I’m excited to share a tool that my colleagues and I have been working on for the past few years: a market map of what we’re calling Edtech that Connects. We’ve captured a wide range of edtech tools that are bringing new relationships within reach for students. The tool lives—and will be regularly updated—at whoyouknow.org.

When I first joined the Christensen Institute over five years ago we were knee-deep in studying the fast-growing market of tools designed to support blended learning environments. Many consisted of adaptive learning content tools that could support students at different levels in a manner that traditional textbook and lecture-style teaching struggles to do. At the same time, cloud-based productivity tools to help schools organize their staff and streamline their data collection processes were becoming more and more mainstream.

But I had a lurking suspicion that something was missing from that booming edtech market. Beyond our education systems, communications technologies have advanced in ways that radically improved our ability to connect across time and space. Why weren’t there more edtech tools designed to connect students—to new people, supports, and opportunities?

I went on the hunt for tools that did just that. We began interviewing entrepreneurs who were building tools for schools premised not just on content delivery and assessment but on using technology to forge new connections in students’ lives. Some of these tools were facilitating brief, one-off online connections with industry experts who could share their career trajectories with students. Others were brokering new, enduring mentoring relationships to support students into or through college.

Fast forward to today. Our free, searchable market map features all the tools we’ve come across (so far!) over the years and the types of relationships they are bringing within reach for students.


The map is surely not a complete picture of tools that connect students. But as it’s grown over the years, our list of tools offers insights into how schools are starting to use technology in new ways beyond curriculum, assessment, and productivity.

About the Author:

Julia Freeland Fisher is the director of education research at the Christensen Institute.


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