I’m sorry, but just because it is called EdTech innovation does not mean it necessarily “disrupts” the industry or “changes” the game. At the end of the day, what matters is teachers providing students with the best education possible. As far as we’re concerned, teachers need another “disruption” just as much as they need another hole in their head. We’re not saying that there isn’t a lot of room for improvement and progress, but rather that innovators are taking the wrong approach.
Here are five reminders that can serve education innovation:
1. Students still come first.
Despite everything, teachers’ primary focus should be students–not a dozen complicated new tools. New edtech needs to keep this priority at the heart of its agenda: boost productivity for students and teachers to optimize learning. It might seem obvious, but companies need to consider, when it all comes down to it, how does their product enhance student outcomes? The benefits need to make it unique and outweigh the costs. Otherwise, it might just be a costly waste of resources.
2. There’s a learning curve.
As wondrous as new technology is and as incredible as it would be to successfully implement it all in today’s education environment, teachers need innovation that’s intuitive and easy to learn. Teachers are spending valuable time in adopting new technology, however, the vast majority spend too much time deciphering how to utilize tools and understanding what system is best for what. Introducing innovation requires thorough user training.
3. Teachers are overloaded.
They have a hectic schedule as it is, so the easier to adopt and the more comprehensive a tool is, the better. No one wants to juggle a dozen productivity tools. The purpose of teacher technology is to streamline productivity. If educators have mobile devices, let’s make their tools mobile. This is just as much a no-brainer as integrating products with systems they already use, like Google Drive or Facebook. It’s all about making teachers’ lives easier. Tools shouldn’t be off-the-clock homework.
4. Where’s the communication?
There is often communication gap between edtech companies and the teachers they serve. Teachers want their needs heard when it comes to the development of the tools that they will use in the classroom. This is just as much a valuable approach to product, as it is an avenue for creating a tight-knit learning community.
5. Technology needs to be adaptable.
As new standards are enacted and the 1:1 movement takes hold, the education industry is constantly changing. As with most any other industry, education technology should be influenced along with demand. Part of this is maintaining continuous contact with educators and administrators in the field.
As an organization, UClass has taken these reminders to heart. With this perspective on the ecosystem, we’ve develop a tool that addresses what matters. While we hope to contribute to the lasting place that technology has in the classroom, we’re just a singular voice. We invite you to join the conversation and share with us your own thoughts on how edtech can make teachers and students lives better.