Over the summer I have been working on some research regarding the sales process with technology in education which will hopefully be published by the end of the month.
There is a lot to consider given that there are a lot of interesting changes taking place when it comes to developing new edtech, including the changing nature of the relationships between education and suppliers.
Something that has struck me in my research is the number of high quality services that are free of charge, for example;
Top 100 Tools for Learning
The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has ran surveys since 2007 where they get feedback from educators to assess what the best technology learning tools are. This list is overwhelmingly dominated by free services - Top 100 tools for learning
Who Sells Free in Education?
So if we have so many services in education that are free this raises a couple of questions?
1) Is the reason so many services in this list are free tools due to budget cuts?
2) Or is it because the free tools tend to be developed by the major tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft?
3) If there is a free solution Vs a paid for alternative and the freemium product is as good as (or better than) the paid for service... Who sells free in education?
A Potentially Costly Example?
I came across this recently as colleges were looking for ways to monitor any online discussions that were taking place about their institutions. I was asked if I knew anyone that could develop this and what the costs would be.
Then I attended a workshop by Bill Joos, former Apple and Garage Technology Ventures executive. At this event I found out that, not only does this kind of service already exist (https://en.mention.net/), but that;
1) It is free of charge
2) If a top tech veteran and Venture Capitalist liked and recommended this service... and if a demanding Silicon Valley VC is recommending it then you would imagine that it has passed a rather demanding quality control process.
I wonder if there are many services out there that educators are paying for when there could be a more cost effective and equally capable alternative...its worth asking the question who sells free all this free EdTech?
With resources like the c4lpt survey, Edsurge's EdTech Index,Graphite and Twitter #edchats it looks like an answer is rapidly starting to emerge... connected educators.
This all points to further evidence that the way suppliers should be engaging with educators needs to be reviewed and my report on Technology in Edu will be ready soon... so watch this space!
In the mean time to nominate your faviourite EdTech tools for the 7th Annual c4lpt survey please see the following link - c4lpt survey