Edtech is constantly evolving and there is perhaps no doubt in this fact. But, what do you think do teachers’ needs and choices remain the same and that, they would easily pick up anything new that comes their way?
Well that isn’t the case because; there are a lot of considerations that actually influence the decisions of teachers regarding the selection of any tool. It is the teachers who know best about what they are really looking for and what even the other educators too want from the digital instructional technology.
In a report, we find, teachers have complained that some current technologies are not rigorous enough to be useful or feel they need a broader range of options for personalization as well as more opportunities for students to assess their own progress independently as they work. “I am not a fan of tools that make kids practice mindless exercises or… watch boring lectures. Teaching with standards is not equivalent to covering a checklist of topics, (it) is an art form that takes thought for how to challenge students to synthesize and apply the content that they have learned. This is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve through the current state of technological options” said a teacher as mentioned in the report.
Further, surveys reflect that around 65% of student licenses for digital learning products are not used fully and therefore go unused. It’s just 5% of educational technology products that meets the goals set by product companies and schools.
The reason why, edtech product developers do not get proper feedback from schools on their product is because most of the technology purchases go untapped. On the flipside, when edtech products go unused, it is a waste of the schools’ budget. Students too stand as losers for they miss out on serious tech enhanced learning experiences.
Therefore, as an edtech product developer, it’s important for you to first step into the shoes of teachers and evaluate if the product qualifies the common questions which influences the decision of teachers. Check three key questions that teachers have in their mind before making a final call regarding technology deployment.
Point #1:Teachers Think - Is this Edtech product useful to me and my students?
Designing something that’s cool and which the younger generation would love to use in school is undoubtedly a tempting factor that you as a product developer will surely consider. But, step into the shoes of the teacher and start evaluating if the product is helpful, cool and worth. If teachers find the product falling flat in terms of usability, it isn’t going to make an impact in the classroom as well.
As an edtech product developer, take a user-centred design strategy and start by examining the needs, wants and limitations of teachers and students. You cannot just develop a product from a distance, instead you need to talk to them in person and observe classes- and that’s actually how you can witness challenges first hand, ask questions and discover whether the solution will find friends. At the time of pilot test, teachers will make it clear whether they find the solution really cool to consider and this will eventually help the product become a success in the future.
Point #2: Teachers Find Out: Has this edtech product worked in other schools?
Although there is a storm in the edtech market, with so many products evolving in the market yet you will find, there are just a few of them that manages to gain the entire spotlight. The reason for such is because, not every edtech product is piloted before being rolled out to the mass market.
As far as right guidance in conducting pilot tests for edtech products are concerned, partnering with an accelerator can turn out really useful for edtech companies. Accelerators not only offer guidance in most cases but also investments options too. Essentially they serve as test beds for promising edtech products. The other option for start-ups is to partner with an interested school district as teachers want to see how the solution works.
Report also suggests, 59% of teachers said they rely on recommendation from administrators. While 53% of them said they look up for product reviews and user satisfaction online. And going a little beyond, 47% of teachers said they rely on recommendations from other teachers.
Therefore, before rolling out products, it is important that edtech start-ups go for pilot tests and understand if their product qualifies user satisfaction and create value for their product.
Point #3: Teachers Check- Is this product easy to implement?
Teachers also check if a particular product is easy to implement and does it fit in the curriculum or standards. If they find the tool to be highly organized and can easily fit in the curriculum they are much likely to incorporate it into their pedagogy.
Going a little beyond the conventional thoughts surrounding edtech products, teachers must also consider on how products will work within schools. It is an important point of consideration as not all tools plug into the same interfaces and classrooms are also in its evolving stage and are therefore not built keeping all the modern technology in mind. It is also possible for schools to adopt but that will impact as if they have financial and technical limitations, it can make any change a struggle.
For a school to implement edtech product means they actually take into consideration a full picture ranging from- how the product actually helps the school save money, does the product company help the school with training needs for better usability and does the products usability come with small subscription packages or with overpriced packages.
Are you now wondering if your product can really stand up to the teachers’ expectations? If this is the case, we would like you to introspect and analyse the nuts and bolts of your edtech product and try out pilot test to understand the value of the product. And if you really have a cutting edge product that is also a favorite of the teachers - share about the product in the comment box below.