EdTech Inc.

There isn’t a whole lot of research as to why teachers leave teaching and work for software, hardware and media brands. Highly successful ones leverage their social media influence and reputation built during their classroom days. This is a currency with which they attract attention to their products and services. I am not saying for a second that they don’t know their stuff – quite the opposite. Their insight and skill is often well above that of the people who attend their sales presentations conferences.

Brands have become adept at creating pseudo journals, publications and conferences. Such terms as “Official [Brand] Educational Provider”. This is of course a biased and self-appointed slogan, nothing more. Conferences sales presentations are given seductive titles hinting at both a better future, and attendees belong to the correct-thought group.

The point I’m making is that successful classroom teachers, with deep knowledge are running the sales front for brands who offer limited proof (being generous) that their products make any significant difference to the overall excellence and success of students. Further, in the slick workshops and high-tech playgrounds – the chances of this skill and insight being synthesized and replicated has been shown to be slim. Once the day is over, there is no sustainable support, other than online advice from the evangelists on social media. Again, research has show how important on-going, sustainable support is in teacher belief. We also know belief is a key influence on adoption.

I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile, as the equity gap between the have and have nots is ignored, much like the selective engagement with Gonski funding. To me, teaching has been a united profession, but there seems to be a vast gap between rich and poor, rural and urban, fast internet and slow. For example, research is showing that low SES families rely on mobile phones as their sole technology while others have access to more than one screen consistently. It used to be that educational events would discuss these things as well as watch demonstrations by vendors.

Teachers are somewhat implicated however. Vendors have often been ignored, yet fund the event. While Teacher X is showboating their ideas, the vendors are stuck outside – and that’s always been wrong. Now the vendors are running more and more events and attracting more and more great teachers from the classroom.

I do wonder how this happens … why do teachers bail the classroom and move to sales?