This past weekend I attended the EdSurge Summit in St. Louis. I have the privilege of attending with a startup company called BrightLoop to showcase their product with other educators. It was my first EdSurge event and I was excited to talk to others about a product that I have been very passionate about since first using it in its Beta stages.
I had a chance to meet with people from different companies at the networking night, as well as the Summit itself. Educational technology is constantly changing and all these people play a major part. These people care so much about the development of their product and sharing it with educators. You give them a chance to talk about their product and they light up because they love what they do and are so excited to share it with others.
While some might argue that there are so many of the same type of educational technology products, one really needs to hear from each of the companies. Yes, there are similarities amongst products, but each have their own special space in the world of educational technology. Each of the have their own special something that appeals to a different type of teacher. There isn't just one product that meets the needs of all teachers, which is why one might find similar products.
When I talked to teachers about BrightLoop this past weekend, I can't begin to describe that awesome feeling when people are shouting with excitement about seeing this product for the first time. They knew that this was a product that was going to help them as an educator because they could spend less time documenting notes on students and focus more on the actual instruction.
Finding a startup educational technology company in their early stages allows for teachers to play a big part in its development before it makes its way to the App Store and shared with teachers nationwide. I've had the privilege of working with two great companies recently, BrightLoop and ClassKick, as they prepared to get their product ready for teachers. I met both of these companies from Google searches, Facebook ads, and tweets. Each of these companies had a product that I had been wanting, but knew that there was nothing quite like them. A lot of teachers might say "I had an idea just like that," but this gives them the chance to work collaboratively with these companies to help shape the product for the masses.
As I worked with both companies, trying them out as a teacher and then with my first grade students, they always took the time to ask for feedback. They not only listened to what I had to say, but incorporated that feedback. It's a great feeling to know that some of your suggestions are becoming part of a product that will be shared with thousands of teachers across the country. They know in the beta stages that they do not have a perfect product and are accepting of feedback because they know that teachers are the ones who will get the app or program into the classroom and will share it with others.
Pay close attention to startup companies because you too can play a vital part is the development of a tool that can be used in classrooms across the country. Instead of finding out about things after they have been around for awhile, you can be the one sharing with others tools that everyone will get excited about to use.
When you do research for new apps and programs to use in the classroom, check out Twitter, check out EdSurge's website, do some Google searches, and give startup companies a try. These are products that need your support as they make their way nationwide to support teachers and the learning of students.
Make sure you check out http://brightlooplearning.com and http://getclasskick.com to check out the products that I mentioned above.