quebec’s market is very complicated: the lack of visibility of companies edtech and resistance from educational institutions are the main obstacles to the growth of the sector, although the recent pandemic is beginning to change perceptions and behavior,” the study reads.
The existing procurement processes are another problem as the people responsible for procurement in the school system are not the end users. “Access to decision makers and procurement processes remain complex, limiting the growth and innovation of Quebec players. †
Big challenge for Edtech: the existing purchasing processes are another challenge, while the purchasing managers in the school system are not the end users.
Finally, as in several other technology sectors, the American giants quickly gained a large market share at the expense of local companies. Due to their small size, they generally lack the necessary resources to respond to government tenders, which operate in a very traditional way.
The company Aviseo, which conducted the research, also made a portrait of the sector edtech internationally to identify good practices and winning conditions.
It seems that around the world the strongest markets are those that can count on access to test panels within the local education system, government support and venture capital. These markets can usually rely on the presence of incubators or accelerators. The cities of New York, San Francisco and Beijing distinguish themselves in this worldwide.
The Scandinavian countries, where companies edtech doing a lot of co-development and experimentation directly in schools also represents an inspiring model, according to the study authors.
In addition, the education technology sector is growing. Even though it represents only 3% of total spending on education, it should grow rapidly over the next five years. “The North American market for edtech must continue to grow, driven by the adoption of mobile digital devices and by the collective awareness of the benefits of integrating educational technologies into the school system,” the study states.
The Edteq Association is now formulating recommendations to contribute more actively to the digital transition of the education sector in Quebec. She proposes to adopt edtech in schools by organizing promotional events and training in schools or by allocating specific budgets directly to teachers for the purchase of educational technologies.
It proposes to structure the ecosystem by establishing an accelerator of education technology organizations, by strengthening the links between centers of expertise in artificial intelligence and organizations edtech or by creating a co-creation platform with school service centers and test panels.
Finally, to promote educational technologies as effective solutions for addressing specific problems, the Edteq Association brings the idea of creating working groups for boys’ academic success and for finding solutions to the learning difficulties exacerbated by the pandemic.
To view the full study.
Read (re)read the Edteq Association press release
*L’École branchée is a member of the Edteq Association.