Editor’s Note: Apps For All
There is a drastic change underway in how we buy and use
hardware and software in the classroom. This epiphany
first came to me last month during our TechForum13
Atlanta App Smackdown session (you can watch the
archived footage on our Livestream channel: www.livestream.com/techlearning). For 90 minutes, more
than 100 educators and administrators traded favorite apps and
Web-based resources, from note-taking to Web site creation to
online assessment (the full list can be found here: techlearning.com/events/techforum/atlanta13/program). None of these tools
had been handed down from a district central office. They were
discovered, downloaded, and paid for by the educators themselves.
One week later, I met with several CEOs of new edtech companies at the SXSWedu
conference in Austin, TX. Likewise, these executives aren’t focused on selling their wares first as
district-wide contracts to be distributed to the masses.
Instead, they are angling directly for faculty. These
“new school” edtech vendors want to build a viral
following among teachers in the hope that districts will
ultimately sign up for a learning platform or digital
curriculum in response to grassroots pressure.
I think this phenomenon is great news. For too long,
educators have been handed technology and told to
use it, much of the time without being shown how. This
new app economy destroys that dynamic and instead
gives educators the ability to try and decide what is the
best tech for them. When they like something, they
share it with fellow educators. The more popular the
tech gets, the greater the chance it becomes a district
standard. It’s all rather elegant. We’ll be tracking this
transformation with eagerness. In the meantime, have a
favorite app? Let us know!
— Kevin Hogan