Six months into his tenure as Discovery Education’s new CEO, I had the chance to Zoom in with Jeremy Cowdrey as he reflected on the state of education post-pandemic and the persistent need for edtech innovations. It was a refreshingly unscripted conversation—not often the case with senior executives—about the accelerated adoption of technology, the shift in teacher perspectives, and the importance of intentional AI implementation. I also heard about his neighbor’s technology pivot as a teacher and how while AI has great potential, it will never take you out to lunch! Have a listen.
Cowdrey was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Imagine Learning. Having joined the company in 2006, Mr. Cowdrey also served as Imagine Learning’s President, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and Regional Partnership Director. Prior to joining Imagine Learning, Mr. Cowdrey served in sales and management positions for several software and education companies, including Scott Foresman Addison Wesley, Pearson, and Novell. With over 23 years of experience in edtech, he is also the first person in his immediate family to graduate from college,
- Teacher Shortage and Budget Constraints: Jeremy acknowledges the ongoing teacher shortage and tight budgets in school districts and emphasizes the need for impactful partnerships between educational institutions and edtech companies like Discovery.
- Acceleration of Technology Adoption: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of Edtech tools, making devices and remote learning solutions a necessity. Jeremy notes the positive change in teacher attitudes towards technology, citing examples of enhanced teaching capabilities through digital tools.
- Importance of Implementation Plans: With a greater focus on ROI, districts are scrutinizing edtech products more critically. Jeremy stresses the importance of solid implementation plans that ensure effective use of products to amplify classroom experiences.
- Role of AI in Education: Jeremy sees AI as a beneficial tool in education but emphasizes its inability to replace the personal connection and care provided by teachers. He advocates for intentional and measured AI implementation, considering its potential to meet students where they are in their learning paths.
- Future Hopes: Looking ahead, Jeremy hopes for a convergence of educators, technology, and politics, with a shared focus on putting students at the center of the educational experience. He envisions continued innovation in the classroom and anticipates more tools to improve the overall impact of education.