Monday, March 3, 2014

Teacherpreneurs?

Recently, I read an article by Paul Moss, "2015-2020: The Rise of the Teacherprenuer" in which he said:

An Abundance Of Ineffective TechnologyThe third condition is an unintentional result of a booming edtech industry. Entrepreneurs have flocked to the field like prospectors to a gold rush. However, such an interest in the market has resulted in a paradox for educators. While many innovations have benefited teaching and learning, many have not, and the exploitation of a na├»ve sector by edtech entrepreneurs has usurped valuable energies and disillusioned teachers and administrators alike.
Many open-minded teachers willing to give new technologies a go have become disenchanted by the surfeit of ineffective tools, because edtech companies in their hype and push to sell sell sell at all cost have delivered tools that perhaps only marginally improve outcomes for teachers, or worse, don’t at all.
The result is the absurd situation where principals and administrators feel like they have saturated their teachers with technology, to the point of being afraid to implement anything new for fear of demanding more professional development from teachers.
And all this at a time when edtech is only in its infancy.
The inevitable consequence is that schools will become ever more guarded against edtech companies promising to be the saving of their school, and look inwards to scalable innovation. That search within its own ranks will now be fruitful, as the innovators are now there.
They are the teacherpreneurs.

As a co-organizer of EdTech Austin and EdTech Women Austin, I can agree that there is a need for more teachers leading edtech product change as opposed to entrepreneurs leading product development.

Because educators are flooded by new technologies daily, many feel they cannot keep up with the change and, therefore, shutdown using technology.

To fight this, it is important that technology be a part of best practices. The definition of technology must also change. When I talk to teachers, oftentimes, they think of technology as devices and apps rather than a change in thought - a change in perspective. And, this is the key. We need both educators and entrepreneurs to shift their idea on what technology is. As long as we view it as devices and applications, educators will continue to be flooded with more devices that prove ineffective. Instead, if we view it as a change in thought - a shift to collaborative thinking and learning, the end result change. Likewise, if educators and students drive product change rather than those in the tech sector, the "edtech" market will change.

So, we need the following:

  • a shift in our definition of technology
  • more teachers behind the drivers' seat regarding tech development
  • a shift in our view of edtech to one of best practices. 
When can we get started?!

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