January 28, 2021

Tech spending predictions for America’s schools in 2021, amid enrollment losses

Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

EdTech spending is expected to increase by $2.4 billion in 2021, up from $35.8 billion to $38.2 billion. U.S. K12 school spend on hardware and major software systems is expected to increase by $400 million or more. Many schools still had not been able to obtain the computing devices they needed in 2020 due to shortages, and other schools will be doing some replacements or purchasing for additional grades as needed.

Digital Curriculum spending is expected to increase by $2 billion, up in 2021 after an already mighty jump in 2020. Since so many schools distributed devices in 2020 with very little digital curriculum software investment so far, the majority of digital curriculum companies have reported stellar sales years in 2020 and are also predicting more investment in 2021. A major driver is the need for programs that provide for autonomous learning modes so that all teaching is not via video conferencing. Complaints by parents about “too much Zoom time” have flooded schools since the start of the pandemic and remote learning.

Some schools and districts are planning to sunset many of their Chromebooks for upper grades in favor of more powerful laptops so that students can run higher value programs for graphic design, coding, and more. Districts surveyed are considering purchasing the following:

  • 33.5 percent considering eSports software and hardware
  • 33 percent considering live tutoring systems/platforms
  • 32 percent considering workflow systems (primarily managed document workflow)
  • 31 percent considering social-emotional systems

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