Ed Tech Pilots Without Flight Plans
In this episode, we talk about a Tinder-like tutoring app, give some publicity to the 10 ed tech companies you need to know about, Zuckerberg funds a news app for schools, and some suggestions for ed tech pilots.
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HackPSU Challenge –
Penn State EdTech Network hosted a hackPSU challenge. The competition was designed to have students think of a problem they have had in higher education and come up with a technology based solution. A team from Penn State Berks won the competition by creating an app named Studee. The concept of this app is to connect students with tutors in more obscure topics like PHP, HTML, or Chinese… areas that the University does not support with their own tutoring services. The app will be tested at PSU and hopefully will be spread to other Universities.
10 Ed Tech Companies You Need to Know About-
A Forbes article reports on the 10 EdTech Companies You Need To Know About. First on the list is Udemy, an online learning site that is influencing the present and future of online learning. Number 2 on the list is particularly interesting, it’s called Andela and it offers intensive programming courses in only Kenya and Nigeria. It is an ultra competitive environment to get in and those who graduate get coding jobs with American companies.
Xconomy reports that Newsela is trying to turn millennials into news junkies. Newsela is trying to tackle the problem of a generation that gets their news in small snippets from social media and is increasingly bombarded with click bait. Their concept is to write multiple versions and formats of news stories to try to cater to the consumption habits and reading levels of millennials. They just had a $15 million round of funding that included Mark Zuckerberg. The stories are also tailored to be of interest to younger people and it seems that they are trying to help create an emotional connection to the stories.
Ed Tech Pilots
Education week reports on a study that got some information about how districts run ed tech pilots. The study took a few school districts and looked at how they collect information about ed tech pilot programs. They found that there was a serious shortage of evaluations that were collected in a formal way. They mention that one of the problems with how they measure success of these pilots is through standardized testing data and that is rarely available in time to help make a purchasing decision. This study, to me, emphasizes just how bad the process of adding new ed tech to schools is.
They make some recommendations based on this data… a few of the notable suggestions:
- The ideas put forward by teachers and students should be incorporated throughout the process to create buy-in for the product
- Plans to evaluate products, and plans for what will occur after the pilot, should be conveyed to all parties
- A point-person should be assigned to deal with tech issues and other problems that emerge
Too often these suggestions aren’t talked about because it seems to be common sense, but through the experiences I have had and the news we have discussed it is pretty uncommon.