Online tools and platforms give schools and students access to new knowledge and creative ways of teaching and learning. In fact, the education technology (edtech) market is already worth $340 billion. Set to continue growing as more organizations and individuals tap into its potential.
With the edtech boom has come thousands of edtech companies promising to revolutionize how people learn.
But how do you know which solution is right for your students’ and teachers’ needs?
Not only does choosing the right edtech partner have a direct impact on educational outcomes, it can affect students and teachers’ productivity.
To filter through the crowd, make an informed decision, and find your ideal edtech match, these questions can help.
1. Does the tool address your specific challenges?
Your school has both unique requirements and obstacles for edtech providers.
Perhaps you want only a certain group of students to use the tool. Perhaps students should only be able to use the tool from set devices. Maybe you have technological restraints that the tool has to comply with. Alternatively, you might request that the tool’s content be modified to better serve your school goals.
Be sure the tool or platform you use is flexible enough to solve your key challenges.
It’s also important that when choosing an edtech partner, they don’t try to convince you of a challenge you don’t have. Providers should be able to prove their value without creating scenarios that aren’t relevant to you.
2. Does the tool cater to diverse students’ needs?
Schools are made up of people with varying capabilities, and your edtech tool needs to include all students.
Edtech partners should be able to explain why their offering is accessible and provide case studies for when they have successfully served diverse users. Being accessible isn’t just about being ethical – it shows that the provider is genuinely invested in students’ experience and advancing their study.
ELSA intentionally takes diversity into consideration. Our speech recognition technology is catered to students with different accents, and specifically designed for educational purposes. This means our speech model can understand students when they speak in English, regardless of where they’re from.
Additionally, AI helps us recommend individual learning paths for students, depending on their level, interests and weaknesses. ELSA’s dashboard feature enables teachers to assign homework to the whole class or individual students as they need.
3. What type of technology does the tool involve?
Edtech is one of the most innovative spaces at the moment. Companies are consistently developing new ways to make learning more interactive, cost-effective, and streamlined.
Some current popular trends in edtech are gamification, artificial intelligence, personalized feedback, and context-based learning. Each of these facilitates stronger engagement with edtech tools, and a deeper understanding for students. When choosing an edtech partner, providers that embrace these trends are more likely to be a long-term solution for your school because they stay up-to-date with modern user needs.
Still, be careful not to be too fixated on “cool” technology. Just because an edtech provider involves the metaverse doesn’t make it the perfect pairing. Providers should communicate why they chose the technology, and how it furthers their edtech mission. Likewise, before you commit to an edtech provider, look at the environments in which students learn best. There’s no point signing up for a virtual reality tool if the majority of classes aren’t visual learners.
3. Does your edtech partner provide ongoing customer support?
An edtech partnership is an ongoing relationship.
You therefore want a provider who has multiple contact channels. If you need support with onboarding, something goes wrong, or you want to know how to optimize the tool, customer service is going to be your port of call.
Similarly, an effective edtech partner should be able to walk you through broad learning strategies that reinforce the benefits of edtech. They should also recommend learning combinations that maximize their tool – such as complementary resources and offline activities.
Alongside different contact mediums, edtech partners should be able to prove how they’ve communicated with, and solved problems for, other schools. By demonstrating top customer service, they reassure you that they are truly partners, not just salesmen.
When working with schools, ELSA has a customer support team that guides teachers through the tool and its application, plus any questions they have along the way. Our team solves issues in a timely manner, and brings everyone up to speed with the platform efficiently. If needed, our team can help integrate the curriculum onto the platform, and our team suggests lesson ideas to teachers – shaping more creative, interactive classes.
4. What edtech partners are other schools using?
When starting your search, it’s always worthwhile to look at what your peers are doing for reference. Identify similar-sized schools in your region and research what edtech tools they work with.
Are the same edtech providers coming up?
Are schools sticking with these providers? If yes, what have the tools’ effects been? For instance, has student performance in a particular area improved?
Pay attention to the type of tools fellow institutions are adopting and how they’ve helped them grow. If schools are using a language learning platform, for example, maybe that’s contributed to recruitment efforts, with more top-level language teachers wanting to work at the school.
By identifying edtech solutions and their influence at other schools, you can make a sound judgment about which ones can best fuel your aims.
Choosing ELSA as an edtech partner
ELSA improves traditional English language teaching and learning using speech recognition technology.
Feedback helps learners to improve their spoken English, highlighting errors and giving actionable steps on how to improve. The tool doesn’t aim to have students imitate exactly what a native speaker sounds like, but rather to get students to a level of proficiency where their spoken English is understood universally.
As a result of using ELSA, 90% of students improve within three months, with just 20 mins of daily usage on average.
ELSA also helps teachers of all experience levels to teach speaking to students one on one. In tandem with in-person classes, students significantly boost their speaking fluency and confidence in English using ELSA. The technology is also trained on a large database of accents, so it can easily detect and correct common mistakes from non-native speakers. Plus, teachers can measure students’ study time and progress via the real-time analytics dashboard.
ELSA’s API is also available to other potential edtech partners. With the API, other edtech platforms can add speech features to increase user engagement or as a premium feature.
Much like learning, pairing with an edtech requires being curious and analytical, and gathering the facts. Ask the above questions and start to get closer to the edtech partners that suit your school and standards. Learn more about ELSA’s solutions for schools and how to leverage ELSA’s API.