EdTech Through the Eyes of Your Students

Is edtech the “embarrassing dad” to the education scene?

About a year ago, edtech student writer Soraya Shockley wrote a very revealing article titled, “A Teenagers View on Education Technology”.

Now you and I both know...the edtech scene is riddled with lofty claims and big promises.

Educators often suggest that Edtech tries to act like it’s the “end all be all” for learning.

But the issue educators have isn’t really with edtech but with the question, “what’s best for the learner?”.

With that question in mind, I really learned a lot about the students perspective from Shockley’s article.

I first discovered the post on Medium’s education thread, Bright. Bright focuses on innovation in education and always covers thought provoking topics.

If you’re an educator...start following Bright right now.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by edtech and the disconnect between promise and reality then you’ll appreciate Shockley’s point of view.

Edtech through the eyes of your students

In the Medium post, Shockley covers 8 popular edtech solutions for the classroom. She addresses Twitter, Google Drive, cheesy teacher websites, and even Interactive White Boards (I’ve never actually seen anyone use one successfully).

Her spot-on humour did a great job of covering some of the serious issues edtech is facing at the moment.

I felt like she gave a much needed voice to the real concerns of students and teachers.

I agree that cheating, distractions, privacy and inequality in access are major concerns.

And I kinda think Thrivist is leading the charge on theses issues. :-)

But the real issue still comes back to “what’s best for the learner?”.

And the first place to start... is by asking them.

Edtech has to start including students in more than just beta tests. We have to engage them and their ability to see the problems and solutions from a completely different perspective.

Questions like...

  • What do they think of the problem?
  • How do they think we could solve it?
  • How would they design this user interface?
  • How would they minimize distractions on iPads?

Instead of assuming we know...we have to include real students in the end to end solutions our industry is claiming to represent.

If we don’t...we stand to become that “embarrassing dad joke” our kids cringe at.

They love us but boy...they don’t want to be seen in public with us.

Let’s move beyond the beta test where students simply “try out the product”.

There’s a new era of edtech that’s approaching.

In this new era I think we’ll start to see teens and students being involved in the front end of the development process more directly.

This means as edtech continues to evolve you’ll see more students influencing product QA processes and UX/UI Design flow and product development.

The industry is changing. It’s entering into a new season.

It’s a season of classroom technology focused on real students.

In this new era, students like Shockley will become even more valued as a vital part of creating solutions to problems edtech is facing.

I'd love to know your opinion of this new season of edtech in the classroom.

Find me on twitter and let me know: Keith Cook


Matt Phillip Senior Marketing Manager at Thrivist, LLC