A New York Times story here relates the “unexpected” shrinking of the educational software industry. The reality comes down to this simple fact: the internet has made for-profit learning packaging obsolete. Why on earth pay to get to go looking for Carmen Diego (who only has a few 2-dimensional places to be) when you can go anywhere on earth to find anything you want to learn — FOR FREE. The free and open content is also king because it is fresher and richer than anything prepackaged in our connected world.
Although the writer skews the persepective a bit to games instead of the knowledge the games and other learning sites offer, this paragraph from the NY Times article cited above is the key to where the billions went that were expected to be made on educational software:
What happened was an explosion of new, often free technologies competing to entertain and teach children. Young children have long been a primary audience for computer learning games. But with free games and learning sites now available all over the Internet, parents are finding that they do not need to buy software that can teach the A B C’s. And the spread of broadband connections has made playing online games far easier.