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Ed-Tech Comes of Age—Overnight!

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Blog Post by Jason Hardy, Limelight Networks Account Manager

September 4th, 2020

At Limelight, we believe our innovations democratize access to information and this has the power to enrich and transform lives on a global scale.

 

Nowhere is this truer than in the Ed-Tech sector—a group that has been transformed, almost overnight, during the 2020 pandemic.

 

In just a few short months, remote learning went from a burgeoning business to a virtual lifeline for students and families everywhere. The demand was unprecedented. In fact, in our recent global market research, 83 percent of those surveyed said that they believe video-based learning is here to stay, even after the global pandemic subsides.

 

Three key takeaways from conversations with Limelight customers:

1. Ed-Tech can change the trajectory of a student’s life.

The innovations built-in to educational technology are often designed to help students in ways traditional approaches cannot.

 

Learning Ally is a perfect example. As a leading nonprofit education organization that works with children who have reading challenges, their Audiobook Solution offers an award-winning reading accommodation used in approximately 19,000 schools.

 

The rapid closure of U.S. schools in response to COVID-19 was a serious disruption to education that profoundly impacted already vulnerable children. But because Learning Ally had the infrastructure and support of the Limelight global private network, they were able to absorb a wave of new subscribers and expand their offerings.

“In a matter of weeks, we added 13,800 educators and more than 130,000 new students to the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution. The Limelight CDN was able to support us in meeting the requirements for the surge of audiobook listeners,” reports Cynthia Hamburger, CIO & COO, Learning Ally.

 

Another game-changer is Disney’s BYJU’S. At $5.5 billion, BYJU’S is considered the world’s most valuable Ed-Tech company. They reach more than 57 million users and their educational content is viewed on virtually any device and any location in India, giving students opportunities they might not otherwise have.

 

Delivering broadcast-quality educational video content to children in remote regions is no small task. Connectivity issues are often a barrier to access in India and BYJU’S goes to great lengths to ensure that the viewing experience is never compromised by buffering or latency issues.

 

Even with the 4X surge in activity when schools abruptly transitioned to online learning in early 2020, BYJU’S remained a constant in students’ lives, aided in part by Limelight’s powerful edge services platform and one of the world’s largest private IP networks.

2. Ed-Tech connects people in ways we never imagined.

When in-person learning is not possible, educational technology is a lifeline for students, teachers and parents.

 

Ed-Tech companies were already providing a virtual learning experience before the pandemic, but their expertise suddenly became critical when school closures sent millions of children home in early 2020.

 

In Canada, Groupe Média TFO (TFO), an Ontario-based French-language public media company was tapped to create educational content for the online portal opened by the Ontario Minister of Education to serve more than 2 million students and 135,000 educators throughout Canada during the pandemic.

 

TFO was able to quickly create and stream a tremendous amount of content and handle a nearly 60 percent increase in traffic during the stay-at-home order by leveraging the Limelight Video Platform to manage and distribute their online video at scale.

 

This was a moment to shine for many Ed-Tech companies. Micaël N’Goran, Director, Solutions and Products, Groupe Média TFO, agreed, saying “As a result of COVID-19, we had a very short turnaround to support the Ministry of Education's learn at home initiative and play an important role in the move to online learning with our rich collection of educational videos. As we reached an unprecedented number of visits on our sites, we were hit with massive growth in bandwidth. Thankfully, our CDN infrastructure was built on Limelight, so we were not only ready, but we were also able to expand the initiative nationwide to support as many families and students as possible.”

3. Ed-Tech transforms how and where we consume content.

Reaching students where and how they like to learn helps educators engage more learners, no matter what barriers they face.

 

For iconic children’s book publisher, Scholastic, pivoting to an online delivery model was critical to being able to serve their vast audience in the “new normal” imposed by the pandemic.

 

As the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, Scholastic has a 60-year heritage in the education sector and reaches children in 165 countries.

 

In early 2020, Scholastic responded to the outcry for educational content by creating new e-books, print and technology-based learning programs for pre-K to grade 12, and video teaching guides that support children's learning and literacy, both in school and at home.

 

Across the globe, India’s groundbreaking Ed-Tech venture, Unacademy has quickly become one of the fastest growing online learning platforms, delivering more than 1 million video views per day and offering more than 2,500 live classes daily.

 

Unacademy also maintains an archive of its courses covering programming, business management, personal finance and other disciplines, giving students on-demand access to older lectures via its app.

 

The key to its success is being able to deliver a broadcast-quality viewing experience to students where and how they prefer, which in India means mobile devices often located in regions with inconsistent network quality.

 

India’s consumers are a tough audience according to Alok Maurya, Head of Engineering at Unacademy. “Our customers are students—they’re impatient and very sensitive to video load time. Being able to deliver fast video content and file downloads is essential.”

 

For Limelight, it’s been gratifying to be part of the overnight success of so many of our Ed-Tech customers and to really see our mission to enrich lives become a reality. We’re also inspired by the innovative spirit of those in the media and entertainment sector who are partnering with educators to deliver an Ed-Tech solution at the moment it is needed most.

 

To learn more about the important role CDNs play in improving the performance of Ed-Tech platforms, checkout what Ashwin Rao, Director, Limelight Networks, India has to say in his recent interview with Data Quest.