Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 things to remember about teachers when you are building your edtech product

1 - teachers are among the busiest people on the planet.  The best thing you can do for a teacher is to save them time so that they can focus more on their students.

One of the biggest uses for zeal is personalizing homework.  It is incredible how valuable saving a couple hours a week of assembly and grading of homework are to most teachers.

2 - a teacher lives and dies by how their school day goes.  Tools that make it go more smoothly (better instruction, better planning, better assessment, better management etc) are what teachers need.

A great example here is class dojo.  Teachers manage their school day with this tool and the adoption has been incredible.

3 - teachers are very social people by nature and care about human relationships.  The more your system unlocks that sociability, the more engagement you will get.

Edmodo figured this out better than anyone else.

4 - don't make the mistake of thinking a teacher's students are your customers.  If you are trying to improve the lives/performance of kids, you should, but remember that if the person choosing your software is a teacher, your value proposition has to be to them.

We spend a lot of time improving learning velocity of students on zeal, but make no mistake that an incisive report or graph that a teacher can use to better understand a student is worth its weight in gold.

5 - if you have not taught, it is a disadvantage, and the only way to overcome that is to spend a lot of time in the classroom user testing your product.

We have more than one teacher on our founding team, but we still spend at least 8 hours per week user testing with teachers and students.

1 comment:

  1. Love your recognition of what teachers really need. I'm not a software developer, but I was once a good teacher noted for helping students develop critical thinking skills in English classes. I also helped them find their creativity and develop intuition and empathy in drama classes.

    Is there something I could do to help your company?