SIIA Ed Tech Buisness Forum – Round Two (2008)

First published December 2, 2008

At today's SIIA Ed Tech Business forum, there seems to be agreement among leading investors that quality companies will continue to find buyers despite the challenging market.  It's not business as usual, so companies need to accept that cuts will be made in their marketing and operational areas.

However, companies that focus on their core strengths and strongly communicate those strengths to their customers will continue to thrive and stand out from their competitors. But the viewfinder must absolutely put the customer's experience front and center.  Help them be successful. They should understand the core benefits of your products and solutions. Understand the customer needs on a micro level so that they can fully appreciate the value of your solution.

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SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum – the Final Word (2008)

First published December 5, 2008

There is always palpable energy in the room when educational technology folks come together. Many in the industry began their careers in the classroom and their missionary zeal for kids and education is still very much intact. Somewhere between the gloomy view of the investment community looking at the current educational marketplace as a "set of distressed assets" and the developer's Pollyanna enthusiasm for new technology lies the truth of where we currently sit. As the investors, developers, and marketers mixed and talked throughout the day at the SIIA Forum, it was clear that most were  putting the best face on current economic realities.

Who could have foreseen even two months ago the climate in which we find ourselves today? Where exactly does all of this leave K-12 publishers, schools, teachers, and students? One of the panelists described students as a renewable resource. It's true and kids are going to keep showing up at school buildings across the country looking for an education, and there will be teachers there to teach them. This underlying driver of the industry is not going to change. School districts are always looking for opportunities to improve the value return on what they spend. This is now heightened, but not really a new factor. New technologies offer schools and districts the opportunity to streamline their infrastructures and save money.

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Geeks and Gadgets at NECC 2009

ad.jpgFirst published July 4, 2009

NECC 2009 (National Education Computer Conference) in Washington, D.C. this past week was the most upbeat and positive education meeting I’ve attended in some time. No doubt the anticipated impact of federal stimulus funds was the source of some of the optimism, but there was real electricity in the air as virtual colleagues from formal and informal professional learning groups and Twitter met in person after building online relationships over the past year. This was an interesting phenomena, not because it hadn’t happened before, but that it had so significantly increased its frequency that you could not walk very far without seeing or overhearing an enthusiastic meeting of virtual friends. The number of like-minded people breaking through school and district walls to find and collaborate with each other virtually will most certainly continue to increase creating additional learning opportunities for educators and students.

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21st Century Skills – Twitter in the Classroom

First published June 15, 2009

Kudos to Dr. Monica Rankin at the University of Texas for an outstanding implementation of Twitter in her history class of 90 students. She shares a critical insight when she said, “I just had to come to grips with the fact it was going to be messy.” Her goal was to create more opportunities for all students to participate in class discussions and interact about course content.

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