A Farewell To EdTech? Remote Possibilities


When Din Heiman, SVP of Strategy at Renaissance Learning, first posted his thoughts on the edtech industry’s responsibility to respond to the current education crisis, he expected to spark a conversation. 20,000 LinkedIn views later, his provocative thoughts, plus the contributions from others, have created a blueprint for future remote learning success.

Marketscale contributor and Remote Possibilities podcast host Kevin Hogan discusses Heiman’s extraordinary message with him and breaks down some of the specific suggestions he offers directly to edtech leaders. These include:

Survive. You probably don’t want to be surprised in the midst of a crisis to discover your solution doesn’t effectively scale after all. Or that your cash situation can’t bear the expenses created by spiking usage. At the extreme, the last thing you can afford is to see your company collapse — precisely when your customers (not to speak of your employees) rely on you the most. Think about that in the context of both your existing business model, and any immediate changes or campaigns you are considering.

Parents aren’t stakeholders. No matter what your specific offering is or who you sell to, start considering parents (a.k.a. #AccidentalHomeschoolers) as customers. Just because they aren’t students doesn’t mean you can treat them as teachers. Consider factors like ease of use, lack of professional training, methods of communication, reality of working parent/s… Consider whether your offerings are tailored and curated enough, or just adding to an already daunting pile. Don’t assume it’s for the teacher alone, much less principal or administrator, to bridge between your offerings and parents. They themselves have plenty on their plate. If you can’t get your offerings to an appropriate level of simplicity, factor in extra capacity for layperson support.

You’re in the equity business. Yes, you. This one may be the hardest for many of us to fathom. If you’re not actively planning for decreasing equity gaps, you’re liable to be inadvertently increasing them. Do your plans account for the needs of different populations of special learners? Do they factor in English learners (whether students or parents)? Do your offerings work across devices? Without devices? In different bandwidth situations? Do they inadvertently contribute to stress, or alleviate it? Can you identify in advance any other unintended consequences of your plan, and if so what can you do to prevent them?

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