Edtech Top 40 reveals increase in unique digital tool use

Key points:

On average, K-12 school districts access 2,739 edtech tools over the entire school year, according to Edtech Top 40, a report on the usage of digital solutions, tools, and resources in K-12 districts, schools and classrooms during the 2023-24 school year.

K-12 institutions are accessing 8 percent more tools aggregated annually from the prior academic year, with an increase in unique edtech tools accessed individually by both students and teachers.

The report, highlighting the top 40 education technology products, is published by LearnPlatform by Instructure and provides insights on trends, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)-aligned evidence, and categorical rankings relevant to K-12 decision-makers as well as edtech product leaders. 

“The evidence is clear: tech-enabled learning is here to stay,” said Melissa Loble, Chief Academic Officer at Instructure. “As districts continue to explore different tools to enhance learning, the obstacles they now face aren’t just about picking the best tool, but picking safe, effective and interoperable tools that work together to build a highly effective learning ecosystem. Districts need trusted guidance and transparent information to empower them to make efficient and effective decisions that will improve teaching and learning.”

“The increase in tools used isn’t a surprise,” said Shiren Vijiasingam, Chief Product Officer at Instructure. “On the one hand, we know districts are actively looking for opportunities to consolidate their edtech, but with the explosion of new AI-enabled tools, there has been a lot of experimentation. We expect scrutiny on how these tools are helping the teaching and learning process.” 

The report also offers action items for K-12 leaders and edtech leaders.

For K-12 leaders: Understand which of your most used tools integrate with your LMS to architect a more centralized ecosystem; consider the best user experience for your teachers’ and learners’ unique needs; and prioritize LMS integration when making edtech purchasing and implementation decisions.

For edtech leaders: Identify where your users are and prioritize LMS integrations that will enhance their edtech ecosystems and help to expand your customer base; prioritize and invest in outstanding user experiences when developing LMS integrations; and ensure the highest standards of data privacy and security for your users by upgrading existing LTi integrations.

As with previous years, the top 40 tools continue to remain consistent, with only a handful of new products joining the list. The five new entrants to the EdTech Top 40 this academic year include PBS, Panorama Education, Scratch, Adobe, and Grammarly; the latter three indicating the quickly increasing prevalence of AI in schools and drawing attention to the need for best practices to guide its use.

Educators are using technology to boost student engagement, personalize learning, and save time, but how do they know what’s making a difference? The report found that 32 percent of the tools on the 2024 Edtech Top 40 have published research that meets one of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) four tiers of evidence. The ESSA framework offers an accessible model for educators to identify research-backed edtech, ranging from innovative new solutions to established tools with empirical validation. School districts are increasingly seeking ESSA-aligned research as part of their vetting processes to make evidence-based decisions.

“Year after year, the EdTech Top 40 has provided comprehensive data of K-12 education technology engagement across our nation’s districts,” Loble concludes. “Data-driven decision-making is more important than ever when assessing the role of technology in our schools. This is why the EdTech Top 40 remains more relevant than ever.”

Consistent with previous years, this report analyzed products performing specific functions to provide a deeper look at the top education technology tools within key categories. This year’s categories include Learning Management Systems (LMS), Supplemental Platforms, Courseware Platforms, Study Tools, Classroom Response & Assessment Tools, and Sites and Resources.

Laura Ascione
Latest posts by Laura Ascione (see all)

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