With the rise of new edtech companies, the competition to succeed in the industry grows each year. In 2016, the industry raised over 1 billion dollars. Staying ahead of the game and focusing on ways to outperform the competition is necessary for startups to stay alive. However, many companies are ignoring a valuable resource which they need for continued success. What is this untapped reservoir?
The answer you might not expect is teachers. Edtech companies often focus on technology development, testing, and integration. However, a significant number of them are doing so without the input of education professionals. What do traditional educators have to offer edtech companies? In short, a lot. Here are the most significant reasons edtech companies need to employ teachers.
Understanding Your Market
Unless you come from a teaching background before starting your edtech company, you likely don’t have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the education system. This lack of experience can make it hard to interact with potential buyers and sell your product. No matter what you offer, the rule is to know your customer.
Hiring a former or current educator as academic liaison is a smart decision. Teachers, principals, and district employees understand critical details about your intended client. A few examples of issues your new liaison can circumvent are curricular restrictions, budget cycles and the pressure to justify technology spending. Without prior knowledge of the educational system, you are going to sales meetings blind and hoping to land a whale. However, employing a professional will allow you to see the best ways to approach districts to make the deal.
Real World Application
Another way educators can help your edtech company is by working with product development. Developers often spend time and money solving “problems” which real teachers don’t have or feel are a priority. Listening to experienced teachers can help companies work on solving real world issues, improving classroom integration and making a product attractive to educators.
Having education professionals involved in your production process can also help companies understand how students and teachers can interact with their product. In demonstrations, giving realistic examples will go a long way to making the sale.
Each state has separate standards and assessments. Addressing these concerns can put your edtech startup above the competition with potential clients. Employing someone who has worked within the school system of Illinois, for example, will equip you to develop and sell a product to Illinois schools effectively.
It’s important to know whether the district you are selling to depends on common core or next generation science standards. The information an educator can give you about the curriculum, standards, and testing for each area is invaluable to your success.
There are many ways in which teachers can help improve the development, sale, and application of edtech products. The only question is, do you want to take advantage of their experience or be left behind? In a fast-developing world where startups often fail, you should consider taking the plunge to hire educators.
Tell us your thoughts. Are you an educator who can help edtech startups? Has your startup employed teachers? What are the challenges and benefits of hiring teachers?
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