The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conducted a survey at an education summit last year, and this is what they discovered:
Of the thousands of ed-tech products on the market, barely half of teachers think they’re effective.
The study was based on a survey of more than 3,100 educators nationwide and flew in the face of many major companies promoting their ed-tech software.
So what’s the issue, here?
It’s that there are huge gaps between the products that are available and what teachers actually say they want in their classrooms. They’re seeking technology that will help their students adapt to high-stakes tests and the nuances of strict new standards like the Common Core.
“There’s a Steve Jobs quote, ‘People don’t know what they want; you have to tell them.’ That doesn’t apply in education,” said Tanesha Dixon, a middle school social studies teacher in Washington DC. “I’m a professional educator. I know what I want. You don’t have to tell me.”
What Dixon wants is technology that helps her students think critically and make connections in curriculum.
Arelys Villeda, a Chicago public school teacher, is searching for technology that allows her students to engage with one another.
“Communication is such an important part of the skills gap, and I have yet to see a single product that allows my kids to connect with each other, instead of just sitting on iPads with their headphones on.”
All this sets up the corporate comment that can only be described as showing an amazing grasp of the obvious:
“We’re quickly realizing that we have to spend much more time talking to teachers,” said Linda Zecher, the CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a large publisher that’s been moving increasingly into the ed-tech and digital space. “We used to talk to the district IT guys. More and more, it’s teachers; they’re the ones who have to believe that adoption will work in their classrooms.”
Isn’t it refreshing, then, that ed-tech software is out there because teachers asked for it?
That’s what happened with one of the most successful software presentation products in recent times:
And that’s how the Easy Sketch Pro – Schools Edition came to be.
Not only did it meet the needs of the teachers who made the request, it met the budget constraints under which most schools must function.
Include the fact that students get totally engaged with it, and Easy Sketch Pro – Schools Edition has become a win-win-win.