Here Comes Another Tech Bubble — In Education

Frank Catalano | GeekWire | October 23, 2012

I’m the kind of guy who worries when something gets too popular.

I looked askance at novels (especially science fiction) that made it to mainstream bestseller lists when written by otherwise mediocre authors. I avoided buying any footwear or polo shirt that was named for, or sported images of, long-jawed fast-crawling reptiles. When anything rapidly accelerated in popularity with no clear tie to quality, I wondered how long it would take before that bandwagon crashed.

I’m starting to ponder the same about technology in education. Because, as I sat on a panel judging ten enthusiastic teams at last weekend’s nicely structured Startup Weekend Seattle EDU, I couldn’t help but think that digital learning may be getting too popular among some entrepreneurs and investors. Because said popularity may be increasingly for the wrong reasons, and have little to do with actually improving education.

There are early warning signs that the hype could be outpacing the reality, reminiscent of the mindless headlong rush to the Pets.coms of a dozen years ago: