News Roundup – 3/15

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Our weekly roundup of education technology, workforce technology, and venture capital news stories.

In a first, U.S. students will take the SAT entirely online (no pencils required) – The SAT, a college-entry tradition that has been done with paper and pencil since its inception, has officially transitioned to an all-digital format, with students in the U.S. now taking the test on their own devices or school devices. The revamped digital SAT is now one hour shorter than its physical iteration and incorporates digital tools like highlighters and graphing calculators in an attempt to discourage cheating and make grading more efficient. Despite a recent trend of some institutions no longer requiring SAT or ACT scores for college admissions, the tests are still useful and with this shift to digital, show an attempt to stay relevant in modern times.

Employees need AI skills — but what does that training look like? – According to a report from PeopleScout and Spotted Zebra, thanks to the AI revolution, approximately 90% of HR leaders anticipate that up to half of their workforce will need reskilling within the next five years. Employees will need to address their fears related to the technology, learn about the opportunities available, and prepare to work alongside AI. Employees and employers alike should embrace new technology and seek out and invest in reskilling programs.

Internal mobility is booming, but not so much for lower-level staff, LinkedIn finds – Internal mobility is up, according to LinkedIn. Nearly half of HR professionals are building a talent pipeline filled with internal candidates. After falling in 2021, internal mobility has made a comeback, leading to an array of benefits including improved company culture, higher retention, cost-savings, and faster time-to-hire rates. Those who move up within the ranks of a company tend to develop more technical and emotional skills than their peers who leave an organization.

Ed tech investments slow after sizable pandemic bump – Edtech capital investments hit $2.8 billion in 2023, a significant decline from the peak seen during the pandemic of $8.2 billion. The drastic decrease comes as school district leaders, preparing to allocate remaining funds by September, focus on cutting non-essential ed tech contracts and emphasizing efficacy. There is some good news though. Generative AI in education might lead to a resurgence in investment, with AI startups raising close to $50 billion across all industries last year. And investments in the ed tech sector have shifted towards supporting mental health and staffing, much like our portfolio company, Mantra Health.

A Map of Generative AI for Education – A bit of a follow-up to the above article, this is a major update to a map first published in June 2023. Medium’s AI in Education map has added over 90 new logos and 11 new areas, with previously gray areas (areas without a real-world example) now yellow, indicating examples now exist.

Universities Expect to Use More Tech in Future Classrooms—but Don’t Know How – A new survey by the College Innovation Network (CIN) has revealed that despite their enthusiasm for incorporating educational technology, over half (53%) of university administrators lack the knowledge and data to make informed decisions and lack the confidence to select effective ed-tech products for their institutions. To combat this, institutions should consider incorporating technology audits, seek feedback from students and faculty alike, and create AI policies to enhance confidence in adopting ed-tech products.

Teachers to Train With AI-Driven Classroom Simulators – Developed in partnership with Wharton Interactive, the Relay Graduate School of Education is developing AI-driven simulators to provide prospective teachers with practice interacting with students before ever setting foot in a classroom. These virtual trainings are meant to supplement traditional student teaching experiences, providing a virtual environment to help build essential skills like getting to know students. The pilot program is set to launch this summer.

Businesses Are Counting on AI, But Skilled Labor Is Lacking, Survey Finds – To continue with the theme of this issue, this article focuses on AI and skilled labor in the workforce. A survey of 8,584 information technology professionals by IBM reveals that 42% of enterprise-scale companies actively use AI, with an additional 40% exploring or experimenting with the technology. However, one in five organizations reported that they did not have employees with the skills to use new AI tools. Additionally, 16% struggle to find new hires with the necessary skills. The results from the survey indicate that there is a growing interest among businesses in developing AI capabilities but highlight the challenge of identifying the right skills and finding workers to fill AI-related jobs.

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