For all the gadgets and software and devices out there available to educators, what technology do they really need? Do we stop long enough to ask?
The exhibition hall at ISTE 2011 was a mammoth affair, but walking up and down the seemingly endless aisles, I wondered which of these are really necessary?
The question has been on my mind at least as long as the Startup Weekend Edu last month, when (as we covered here) teams came together to pitch, design, and build an ed-tech startup over the course of an intensive weekend. There were several teachers at the event, and it was interesting to hear their ideas about technology products and services.
One of the teams at Startup Weekend that worked on a teacher-driven idea was LessonCast, and I had the sense as the team pitched their idea at the end of the weekend, that some of the investors and non-educators on the judging panel just didn't "get it." "I'm not sure who would use it," was one response. "Well, teachers," said the founders.
The idea behind LessonCast is to enable teachers to make short, two-and-a-half minute videos explaining a particular lesson or classroom management strategy. Unlike other sites devoted to online instruction, LessonCast isn't about teachers teaching students per se, but rather teachers teaching and mentoring other teachers.