6 Back to School Tips for Edtech Companies
As summer reaches its peak, and fall gears up to make its arrival, students, parents, teachers, and administrators are all preparing for the beginning of a new academic year. So many gains were made last year, and they are eager to build upon that success. When we talk about education stakeholders who are concerned with starting the school year off right, we rarely, if ever, talk about edtech companies. They too are an integral part of the school community, as they provide a valuable service.
So how do edtech companies stay on their “A” games to begin the new school year? Not to worry, we have you covered. In this piece, we will discuss back to school tech tips that will help your edtech company get off to a running start and sustain that momentum until summer break comes around again.
- Offer free professional development. During the weeks leading up to the first day of school, schools offer a host of professional development opportunities for their employees. They want to make sure that they have all the skills that they need to be successful. For some teachers, these sessions are only refreshers but help them get motivated about teaching again. Since first-year teachers are like baby deer learning how to walk for the first time, they are the subsection of teachers that will benefit the most. When it comes to districts in high poverty and even middle-class communities, the professional development budget is limited. Edtech companies should pitch in by offering free professional development sessions to their partner school districts. Helping districts prepare their educators for the new school year will be seen for what it is, a grand gesture, which will help solidify your relationship for years to come. Stop attempting to make more money by charging for professional development and offer it for free. Are you more concerned about the students who will benefit from retooled teachers or filling your wealthy investor’s pockets with money?
- Elicit feedback from teachers. One benefit of offering free professional development to school districts is direct access to teachers. Take this opportunity to elicit feedback about your product. You can use this valuable information to upgrade your product, which will make all parties involved happy.
- Schedule meetings with administrators. If you are a successful or even fledgling edtech company I take it that your clients are spread out across the U.S., which means you don’t get a chance to visit them as often as you would like. Block off the months before school officially starts and visit as many school districts as you can. This will give you an opportunity to sit down with administrators in depth, as their schedules are little more flexible during this time. Don’t get me wrong, they are busy year-round, but the summer months are not as hectic as the regular school year. Take the time to talk to them face to face about your product’s performance, and even ways to expand your partnership. Since educators are superhuman, they respect it when people from other industries go the extra mile.
- Sponsor back to school events. Think of outside of the box ways to partner with your school districts for back to school events. Sponsor a back to school cookout or block party. The students, teachers, and parents who attend will be appreciative and will always remember the good time that they had. Whatever it is, the partnering district will be grateful for your good will, and your commitment to helping them in whatever way you can. Don’t forget to invite local journalists. You aren’t doing this for the publicity, but why waste a good photo opp. Neighboring districts who are not using your product will think to themselves, “Wow, I wish our edtech partners did things like this for us.”
- Give away school supplies. Edtech companies should give away school supplies not only in the communities in which they are headquartered but also in communities where their school partners are located. Partner with your school district to give away backpacks full of school supplies. Allow students to enter a raffle to win a free tech device “laptop, tablet, etc.). If a school has a food pantry or clothing closet for students in need, donate to those as well. If you want to alert the media, go ahead, the news of good deeds deserves to be spread.
- Offer scholarships. Continuing the theme of giving back to the communities in which you operate, edtech companies should consider offering scholarships to students who graduate from schools run by their partners. Consider giving 1-5 full or partial scholarships a year to students in each school district. This will foster goodwill and strengthen your relationships with all your school partners. If you want to alert the media, go ahead, the news of good deeds deserves to be spread.
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