Monday, March 10, 2014

Revamping the Google Action Plan and Changing the World

Last summer, my life changed.

I met a group of educators so passionate about changing the world that I could not help but try and make a larger impact.

It started when I sat down next to Stephanie Cerda (@Ms_Cerda) at our #brewcue leading up to the 2013 Chicago Google Teacher Academy. As I turned to say, "I'm Christy Fennewald from Austin, Texas," she stopped me and said that she, too, was from Austin, Texas. And, from there, my life as an educator changed.

During the three short days the crew of #gtachi spent together, @Ms_Cerda and I realized that educators and students need a place in the drivers' seat of edtech development. Too often, edtech products are created and forced to fit into classrooms. Teachers say, "I love this tool but I have to find out how to fit it in my curriculum." And, that is not what we want to hear. We want teachers to say, "I need this to do...." In the prior example, teachers are centering their teaching around a tool that is bound to change. In the latter change, teachers and students are driving product change and are impacting the market.

With this belief in store, @Ms_Cerda and I set out to change the edtech world with our project, EdTech Connect. The premise is simple: Teacher fill out a Google Spreadsheet to list the things they want to see in edtech. Developers fill out the Spreadsheet to list their skills. Then...BAM! Ed Connects with Tech! Of course, we will follow up with the connections, provide support, and make sure teachers and students have a constant voice.

After attending SXSWedu, I realize more than ever how important this is. We must change the EdTech development cycle and give teachers and students the primary voice. Check out our project and while you're at it, fill out your needs! And, if you're looking to add more Ed into SXSWedu, check out this spreadsheet created by Lindsay Own and Stephanie Cerda - and add in your session ideas!

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