Stop, Improve, Start is a six-part series that looks at current trends and research to help faculty, instructors, and education and training providers meet the evolving needs of students. EdTech is the sixth and final instalment in the series.
- Stop thinking of EdTech as a replacement for the work of teachers and see the product or service you are developing as a way to strengthen the relationship between teacher and student. Learning is about experience, engagement and relationships just as much as it is about knowledge and understanding. Focus on products that help teachers and students work well together and give meaning to that relationship.
- Stop seeing assessment products as about content mastery. See them more as an opportunity for reflective analysis of where the student and teacher are on their learning journey. So many assessment products are focused just on content mastery and comparative performance metrics, and so few are focused on helping teacher and student improve how they learn.
- Stop focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as the only driver of the future. Augmented and virtual reality resources, design-based challenges and soft-skills simulations are desperately needed for students in the creative arts, history, social studies and other areas.
- Improve the honesty, integrity and authenticity of product descriptions. So many product claims in the past were exaggerated or over-hyped. Explain what the product does, what its limitations are, what value it offers to teachers and students, and what the pipeline for improvements looks like. Don’t pretend an assessment system developed for North America will work without modification and change in Australia. Honesty sells more than hype.
- Improve the connectivity with other products and services. Application programming interface (API) integration is an essential requirement, especially for student information systems, learning management systems and related software. The key challenge in building APIs is data security.
- Improve the integration and use of Indigenous ways of knowing into design and development. Inclusion is about more than employment. It’s also about leveraging different ways of knowing, thinking and experiencing the world in design thinking.
- Start collaborating with those who are actively engaged in learning to help your design and development. Too many products are coming to market without the involvement of teachers and students, and they do not reflect what teachers or students can effectively use. This applies as much to learning-related systems as it does to assessment or reporting systems. The next generation of successful products will emerge from collaboration.
- Start realizing that few products will work if the approach is “one size fits all.” Opportunities to adapt, modify and ensure products can be intergrated are key. Indeed, the future landscape is about building flexible platforms that are combinations of products, rather than the “killer app.”
- Start paying more attention to cybersecurity and privacy. Data risks increase as the API connections increase. How can your products or services reduce cybersecurity risks while maintaining flexibility? What measures are taken in your suite of products and services to protect privacy?