The edtech marketplace is booming, rife with bold ideas and exciting new ventures. The problem, though, is that too many ed-tech vendors and content creators develop their products in a vacuum, bypassing the very people they’re meant to serve: teachers and students. I’ve heard from plenty of educators who - while navigating the glut of classroom tech - have found many themselves less-than-satisfied with so much of what’s available.
In fact, I recently joined a Twitter chat with an amazing group of kindergarten teachers and asked how ed-tech providers can better reach educators like them. Their response? Talk to them, ask them their input and, most importantly, listen. It’s such obvious advice, but unfortunately, it goes unheeded far too often.
As someone who is passionate about the possibilities of technology in education, I wanted to share some of the ways we involved teachers in our product development, with the hope that more and more of my compatriots in the ed-tech space do the same. I also wanted to start a discussion to discover more ways to ensure we’re all delivering tools that teachers, students and parents both need and can use.
With the amount of time and money spent on product development, not bringing teachers in early and often means that, at best, you will have to spend additional production time and precious capital on the back end making adjustments. And at worst, you will have to head back to the drawing board altogether. Either way, it’s simply bad business not to include the end user in the design process.