DisconnectED – The Disconnect between Educational Technology and Educators

Last week I attended the SxSWedu Conference in Austin, TX. I wrote about it all week on EdGeeks.com if you’re interested in checking out inspiration, thoughts, reflections and hopes for 2013.

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.

Comments (7)

  1. I liked very most your post.

    • Sorry…I liked VERY MUCH!!!! It’s so terrible to write after teaching the whole day!

      • I know what that’s like! Thanks for reading:)

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  3. Great post, Marisa! The company I work for “got” this when they decided to hire me, a teacher, to reach out to its teacher-users. EdTech tools are only as good as those who use them; without a teacher on the team, it’s impossible to share best practices, get meaningful feedback, and advocate for useful product enhancements.

    • Thanks so much for reading! It is pretty fantastic to hear that edtech companies are hiring teachers. I imagine it is way more effective to do teacher outreach when you are actually a teacher. StudyBlue is lucky to have a committed teacher on their team:)

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