By Marisa Kaplan March 16, 2012 3:36 pm
Today I want to discuss the disconnect between edtech companies/startups and educators. SxSWedu offered endless opportunities to meet with inspiring and innovative folks who really want to make a difference in the lives of children. It also illuminated the fact that there is a gaping hole in this ever-so-important conversation…educators! I am boggled by the fact that so many edtech products are being developed without including the voices of educators on the team. Sure, it can be challenging for educators to take time out of their already busy day to offer feedback, but it is possible and there are educators who are willing to do it (I know because I met them last week.) One of the most common questions I asked of educational entrepreneurs was, “So were you ever a teacher?” and the answer was almost always “No.” That is fine…great technology can be produced by people who are not in the field of education…but great educational technology requires the input of a team of educators and dare I say it, even parents.
Great teachers are curators. They curate curriculum and data and do the best they can to facilitate student growth by exposing their class to a broad spectrum of engaging ideas. Edtech companies should recognize that their product, if strong, will be one of many products that a great teacher factors into his/her curated collection. There is no singular technology that will be the answer to all of our educational woes. What we can hope for is that in the coming years there will be more educators stepping into the spotlight to offer feedback, volunteer for beta testing in their classroom, and speak on panels at conferences such as SxSWedu.
Right now I am most interested in solving the issue of teacher and parent engagement in the field of edtech. If you have ideas or a community with which you feel can help, reach out through the contact me page of EdGeeks.com. Looking forward to changing the world with you.