Walking a Mile in a Teacher’s Shoes: The Role of the Teacher in Ed Tech Development
is a term that is more relevant today than ever. We know that
diversity is important in the workforce — not only in terms of race
and gender, but also in terms of someone’s knowledge and
background. Diversity can greatly help an ed tech company from a
research and development standpoint. And in the end, it can allow for
a more polished and well-thought-out final product.
Think about it this way. In order to successfully build an app or
product, you need insight and input from your audience. You need to
know how that audience works, how the product would benefit them, and
where the value lies. Without this knowledge, the resulting product
could fall flat.
This audience-driven success is no different in the ed tech space.
In order for an educational tool to be successful, it must fit the
needs of a classroom. So, who is better than a former educator to
help drive the development of a product? Their diverse skill set and
background might just be the key to success within the ed tech
The Perceptive Eye of a Teacher
Teachers spend years receiving in-depth training — not only in
theory, but in the classroom as well. Because of this, they are well
aware of how teaching methods and social-emotional elements affect
students. They know how each student learns and expresses their
knowledge. And they know what digital tools work best for learning
styles and needs.
Teachers also understand the impact of ed tech in the classroom.
They have seen up close what teaching is like, both virtually and
in-person. They know how ed tech can benefit themselves, other
teachers, administrators, and staff. They know digital tools can
improve the classroom experience for students, while adding to a
teacher’s skill set.
This experience and knowledge are both important for the ed tech
development process. And it will, in the end, identify what
Leveraging Teacher Knowledge
Ed tech companies should utilize the knowledge and experience of
teachers. And, hiring former teachers and school administrators can
help bridge this gap.
Having a diverse talent force can allow companies to "walk"
in a teacher’s shoes. The reality is that there is no replacement
for real-world experience. An ed tech company without teacher input
would miss out on the small details picked up when spending time with
students. These small details can make a major difference when
modeling new digital tools or improving existing ones. Ground-level
input from educators will result in products that solve real-world
Insight from an educator can paint a full picture of how digital
- Address specific needs of today’s students, teachers, and
- Impact students, teachers, and administrators while being used;
- Impact classroom workflow; and
- Improve the parent/guardian-teacher relationship
The Importance of Diverse Educator Perspectives
The celebrations and obstacles of a teacher are often unknown to
those who have never worked in the field. Being able to "level"
educator-to-educator is key in building trust and relationships. And
the ability to give caring and instructive messages to those on the
receiving end is invaluable.
Every ed tech company should work to make education as accessible
as possible. That means including teachers of diverse backgrounds in ed tech development. After all, they are the ones who best understand
what is needed.
Jason Carroll is the Chief Product Officer at Texthelp, a leading technology company focused on helping all people learn, understand, and communicate through the use of digital education and accessibility tools. His focus is on helping to make smart, easy to use products that help diverse learners of all ages succeed and he speaks internationally on these topics each year.