How do we make it easier for schools and educators to find, judge and adapt solutions to fit their needs?

With dozens of providers and hundreds of products to choose from (and many of them using proprietary devices or technologies), educators need help in finding applications that match their students’ needs.

Overview

  • There is no way for decision makers to easily discover relevant solutions

    • The ed tech space has become incredibly crowded, and there is no centralized marketplace where decision makers can go to learn about what solutions exist.
    • There are very few places where information about ed tech solutions is collected, systematized and made easily accessible.
    • In places where information is centralized, it is not organized in a way that makes it easy for leaders to find out about solutions that fit their schools' context and needs.
  • There are no reliable methods for comparing different solutions to find what works

    • Expert ratings do not exist; user reviews are few and far between and unreliable at best.
    • No quantitative measures of quality have been developed for ed tech products since no one knows where to look for impact.
    • Traditional metrics like test scores and attendance are unreliable and have only tangential bearing on the goals of many ed tech solutions.
  • Decision makers stick with their current legacy products because it is low effort and low risk

    • Without a central marketplace, ed tech solution discovery can be time consuming and inefficient
    • Lack of metrics make it extremely hard to reliably tell whether a solution will produce positive results
    • Decision-makers must be able to justify their decisions with evidence, which is severely lacking in the space
  • See it

  • iNACOL National Standards
  • Edsurge product profiles

 

 

Current Efforts

  • Edsurge was founded in 2011 with the backing of the Gates Foundation. It provides user-submitted profiles on ed tech products and is currently building a review system for solutions.

  • Common Sense Media is currently developing a database of quality ratings for ed tech applications.

  • The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) has developed National Standards for Online Teaching, Online Courses, and Online Programs.

    • ​Guidelines are expected to be monitored and implemented by individual districts.