The future of learning: Meet the edtech companies leading the way

The pandemic may have contributed to the meteoric rise of educational technology, but we’re still a long way from seeing its full potential. Can edtech companies rise to the challenge?

Education is not exactly what we would call a tech-driven industry. Despite the influx of new technology and devices making their way into classrooms each year – (permitted or not!) – plenty of teachers and parents remained skeptical about the role technology could play.

Enter 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a seismic shift in education, and all over the world, schools and universities were forced to move their classes online to keep students and faculty safe while making sure education didn’t grind to a halt. This has created an unprecedented demand for digital educational tools and software, accelerating the shift towards online learning and, as a result, triggering a massive growth of the edtech industry. What has it been like to navigate this wave? And what will happen now that everyone is getting back to their classrooms?

This week on Inside Intercom, you’ll hear from:

From schools adapting to remote learning to music apps sparking creativity, in today’s episode, we’ll hear from Intercom’s customers at the forefront of edtech about the latest trends and developments. Grab a pen and notebook, or a tablet and stylus, and join us as we take a peek into their world and what the future of education looks like.

If you’re short on time, here are a few quick takeaways:

  • Despite the normalization of online tutoring, many teachers still have their doubts, not to mention the challenges in the equity of devices and internet access.
  • Massive online open course platforms must create a supportive and simple environment to make sure users enjoy the experience and get actual value from the apps.
  • To provide amazing experiences for their users, learner-driven businesses need to find the right metrics and continuously seek out customer feedback.
  • In education, outcomes are everything. Many apps and companies gained notoriety during the pandemic, but only the tools that prove their efficacy are going to thrive.
  • Edtech is gaining a lot of attention for being able to mitigate the impact of the teacher shortage, which is driving a lot of adoption in schools.
  • Much like a CRM, a centralized system with student information can help teachers maximize their students’ learning and support them in achieving their goals.

Make sure you don’t miss any highlights by following Inside Intercom on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or grabbing the RSS feed in your player of choice. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the episode.

The education revolution

Liam Geraghty: Hello and welcome to Inside Intercom. I’m Liam Geraghty. One of the knock-on effects of the COVID pandemic was the acceleration of learning from home. Schools across the world had to suddenly figure out how best to teach their students, and it wasn’t just students in high school. Over the last few years, there’s been rapid growth in the edtech sector across the board. Today on the show, we’re taking a lesson in edtech with some of Intercom’s customers who have been at the forefront of this change to find out the challenges and successes they’ve experienced, not to mention the trends they’re seeing. Later in the show, we’ll be hearing from Liran Biderman, Head of Customer Experience at Simply, a company who are sparking creativity through its music learning apps.

Liran Biderman: I think that a lot of companies, especially in edtech, could benefit from saying, “Yes, we’re putting our customers at the forefront” and looking into what sort of substance can be placed behind that. How can we generate a lot of value for the customers and ensure they’re enjoying it every step of the way?

“We’re seeing it as an opportunity to rethink the way teaching gets delivered to students in schools”

Liam Geraghty: We’ll be talking to Kris Jagasia, co-founder and CEO of Off2Class, a tool for English-as-a-second-language-teachers.

Kris Jagasia: It’s really been over the last year, in every sector, not just in education. The staffing issues have really come to the forefront, at least for our clients. We’re seeing it as an opportunity to rethink the way teaching gets delivered to students in schools.

Liam Geraghty: And we’ll be chatting to Chris Hull, Chief Product Officer and Co-founder of Otus, a system that’s able to integrate student performance info into one place, about the future of edtech.

Chris Hull: I think we’re on the precipice of something that’s going to be really amazing.

Edtech goes global

Liam Geraghty: That is all coming up. But first, I mentioned the rapid growth in the edtech sector, and one company who’s experienced that is Outschool.

Tristram Hewitt: Outschool is a marketplace for live online classes for kids aged three to 18.

Liam Geraghty: That’s Tristram Hewitt, the head of Operations at Outschool.

Tristram Hewitt: Teachers can list classes about nearly any subject they’re qualified to teach, and then families and kids can enroll in those classes.

Liam Geraghty: There is a huge variety of classes on the platform. For example, you can learn about math while also learning about Pokémon.

“We’ve got kids from every continent taking classes together on Outschool”

Tristram Hewitt: What’s really cool about it is that teachers can choose what they want to teach, so they’re making classes that are interesting for them, and then families and kids can decide what they want to take.

Liam Geraghty: Homeschoolers are a major market for Outschool as well as kids taking after-school lessons for academic enrichment and support. And because it’s an online platform, kids from all around the world can enroll.

Tristram Hewitt: We’ve got kids from every continent taking classes together on Outschool. So, in addition to the benefit of the diversity of class types and content, you can get a truly international education from your home, which is, I think, very cool.

Liam Geraghty: Figures show that the edtech market grew by nearly 21% year-over-year in 2021. Outschool has seen that growth firsthand.

Tristram Hewitt: The pandemic drove a lot of change in edtech. That is absolutely true. For Outschool, it led to the dramatic growth of the marketplace. We grew over 15x in 2020 versus the prior year. From a booking standpoint, it’s great, but it also lets you bring on a lot more sellers. So, there’s a lot more liquidity and choice in the marketplace than there was before, which creates a much better product and experience for buyers today.

In addition, I think we saw a lot more adoption of edtech products by classroom teachers, partly because the pandemic forced people to use technology more. There’s a long list of products I think people had access to previously, but teachers weren’t forced to use them.

Liam Geraghty: Something Tristram has noticed is an increase in the importance of one-to-one learning.

Tristram Hewitt: Some of this is driven by catch-up from the pandemic and funding available from the government to catch up from the pandemic. You had the ESSA funds from the federal government funding a lot of tutoring initiatives. California has launched a free tutoring initiative. All of this is, I think, pushing the normalization of online tutoring, which I suspect is going to be here to stay and will even happen within the confines of schools. If a kid’s in school and needs tutoring, the tutor doesn’t necessarily have to go there to be physically present with you. And I think a lot of this will stay online and move more and more online over time.

“We’re a long way from the full potential of edtech being utilized”

Liam Geraghty: Tristram says there was a continuous rise in homeschooling prior to the pandemic, and the pandemic just accelerated that.

Tristram Hewitt: There may be some retraction of people who were homeschooling, but generally, it got a lot more people to consider homeschooling than previously. And a lot of them will stay. Along with that, you have more people working from home, which makes homeschooling more possible than it was when everybody had to go to the office. I think homeschooling is important for edtech partly because it’s a more consumer-driven model of education, and consumers are often going to adopt things at a faster rate than businesses do. That opens up the possibility for a faster pace of technological innovation.

Liam Geraghty: Tristam, from your vantage point, what trends are you seeing in the sector?

Tristram Hewitt: We’re a long way from the full potential of edtech being utilized. People have more devices and have become more proficient using technology, but there’s a huge variation amongst teachers in their desire to continue using devices and technology, and that will drive a lot of adoption of edtech. There are also ongoing challenges in the equity of devices and internet access. Public schools need to make sure whatever they’re putting up is accessible to all students. And again, we’ve made a lot of strides in device access and internet access, but it’s not completely there yet, which definitely restricts some of the usages of those tools.

“You can fill that gap in personnel by using more tools to educate kids. And I think that’s also going to be a driver of adoption and growth in edtech”

And we’re still early in figuring out how to keep kids safe online. There’s a British Age Appropriate Design Code. There’s the California Age Appropriate Design Code. So there are regulations there that are, I think, going to support more safe usage of the internet by kids. But one of the barriers, at least I, as a parent, see, is letting your kid use technology and the internet for education. You want to make sure it’s a safe place. At Outschool, we have invested a lot in making sure our platform is extremely safe for kids and families, but that’s not universally true in all the sites accessed by kids. Hopefully, as a society, we will move towards making all the sites the kids access a lot safer so that more families are comfortable sticking their kids in front of a computer and letting them use it for educational purposes.

The other thing that I expect will drive change is that, from the regulatory standpoint, you see an increase in charters and vouchers and ESSA funds, which puts more money in the hands of consumers who, I’d expect, are going to be more likely to adopt new technologies. You also see lots of rumors or discussions about the teacher shortage. If you have fewer teachers – fewer qualified teachers – in classrooms, we need to make up the gap. Technology is one way – you can fill that gap in personnel by using more tools to educate kids. And I think that’s also going to be a driver of adoption and growth in edtech.

Hitting all the right notes

Liam Geraghty: Next, we are getting our groove on with Simply, which have a suite of apps for learning musical instruments.

Liran Biderman: Simply is on a mission to bring life-enriching journeys to every household around the world.

Liam Geraghty: That’s Liran Biderman, head of Learner Experience at Simply.

Liran Biderman: We’re currently doing that through our music learning apps, Simply Piano, Simply Guitar, and Simply Sing. And quite soon, with some exciting new additions.

Liam Geraghty: Liran, who would be users of Simply?

“[Learners] need a supportive environment, which MOOC platforms did not always place enough emphasis on, in order to reach the checkered flag”

Liran Biderman: Learners who install Simply Piano, for example, and are launching themselves into this new journey could come from very different backgrounds. Sometimes, it would be people who are complete beginners like myself and are hesitant or worried. The very first day I joined Simply, I told my colleagues, “Okay, I’m going to go and try the app now because I need to know what our learners are experiencing,” especially the first experience. I found myself looking for the quietest room in the office. Fortunately, we have a recording studio, so soundproof doors and soundproofed everything so nobody can hear me. And within 30 or 40 minutes, I think I had an aha moment, as we call it. I realized I came into this without thinking that I could do this, hence the looking for a soundproof studio, but all of a sudden, I was able to read notes and play, albeit simple pieces, but I could play them. That was quite a shocker for me. And that’s when my wife and I started becoming addicted to the app.

Liam Geraghty: Liran agrees the edtech sector has experienced something of a renaissance throughout the pandemic, but he likes to look back even further into the sector’s journey.

Liran Biderman: I think that you can look at the birth of all sorts of MOOC platforms – the massive online open course platforms – which were envisioned as this big solution that even universities were fearful of at the time. And then, my personal prism of seeing this over the last few years was that those platforms experienced some hardships because they realized that, “Yes, the vision is really, really good and interesting.” It’s democratizing learning to an extent, but it’s also become very challenging to ensure learner success and make sure they reach the checkered flag. My personal opinion is that it goes to show that learners, as a whole, need the right framing to be able to prosper and succeed. They need a supportive environment, which MOOC platforms did not always place enough emphasis on, in order to reach the checkered flag.

“We’re working in sprints, which literally means that the experience our learners are having is changing every fortnight for the better”

At Simply, we’re constantly being mindful of that and testing out new methods to ensure that learners are feeling that they are getting the support and the proper value from the apps, that they are enjoying picking up new skills, and are not feeling that this is a daunting experience, but rather that someone took the inherent complexity of learning a new skill, broke it apart, and simplified the whole learning process. That’s key for them to be able to then spread the word to their friends, family, and what have you.

Liam Geraghty: You mentioned earlier about having the recording studio in Simply, and that got me thinking about your company culture. What effect does that culture have on your customer experience or the learner experience, as you call it?

Liran Biderman: Simply have a very unique company culture. It’s one that is able to catapult us to succeed in many different aspects that we’re focusing on. In the learner experience sphere, we’re taking that and mixing the core value we have at Simply of impact velocity. We’re taking that to make sure that we’re generating proper, tangible, added value for our learners in every sprint. We work in pods in Simply, which are multidisciplinary teams that are able to work very, very fast on achieving our goals. We’re working in sprints, which literally means that the experience our learners are having is changing every fortnight for the better. So, we’re able to ensure that the experience is unique, touches people where they need support, and makes sure they feel comforted, supported, and that they have the right enablement in order to succeed.

“At Simply, we test a lot of things. Nothing is taken for granted. We need to see actual merit in the crazy ideas we have”

As the Head of Learner Experience at Simply, I think that our learners are definitely our most valuable asset. That statement sounds like a cliche, but if I want to put it into practice, I also have to figure out, “Okay, what’s the right metric to keep me on my toes and ensure that we are delivering on that very, very big promise?” We’re taking a very different twist to the way we measure performance. Whereas customer experience teams would often measure CSAT – customer satisfaction – we’re focusing on the five out of five CSAT. We’re just focusing on the top score to ensure that we’re maximizing amazing experiences. We want to make sure we’re leaving every interaction with our learner experience team feeling like, “Okay, wow, I did not see that coming. This was a unique experience.” And we’re getting some great feedback in that regard.

Liam Geraghty: That is a real twist on CSAT.

Liran Biderman: At the beginning, when we started doing it, I was very curious about it. At Simply, we test a lot of things. Nothing is taken for granted. We need to see actual merit in the crazy ideas we have. And when we started implementing that, we sought to investigate, “Okay, is this generating proper value? Let’s get some feedback from our learners. What are they saying?” And we’re starting to see these remarkable bits of input from people saying they’re not used to someone talking to them in a friendly way, yet also very professional and informative and supportive. And we see how that has a very good impact on learner retention and success. We have a lot of supporting metrics that say that it’s not just a great idea for a CX team to focus on CSAT – it actually has a tangible impact on big company metrics. So, we’re very proud of what we’re doing.

Liam Geraghty: When you’re playing piano, do you have a favorite genre or song you enjoy playing?

Liran Biderman: Wow, you’re really taking me back. This is really interesting. When I started learning how to play the piano through Simply Piano, I realized I didn’t really know what I’m into. And I found it interesting that at the beginning, the app takes you to both classical music, so learning Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” and then also to pop music and other genres. Looking back, I was surprised that I enjoyed both of them. Those classical music bits, the sort of things where everybody knows the tune.

Liam Geraghty: Yes, the ones you don’t know the title or composer, but you instantly recognize the tune from a film or a TV show.

Liran Biderman: Exactly. And when I was able to play it, I was just so proud of myself. “Wow, I can actually produce that music.” And I literally remember calling my wife that day and telling her, “I just played this and that,” recording it, and coming home to my daughter, who’s six years old now, and playing Baby Shark to her.

Breaking language barriers

Liam Geraghty: Next we’re Off2Class, or rather, the company is called Off2Class.

Kris Jagasia: My name’s Kris Jagasia. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Off2Class, a tool for English-as a second language teachers. There are about 5.3 million students in K-12 schools in the US that don’t speak English as their native language. It’s 10% of all students, and it’s the fastest-growing student demographic. We’re used by school districts across the country to make sure these students don’t fall further behind than they already have.

Liam Geraghty: Kris, where did the story start?

Kris Jagasia: Well, I was actually on a career break, living in Istanbul with my co-founder, a long-time friend. He is a linguist and speaks five languages. He went to Sorbonne, which, in practical terms, means you end up being an English-as-a-second-language teacher. He was tutoring online when I was staying with him, and we realized that education content hadn’t been re-imagined for the video conference classroom. So, I started taking the lesson plans he’d created, we put them on a web tool, we put them out to a community of online ESL teachers, and it pretty much went from there.

“When I would tell people what I did at dinner parties or what have you, people were really surprised to hear that you could learn a language online”

We wanted to see if we could monetize early, so we went after teacherpreneurs, folks that were teaching online, and realized that teachers were really hungry for lesson content designed for online lessons. So, we got pulled into US school districts relatively organically. To this day, we’ve scaled quite well across the US, but we still have a big international pool of online tutors that use us to teach online.

Liam Geraghty: You guys founded the company in 2014. What did the landscape look like for edtech back then?

Kris Jagasia: When I would tell people what I did at dinner parties or what have you, people were really surprised to hear that you could learn a language online. They had never heard of it; they had never heard of Skype lessons. Fast-forward to now and it’s almost a given that education is digitized. It’s just a matter of what’s being digitized next and at what pace. What’s surprising is, despite all the hype around edtech that obviously blew up throughout the pandemic years, a huge portion of education from an institutional perspective is still not digitized. So, that old adage, “software is eating the world,” is still very much true for education.

Liam Geraghty: That’s interesting because I feel like, for a while, edtech was hailed as something that was going to come in and transform everything, and then we didn’t really hear about the sector for a while.

Kris Jagasia: Yeah, at the end of the day, education is an old industry and outcomes are important. Throughout the hype of the pandemic, a bunch of solutions jumped up that were just at the right place and right time. But at the end of the day, if the outcomes aren’t there, if you’re not driving savings for the teachers or outcomes for the students, it can go by the wayside. It’s the type of tool that can just fall off.

Liam Geraghty: What was the Off2Class’ experience throughout the pandemic?

Kris Jagasia: From the Off2Class perspective, we saw it very much in waves, similar to the pandemic itself. The first wave was utter chaos – teachers from school districts and all sorts of institutions all over the world were coming to our website and asking us, “Are you Zoom or are you this” with no categorization of where they were. They were just in a bit of a panic. We were able to catalyze that for some growth and double down on the work we’re doing in the United States with the English-language learner teams. Yeah, for us, it’s been successive waves, but we’re growing the fastest we ever have now that everybody’s back at school.

“Anything that can alleviate teacher shortages or staffing crunches is extremely attractive to our customers right now”

Liam Geraghty: Speaking of kids being back at school, there’s been a lot of talk about teacher shortages. Is that something you are seeing?

Kris Jagasia: The labor shortages plaguing almost every industry in Western countries are extremely acute when it comes to teachers in the US. There’s a lot of early retirement, a lot of soul-searching throughout the years, and a lot of teachers pivoting their careers and whatnot. So, the teacher shortages are extremely acute. When it comes to ESL, English-as-a-second-language instruction, there was already a skills shortage in the United States. Anything that can alleviate teacher shortages or staffing crunches is extremely attractive to our customers right now. When I was talking about how we started in 2014 with all of these online tutors that still use Off2Class to teach, we’re now able to provide those tutors to our district customers as an online solution. And that’s super attractive.

Liam Geraghty: Are teacher shortages a new challenge, or has that always been there?

Kris Jagasia: For me, the staffing issues are new. It’s really been over the last year, in every sector, not just in education, that the staffing issues have really come to the forefront. At least for our clients. Yeah, we’re seeing it as an opportunity to rethink the way teaching gets delivered to students in schools.

Liam Geraghty: It must be a really rewarding sector to work in and help shape.

“A lot of tools were there at the right place and at the right time, but I think that now, everybody’s going to be looking at efficacy”

Kris Jagasia: Absolutely. When you look at the US context, we’re particularly used with older students. Most of the school districts have tons of interventions for English-as-a-second-language students that are younger, K-6. The theory is that if you put a lot of resources into students when they’re young, they’ll no longer be English-language learners in a couple years. But the reality is there are also a lot of older students. And these older students might not care about their state-assessment scores. They might not care about getting a certain mark on their SAT and getting into a certain university. They need life skills and the ability to communicate clearly in English, and that is a major driver of their future outcomes. And so, when we think about older students in a K-12 environment that don’t speak English in an English-speaking country, it’s often that these students are at a juncture of inequity where, if they don’t pick up language skills quickly, their future outcomes are going to be seriously hampered.

Liam Geraghty: So it sounds like there’s still a lot of potential to be realized across the sector.

Kris Jagasia: Absolutely. What I suspect is that there’s going to be a period of strong focus on efficacy and outcomes because frankly, especially during the pandemic – and even before – a lot of tools were there at the right place and at the right time, but I think that now, everybody’s going to be looking at efficacy. If they’re really proving efficacy through certain practices, I think those tools and solutions are going to thrive in the next generation.

One system to rule them all

Chris Hull: My name’s Chris Hull. I’m the Chief Product Officer and Co-founder of Otus, a system that is able to integrate student performance information into one place, providing teachers, educators, and families a more comprehensive understanding of who a student is and where they need to maximize their learning.

Liam Geraghty: How did you come up with this idea, Chris?

Chris Hull: I was a 7th and 8th-grade social studies teacher for 11 years, but in year three, I kept using technology to help me do my job. I had replaced an absolute legend in our district, somebody who is an incredible teacher, and I couldn’t do the job as well as they could. So I kept turning to technology to help me out, and I was lucky enough with my 6th-grade social studies teacher counterpart to write a grant that brought one device to every student. This was all the way back in 2010. I thought giving every student a device was going to be the panacea to change everything. I thought my job was going to become easy. But what I quickly found was that no, giving a device to 7th and 8th graders, doesn’t make learning magical. Instead, what we really needed was this idea of how do we know who a student is?

“We need to be able to look at a student and know, ‘Where were they in their learning journey? Where are they today?'”

We were able to pinpoint a major pain point, which was the fact that educators have a lot going on in their lives, and they do not have a system that so many other industries have where they’re able to pull all this information from. What are they passionate about? How did they perform on certain skills or assessments? Pulling all this information together is something education hadn’t had. So, for example, if you’re a salesperson, you might have Salesforce, where multiple people can be tracking activities like “Who did I contact? Why did I contact them?” The sales leader has insight into what’s happening.

Intercom does the same thing for customer support. You’re able to see so much information about a user, and you’re able to better help them. What company are they with? How long have they been in the system? What are they trying to do? With this information, you can better troubleshoot or help them achieve their goals. And this is what education needs. We need to be able to look at a student and know, “Where were they in their learning journey? Where are they today?” And what attributes or information can be gathered into this profile that can unlock what they need to do next to maximize learning?

“If information is in 12 different places and I have 150 students, do I have time to do 150 times 12 clicks? No, I don’t have the time”

Liam Geraghty: Chris says that historically, edtech had been trying to provide solutions for single-point problems.

Chris Hull: I am struggling to do X. “Well, let me make a solution that can do X.” I want my students to be able to write a blog. “Oh, here’s a website or a technology tool that can help write a blog.” I want to be able to have students collaborate on something. “Well, maybe I have Google Docs.” Again, it was all these single points, single solutions, and what has happened in the last 10 years is that there’s been this understanding that we need something that can really bring things together. If information is in 12 different places and I have 150 students, do I have time to do 150 times 12 clicks? No, I don’t have the time.

Being able to streamline efficiency and effectiveness is really what’s changing. And we’re seeing that in the educational industry where, all of a sudden, you don’t just have one tool, you have multiple tools grouped together allowing you to achieve these goals. And again, that parallel is very much like what you are doing at Intercom. You don’t just need a chat tool – you also need support articles; you need to be able to translate; you need to see the metrics. You want to be able to roll all of these tools into a single place to make people more efficient in the goals they’re trying to achieve.

Liam Geraghty: What challenges have you faced along the journey?

Chris Hull: I think it’s really important that you’re honest about what you get right and what you get wrong. And one of the things I got very wrong was that, in 2010, I thought the road of educational systems in the United States was going one-to-one, one device to every student. I thought this was going to be a very straight-line journey. It was now possible that in 2010 or 2011, we would get iPads, and soon after, Chromebooks. And I thought the adoption rate was going to be this nice straight line. And we actually saw a plateau. We had districts that were “haves” or “have-nots” based on funding where we didn’t see that adoption rate. I thought that by 2020, one-to-one was going to be the reality for all districts. And if you would’ve asked me this in 2019, I would’ve been like, “I was wrong. It’s looking like it’s going to be 2025. It looks like it’s just going to be a slower adoption rate than I had expected.” Unfortunately, the pandemic hit, and one of the things that quickly became apparent was that we needed to get devices ASAP. And so, over the last two years, from 2020 to 2022, we’ve seen this massive adoption of one-to-one. And once you have a student with the device, it really opens up what is possible.

“How do we help every student grow and improve? Because after the pandemic, we’ve seen so many different gaps or differences between students”

Now, again, one of the things that can be dangerous, though, is if you have a blank canvas and over 15,000 districts in the United States. A blank canvas can be intimidating. Where do I start? It’s almost like I need a paint-by-number system so I can make a pretty picture. And that is where educational technology is catching up. That’s where, I think, Otus is uniquely positioned. We have the framework and the ability to help districts and their initiatives of, “I need to be able to assess students with common assessments.” That’s something we need to do to understand how kids are doing across the district. Standards-based grading’s a big deal right now. How do we help that? We have these pathways that give you the guidelines and frameworks of how to be successful.

The other guideline that we really do well is something that I think is essential after the pandemic, which is progress monitoring. Not just select students, but every student. How do we help every student grow and improve? Because after the pandemic, we’ve seen so many different gaps or differences between students. Some students might have missed a week or two in January 2022. Some might have missed time at a different point. Their gaps are so unique because of the circumstances of the last two years in education. We have to be able to look and understand, “How are our kids doing socially, emotionally, and academically?” We have to look at the kid but also groups of kids, and it’s putting a lot of strain on the educational industry for sure.

Liam Geraghty: What does the future look like for edtech?

“That learning is coming. Education, as an industry, is sometimes a couple of years behind, but I feel we have the technology going in place”

Chris Hull: I think we’re on the precipice of something that’s going to be really amazing. We are going into a place where the pandemic caused, just hold onto your seats, “What can we do to the best of our ability to help kids?” But as we’re leaving that space, we have a chance to really unlock a new mindset around differentiating learning and helping kids where they’re at. And again, educators are doing an incredible job. They’ve been thrown so many curve balls in this situation, but as we are getting back to this new world of education, I think that the technology out there is going to continue to grow in its ability to support educators. I think the ultimate goal is for educators to have these educational tools, this educational technology as their support system like they have their own assistant.

I always look at Google or some of these other companies – they give you this recommendation engine of “hey, I’m going to finish your sentence in an email,” and it just makes you a little bit more efficient. That learning is coming. Education, as an industry, is sometimes a couple of years behind, but I feel we have the technology going in place. Schools are understanding what they need to do, and they’re getting the footing that allows them to really grow. In the next three to five years, you’re going to see the ability to get a better understanding of learning and support educators so they can do more targeted teaching based on measurements of where kids are.

Liam Geraghty: That’s it for today. Thanks to Tristram Hewitt of Outschool, Liran Biderman of Simply, Kris Jagasia, of Off2Class, and Chris Hull of Otus, all Intercom customers. We’ll be back next week with more Inside Intercom.

Inside Intercom Podcast (horizontal) (1)