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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Give Teachers Credit: They Know Learning Is Social | EdSurge

Follow on Twitter as @spirrison
"The enthusiasm shared by educators who understand that social media will forever impact their lives and practice is very reminiscent of the vibe expressed by dot-commers two decades ago during the first wave of the Internet boom—this is a very good thing." says Brad Spirrison, Senior Director at Participate.

Photo: / Shutterstock
I’ve served as both a journalist and participant within each movement. My job is to interview and survey the pioneers, investors and stakeholders who drive technological change, share their stories, and collaborate with very smart people to build and distribute tools that help everyone else get involved.

The parallels between the early days of the world wide web and today’s edtech scene are surreal. First, you have your tinkerers who recognize the network potential of organizing information, resources and advice around communities. In the nineties, this included Geocities, Lycos and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web (later called Yahoo!). More recently, communities and directories including #edchat, eduClipper and Cybraryman (AKA Jerry Blumengarten’s guide to educational websites and chats) provided voice, structure and inspiration to educators looking to connect and collaborate in ways never before possible.

As more individuals organically buy into the movement, a second layer of investors, opportunists and outright charlatans get involved. In the nineties, I literally wrote half a dozen stories analyzing the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the online pet foods space. Virtually all of those companies, along with thousands of other venture-backed outfits during that time, turned into doo-doo.

This is also a very good thing. Railroads, telephone networks and the internet could not have been built without financial and emotional excess. Whether you are an investor, participant or observer, the key amidst these periods is to recognize innovations that remain true to the underlying cause of whatever movements they spawn within. This means approaching the very individuals and organizations you want to serve, building trust, sharing stories and identifying what problem they wish to solve.

There is a lot of noise in edtech today, mostly coming from technology and consumer marketing-oriented companies. They are trying to cut and paste solutions they built for one industry and sell them to teachers and administrators because they feel the market is hot. This approach won’t work with passionate educators who recognize that their world is changing because of technology. They don’t have time for doo-doo.

Here’s what teachers are doing with their own time...

Brad Spirrison end his article with following: "We are never going back to how things used to be. Together, we have the opportunity to frame and define what’s next."

Source: EdSurge