Edtech Entrepreneurs Can Work With the School System and How
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The school system is unlike any other system in that it is dynamic but slow to change, structured but disconnected, progressive but often skeptical that a new product might complicate its life. That is not to say that schools are not open to technology and tools. The key is to find alignment between the needs of the school system and the problems that entrepreneurs should solve.
Well, that’s where the problem lies: seeing the school from the outside. For the edtech entrepreneur, it largely is about tech in the schools; however, to the principal, it’s about tech for the school. Let’s see what matters most to the school as we look at the priorities
The Planning System
What’s at the top of the priority list? Everything hinges on this system. Take, for example, the seemingly humble timetable. At the beginning of each academic year if a team will be spending over a month of intense work putting together this mother of a jigsaw puzzle. Just imagine 7 subjects, 5 extracurricular activities, 5 days, 40 periods a week, 25 teachers, 15 sections being put into a 40 cell table with zero overlapping of classes or subjects or teachers. Surprisingly, this is still done manually even in the most progressive of schools. Reason: there is no reliable tech tool for this. If that’s the time and effort spent on a timetable, think about all the other aspects of the planning system – the Year Plan, the Revision Plan, the Exam Plan, the Substitution Plan, the Syllabus Completion Plan, to name a few.
The Teaching System
This system is at the heart of student achievement. The key tool of this system is the unassuming lesson plan. The simple reason for this is that if the lesson plan does not work, the students won’t achieve. DISE says, ‘a fifth of all elementary school teachers in the country does not have the requisite qualifications to teach young children.’ With an ever-shrinking pool of qualified teachers, ensuring student achievement becomes a challenge. One way to help his teachers would be to assist them in creating evidence-informed lesson plans. This, in turn, would guarantee a minimum benchmark for measurable teaching and learning.
What if the system could provide high-quality lesson plans for the teacher with room to be flexible? Isn’t that what a teacher is looking for?
The Feedback System
Professor James Pennebaker from the University of Texas said that in the history of the study of learning, the role of feedback has always been central. He adds that when people are trying to learn new skills, they must get some information which tells them whether or not what they are doing is right. The timing of the feedback is very crucial. Researchers found that children who were given immediate feedback showed a significantly larger increase in performance than those who received delayed feedback.
To give immediate feedback during the class or even at the end of it to all the children is not humanly possible. A tech tool is definitely needed where student responses can be quickly captured, analyzed and remedial action can be recommended based on the data.
Edtech Innovation For Schools
The school has, for long, been a manual system. It’s time for the school to transform into a technological system, benefitting all the stakeholders in the process. This requires edtech entrepreneurs to walk in the school’s shoes and understand the gaps that matter the most for the school. Principals are more than willing to help every child reach their potential; they only need tools – the right tools.
The time is now. Let the innovation begin!