A Personal Concierge

[In this article Edsurge explains how its trying to find the intersection between administrative needs and available products and companies. Edsurge has been a leader in this domain through its series of Edsurge Summits. I’m working with Edsurge to produce a Summit as part of the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference on November 3-4 in Pittsburgh. (www.tretc.org) ]

by Betsy Corcoran
Jun 23, 2015

ConciergeFor the past six months, EdSurge has been experimenting with developing a product. Our efforts are still at an exploratory stage. Even so, we want to share what we’ve been doing, what we’ve learned and our next steps.

Since we began, EdSurge has aimed to bridge the gap between the users and creators of education technology. We’ve done this through reporting and writing news, sharing your stories and hosting events across the country. We’ve also tried to make sense of this growing, intricate industry through our Edtech Index.

Even so, the challenge and cost of getting the most appropriate tools into the hands of the people who need them is still really high. Educators say that they spend hours sifting through research, emails and demos to find tools that meet their needs. Companies underwrite big sales and marketing pushes without being sure they’re reaching customers in the right time or manner.

Reports from Digital Promise and the John Hopkins School of Education have chronicled these inefficiencies, as have the Center for Reinventing Public Education. Or ask an educator or an edtech entrepreneur. Chances are, you’ll hear the same frustrations.

Whether measured by time or money, it’s still too hard to find the right tool for the right need.

After watching thousands of users find each other through our Index and at our Summits, we wanted to do more. We wanted to make it easier for educators to find the most appropriate products for their needs and for companies to find the customers who need them most.

What if finding the right tools and customers was more personalized? What would it be like if both companies and educators had their own personal advisor? Someone like a hotel concierge, who was knowledgeable about the territory? And yes, someone who was truly neutral about whether you wanted front-row symphony tickets or a late-night slice of pizza?

That’s how the idea for our Edtech Concierge was born.

Read more…

Study: Teachers Love EdTech, They Just Don’t Use It – Edudemic

See on Scoop.itUsing Technology to Transform Learning

The visual below takes a look at some teachers’ opinions on edtech, and as the visual might have given away – it isn’t optional, it’s essential! Keep reading to learn more.

Norton Gusky‘s insight:

There’s a reality about the allure of technology versus the usage of digital technology. The visual in this story really brings this home.

See on www.edudemic.com

First Five Days of School

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to think about the start of the school year. eSchoolNews highlighted in the July 19 online edition the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston. At this year’s conference Ed-Tech thought leader, Alan November, asked educational leaders from around the globe to focus on the first five days of school.  According to the article:

While there is general agreement that the first five days of school are “absolutely essential” for establishing a culture of learning that will set the right tone for the rest of the year, there is very little research or discussion about how to make these first five days the most relevant and productive they can be, said ed-tech thought leader Alan November. Kicking off his Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference in Boston July 18, November announced a new project to change that. Called “First Five Days,” the project aims to start an international conversation about how to make the start of the school year the best it can be, to foster the greatest chance for success. November invited educators to share their ideas and experiences on the online professional development community created by his consulting firm, November Learning. To participate, go to http://blc.vxcommunity.com, click on “Register,” then click on the “Five” tab. There is also a new Twitter hashtag, #1st5days, that educators can use to share their ideas via the popular micro-blogging service.

Each day of the conference participants responded to surveys on key questions regarding the first five days of school. For instance, here’s a graph showing how the balance looked between content and process:

Poll from Building Learning Communities Conference

Based on my over 20 years as an educational technology leader I’ll share some of the key issues I faced. I hope you’ll respond and make this a collaborative effort.

The Challenges:

  • Updating and upgrading teacher laptops – At the Fox Chapel Area School District we had a 3 year plan for upgrading end-user devices for staff members. The hardest part was getting teachers to turn in their laptop for the update or upgrade. I had a team of students who did much of the work during the summer with one of my tech staff members supervising.
  • Updating information systems – I tried to make sure we updated our student information system, parent notification, our financial management system, or whatever systems required an update. Most vendors published their updates over the summer. We never knew what to expect until teachers, administrators, or parents logged into the upgraded systems that first week of school. In order to be proactive we sent email to all users, but there were always people who never read their mail.
  • Updating student accounts – The worst situation was Edline. I still cannot figure out how a company the size of Edline cannot figure out how to move students from one building to another. With Edline we had to have all middle school and high school students start with new accounts. This also meant that parents had to address the change of accounts. The first month, not just the first five days, was always incredibly challenging. In order to make this work as well as possible, we had mandatory sessions for all sixth grade students at the middle school. All ninth grade “homeroom” teachers received directions on exactly what to say and do. Messages went out to all parents. However, you know the results! There were still many issues that took days, weeks to resolve.

What can you add to the list? How did you resolve your problems?