Edtech tools are almost everywhere, still many schools and classrooms struggle in adoption of new technologies.
While each tool promises to give teachers tracks: a roadmap of curricula, practice, and feedback to help students grow, but even then, there lies a disconnect between the teacher and the edtech solution.
At the outset, all that you have got to understand is that edtech is not just digital devices but are to be proposed as learning tools. Considering so, “ed” must always come first in edtech. As education technology start-up leaders, it is essential for you to focus on including as much of student learning aspects as possible in the learning tool. Perhaps, this is why it is considered that the secret to building great edtech product is including teachers in the process.
All teachers and administrators of education institutes have a common goal and that is to procure tools that meet student needs. To simply put, teachers want edtech solutions that have answers in areas such as:
1. Address as well as resolve their biggest problems and once teachers are convinced that, the product is indeed capable of doing that, they show no resistance towards any innovative technology.
2. Teachers and administrators also want the product aligned to the common core curriculum standards.
3. If edtech can provide with classroom data so that after using it constantly, they are able to make instructional decisions as well as help students in guiding them to improve their learning stride. That said if the edtech solution is a readily available solution for the teachers to run a quick analysis and if the data migration is seamless between other edtech platforms, teachers and administrators will be more likely to choose the product over one that works in isolation.
The problem with edtech tool is that they are developed by non-educators and therefore cover just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ Here, by the tip, we are indicating the solution to a larger problem. Also, while purchasing edtech for the school, administrators must consider educators to be on the frontline. Often, the decision to procure learning tools for the school or college is shouldered upon IT managers and finance departments. The problem here is that neither the IT manager nor finance officer will take into account the needs of the teachers or students.
Useful tips for edtech start-ups
If you really want your edtech solution to stay on the learning track, you need to ponder upon these questions-
1. What does the School/ college want their students to be when they finish school?
2. What kind of learning experience does the School/college require to get their students there?
3. What kind of a learning culture does the school want to promote in their schools?
Once these factors are answered, as edtech solution maker, you can put the specifications for technology while developing the product. For instance, if you see that the learning objective states that it is important for content to be accessible to all students, then specify on the edtech platform that it helps visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. If the objective is to expose students to learning through multimedia content, edtech devices that support photos, music, and movies will be something that the school/college will be looking for and you need to specify that.
The other useful factors that you need to consider while developing an education technology solution are:
1. Make the edtech device a versatile solution for the procurement of edtech devices needs to be flexible so Learners can move in any direction needed. Versatile devices allow for all types of learners to take advantage of robust learning ecosystems like app stores, interactive multimedia and powerful content creation.
2. It is not just the teachers who are the stakeholder of education but along with them, students too are considered as the largest stakeholder in education. So do not just simply include what teachers require but understand the convenience and need of the students and how the technology would help further their skills. Consider consulting with students too along with the teachers to know what they are comfortable with and what they need in a tech solution.
Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning and can provide authentic learning experiences only if the learning aspects are included full on in the solution. Your solution must help affirm and advance relationships between educators and students, reinvent approaches to learning and collaboration, cut down long-standing equity and accessibility gaps. Apart from this all, it must ensure that it is one of the adaptable learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.
So, are you confident your tool is a wholesome tool covering the aspects of learning to accessibility? In case you aren’t sure, there is still time, go for a pilot testing and find if educators feel your tool is indeed a credible learning solution.