5 reasons why your Edtech product is on a classroom shelf

A few months ago, I attended a digital learning conference with other education colleagues here in Chicago. Regardless of a new product or teaching strategy, the barriers teachers face when it comes to making changes in a school district have not changed since I was teaching in the classroom. years ago.

Education is moving slowly, teachers have their hands tied, obstacles are difficult to overcome, a hierarchy is in place, and there is not enough time in the day.

Also, for the first time, we have four generations in the workplace: those born without technology and others who don’t know life without. This type of environment can derail anyone. However, if and when all teachers and support staff work together, the outcome may be different.

As a teacher, education consultant and writer, I have worked with various educational or edtech startups since 2014. Through this experience I can see inside and outside the classroom respectively.


Although education technology is a global market that tips the scales at $ 4 trillion, with little to show for real profit, venture capitalists are still interested in the education space.

In addition, according to EdSurge, $ 1.45 billion in venture capital was invested in education startups in the United States in 2018.

Education itself is a difficult, messy and confusing market for returns to the venture capital scale. School districts, teachers and universities do not move quickly, but rather slowly and quickly. And surprisingly, without any research, most startups will find out how slowly the education industry changes when they try to bring their product to market, especially without verifying if they even need the service.

Almost all of the various freemium tools that go straight from producer to educator have struggled to monetize their efforts, which can leave educators in dire straits and startups with empty pockets.

Here are five reasons why your Edtech product may collect dust on a classroom shelf.

Lack of communication

If you are running an edtech business, active and ongoing teacher communication and professional development are essential to your success. Regular collaboration, buying contacts, and working together to form a support community can help ensure your product doesn’t collect dust on a shelf. The more humane and attentive you are to the needs of teachers, the more people will remember you. In addition, there is a better chance that a school will upgrade your product from the freemium version to the premium version, or renew a subscription. The education system, its functioning and its structure are notions that are difficult to grasp for those outside the field.

All edtech companies should maintain these critical conversations.

Teachers are compartmentalized

One of the biggest hurdles I’ve seen when it comes to adapting schools to a new product or strategy is the fact that most educators work in their own bubble.

When educators choose to work only alone, this type of behavior leads to one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to any kind of school change. When teachers don’t support each other, everyone suffers. If teachers come together and build community, all students and teachers benefit.

Student and teacher learning can flourish when all educators come together and bring different perspectives working towards the same vision. Cooperation, communication and collaboration are the key to success when it comes to any type of change in a school environment.

All startups must be interested in the school culture of their market. This way, they can support their buyers with the right kind of communication, cooperation and collaboration.

The company was acquired

Another interesting topic discussed at the conference quite often was about startups and how quickly they are acquired. In fact, one teacher told us that various programs purchased by her school district during the summer were already collecting dust because the founders of two companies had left before they could even start the school year. She went on to tell us that there was no more customer service, the websites were gone and that she couldn’t find anyone to help her with the products.

When startups shut down without providing an exit plan to their buyers, they create a sense of loss of confidence in the next product or strategy they might develop. If another company acquires your edtech startup, be sure to follow up with your buyers, transfer the right support, and help them pick up where you left off. No one likes a business that suddenly disappears – it’s not good for business, not good for teachers and students.

Confused corporate culture

Last week I had a great conversation with Eugene Swank, co-founder and CEO of Propellant Labs. Swank is a serial entrepreneur who has touched various types of businesses and niches including education. One interesting thing we both noticed as we chatted was the mindset of entrepreneurs as well as educators when it comes to startups.

During our conversation, we both talked about a major missing piece: teachers who lack business knowledge build businesses without the insight of entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs build edtech businesses and forgo the crucial contribution of teachers. and industry knowledge.

When these two do not come together to support each other’s strengths, more often than not, the startup will fail quickly. Teachers and entrepreneurs come from two different backgrounds and need to take the time to learn, support each other, and understand both sides of the industry.

Too many choices

Finally, a primary concern that started to surface quite often was about technology and choices. There are too many apps and choices to choose from which can leave teachers and leaders above their heads.

In fact, we’ve learned that some school districts have over 3,500 apps to choose from on a daily basis.

Having so many types of product offerings in a school district can never put anyone on the same page and will most likely lead to mass confusion. If your school is considering a purchase, it is essential to ensure that the product is a good fit and meets the needs of the school or district.

When people make buying decisions, no one likes to feel overwhelmed or worried about making the wrong choice. When we have too many options, many people may have a tendency to close, give up, or walk away. Leadership in schools should implement a fun program where everyone has a voice, and startups should not over-offer or become repetitive as this can overwhelm your potential clients.

thank’s for The learning board, where I was able to discuss and learn from my teaching colleagues.

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