Edtech Feasibility and Cluster Study
The Highlander Institute is a nonprofit organization focused on researching, developing, and disseminating innovative educational methods to improve outcomes for all learners. Highlander Institute focuses on methods, models, and outreach efforts that create student-centered, personalized learning environments, improving teaching and learning across the region.
The Highlander Institute and their partners in the Rhode Island education innovation cluster, EduvateRI, are a national model of how organizations can assist educators and schools in using blended learning techniques to support personalized learning. Given the growth of the edtech sector globally, the state economic development agency, Commerce RI, wondered if there was an opportunity to grow and attract edtech companies based on this strength. Therefore, Commerce RI awarded the Highlander Institute a grant to study the feasibility of leveraging their success to develop an edtech sector.
To explore the feasibility of growing RI's edtech sector and provide EduvateRI with a strategy for doing so, Fourth Economy Consulting interviewed 30 local and national stakeholders (including edtech companies), researched other edtech strategies and education innovation cluster efforts, and conducted research to determine the size of the market opportunity. We worked closely with the state’s edtech stakeholders to develop realistic strategies that build on their existing strengths. While the initial assumption was that the state could attract edtech companies, the study concluded that the state would be more successful in supporting the creation and growth of companies already based in Rhode Island.
Our team developed 18 strategies, each with detailed information on how to implement them, that EduvateRI and their partners could undertake to grow the edtech economy in Rhode Island. To our knowledge, this was the first edtech economic development cluster study done in the U.S.