- The International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE) will launch its Ed-Tech Advisor initiative to improve communication between educators and app developers during the development process, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- The initiative includes a platform where educators can answer questions about uses and audiences for inventoried apps, and vendors will be able to reach educators based on location, subject, grade and experience.
- ISTE CEO Richard Culatta said that the initiative will aim to add context around products that doesn't currently exist via the star ratings systems in app stores, noting that "you can say, 'Oh it’s a mediocre app.' But it turns out it’s not a mediocre app — it’s a five-star app if you use it with English language learners in high school."
Trying to figure out which apps are best suited for students — and, often, which are actually even educational — can be tricky. Attend any ed tech panel at any number of educational conferences and one is sure to hear at least a half-dozen examples of what are essentially wolves in educational sheep's clothing populating app stores. (We're looking at you, programs that offer a few minutes of playing "Centipede" in exchange for solving a few math problems.)
But there are also plenty of good products that fall through the cracks, perhaps because they were used in the wrong context or with an audience that wasn't best-suited for them. And still others might have been great if only there had been more educator feedback.
Vendors can't provide effective solutions for problems they're not fully informed about. The direct line of feedback from educators provided by this platform will ultimately benefit all involved, with educators able to weigh in with their needs and concerns prior to the completion and release of a product. And the additional context for apps already released will help the broader education community recognize the best use cases before they invest time and money in any resource.