The world of edtech is booming. A wide array of online and tech tools are now available to teachers, providing ways for them to share their ideas, connect with other educators, learn new skills, and find resources that they can use with students or in their own practice. Navigating this web of online offerings is a big undertaking, so we’ve done some of the work for you.
As you would probably expect, all of the platforms we looked at, with the exception of Mightybell, were geared toward educators. All platforms were either free or had a free version, and several also offered premium paid options with additional features. The bulk of them had one of two main goals: promoting content or promoting community. The content-oriented platforms also fell into two groups — those that produced and disseminated their own content (e.g. Edutopia, Edmodo, Educurious), and those that facilitated the distribution of content created by other education-focused organizations (e.g. BloomBoard, Graphite, EdSurge, Moodle). For us, partnering with a platform geared toward facilitating others’ content made the most sense, and we were especially drawn to platforms that encouraged their users to provide ratings and feedback on the curated resources within (BloomBoard and Graphite). With the value we place on iteration and incorporating user input, the opportunity to receive such feedback and ideas appealed greatly to us.
Two other main attractions we saw in partnering with edtech organizations were (1) meeting teachers in spaces where they already are, and (2) having a marketing partner. One of our original design principles for TD4Ed was that the experience should integrate into teachers’ busy lives, and for many teachers, these platforms are already part of their daily routines. Furthermore, since edtech organizations are also engaging in the hard work of finding, recruiting, and retaining active users, integrating our product into their platform(s) amplifies our own efforts in these areas. Given our size and our focus on activities outside of marketing, this is a useful benefit.
For a breakdown of the key attributes of each of these organizations we explored, check out the following chart:
In chatting with folks in the edtech world, especially Digication and BloomBoard, it became very clear that allowing for different levels of engagement — and especially offering compelling bite-sized content — was critical for TD4Ed (Learning #1). In partnership with BloomBoard, we offered users the option to complete each of the six phases, plus the optional team-building phase, as individual modules instead of being steered through the entire curriculum. Our TD4Ed resources are now available (for free!) as self-paced individual modules on BloomBoard’s platform, allowing teachers to pick and choose what they want to learn and how to integrate it into their professional development plans.
In keeping with the theme of personalization, we also redesigned TD4Ed’s main page and its curriculum page to allow for multiple points of entry. The new design gives users the option of learning about others’ projects, starting their own, watching short case study videos, signing up for blended professional development trainings, and downloading individual curriculum resources and activities.