I’ve always been passionate about technology and education and finally last year I put the two together. Here is why.
Last year I travelled to Israel to study their tech industry and see what lessons we could apply to Australia. They have worked very hard for more than 30 years and part of their success is focusing on 3 technology categories: security, health and agriculture. I wondered what Australia’s top 3 are and when I got back I rang up all the overseas investors and asked them. Their answer boiled down to.
1. Business software.
3. There is no third thing.
Seeing the opportunity to fill that void, I thought why not finally combine my big passion – education. I’ve worked in community based education projects since I was 20 back on the Central Coast and in 2004 spent time in Tanzania on a micro-finance program focused on adult education.
So I looked into it and Australia has had some great Education successes;
And some good up and coming companies;
- Smart Sparrow
- Class Cover
- Momentum Cloud
- Open Learning
- Chatty Kidz
- Phonics Hero
Wow, I was blown away. Plus I found out that education is Australia’s largest service export and our 3rd largest export overall – huge.
That gave me enough foundation to give this a lean push.
So here is what happened;
- I searched and found the SydEduTech meet up group.
- RSVP’d to next event
- Emailed Atul, the organiser.
- Atul said that the next event was cancelled as the speaker pulled out.
- I said that I’ll be the speaker.
- Atul asked me what the topic would be.
- I said “How do we make Sydney the world leader in EduTech by 2020?”
- Atul said “Can we meet first please?”
- So we met, had coffee, and I outlined my recently made up vision to make Sydney a world leader in ed tech.
- Atul was keen.
- We held the event on Sept 3, 2013 and had about 20 people turn up.
- I ran it as a workshop and took ideas on how we take Sydney Ed Tech up a number of notches.
- There was a guy at the back who looked a bit like the professor from Back to the Future. He kept answering questions and had great ideas. He turned out to be Terry Hilsberg, successful ed tech entrepreneur and investor.
- Terry put together a great 8 page plan and presented it to Atul, Aidan (the other SydEdTech organiser) and myself. It was fantastic. We started work.
- Optus got behind it and sponsored an ed tech pitch event and the winners pitched at EdSpark and the winner of that went to Echelon (Big thanks Alfred, Peter and the team at Optus!).
Lots more activity is happening with a big one being a Startup Weekend focused on Education. It’s looking huge with a great group of people coming along.
If you’re a designer, developer, educator, sales, marketing or just interested in ed tech, please come along.
The Crazy Pledge
Please join up to SydEdTech if you love this space as I’ve pledged to eat an entire cake when we get to 600 members.