Australia has more than 350 edtech companies servicing the entire education ecosystem.
In its most recent analysis of the industry, Frost & Sullivan found that the Australian edtech market is expected to grow to A$1.7 billion by 2022.13 The market is expected to grow significantly amidst increasing student demand for education services and technology innovation, competition amongst institutions and decreasing acquisition costs.13
Australia’s reputation in delivering high quality education has long been recognised domestically and in international markets. These same credentials have translated to our edtech industry as well.
Australia is the world’s third most popular destination for students.17 International education is Australia’s third largest export, valued at $A28 billion in 2016/17 and supports more than 130,000 Australian jobs.18 While there is strong forecast demand for ongoing delivery in Australia, the greatest emerging opportunities will be borderless and enabled by edtech. Research by Deloitte Access Economics forecasts one billion prospective learners across 29 markets by 2025.19
Corporate Australia is also active in edtech. PwC delivers a 21st Century Minds Program focussed on STEM initiatives while Navitas Ventures has launched the world’s first global edtech census that maps 5,000 companies over 50 countries.
Technology and Australian online education
Many Australian edtech solutions serve to support and improve the expanding provision of online learning.
The Australian online education industry has expanded rapidly in the past five years. Technological developments and increasing positive public perception of online courses have been vital to this growth. Education institutions have harnessed the greater reliability of internet connections and mobile technology to deliver to more students. The trend towards reskilling and lifelong learning is also expected to support growth in flexible methods of study, such as online education.20
There are more than 1,000 online education providers in Australia, generating approximately $A3.3 billion in revenue.20 Leading online providers in Australia include Ducere, Online Education Services, Open Colleges, Open Training and Education Network, and Open Universities Australia.
Australia’s National Broadband Network will help online education grow
The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), Australia’s open-access data network project, will aid online education growth in Australia by raising the number of internet connections and increasing the speed of data transfer across Australia. The NBN is also likely to stimulate software and program innovation as the online education market broadens.20
Australia’s commitment to innovation in education
Australia is leading the way with innovative, world-class solutions for the education sector. The commitment to delivering the best-of-the-best has never been greater.
Australia pioneered distance education programs such as School of the Air, Open Universities Australia and other correspondence programs which have delivered quality educational services to learners across Australia for decades
Deakin University was the first university in the world to partner with IBM’s ground-breaking machine learning and artificial intelligence program, Watson
In another world first, Deakin University is offering a suite of degree programs through a global massive open online course (MOOC) provider. While the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide and Curtin University are offering MicroMasters through a MOOC provider
Australia’s first MOOC provider, Open2Study, was launched by Open Universities Australia in 2013
Western Australia is leading the world in an international coding program for children. Worldwide there are just over 1000 dojos, or learning places, where children learn computer coding, and 95 of these are in Western Australia
The virtual reality simulator at UNSW called AVIE is a world first which casts 360-degree 3D images using a floor-to-ceiling screen and is available for student use and industry training
LaTrobe University launched a gamified app to guide students in learning capabilities such as innovation and big picture awareness, cultural intelligence, collaboration, and communicating and influencing
South Australian schools are using robots to assist teachers and improve curriculum in a world-first study
Queensland and Victoria have made coding and robotics compulsory in schools from prep to Year 10
My eQuals is a digital authenticated qualifications system used by universities in Australia to issue electronic transcripts and graduation documents. My eQuals is Australia’s response to the Groningen Declaration, which is an international initiative involving 56 universities and 20 private sector companies from around the world
University of Technology Sydney has created what it believes is the world’s first transdisciplinary faculty of innovation
Melbourne Polytechnic hosts the only academically integrated finance and innovation intelligence system. It is the first tertiary education institute to provide students and industry partners access to the world’s single largest global repository of innovation and analytics
DeakinDigital is offering a world-first system of independently verified, evidence-based employability credentials. Backed by Deakin University, the credentials provide recognition of an individual’s skills and capability learned through work and life, benchmarked against globally recognised standards
Fostering innovation in Australian universities
Around the country, universities are fostering innovation and commercialisation through over 110 in-house incubators and accelerator programs21, such as:
Academic foundations in Australian edtech
Many Australian edtech companies have used academic research findings to underpin the design and development of their edtech products.
The Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne is a world leader in teaching and educational research, ranked number one in Australia and number five globally. It provides extensive research and consulting services to international organisations including the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, the Asian Development Bank, the Education Endowment Fund (UK) and education ministries around the world.
Various research centres within the School including the Assessment Research Centre and the Centre for Program Evaluation have developed education software solutions, including:
- 21st Century Skills (C21): which uses collaborative problem solving tasks to facilitate individual social and cognitive growth for students aged 13 and over. The C21 assessment system was used in a pilot study of 800 students across grades five and nine in Colombia and Peru and is currently being used in Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United States.
- Teacher Exit Capability and Assessment Tool (TEXCAT): which uses a secure web-based platform to enable teacher accreditation authorities and educational institutions to assess the graduating teacher’s pedagogical knowledge and skills.
- Smart:tests (Specific Mathematics Assessments that Reveal Thinking): which provide online diagnostic mathematic tests for middle-school students and is being licensed to the Israel Bureau of Education.
Laureate Professor John Hattie is the Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute and an internationally renowned academic. His influential book Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement is believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into factors that improve student learning. Involving more than 80 million students from around the world and bringing together 50,000 smaller studies, the study found positive teacher-student interaction was the most important factor in effective teaching.
Australian education technology companies have developed edutech products that are informed, designed and developed based on the educational research of Professor Hattie, such as Pearson Australia Lightbook and Verso.
The former Chancellor of Monash University and Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Alan Finkel, founded educational software company Stile Education. Dr. Finkel also co-founded Cosmos Magazine, which operates a secondary schools science education program called Cosmos for Schools: a curriculum-complete collection of interactive, classroom-ready science lessons for Years 7 - 10. Every unit is based on a recent story from Cosmos Magazine, making them engaging and relevant to students. The lessons offered by Stile also bring in material from the CSIRO’s popular children’s science magazine Double Helix, and include interactive interviews with CSIRO scientists.