Good news for entrepreneurs in the field of education technology: after a four-year low in 2016, edtech (education technology) investments are on the upswing, on pace to hit 1.4 billion dollars in 2017. While investments aren’t likely to reach the 1.5 billion high of 2015, those interested in the edtech field are still looking at the future with tentative optimism.
But many entrepreneurs are still wondering how to best sell their edtech products. In general, the key is to create technologies that help keep students engaged while also making things easier for teachers. Teachers are the ones that edtech must be marketed to, and they aren’t interested in any products that won’t produce significant results. Edtech needs to solve real problems that teachers have, such as keeping students interested in difficult subjects.
One example can be found in the success of edtech program ClassDojo. Co-founder Sam Chaudhary got feedback form parents and teachers throughout the design progress to see what they need. Because of this, ClassDojo fills a need: it helps teachers show student progress to parents outside the space of parent-teacher conferences. Ultimately, teachers know what their classrooms need, so rather than creating a product and trying to convince educators that they need it, entrepreneurs are better off creating products that fill needs that classrooms already have.
ClassDojo is a communication platform designed to keep teachers, parents and students connected and create a positive sense of classroom community. It allows teachers to update parents about their children’s’ progress constantly, instead of only during parent-teacher conferences, and teachers can also send photos and videos to parents at any time to share touching classroom moments. The program also allows teachers to encourage students for progress they make as well as skills and values they demonstrate.
Other features of ClassDojo include allowing students to share what they’ve learned by adding photos or videos to their personal portfolios, which can be viewed by their parents and peers. Teachers can also use ClassDojo to keep students engaged by letting them earn points from positive behaviors while losing points for negative ones. Many teachers even award a Dojo Winner each week to encourage healthy competition.
Overall, ClassDojo has been so successful because it fills real classroom needs. The program lets teachers stay in communication with parents while also helping keep students engaged in learning, which helps educators create positive, ground-up change even in struggling classroom environments.