by Paul Moss, paulgmoss.wordpress.com
Out of the next 10 big edtech products, 8 will be invented by teacherpreneurs.
Such an assertion seems bold, but arises from observation of the development of a new context in education technology, a context that cultivates the confluence of three key conditions that allow the teacherpreneur to thrive.
With the growth of mobile app development, personalized learning, and the need for personalized learning curriculum, the next five plus years will see the rise of the teacherpreneur.
3 Conditions That Empower Teacherpreneurs
Condition #1: They Know The End Users
The first condition is a heightened and insightful understanding of the end-user’s needs. Teacherpreneurs naturally have an infinite advantage over edtech companies, as the end-user’s needs are often the teacherpreneur’s every waking thought. This has been intensified of late by the squeeze and pressure placed on teachers to become as efficient and resourceful as possible, and has turned the teacherpreneur into a lean mean finely tuned machine.
Condition #2: They Live In A Start-Up World
The second condition is that the teacherpreneur has now eliminated the largest barrier to taking their ideas to market – a lack of business acumen. The modern day teacherpreneur understands the culture of the start-up, and together with their passion, knowledge, and determination, are more confidently armed to assert their presence in the edtech world.
Condition #3: They’re Already Part Of The Ecology
The third condition stems ironically from the proliferation of edtech entrepreneurs themselves, who unknowingly and unintentionally have contributed to a negative saturation of the market, and have created a more guarded and wary school investor, an investor that is more likely to go ‘in-house’ if the opportunity presents itself.
There have always been teacherpreneurs; it’s just that they have been lacking a label until recently. They are teachers and educationalists who see gaps in their learning environment, are passionate about filling the gaps, and actively take steps to do it, all the while teaching and leading the life of a regular educator. They are action-orientated individuals, ambitious, overworked, but inspiring, and are often responsible for great advancement in teaching and learning, all achieved under great pressure.
While it seems ridiculous to state that a new breed of teacherpreneur is emerging when most people aren’t even aware of what a teacherpreneur is in the first place, it is actually an excellent analogy of how fast things are moving in the edtech world.
Radical Innovation With Reach
Radical innovation is all about scale, and the new breed of teacherpreneur is an edtech innovator who creates and develops ideas that are scalable. Technology facilitates the scalability, because any idea can now be pushed to a global audience instantly, and the new breed of teacherpreneur understands how to do it by engaging in the start-up culture.
It is little wonder that this has ensued, as the teacherpreneur is constantly looking for ways to maximize their insight into learning, and the start-up avenue, while fraught with difficulty, has recently presented itself as the most powerful path to achieve it.
Gone are the days when the teacherpreneur would be daunted and indeed intimidated by the prospect of entering the business world of education. Often presumed to be outside the area of expertise, and perhaps a direct consequence of the inherent psychology of traditional schooling paradigms dictating that one should remain in one’s field, the teacherpreneur of old has shied from the business arena, and left it to the ‘experts’.
But the explosion of technology has facilitated a new way of thinking, and more importantly a new way of learning.
An Abundance Of Ineffective Technology
The third condition is an unintentional result of a booming edtech industry. Entrepreneurs have flocked to the field like prospectors to a gold rush. However, such an interest in the market has resulted in a paradox for educators. While many innovations have benefited teaching and learning, many have not, and the exploitation of a naïve sector by edtech entrepreneurs has usurped valuable energies and disillusioned teachers and administrators alike.
Many open-minded teachers willing to give new technologies a go have become disenchanted by the surfeit of ineffective tools, because edtech companies in their hype and push to sell sell sell at all cost have delivered tools that perhaps only marginally improve outcomes for teachers, or worse, don’t at all.
The result is the absurd situation where principals and administrators feel like they have saturated their teachers with technology, to the point of being afraid to implement anything new for fear of demanding more professional development from teachers.
And all this at a time when edtech is only in its infancy.
The inevitable consequence is that schools will become ever more guarded against edtech companies promising to be the saving of their school, and look inwards to scalable innovation. That search within its own ranks will now be fruitful, as the innovators are now there.
They are the teacherpreneurs.
Edtech has ruptured education, and schools are now looking to bunker down, consolidate their strengths, and find their feet in the melee. They will start to look less to the big companies to solve their problems, and start to look inwards to their own ranks for the same deal.
And they will not be disappointed, as they realize that the new breed of teacherpreneur is well and truly among us, a breed that can radically alter the course of education for the better.
Paul Moss has a Masters Degree in Education specializing in integrating technology into the curriculum, and student motivation, and has spent 10 years teaching across the world in Australia, Spain, and the UK. Paul is a passionate advocate of student voice and increasing opportunities for independent learning, and is gaining reputation as a pedagogy watchdog. Paul is the founder of EDmerger and Degrumbler. Paul is the proud father of 3 daughters. Follow Paul on twitter @edmerger, and on paulgmoss.wordpress.com; The Rise Of The Teacherpreneur; image attribution flickr user vancouverfilmschool