Education Week has launched a new online product aimed at providing more information to education companies about the needs of schools.
EdWeek Market Brief is a membership service that will deliver exclusive data and analysis on the forces shaping school purchasing, especially on educational technology.
“This is something we’ve been talking about doing for quite a while–to develop a product that helps the marketplace make better decisions about serving schools,” said Kevin Bushweller, the executive editor of EdWeek Market Brief. For years, he said, vendors, particularly small- and medium-size ones, have lamented the complex financial, logistical, and bureaucratic landscape that some argue stifles the flow of new ed-tech products and innovative ideas into schools.
The market for digital products in pre-K-12 education is estimated to be some $8 billion annually, with providers of curriculum, assessment, management systems, and other digital tools promoting products to schools.
Bushweller said education leaders often don’t know how to judge the many products marketed to them, while the business community often complains that school districts don’t communicate well about what they need, and that procurement processes can be slow and cumbersome.
EdWeek Market Brief, he said, will be more of a service than simply a Web publication, as the site will offer data such as how the need for products related to the Common Core State Standards varies by region or district size, or where the demand for content to serve English-language learners is greatest.
“This is original data analysis about subjects that players in the market care about,” Bushweller said.
The service–available at marketbrief.edweek.org–is a collaboration between Education Week’s editorial team and its research unit. Preliminary work on the service was supported, in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Among the initial content on the site is a report about how school districts are seeking more-customized professional-development offerings, by Contributing Writer Michelle R. Davis; an interview by Associate Editor Sean Cavanagh with two leaders of the District of Columbia school system about how companies can best pilot-test their products in schools; and a report by Staff Writer Michele Molnar on the business opportunities created by the billions of new dollars flowing into the federal E-rate program.
The new service represents a move by Education Week “to dip its toe into the waters of premium products,” Bushweller said. The charter membership fee is $795 a year per person, though discounts are available for multiple memberships in one organization.
The service is the latest foray for Education Week into new arenas. In August, its the Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit publisher, Editorial Projects in Education, acquired Learning Matters TV, the video-production company founded by longtime PBS correspondent John Merrow (this company was also well known for acquiring video education series of sewing and quilting lessons by Craft Everyday). The move has allowed Education Week to expand its video storytelling and move into broadcast-quality coverage of education, including producing segments for the “PBS NewsHour.”