Unicorns and zebras: Understanding edtech startups as new actors in the field of digital education
This project investigates recent developments in the edtech startup sector. It conducted a team ethnography in a trade fair focused on edtech startups. What makes the edtech startup sector distinguishable from the general edtech sector, and how does it extract value from the educational sector? The study analyses the discursive construction of value through stories, rhetorical constructs, and sociomaterial artefacts. Results showcase different areas of value creation. First, we discern a very localized ‘geography of tech production’. Second, venture capital is made central in the education sector, by projecting future value into the present. Third, ‘meta-organizations’ create value by adopting intermediary positions. Fourth, the fair itself creates expert knowledge for startups.

Mathias Decuypere is Associate Professor at the Methodology of Educational Sciences Research Group (KU Leuven, Belgium). His main interests involve the digitization, datafication and platformization of education; and how these evolutions shape distinct forms of educational spaces and times.

Join online: us02web.zoom.us/j/81262662572?pwd=czNPa1VZRTBmRHdHZGRScFJ0RjdZQT09
Date: 10 November 2023, 12:00 (Friday, 5th week, Michaelmas 2023)
Venue: Online
Speaker: Mathias Decuypere (KU Leuven)
Organising department: Department of Education
Organisers: Dr Lulu Shi (Oxford Internet Institute and Department of Education Oxford), Dr Rebecca Eynon (Department of Education, University of Oxford)
Part of: Critical Digital Education Research Seminars
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editor: Hannah Freeman