Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Educational technology cannot be created in a vacuum

I was very excited this morning to get the news from George @Veletsianos that our #sxswedu panel had been voted on and won!  Meaning, we will be presenting at SXSWedu in Austin, TX sometime between March 3rd and March 6th.

Our session:

"Startups should talk with researchers & educators"

Flickr souvenirsofcanada
Education is facing numerous challenges. Educational technology startups promise solutions. However, entrepreneurs seem to disregard the knowledge that educators and researchers have amassed that can help startups address these challenges, or, at least, help them avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. At the same time, we were astounded by the lack of educators and researchers that were sharing their knowledge at last year’s SXSWedu conference. The event felt more like a vendor gathering than what the SXSWedu website describes as "meaningful conversation and collaboration around promising practices and tools for improved learning.” If we want meaningful and transformational change in how we do education, it is imperative for entrepreneurs and educators/researchers to converse. In this interactive panel, we will discuss how educators/researchers can help startups improve their products and answer questions pertaining to education research, how people learn, and classroom practice. - See more at:

See: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/21723#sthash.54YgfsPB.dpuf or http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/21723


Flickr souvenirsofcanada
Last year, I was very lucky that my friend and colleague, @laurapasquini, invited me to sit on a panel about social media.

It was my first time at any #sxsw event, and I was very excited to attend a new conference hoping for new discussions and conversations that would help drive education technology development in higher education.  I was a bit overwhelmed at the number of tech companies, start-ups, in attendance.  As the educators/researchers starting instantly connecting with each other, I was amazed at how little of a group of us there was at the conference. For something with "edu" in the title, I wasn't seeing a lot of "edu" at the conference or involved in the dialogue.

Recently, I have become more focused on partnering with vendors to help shape the technologies that meet our needs in edu and better identify the ways in with educator/researchers can collaborate and partner with vendors, ed tech start-ups to develop applications.  Also, we have a vision and strategy and are looking for specific technological solutions to help us fulfill goals.  Many of these solutions are in their infant stages.  With the speed of change these days, we no longer have the luxury of waiting for applications to hit the market, be vetted by an array of educational institutions, and a finalized product to be disseminated throughout higher ed.  We are at a point, that educational institutions, educators, and researchers need to be collaborating with tech companies earlier in the product development cycle.

How many actually understand the importance of these early collaborations?  First, folks from all sides need to understand that not only can we help each other, we need other.  We need to understand what we can each bring to the table and how to work effectively with each other.

Education institutions have been working with vendors for years.  We understand how instructors need to be supported and how students need to be supported.  We have experience with several models of vendor support for instructors and students as well as university models for instructor and student support.  Also, many of these processes are pretty standardized at this point.  We know how to align technologies with our strategic plans, justify our needs for the technology, engage student and faculty, support student and instructors, implement and diffuse the solutions, and evaluate the effectiveness of solutions.

Educational institutions bring a wealth of knowledge of providing research of the effectiveness of a technology solution on teaching and learning.  We have theoretical frameworks and methodological practices, including instrument development, data gathering, and data analyses expertise and resources.  We have avenues to disseminate these findings.

These findings and experiences can help edu tech start-ups improve their support processes, identify problems, highlight product features needed by educators, and prioritize problem reports and feature requests.  Most importantly, researchers can provide evidence for whether or not they actually improve student outcomes.  It is ALL about the student learning, is it not?

At the end of the day, I don't want to hear a salesperson or account manager form technology company X telling my about a product, I want I a colleague from a fellow institution to share with me their experience using the technology.  I want to know what need the application is meeting, what support needs they experienced, and whether it works or not.

So, my SXSWedu 2013 experience not only resulted in this panel, it resulted in my continuing my work in this area of need -- how to connect these companies with educators/researchers, so as a shameless plug, but yet important to my plight, the following #EDU13 sessions, EDUCAUSE annual conference presentations, hit on the same topics.

Make sure to check out my post, Come See Me at EDUCAUSE!

Flickr souvenirsofcanada
Specifically, here are a couple presentations that hit on the topic:

Prepare for Lift-Off: Becoming a Successful IT Pilot Site

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 9:40am-10:20am 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:40pm-4:30pm

Tanya Joosten @tjoosten, George Veletsianos @veletsianos, Amy Collier @amcollier

Exploring Ginkgotree: Increasing Access, Engagement, and Learning

Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:40pm-3:30pm

Tanya Joosten @tjoosten, Dylan Barth @dylanbarth, Ginkgotree @ginkgotree

So, what are your thoughts?  What is the relationship between edu vendors and tech starts ups and edu (institutions, researchers, and educators)?

It is not all about CIOs and who can authorize the purchase ;)


Elizabeth J. Neal said...

I wasn't seeing a lot of "edu" at the conference or involved in the dialogue. education technology news

janiffer suiz said...

Each time I used to always check blog posts within the first hours in the break of day, because I like to get information increasingly more.acai berry supplements