Pandemic Profiteering, Gameschooling and Other FamTech Trends This Month

The number-one topic in the parenting world right now is what's going to happen to our kids' education now that schools all over the country are deciding not to reopen. With nothing more to hold onto than the hope that the distance-learning programs schools are putting in place will be better than what we saw in the spring, parents are looking all over the private sector for answers.

Welcome to the monthly Family Tech Trend Report, brought you by Nanno.

Trend #1: Pandemic Pods

For better or worse, parents who can afford it are exploring the idea of creating "pandemic pods" or "microschools" to provide varying levels of care, supervision and education this fall. And, of course, they're turning to technology to make it happen. The biggest platform we've seen for this is Facebook, where there's a huge syndicate of pages under the name "Pandemic Pods," started in San Francisco but now with city-specific sites everywhere. The main page, started at the beginning of July, already has over 35,000 members, including both educators and parents. A handful of startups have gotten into the mix as well, offering varying degrees of curation over pods and educational options.

At Nanno, we built a free tool called StayCare that essentially matches parents with long-term caregivers to lead their pods. The experience has helped us understand that this area is going to be VERY difficult to tackle with a one-size-fits-all tech solution. While the pod concept may be ubiquitous, what families are actually looking for varies widely. Add to that what educators are envisioning charging to lead these pods (many claim the current going rate is between $75 and $150 per hour), and it's looking like a great idea that might have a lot of trouble coming to actual fruition. – and in any case certainly will only be available for the very wealthy.


  • “American parents are setting up homeschool pandemic pods” (Tanya Basu, MIT Technology Review)
  • “Pods, Microschools and Tutors: Can Parents Solve the Education Crisis on Their Own?” (Melinda Wenner Moyer, The New York Times)
  • “Nanno Launches StayCare to Save Working Parents from Nationwide Child Care Fail” (PR Underground)
  • “For parents who can afford it, a solution for fall: Bring the teachers to them” (Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson, The Washington Post)

Trend #2: Leveling Up with Gameschooling

Another way parents are looking to bridge the gap caused by the near-demise of public education is by supplementing their kids' distance learning this fall with educational online games and apps. (Yes, we're working on something to help here too, called The Ultimate Guide for the Accidental Homeschooler.) Luckily, there are some amazing games and platforms that cover a broad range of academic subjects and levels available for reasonable monthly subscription rates -- and many of them are being offered free during the pandemic.


  • “19 online activities to keep kids educated and entertained all summer long” (Kerry Breen, Today)
  • “The best educational apps to stay sharp throughout the school year” (Kris Naudus, Engadget)
  • “10 of the coolest math apps for preschoolers and little kids” (Cool Mom Tech)

Trend #3: Remember When Screentime Used to Be a Dirty Word?

Apparently, the pandemic has caused a lot of parents and experts to rethink their attitudes toward kids and technology, including self-proclaimed screentime sanctimommy Anya Kamenetz (now reformed) in a thoughtful piece in the New York Times.


  • “I Was a Screen–Time Expert. Then the Coronavirus Happened.” (Anya Kamenetz, The New York Times)
  • “Kids’ screen time should focus on content, not time, experts say” (Caitlin Mullen, The Business Journals)

FamTech Funding Notes

  • NYC-Based Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator's Summer Class Includes Two EdTech Startups (ERA)
  • EdTech/GameTech Startup Boddle Raises $350K and moves from Kansas City to Tulsa (Startland News)
  • CampusLogic Raises $120M to Help Students Finance College (EdSurge)

The Family Tech Trends Report is brought to you by Nanno, the first on-demand child care app that lets parents book high quality sitters and nannies on demand. We are to babysitting what Uber and Lyft are to transportation. We make it quick and easy to find and book an amazing sitter, so parents can live their lives (personally and professionally) knowing their kids are well cared for. Because we’re a family tech company and the market category is fairly new, we spend a LOT of time looking at what other companies in this space are doing. Since we’re doing all that work anyway, we thought we’d share it with you.

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About Liz Oertle
Denver, CO
Liz Oertle is the CEO and co-founder of Nanno. A recovering attorney and mother of two, she is passionate about helping parents connect with high quality childcare on demand.