Careers in EdTech

A World of Possibilities

A qualification in EdTech can open many different career pathways to our graduates in both the academic and corporate sectors. The EdTech sector is growing at a rapid pace with billions of dollars being invested in the advancement of educational technologies. 

There are many different roles available to people looking to base their career in the educational technology industry. Trainers, course designers and analysts are all in high demand. Below are a couple of our past students who have gone on to have flourishing careers in EdTech

Kwong Nui Sim

Larian Nkomo

Agnes Wong Soon

Kwong Nui Sim

I started my PhD in 2012 under the watchful eyes of Sarah Stein, Russell Butson and Jacques van der Meer. I was very lucky to have three awesome supervisors that are very inspirational. They are quite different as individuals, but we worked well as a team. Under their mentorship I was subtly and gently guided into the working world of academia without even realising it. They prepared me by involving me in academic life whether it was going to international conferences or reviewing and writing journal articles. By the time I’d finished my PhD, I already had several publications to my name which helped me when it came to applying for academic roles. If you want to work in academia you have to do the groundwork during your postgraduate years. I was so busy I didn’t have weekends but the whole journey was satisfying. I was tempted to do another PhD and remain a student, but my supervisors encouraged me to go and be in the real world. Their selfless support has continued ever since.

In 2015 I got my first permanent job offer at Victoria University in Wellington as a lecturer. Five years later I was promoted to the position of senior lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology. At the end of 2022 I took a job offer to manage the learning, teaching and innovation team at the International College of Management in Sydney. It was a big change for me. Not only did I move countries, but it was my first time working for a private institution. There, the students learned by doing, receiving practical qualifications. Since then I have taken up my next challenge as an Associate Professor/Associate Dean at Sydney’s International School of Technology and Commerce from April 2023.

I’ve been quite fortunate that my career path has been nicely scaffolded in a smooth manner. For my first job there was a lot of learning to do because I was transitioning from being a full-time student to a full-time lecturer. I was doing teaching, service and research. When I became a senior lecturer, I had more of a leadership role, and I received all the learning that comes with that. Now that I’ve shifted into this management role, I am doing more brainstorming, planning, and strategising. It’s more ‘big picture’ thinking.

Since completing my PhD I’ve seen the world of Edtech emerge and evolve at such a fast pace. The global pandemic has shown us how important this field is in today’s world. Completing an EdTech orientated PhD set me on a path that expanded my interests and my passion. I’m grateful to my supervisors who prepared me and trained me, helping me become who I am today.

Larian 2
Larian 1

Larian Nkomo

My PhD in EdTech at the Higher Education Development Centre was focused on student engagement with digital learning technologies, with a particular interest in lecture recordings. My undergrad learning was in management information systems and so I always had an interest in technology, and I also had my own experience of student engagement during those undergrad years to reflect on.

In terms of supervisors, I had the best team ever with Dr Russell Butson and Professor Ben Daniel. As a team they complimented each other and together, they sharpened my critical thinking skills and engaged me in stimulating discussion. So many times, I would come to their office thinking I had the best idea ever and they’d challenge me and help me to fully evaluate things.

The highlight was when I got my data. I had three data sets – a survey, social media data and trace data.  Working with the trace data was very interesting, I’d never worked with that volume of data before. I struggled at first to find tools to read it let alone analyse it. I enjoyed working with my supervisors and the Information Technology Services team to find my way through it.

A few months before I submitted, I got an opportunity to work with the Quality Advancement Unit at Otago University and I’ve stayed on with them. My current work isn’t specifically ‘EdTech’, but my future career path could certainly wind its way back into the EdTech sphere. In any case, the critical thinking, and data analysis skills I learned as part of my EdTech PhD were excellent transferable skills. It put me on my current career pathway which involves me analysing the data received from university surveys that are sent out to students and staff.

If you’re considering a HEDC EdTech PhD, then I say, ‘just do it’. EdTech is a space to watch, and it has a big future. It will be an investment in your future as we can all see how technology is changing education with new approaches being developed. They have a great team of supervisors, and your PhD will give you so much more than EdTech knowledge, you will learn critical skills that can take you anywhere.


Agnes 3

Agnes Wong Soon

I completed my Edtech Endorsed masters at Otago University in 2019, focusing on Samoa students’ attitudes towards technology adoption for learning using the Theory of Planned Behaviour. However, I also delved into the teaching side of things.

During my research, I discovered that Samoan students faced a disadvantage due to limited access to technology during their high school years. Most government schools prohibited students from bringing devices to school, citing issues with online bullying and physical fights. The older generation in Samoa also viewed technology negatively, monitoring screen time and general use. Our previous Prime Minister even threatened to shut down social media sites like Facebook.

After completing my masters, I returned to Samoa to teach computer studies at the University of Samoa. However, the pandemic disrupted my plans for pursuing a PhD as Samoa went into lockdown. The education sector had to permit the use of technology in ways they had not before, allowing students to use their phones to access online resources.

Teaching computer studies in Samoa was challenging as many students had never touched a computer before. Encouraging them to bring devices for communication, resources, and learning management systems like Moodle was met with resistance as many students abided by family rules that prohibited device use. However, the pandemic forced change, and students had to use technology to continue their education.

One of the main challenges was the resistance of teachers towards technology. They did not see the point in using it and did not think it was an effective way to deliver content. As a result, I have conducted numerous workshops to train teachers on how to use learning management systems like Moodle during lockdowns.

My masters taught me that students are open to using technology for learning. Therefore, my focus has shifted towards the teachers and their attitudes towards technology. If teachers cannot accept it for teaching purposes, we cannot expect students to embrace technology for learning purposes. This will be the focus of my PhD research.