Technical Note | HBS Case Collection | March 2014 (Revised August 2015)

Technology Innovations in K-12 Education

by John J-H Kim, Roniesha Copeland and Christine S. An


This background note on technology innovations in education offers a market overview of the edtech sector and discusses trends, common challenges, and criticisms encountered in exploring edtech ventures. The note introduces the promise of educational technology as it directly affects classroom instruction and discusses the common growth drivers (e.g., school accountability, 21st century skills, and advanced technological innovations) and theories of change (e.g., personalization, access, and productivity) for edtech products and services. Furthermore, the note defines the conditions necessary for the success of innovations in educational technology in the classroom including adequate teacher training, funding, and technology infrastructure. The note also highlights several challenges, risks, and criticisms common to the edtech sector, such as the evolving role of teachers, issues of student privacy and data security, implementation challenges, and the limits of education technology's impact in the classroom.


Kim, John J-H, Roniesha Copeland, and Christine S. An. "Technology Innovations in K-12 Education." Harvard Business School Technical Note 314-123, March 2014. (Revised August 2015.)