As an assistant principal in the early 2000’s, I witnessed firsthand a technology transformation that seemingly overwhelmed both educators and students. From 1997 to 1999, the ratio of students to computers went from 21:1 to 10:1, a ratio that would seem absurd to students today. I explicitly remember sitting in a conference in New Orleans in 2000, when a man stood up in front of thousands of educators – with a Palm Pilot in hand – and told us to accept the fact that education would be driven through technology moving forward. Our language, how we assess students, how we interact with students and parents, would all be forever changed by technology.
Fast forward to 2006, when I decided to join the technology revolution by launching an EdTech company, Interactive Achievement. We believed with our whole being, that we were the innovators who would change education forever, not unlike every other EdTech company. We became part of an ecosystem in education – solving problems for school districts and changing education in every classroom.
Simultaneously, another technology revolution was happening; crowdsourcing and social media were sweeping across the internet. We could instantly connect with people and learn opportunities abound. Now, people believed that technology could help curate, review, and contribute to the content and knowledge to transform the world. What an amazing concept!
For the next 15 years, the world flourished in the technology revolution, while also learning to exploit this new system. Technology became a tool, then it became our source of truth. If it was on the internet, it was believed factual. Smart phone in hand, we lived the next 15 years – for better or worse – believing everyone on the internet was an expert.
This same “truth” can be debunked in about 15 minutes in today’s world, yet our opinions can be swayed with every piece of data we ingest (a tweet, video, photo, etc.), often without vetting or monitoring. Like never before, we look to trusted sources and peers to make nearly every personal and professional decision in our lives and businesses – especially purchasing and investment decisions.
And the education world is no different. The quest to identify, evaluate, and select the appropriate education technology solutions to meet district needs is a daunting one, to say the least. Many resources are invested, and unfortunately, purchases made do not always produce the desired results. Like any other technology investment, buyers expect value realization and often do not know where to turn for sound advice.
Sound advice is not paid positioning of online reviews or advertising plugs for the solution that cures all. Instead, I suggest unbiased, experienced, and credible peers that can bridge the gap between educators and the EdTech solutions that can pave the way to success. An opportunity for EdTech Providers to be trusted to empower school districts and accelerate innovation with real-world feedback and product roadmap guidance. Together, we can take advantage of everything technology has to offer and get back to focusing on our collective mission – educating our future.
Author: Jon Hagmaier
CEO, Veracity Verification Solutions