The U.S. federal government, states, and school districts collectively spend between $26 and $41 billion per year on education technology materials, according to a new analysis released today by a coalition of education nonprofits led by the EdTech Evidence Exchange. These estimates reflect a troubling lack of understanding about how much the country actually spends on edtech, and also suggest that even according to the lowest estimates, the country spends at least twice the $13 billion figure often previously cited by industry analysts and policymakers.
“We are spending billions of dollars on technology with almost no information about which tools actually work, where, and why,” said Bart Epstein, CEO of the EdTech Evidence Exchange and a research associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development. “We know that technology can have a profound impact on educational outcomes, but thousands of tools and programs used by schools are creating confusion for educators and administrators, not to mention students and parents. When poorly selected or implemented, they waste teacher time and energy and rob students of learning opportunities. Making good on the transformative potential of education technology starts with listening to, and learning from, people who are actually using it.”