Education Has Changed Forever, and Big Tech Is the Winner

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, the education sector faced an unprecedented crisis. Educators and students had to transition from traditional physical classrooms to online learning overnight. With over 1.2 billion children out of the classroom across the globe, schools scrambled to set up remote learning systems. As a result, technology companies have seen a surge of opportunities.

Exponential Expansion

While many industries suffered during the pandemic, the technology sector enjoyed a windfall following the explosion in demand for digital learning tools. According to a report from CB Insights, global equity and venture capital financing for EdTech startups grew from $4.81 billion in 2019 to an impressive $12.58 billion in 2020.

Many established names in tech saw their share of profits as well, with Apple posting robust sales throughout the pandemic. As students purchased personal computers and tablets to attend remote classes, iPad sales rose 77 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year and Mac computer sales increased by 69 percent.

Similarly, tech giant Alphabet Inc.’s free Google app for schools, Google Classroom, recorded a huge increase in users—from 40 million to 150 million—over the year. And while Google Classroom is fundamentally free, capturing the education market and the recognition of millions of young people will bring long-term benefits to the brand and its other products.

In September, Alphabet Inc. continued its strategy to gain coveted market share by providing free content on Cuemath, an online live math tuition provider. With about 300,000 students worldwide, the company has its eye on cornering India’s massive e-learning market.

A Lasting Effect

Even as vaccination and reopening efforts ramp up and in-person instruction resumes, it appears that blended learning is here to stay.

Research has shown several advantages that digital learning has over traditional learning, including requiring 40-60 percent less time to complete and increasing learning retention by 20-60 percent. In addition, 81 percent of American college students indicated that digital learning technology had a positive effect on their grades, game time notwithstanding.

These advantages are particularly visible in higher education where remote learning has accelerated the trend towards more flexible hybrid academic models that not only improve student education outcomes but also result in considerable tuition cost reductions.

In the corporate sector, the digital learning revolution is invigorating a host of business-to-business (B2B) training providers who are racing to develop more products and services as businesses adopt online corporate training sessions and workshops.

Global EdTech investments were already on the rise before the advent of COVID-19, with the market for online education estimated to be worth $350 billion by 2025. Over the pandemic year, the Big Tech superpowers of Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook posted a combined annual revenue of over $1.2 trillion.

The pandemic has fast-tracked the adoption of technology across the education landscape. From video conferencing tools to live tutoring and independent learning apps, digital will be part of the new normal of education. With its financial leverage and market share, Big Tech is well poised to take a large chunk of the digital learning pie.

What Makes Minecraft So Iconic?

There are very few games that continue to grow in user numbers a decade after first being released, but that’s exactly what Minecraft is doing. An astonishing product that is among the most impactful in gaming history, Minecraft is iconic. First launched in 2009 by Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, the game has ratcheted up sales, taking into account all formats, of over 200 million purchases. In 2020, over 130 million people played Minecraft at least once a month. And as for revenue generated, that came to $415 million in 2020.

There’s no doubting the figures, or the cultural impact, as even people who’ve never played it are likely to know the name, and have an awareness of the distinctive, blocky visuals. But why did Minecraft reach these levels of success, and what exactly is it that sets it apart?

Not Just a Game

More than just a game in the traditional sense, Minecraft operates as a platform. The realities generated within its parameters are enormous and freely explorable. Participants can make what they want of their in-world experience and the process is open-ended and can be navigated however you like.

Nothing is scripted, and there’s no fixed conclusion at which point you can say the game is complete. And as a platform, Minecraft is incredibly open to development, expansion and innovation, resulting in both competition and co-operation. As a result, many people look into Minecraft hosting, while communities and even mini-industries have built up around the game.

It’s Simple, in the Best Way

There is a killer gaming formula, and if a developer manages to hit upon it, then they’re onto a good thing. The elusive combination is simplicity plus addictiveness, and Minecraft pulls it off expertly. If the Minecraft world looks like an environment you can just jump into and play around with, it’s because that’s exactly what it is.

Minecraft doesn’t require long instructional sessions, and you don’t need to think about complex strategies or storylines. The way it works is, primarily, through trial, error, and reward. And blocks, lots of blocks. When a game is this simple, but keeps you coming back for more, it’s incredible success starts to make sense.

An Educational Experience

Minecraft can be played by anyone, and that includes kids. For children, its immersive, safe environment, and intuitive in-game mechanics make it not just a lot of fun, but sometimes even a beneficial educational tool.

Minecraft rewards creativity, and helps to develop valuable problem-solving skills. In addition, it allows for independence and self-autonomy, while also enabling and encouraging teamwork and co-operation. In Minecraft, you have to pick the right approach at the right time. Much like real life, both personally and in business. Furthermore, Minecraft is a globally connected platform, and gets kids into an open-minded way of thinking, while familiarizing them with new technology.

Influencers and Community

Minecraft is a phenomenon among social media and gaming influencers. There are countless channels dedicated to Minecraft, and fortunes have been made by some top influencers who play Minecraft.

This, along with the nature of the game itself, has had the effect of building huge, loyal communities, all around the Minecraft platform. In the internet age, the power of this kind of social media reach, and the loyalty among the communities forged, are absolutely tremendous, going beyond the reach of traditional marketing. What developed around Minecraft was akin almost to a social movement.

Those Graphics

Minecraft’s graphics are cool. That, of course, is a subjective statement, and there are plenty of ways you might disagree, but that’s part of what’s cool: its the very things that some people might dislike that make Minecraft’s visuals so distinctive, and that give the game its unmistakable character. For a game to be iconic, it usually needs to have its own look, even if it’s a style that divides opinion.

And in Minecraft’s case, we’re talking blocks. The graphics are angular, deliberately artificial-looking, and, admittedly, sometimes overly uniform. It’s reminiscent of classic, 8-bit games from the 1980s, although expanded into a gargantuan 3-D environment that would have been just science-fiction back then. It’s a style that’s nostalgic and charming, and the game has a friendly, retro-tech atmosphere. Not for everyone, perhaps, but it’s an aesthetic that has certainly made its mark.

Versatility and Creativity

With various modes of play, and an open-ended, versatile nature, the Minecraft experience can be whatever each participant wants. The Minecraft world exists to be dived into, and from that point on, it’s the player’s own character that determines what kind of game they will play.

Minecraft rewards creativity, but in a sense, just your manner of interacting with the Minecraft world is an act of creativity in itself. And when this becomes–potentially, if you prefer—a co-operative, community experience, then you know you’re on to something special. Minecraft fully deserves its iconic status, and as both a gaming experience and a wider platform it looks here to stay for a long time yet.

Should You Get a Desktop or a Laptop?

Remember the 1980s when mobile phones were the size of water bottles and computer units looked like mini fridges? Thankfully, we have left the clunky computing devices in the past and are now upgrading to slimmer and lighter devices with each passing day. With laptops getting more and more powerful, is there still a case for the old school desktop computer?

Laptops: Here, There, and Everywhere

The portability of laptops is without a doubt their most desirable trait. Because of their compact sizes, laptops can be carried in backpacks or shoulder bags and taken from home to holiday. For college students, having a laptop means being able to take notes during lectures and do group projects in the school library. For working professionals, laptops allow them to present to clients and continue to be productive regardless of where they are. Laptops have given travel bloggers, remote workers, and independent journalists the flexibility to stay active and connected to the world.

Aside from requiring less muscle to lug around, laptops also consume much less power than their desktop counterparts. As they have smaller components, laptops require much less electricity to function, leaving a reduced carbon footprint for the environmentally conscious and a sweeter power bill for the budget conscious. Laptops also have batteries, which means that they do not require a power socket to boot up, allowing for use on the go and during emergencies. The battery acts as a safeguard, preventing a system shutdown and loss of unsaved work during sudden power fluctuations or outages.

Another great feature of laptops is that they are incredibly easy to use and set up. You can simply take it straight out of the box, press the power button, and you will have a working computer. For somebody who needs a computer for basic functions such as online classes, word processing, streaming videos, or using social media, laptops are a convenient and easy choice. Mini laptops with 11-inch screens are relatively affordable and are popular with those who are looking at a first computer for their children.

Desktop: I Have the Power

Despite the many advantages of laptops, many people are still fiercely loyal to their desktops. The ability to customize a desktop PC is its greatest benefit. Desktop computers are versatile and you can add or modify components to suit your needs. The newest and quickest processors on the market are generally released first on desktops, making them the fastest computers available. The added space on your desktop CPU tower means that you can add extra storage, multiple pieces of RAM, and a better graphics card to improve your user experience.

This flexibility extends past the initial setup of your desktop computer system. Upgrading and fixing a laptop is complicated and finicky, and often requires professional assistance. Because desktop CPU towers are much easier to take apart, users with a little computer hardware knowledge can improve their desktops, performing basic upgrades such as adding another hard disk drive or installing a better off-the-shelf graphics card.

Unlike laptops that generally peak at 17-inch screens, desktop computers can be connected to large screens or even multiple screens, creating a more immersive environment for gaming, or a more functional setup for intensive video editing work. Desktops likewise can be installed with massive cooling systems, allowing the motherboard and graphics cards to run at their top performance, delivering exceptional computing power for gaming or audiovisual work.

When comparing the prices of laptops versus desktops, a desktop would generally have a lower price tag than a laptop with the same hardware specifications. Therefore, desktops represent better value for money. And desktops need not look boring and lumpy either. With various LED light attachments, modern desktops can be just as sexy as their laptop counterparts. In fact, some gaming PCs are sleek and futuristic, with liquid-cooled PCs striking enough to be on the set of cyberpunk movies like Tron.

Finally, the weight of desktop computers can conversely become a perk because it makes them difficult to lose. We often hear of laptops being misplaced or stolen, but rarely come across the theft of an entire desktop computer system. Even in the event of theft, there is not a large market for second-hand desktop computers, as opposed to a thriving market for used laptops. Therefore, they are not very attractive to burglars and thieves, who would probably take your television instead!


For a family that has multiple uses for a computer, the desktop represents a solution that is versatile enough to suit everybody’s needs. However, if several users need to have access to a computer at the same time, then laptops would be more realistic in terms of space. Ultimately, choosing between a laptop and a desktop is a matter of personal preference and requirements. For a lightweight and fuss-free solution, laptops are the best. For a powerful and customizable machine, desktops reign supreme.