The 18 Most Influential People in Ed Tech

Brick-and-mortar schools may be on vacation by now, but ed tech never sleeps: the education website Noodle recently compiled a list of the 18 most influential people in ed tech, and you can bet they’ll be working this summer.

The list is part of a larger collection of 67 influential educators, which also includes influencers in education analysis, higher education, and K-12 education.

Depending on whom you ask, the ed tech industry brought in $1-2 billion in VC investment in 2014. Just one segment of that industry – PreK-12, non-hardware ed tech – was worth $8.38 billion last year. Innovators have been trying to break into this space for years, and that trend won’t be changing anytime soon.

Here is Noodle’s list of the 18 most influential people in ed tech:

Ed tech - Anant Agarwal1. Anant Agarwal, founder and CEO of edX

A collaboration between MIT and Harvard, edX makes courses from the world’s top universities available to students for free online. Agarwal has also been teaching electrical engineering and computer science at MIT for 27 years.

Ed tech - Steven Anderson2. Steven Anderson, cofounder of #EdChat on Twitter

#EdChat invites educators to ask questions and get advice from each other, all on Twitter. Now, weekly #EdChat discussions are held for educators to tune in live and see experts discuss a big issue. Anderson also leads workshops for teachers and administrators.

Ed tech - Adam Bellow3. Adam Bellow, creator of eduTecher and eduClipper

eduTeacher educates educators with their webinars and articles about different online tools and technologies they may want to use in the classroom. Similarly, eduClipper lets teachers find and share content across the web – like Pinterest for education.

Ed tech - Laura Blankenship4. Laura Blankenship, founder of

Blankenship is also the chair of computer science at The Baldwin School, a private prep school for girls, where she has helped create an innovative curriculum for students as young as 11. She is an advocate for women in STEM.

Ed tech - Richard Byrne5. Richard Byrne, founder of Free Technology for Teachers

Free Technology for Teachers is a blog about free resources for educators, as well as ed tech issues, best practices, and innovations.


Ed tech - Rafranz Davis6. Rafranz Davis, instructional technology specialist for Arlington, TX

Davis is the author of The Missing Voices in EdTech: Bringing Diversity into EdTech, focusing on the need for racial and gender diversity in the field. She also believes in passion-based learning.

Ed tech - Vicki Davis7. Vicki Davis, creator of Cool Cat Teacher Blog

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog shares her advice on ed tech, teaching, and social media. Davis is also an IT administrator and teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia, and hosts the radio show Every Classroom Matters

Ed tech - Jeff Dunn8. Jeff Dunn, cofounder of Daily Genius and Edudemic

Daily Genius is a site for education professionals to read about education, tech, and ed tech, and Edudemic is one of the largest education tech websites. Dunn is also an online education specialist at ICANN, where he helps their members connect and learn from each other.

Ed tech - Lucy Gray9. Lucy Gray, cofounder of the Global Education Conference

The Global Education conference gathers students, educators, and organizations to share their ideas and creations. Gray is also a consultant who has worked with companies like Edmodo and EdSurge.

Ed tech - Angela Maiers10. Angela Maiers, founder of Maiers Educational Services

As a consultant, Maiers helps educators improve their technological literacy, their parent outreach, and student motivation. She wrote The Passion-Driven Classroom and Classroom Habitudes.

Ed tech - Salman Khan11. Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy

One of the biggest names in ed tech, the nonprofit Khan Academy offers free videos and exercises in subjects like algebra, biology, programming, and more. Khan Academy has more than 1 million students per month.

Ed tech - Nichole Pinkard12. Nichole Pinkard, founder of the Digital Youth Network

The Digital Youth Network helps educators teach technology to their students in order to spread digital literacy, which she believes is key to the future of education. Pinkard is also an associate professor at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media.

Ed tech - Joel Rose and Christopher Rush13-14. Joel Rose and Christopher Rush, creators of Teach to One: Math

Teach to One: Math is a platform that tests student performance one day and creates personalized lessons for them to follow the next – rather than everyone working at the same speed on the same topics. Over 6,000 middle schoolers are using it to learn math.

Ed tech - Eric Sheninger15. Eric Sheninger, senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education

Sheninger is also a director of technology and innovation for the Spotswood, NJ, school district. He believes that technology and social media have the power to change education for the better.

Ed tech - Shelly Sanchez Terrell16. Shelly Sanchez Terrell, cofounder of #EdChat

Sanchez Terrell also created and wrote a book on the 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, which helps educators improve by setting small goals. She has consulted for organizations like Spain’s Ministry of Education and UNESCO Bangkok.

Ed tech - Sebastian Thrun17. Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity

Udacity provides online education in technology through “nanodegrees.” Thrun is a former VP and fellow at Google, where he worked on Google Glass and self-driving cars.


Ed tech - Tom Whitby18. Tom Whitby, cofounder of #EdChat

The third cofounder of #EdChat, Whitby hosts EdChat Radio and interviews educators. He also created the Educator’s Personal Learning Network, where teachers and administrators can share their learnings.

Image credit: Pixabay / jarmoluk / CC0; photos via Noodle

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Written by:
Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact
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