Nowadays, crowdfunding is one of the more popular ways to raise money. A community of backers or ‘the crowd’ contribute small amounts to help fund the development of an idea or project. According to CrowdfundCampus, crowdfunding equity surpassed that of venture capital funding for the first time in 2016. By 2025 global investment from crowdfunding is expected to reach $93 billion.

To say that crowdfunding is growing would be an understatement, and particular niches are expected to benefit the most. One such niche is education.

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Educational platforms, in particular edtech, are seeing ideas come to life as a result of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the most popular, and boast the greatest number of available backers. The success of projects on these platforms is testament to not only the capabilities of crowdfunding, but also how it will continue to reshape the US edtech landscape. The benefits associated with crowdfunding in edtech include the following:

1. New Learning Methods

Crowdfunding is providing opportunities for new learning methods. Previously, students were confined to learning in the classroom or reading a textbook. Nowadays there are so many online learning courses available from places like Khan Academy or Coursera. These platforms provide a good theoretical foundation for beginner students.

Crowdfunding, however, is providing other options, such as LiveEdu to introduce new learning methods. LiveEdu is a live and video tutorial learning platform where content creators teach learners how to build real products. Their crowdfunding campaign is focused on adding more premium project tutorials to their catalogue. Watching an expert build something using technology is a great way for students to get proper hands-on experience in STEM fields in particular.

(Next page: 2 more ways crowdfunding is changing the edtech landscape)

2. Bringing New Ideas to Life

If it wasn’t for crowdfunding, many innovative projects would never see the light of day. For visionary entrepreneurs and educators in the edtech industry, crowdfunding eliminates the need to pitch their ideas to high-profile investors who are more likely to reject the idea because of its novelty.

Instead, a community of persons who believe in the idea can be utilized in order to get the necessary funding required. For example, Orboot, is an educational augmented reality globe. By using a smartphone or a tablet, children can take a trip around the world and learn about different countries and cultures. From animals to monuments, climate and inventions, children get to see what makes every country around the world special. It is an interactive history lesson which wouldn’t be possible without crowdfunding.

The Electronic Education Kit or EEK was funded on Kickstarter to provide a nice introduction to electronic circuit building. The kit is designed to prepare young technologists for micro-controller based circuits that can run robotic systems. The campaign creator wanted to teach his son about electronics, and the interest of his son’s friends inspired him to create the kit. By turning to the crowd, he was able to develop the kit and provide backers who pledged a certain amount with kits of their own.

3. Bridging the Skills Gap

The possibilities available through the use of technology are endless. It is for that reason that learning to code has become such a hot topic in the education space. Initiatives like ‘An Hour of Code for Every Student’ or ‘Hello Ruby’ are providing young students with the career skills they will need to succeed later on in life.

The media coverage and backing by notable companies such as Google, Microsoft and others for the Hour of Code campaign in particular, show just how important these skills will continue to be in the future. Education has been suffering from a lack of funding in the US, meaning that it is difficult to explore new avenues for learning or provide necessary skills to all students. Crowdfunding helps to bridge this gap in areas which will be heavily impacted in the future.

The edtech industry will continue to evolve as educators and entrepreneurs seek out new ways to make the learning process easier and more fun. Crowdfunding provides the means to do so much for the edtech community. The availability of new ways to learn with platforms such as LiveEdu; the new ideas brought to life such as Orboot, EEK and others; and the projects which seek to help bridge the skills gap in certain fields in the US; crowdfunding is already playing a huge part in the edtech landscape.

About the Author:

Andres is a freelance writer who covers topics related to education technology and innovations in the technology industry.