The Importance of Scalability in EdTech


Scalability isn’t just a feature in EdTech, it’s the key to its utility.

Technology has a tendency to integrate into education at all levels as soon as its integration becomes affordable and practical. This happens for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the lasting benefits of interactive software on the learning process. Other benefits of electronic-based coursework are real-time reporting on homework and the ability for software to provide instant feedback that acts as a sort of pseudo-one-on-one instruction. Artificial intelligence isn’t yet good enough to replace teachers entirely, but software can take care of the more menial parts of one-on-one instruction, leaving educators free to plan lessons, assess their students and focus more on the cognitive part of education that is so often accused of being overlooked at the expense of rote memorization.

It seems like in 2015, as we experience a digital renaissance, every classroom in the world wants part of a modern, faster way of learning. In response, some software publishers have forgotten what gives software its value in the first place. Amplify, the EdTech subsidiary of Newscorp, has just been sold to outside investors for an undisclosed sum in a fire sale that marks the end of Newscorp’s highly touted foray into digital education. The company also laid off 40% of its employees and announced the resignation of its CEO. Amplify’s business was pinned to the sale of specialized tablets, running its suite of EdTech software, to American K-12 schools. In such a model, the inherent scalability of the software doesn’t benefit the users in either a practical or financial sense. School boards are forced to buy a hardware unit for each enrolled student. While software inevitably does need hardware, making the tablet a proprietary item could well have turned educators off. Many schools are reluctant to junk devices they already have. Even the schools with better means are likely more inclined to purchase hardware that can be used with other applications, or reloaded in the event that better ed-ware comes around, because it likely will. As students increasingly learn on their own devices, specialization of hardware becomes less appealing.
Scalability is more of a necessity than an advantage today. All of Lingo’s ELL Technologies’ programs are built to be scalable across of different types of web-enabled hardware, enabling their use in classrooms across the globe. That’s a given for a platform that has to run in the diversity of environments necessary for English language learning software. ELL Technologies also builds scalability into the user experience design, allowing for the programs’ adaptation across skill levels, cultures and native languages. The suite of products is able to service students learning English as part of public or private early education, as well as adults learning English for professional reasons. The scaffolding that the technology is built on allow us to custom tailor the unit to the immense variety inherent in a market that is potentially as large as the non-English-speaking world.

ELL Technologies has also used scalability principals in the creation of its content engine. Our lessons are constantly evolving through user feedback, allowing them to remain relevant in an era where rapid evolution is necessary to gain market share in a crowded arena. As usership increases, so does the system’s ability to produce feedback-generated content. Lingo Media and its ELL Technologies subsidiary are in the business of ‘Changing the Way the World Learns English’. As we achieve this, we pay special attention to maintaining the scalability of our products. Scalability allows us to continue to provide relevant and useful products to our customers as we stay ahead of a rapidly expanding and sharpening product arena.