Inspiring a culture of evidence-based practices throughout the edtech community.
GUEST COLUMN | by Natalia I. Kucirkova
We’re at a pivotal moment in the world of edtech, and it’s all about evidence. Whether you’re dealing with fresh-faced startups or seasoned educational giants, edtechs now undergo scientific scrutiny to prove their worth in the realm of learning. Evidence-based edtechs embrace this shift by committing to ongoing research and making impact measurements a core part of their operational DNA.
Since the end of the pandemic, there has been a global push to build robust research and development foundations within educational institutions. This aligns perfectly with the larger mission of scaling up evidence-based edtech solutions. These solutions aren’t just thrown out into the wild; they undergo rigorous testing, continuous refinement, and thorough evaluation within real school environments.
‘These solutions aren’t just thrown out into the wild; they undergo rigorous testing, continuous refinement, and thorough evaluation within real school environments.’
Evidence-building is all about making sure these edtech products genuinely meet the needs of students and educators. It follows that an edtech evidence mindset is something that should be nurtured throughout the edtech ecosystem, especially as we navigate the complex landscape of implementing effective practices in schools worldwide. Imagine if all edtech companies provided a clear window into their research-backed methodologies! It would undoubtedly elevate the quality and trustworthiness of edtech across the board.
Here is a list of the top ten edtech companies that prioritize evidence-driven approaches right from the outset. Some are seasoned platforms that have over the years, collated various studies conducted directly with their products. Some are startups that may not have had the time to conduct extensive experiments to showcase specific effects of their technology yet, as they’re in the dynamic phase of continuous development. However, what sets them apart is their proactive approach to leveraging third-party research, technical reports, and databases to guide their work.
These forward-thinking companies are setting the stage for a future where evidence-based practices are the norm across the edtech landscape.
In no particular order, they are:
This Norwegian platform gamifies learning through multiple-choice quizzes, referred to as “kahoots,” designed to enhance the learning experience.
U.S.-based; provides news articles, designed to captivate students, support personalized learning, and adhere to state educational standards.
Originally from Denmark, Labster is an e-learning company that offers virtual laboratory simulations to universities and high schools.
Amira’s intelligent reading assistant, actively listens to students, evaluates proficiency, provides tailored tutoring and features a dyslexia screener. (U.S.)
UK-based platform with two school-oriented platforms Sparx Maths, and HegartyMaths, and Numerise for home, to accelerate student progress and attainment in maths.
This teacher-led start-up from the U.S., through one-to-one tutoring, helps children learn to read and reports learning and diversity outcomes on its impact page:
AI-based reading coach that listens to children read from physical (print) books and provides feedback to teach and motivate children to read. The team comprises scientists and researchers:
Sweden-originated AI reading assessment that employs both eye-tracking and advanced machine learning technology to provide fresh insights into the reading process:
The Hong-Kong-based platform works closely with the University to support Chinese learning and gamified, personalized learning through AI and no-code interface for crafting interactive, multi-platform lessons.
Merlyn Mind supports teaching and learning through AI by automating teacher workflows, generating curriculum-aligned content, and engaging students, all driven by open science.
This list is by no means exhaustive. It is not intended as a ranking but rather as a source of inspiration for fellow edtech companies. It serves as a testament to the diverse approaches that companies, both established and emerging, are taking to pursue research in their educational technology endeavors. The aim is to encourage a culture of evidence-based practices throughout the edtech community, fostering innovation and excellence in the field. Does your edtech company work closely with researchers and scientists?
Natalia Kucirkova is Professor of Early Childhood Education and Development at the University of Stavanger, Norway and Professor of Reading and Children’s Development at The Open University, UK. She is the founder of the university spin-out Wikit, AS, which integrates science with the children’s edtech industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn.