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Studying for a test? Prepare with these 4 lessons on Making aligned hardware, software, and space decisions in a blended learning environment.
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- Now, if some of these decisions weren't complicated enough, I'm gonna introduce a few other obstacles that actually make this a complicated process. And the biggest problem is that we don't have great data yet to be able to say, for this piece of software, you can get these learning results. It's just way too early in this sector to be able to simply say, "If you wanna teach slope of a line, "DreamBox does it with an 82% efficiency "and ST Math does it with a 51% efficiency." The market's not that mature. So what people end up relying on is just either the claims of the vendor, which, you know, you have to take with a grain of salt, or calling all the people they know using the software, which is just really inefficient. - A second big challenge that's out there right now is obviously cost. Now, we know schools obviously have to be concerned with costs, but what complicates this right now is there's an utter lack of transparency in the market around what basic software costs. Now, there certainly are some vendors that are very straightforward and say, "We charge $4 per student" or something like that, but for the most part, most of these pricing schemes are determined in negotiation with salespeople from the companies, and often will vary based on how many seats, or how many students, they're actually serving at any one time, which makes this really complicated. And to make it even worse, if you just wanna start a pilot with just a few number of students, some software programs have a minimum number of seats you have to purchase before they'll even let you play with them. And so that creates some huge problems in actually figuring out if that's the software that you wanna use. - And this is where we think the consumer has some power, pick companies that have practices that you support. And that way, we help shape the industry in a direction towards transparent pricing, and making it easier for folks to enter into the education technology space. - Now, we've been talking a lot about what the software companies have to do to step up their game, but let's not just let the conversation end there. Districts also have to step up their game to really streamline the purchasing processes so that principals and teachers can get the software that they need, and quite frankly, so software companies can get in front of those people who are actually going to be using their software. - Lastly, there's also interoperability issues. A lot of these companies are still very small and new, and they may not have versions of their software that works across all operating systems, or there may be issues that they don't always connect or play well with each other piece of software that's on the market. - And you don't wanna make any purchases until your tech team has looked over the minimum tech requirements, and they'll be able to tell you really quickly, "Oh, yeah, it'll run," or "Yeah, it'll run if we upgrade this," which you have to factor into the price and their time. Or, "No, it won't run, that's Android, "we're iPad, it's not gonna happen." - So if you're in a small setting, or don't have a dedicated team member to go after this side, at least do your research. Read on the Web and see what's out there, push a sales rep, if you're talking to a sales rep. Make sure you get the information you need to know if this software will work in your context.