Thursday, February 20, 2014

#edtechbridge survey responses (part 1): What would you like to see us accomplish?

SXSWEdu is quickly approaching and Katya Hott (@katyamuses) and I (@mr_isaacs) are presenting a problem solving session, Bridging the Teacher-Entrepreneur Divide.  The goal of our session is to work with participants to create an artifact that can live on after SXSWEdu and provide a community space for EdTech Entrepreneurs and Educators to collaborate in order to better meet the needs of our students and create effective products.  

In preparation of our session we have created and distributed a survey to recruit ideas and generate interest in teachers and developers who would like to participate in this community.  If you have not completed it already, please take a moment to do so.

As of today, February 20, 2014, we have received 26 responses.  I would like to share the data as it should serve as a great conversation starter as we move forward.

The survey consisted of 15 questions.  I will share the responses over the next few blog posts.

When it comes to EdTech entrepreneur/teacher collaboration, what would you like to see us accomplish as a group?

  • I would like to see us build a community and an infrastructure for teachers and entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate to create awesome educational products. My particular interest is in game based learning and game design and development.
  • I'd like to open up the dialogue about innovative activities districts/schools/teachers are employing in the classrooms. What do teachers want to see? What are the trends? What do teachers THINK are the trends? (this can be very different from the actual trends). It'd be great to springboard discussion on how teachers and entrepreneurs can best work together to further student achievement and engagement. 
  • Figure out best practices to connect the two groups so that they can conveniently and effectively work together to create great learning tools/environments.   
  • I would like to see more formal and informal opportunities occurring online as well as around the country/world that enable educators and edtech entrepreneurs to more easily communicate, collaborate, and to just be able to find each other in general. In other words, how to we create space and opportunity for edtech entrepreneurs to more easily find educators who are interested in collaboration and for interested educators to find edtech entrepreneurs or startups that are actively seeking educators as collaborators (but not necessarily as employees -- lots of job search sites exist, but I'm an referring to something more along the lines of but for this type of collaboration)... And also how can we support these two groups with their communication and collaboration skills, methods, strategies, etc.
  • I'd love to work in collaboration with teachers to build better learning games.
  • Supporting each other in seeing each others' needs and goals, and supporting best communication. Helping to see pitfalls in quick off-the-cuff communication and solicitation
  • bridge the divide between educators & ed tech developers -- ensure teachers & students' voices are heard
  • Two way street of idea pitching (preventing shovelware)
    Best practices/guidelines (preventing shovelware)
    Events (G+ hangouts and/or physical)
    Collaboration of taking an idea to the market
  • Creating a community in which educators provide entrepreneurs valuable insight and feedback into the needs in education and entrepreneurs using this information to improve/enhance their product(s).
  • Subverting the dominant paradigm
  • Come to a consensus that the ultimate goal is engaged, student learning.
  • establishing connections with schools and entrepreneurs who are willing to test ideas. establishing connections with teachers who can give feedback and contribute to the development of better products
  • I'd like to see a greater expansion of gamification among administrators, teachers, and students. Additionally, a discussion into new and upcoming technologies would be a great springboard for future collaborations.
  • Provide honest respectful space for dialogue and knowledge sharing
  • Share Information, see new trends and solutions
  • Teacher development in technology and more tech in low-income schools. 
  • Partnerships and internship opportunities for students to gain valuable experience.
  • Making things affordable for teachers who have to pay for technology out of their own pockets because the district doesn't have enough money to support all the technology we want to use.
  • More opportunities to share ideas, collaboration opportunities and partnerships with existing startups, funding/grants for teachers to pursue projects.
  • Simple tools even reluctant teachers will use that have room for creative expression.   
  • I'd like the group to refine a set of best practices, and help build the reputation of this type of collaboration in both contexts as a valuable contribution to everyone's efforts in the education sphere.
  • A few things:

    1. Selfish Reason: The way we build better apps is having conversations with educators and being immersed in your world. I want being a part of this group to lead to better apps.

    2. Bigger Picture Reason: I would love to see schools continue to shift to prepare students for the kinds of careers we have. This shift would involve focus on iteration, learning as a process (not an event), and just being more production/creation focused in general. I know this is a challenge because there are a lot of external forces (politics, etc) that are pushing against it (standardized testing, etc). I think there is a lot of opportunity here though - the reasoning for these policies is similar (to prepare students for the future). There is just a mismatch between (in my opinion) what policy makers see and what businesses & educators see leading to this outcome. The opportunity is for businesses and educators to get together and plead our case.
  • Continuing to bring teachers together. Google hangouts and other online communication is great but doing a grant to get us together in person would be amazing.  
More to come, but I believe digesting the open ended questions one at a time is probably wise.  Writing this post provided me with a great opportunity to really read through the responses.  Clearly, developers and educators want to work together for the right reasons.  That is not the question.  How we can facilitate this remains to be the question.  I am excited to meet with everyone at SXSWEdu, but see that simply as a starting point.  Beyond SXSWEdu is when the rubber hits the road.  There's no doubt that the desire for this collaboration is there.  Now it's time to make it happen in a significant manner.