- Seeing a need to for a platform to manage high school students' internships, community service hours and other workplace experience credentials, David Schuler, superintendent of Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Illinois, took matters into his own hands and launched a cloud-based service called Transeo, District Administration reports.
- The tool is designed to help both students and educators track performance and effort while minimizing paperwork and making it easier for students to share that information with prospective colleges and employers.
- Schuler recruited a former student to write the service's code and was upfront with the school board about his plans to launch the service. The board agreed to a flex-time schedule that allows Schuler to both complete his job requirements, spend time with his family and work on his side business so he could manage his time effectively.
The growing popularity of CTE programs means students need new ways to showcase their efforts. Products such as the one Schuler developed fill that gap. As more high-achieving students take non-traditional post-high school paths, they need ways to demonstrate their abilities. Schuler's firsthand experience in schools only further contributes to the platform's usefulness.
Educators and administrators are on the educational front lines, so their insight is critical for effective ed tech product development. Their feedback can help the industry fine-tune products so they accomplish what they're intended to. At Rowan-Salisbury Schools, North Carolina, for example, teachers can leisurely peruse ed tech tools and offer feedback through an "ed tech playground" that lets them "test-drive" products before deciding to purchase them.
Securing teacher buy-in is also critical because teachers remain generally lukewarm on the impact ed tech can have in the classroom. Fewer than one-third of U.S. teachers have altered their teaching styles due to ed tech innovations, and only 29% believe ed tech actually helps.
Part of the problem is that ed tech is designed to meet current needs, but is not intuitive to meet future visions and plans. Additionally, the marketplace is also littered with products and platforms that are built more around flash and spectacle than substance.