If Your Edtech Product Won’t Solve Actual Problems, We Don’t Need It
Educators have an endless pool of potential edtech products they can choose from to fill their classroom needs. They could spend hours wading through potential options, weighing the pros and cons of an expensive program. However, the reality is that very few of the available edtech programs are currently designed to solve an actual classroom problem. Teachers are being forced to use programs that don’t do anything to aid their instruction on a daily basis.
One of the most staggering statistics currently demonstrates how the trend has spiraled out of control. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, only 59 percent of teachers believe the edtech they are currently using meets student needs. This leaves more than forty percent of the edtech in today’s classrooms at subpar levels of performance for our students.
Edtech inventors often start from a place of wanting to impress teachers and students with their product. They aim for a major “wow” factor instead of productive problem-solving. Their entire basis for a fantastic product is how quickly it is implemented and how far-reaching the product is in the school systems.
They lack the background in academics that informs them on what real problems need to be fixed. Because they have never been responsible for an entire class of students, they don’t understand classroom management, curriculum standards, and other daily issues that face educators. Very few edtech inventors are interested in understanding the problems that teachers face on a regular basis.
School budgets are growing increasingly smaller, even though the amount of money spent on edtech is proportionally significant. Last year alone, almost $1.2 billion was invested into new edtech for the United States school system. Unfortunately, that money is wasted if it isn’t actually going to solve a problem that really exists.
An easy way for edtech companies to ensure they are creating a product that educators actually want is to talk with them. Interview teachers and administrators on what sort of problems they still need solutions for. Write down their ideas and then discover an innovative solution for their problem. Once you have an idea, it’s time to put it into practice and start marketing it to administrators and district officials.
Keep in mind that teachers want to know how effective this product is once they implement it in the classroom. Edtech companies need to find ways to add data management into the platform for educators to review. This can help teachers and administrators to see whether your product is meeting an actual need or whether their dollars would be better spent elsewhere. All edtech needs to serve a real and valuable purpose in the classroom.
When you consider the new product you could make, ask yourself and the educators around you whether it solves a real problem. If the answer is no, then our school systems don’t need another ineffective edtech product that is wasting valuable time and money.