Author: Ben Greenwood
Posted: 23 Nov 2020
Estimated time to read: 2 mins
It is estimated that by 2021 the UK EdTech sector could be worth £3.4bn. A figure that has increased by £800mil in just four years. This estimate was also made before the pandemic, before school closures and reopenings made distance learning platforms a necessity.
It’s clear that Edtech is worth a lot to our economy, but the application of dedicated Edtech goes beyond monetary value. The pandemic, and subsequent school closures, have shown the importance of school systems that allow distance learning and better school organisation in general.
These online learning platforms have become crucial to the smooth running of our schools, so choosing the right one is essential. When looking for a new distance learning/classroom management tool however, there are a number choices you have to make. One of them is whether to choose a dedicated edtech supplier, or a tool from a larger tech company.
The hidden value in dedicated edtech
The question you normally ask of software is “does it solve my problem?” A perfectly valid and logical question, and one that you will find many larger suppliers can indeed answer with “yes”. But what we often overlook is the way in which it solves those problems.
Let's take the example of buying a car. When you buy a car, the problem it is solving is getting us from A to B on time. But we rarely leave it there. Before you make the purchase, you’ll want to know how fuel efficient it is, its safety credentials etc.
This should be the same process when committing to software for your school. A number of platforms will probably be able to solve the problem you’re facing, but you shouldn’t just go with the first one you find that does. One will likely solve that problem more efficiently than the rest.
Here’s what to look out for from your software provider:
More efficient processes
Like the car in the analogy above, your software provider should be making your job easier and more efficient. This can only come from a product that is made by people who are aware of the unique problems teachers face.
Sometimes products may appear to solve your problem, but if they haven’t been created with proper knowledge of the area they are intended to serve, they probably won’t work very well.
The value you’ll receive here, is the knowledge that every bit of the software you’ve spend precious budget money on will have been scrupulously put together and tested to ensure that teachers are getting the best product possible.
Dealing with dedicated education software providers ensures that you have a product created specifically to deal with all the day to day issues you might face as a teacher. This brings us on to the next point.
Dedicated edtech providers are constantly looking for new ways to support teachers and students. New updates, add ons and even whole new product launches ensure that every bit of a teachers day is covered and can be made more efficient.
With no other sectors to worry about, dedicated education software developers are 100% focussed on creating tech that works for schools, no matter where they are or what challenges they face. They use their narrower customer base as an opportunity to create a highly specialised software that is tailored to educators’ needs.
This narrower customer base also means that product requests from users are more likely to be answered and fulfilled. Dedicated education software companies tend to work closely with schools, something the tech behemoths that also create education software are rarely able to do.
Having a provider that is open to suggestions and collaboration is a huge accolade for your school. In choosing them, you are entering a two way contract - not just money in exchange for a service, but also feedback in exchange for new features that work to serve your school, and possibly many other schools to come.
Thorough support and training
With often smaller, more dedicated teams of customer support and training officers, companies that only operate within the niche of Edtech are much more likely to give high quality tailored support for your staff and students.
With support technicians that work more closely with schools, with a strong grasp of their product’s features, they are poised to effectively give any guidance you might need on your school’s technology and how to use it.