Silicon Valley Billionaires Are Excited About EdTech. Here's Why

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Entrepreneurs and tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google are increasingly turning their attention to education, lured by the possibility of an Airbnb-style disruption to the current system.

Leaders at these companies have poured millions into technologies they believe will revolutionize the way students learn. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Dr. Priscilla Chan, are championing personalized learning software that customizes education for each child. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings is applying the company’s algorithms, already so successful at predicting the most binge-worthy television shows, to math learning games.

There are many more examples. Some organizations predict that by 2020, as much as $252 billion will be invested in education technology, shorthanded as “EdTech.”

That rapid growth and intense interest from private companies raises several questions. Key among them: What can Silicon Valley-style innovation do for public education and at what cost? To learn more, UVA Today spoke with a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and two experts from UVA’s Curry School of Education.

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